Electricity 101: Understanding the Service Panel

by Fran J. Donegan of The Home Depot   Many homeowners who are unfamiliar with construction and wiring are timid when it comes to electrical work. It makes perfect sense to have a healthy respect for electricity—it can be dangerous if you don’t understand it. To give you confidence and a little knowledge to help you

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10 Rental Tools for DIY Home Projects

10 Rental Tools for DIY Home Projects by Fran J. Donegan for The Home Depot If you don’t own the right tools for tackling a remodeling or maintenance project, you have the option of renting them or buying them outright. The decision is usually based on how often the tool will be used and its cost.

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Why Get a Home Inspection If You’re Buying “As Is”?

by Mark Cohen, J.D., LL.M., InterNACHI General Counsel, and Nick Gromicko, InterNACHI Founder   Some sellers – often, those working without an agent – want to sell their home “as is” so they don’t have to invest money fixing it up or take on any potential liability for defects.  There is nothing wrong with buying

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Building Orientation for Optimum Energy

by Nick Gromicko and Ben Gromicko Building orientation is the practice of facing a building so as to maximize certain aspects of its surroundings, such as street appeal, to capture a scenic view, for drainage considerations, etc. With rising energy costs, it’s becoming increasingly important for builders to orient buildings to capitalize on the Sun’s

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Stucco

The Preservation and Repair of Historic Stucco The term “stucco” is used to describe a type of exterior plaster applied as a two- or three-part coating directly onto masonry, or applied over wood or metal lath to a log or wood frame structure. Stucco is found in many forms on historic structures throughout the United

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Termite Control in the Home

Wood-destroying insects and other organisms can cause serious problems in the wooden structural components of a house, and may go undetected for a long period of time. New Construction All chemical soil treatments, bait systems, and chemical wood treatment must be approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and applied in accordance with the EPA

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Plumbing Terms

Plumbing may be defined as the practice, materials and fixtures used in the installation, maintenance and alteration of all piping, fixtures, appliances and appurtenances in connection with sanitary and storm drainage facilities, the venting system, and public and private water supply systems. Plumbing does not include the trade of drilling water wells, installing water-softening equipment, or

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Lightning

by Nick Gromicko Lightning is the “visible discharge of static electricity within a cloud, between clouds or between the earth and a cloud,” as defined by Underwriters Laboratories. Lightning is unpredictable and a serious threat to buildings and their occupants virtually everywhere. Facts about lightning: Benjamin Franklin invented the first lightning rod in 1752 –- a

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Protect Your Property From Water Damage

Water may be essential to life, but, as a destructive force, water can diminish the value of your home or building. Homes as well as commercial buildings can suffer water damage that results in increased maintenance costs, a decrease in the value of the property, lowered productivity, and potential liability associated with a decline in

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The 10 Best Places to Hide Valuables in Your Home

by Nick Gromicko and Kate Tarasenko Burglary is a crime of opportunity.  And burglars don’t want to spend a lot of time looking through a home to find things of value to steal, which is why there are obvious locations that they always check.  That means that there are ways to outsmart them by hiding

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Remodeling Is a Poor Investment Strategy

by Nick Gromicko Remodeling can dramatically increase the quality of life for building occupants, but if you are considering a remodel strictly as an investment, think twice about it.   Remodeling is rarely a sound monetary investment. According to a report published by Remodeling Magazine, most remodeling projects add only 60% to 80% of their cost to

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What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that can be positively identified only with a special type of microscope. There are several types of asbestos fibers. In the past, asbestos was added to a variety of products to strengthen them and to provide heat insulation and fire resistance. InterNACHI inspectors can supplement their knowledge with the information

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What is Radon?

Home Buyer’s and Seller’s Guide to Radon  The EPA recommends: If you are buying a home or selling your home, have it tested for radon. For a new home, ask if radon-resistant construction features were used and if the home has been tested. Fix the home if the radon level is 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L)

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Is Lead a risk in your house?

Lead Facts Did you know the following facts about lead? FACT: Lead exposure can harm young children and babies even before they are born. FACT: Even children who seem healthy can have high levels of lead in their bodies. FACT: You can get lead in your body by breathing or swallowing lead dust, or by eating

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What you need to know about building your new home.

Building a Home If you want to build a new home, there are things you need to know before you begin. Learn about construction standards and about buying land, so you know your rights. MPS Supplementing Model Building Codes   The Minimum Property Standards (MPS) establish certain minimum standards for buildings constructed under HUD housing programs.

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Electrical Safety

Electricity is an essential part of our lives. However, it has the potential to cause great harm. Electrical systems will function almost indefinitely, if properly installed and not overloaded or physically abused. Electrical fires in our homes claim the lives of 485 Americans each year and injure 2,305 more. Some of these fires are caused

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Three Deadly Mistakes Every Home Buyer Should Avoid

Deadly Mistake #1: Thinking you can’t afford it.   Many people who thought that buying the home they wanted was simply out of their reach are now enjoying a new lifestyle in their very own homes.    Buying a home is the smartest financial decision you will ever make.  In fact, most homeowners would be broke at retirement if

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Find out whats on your buyer’s inspection report before they do!

Seller’s Pre-Listing Inspection             Eventually, your buyers are going to conduct an inspection. You may as well know what they are going to find by getting there first.Having an inspection performed ahead of time helps in many other ways, such as: It allows you to see your home through the

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Mold in your home can put your family at risk. Find out what to do about it.

Why is mold growing in my home? Molds are part of the natural environment.  Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter, such as fallen leaves and dead trees.  But indoors, mold growth should be avoided.  Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked

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How to Clean Algae and Moss Off Asphalt Shingles

Stains on asphalt roofing shingles make a house look shabby, which detracts from its value. In some cases, stains are merely a cosmetic issue.  But sometimes they’re symptomatic of a problem that, if left unchecked, can lead to more serious damage and, eventually, roof failure. Read whole article.