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400 Park Road, Suite 111
Sevierville, TN 37862

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How To Stop Squirrels from Chewing a Log Home

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

My wife and I live in a log home we built in Eastern Tennessee 12 years ago.  About 2 years ago, I had noticed chew marks on the outside corners of my log ends and wandered what animal was doing it and why?  My dog was much too old and not aggressive enough to do this.  Then, one day I heard something chewing on the back deck, looked out, and to my surprise it was a squirrel!  Being a Builder, Home Inspector and Building Inspector in the log home mecca of Sevier County, TN; and just having a nerdy interested in such things, I did some research, asked around, and compiled a strategy to deal with the problem.

I like natural solutions that deal with these type problems because I do not want to harm the environment.  I live here too!  One pest control operator I spoke with said the squirrels are chewing to get at the salt in the wood.  (This makes sense because I used a borate solution on my logs prior to staining to deter wood boring insects.)  So, I decided to try getting a “salt lick” from my local farmer’s supply store.  I placed it in the vicinity of where they were chewing and it seemed to work.  They lost interest in chewing logs for a while, but returned when the salt lick dissolved and disappeared.  If you try this, you should place the “salt lick” in an area of the yard away from your house, but preferably covered from the rain.

Another strategy I discovered was using cayenne pepper and red chili pepper mixed in a sprayer.  Spray the outside of the logs with the mixture.  Squirrels do not like the smell or bitter taste of the peppers and will avoid the area.

A more permanent solution is to add cayenne pepper to your stain prior to staining the logs.  This makes the logs less attractive to squirrels for as long as the stain lasts.  I tried this a year ago and am happy to report that to date, I have had no new squirrel activity!

Why Real Estate Agents Should Refer “ACI” ASHI Inspectors vs. A “Board Certified Master Inspector”

Sunday, February 9th, 2014 | Uncategorized | No Comments

I hope to clear up some confusion about what a true certification as a home inspector is versus one that is more “marketing hype”.  As real estate agents, you want to present the most professional image to your clients and the public.  As part of that image, you want to surround yourself with reputable and reliable referral sources who are bonafide experts in their respective fields.  ASHI Home Inspectors are the “Gold Standard” in home inspectors and the “ACI” is the highest level of certification available to home inspectors.  The “Board Certified Master Inspector” certification may sound impressive, but it is little more than a paid for certification.  There are no stringent requirements, only you pay a fee and claim you meet minimal requirements.  The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) is the only home inspector organization that has a certification that is approved by The National Commission For Certifying Agencies.  This is a recognized third party accrediting association that has accredited ASHI’s profession-leading Certified Inspector Program. ASHI IS THE ONLY ASSOCIATION OF HOME INSPECTORS THAT IS ABLE TO MEET THESE THIRD PARTY VERIFICATION REQUIREMENTS!

There are a lot of good home inspectors in the greater Knoxville, TN area.  All are licensed (or should be) and most belong to some home inspector group or another.  But, please don’t confuse “marketing hype” with true certifications.  Certifications that are easily bought and obtained are meaningless.  Real Estate agents assume some liability for the persons they refer to their clients.  You should dig a little deeper.  Do you want your image associated with persons who are good at “marketing hype”, or, do you want your image associated with the most proficient, professional and respectable home inspectors possible?   More information about the ASHI ACI program is available at www.ashi.org

As an ASHI ACI, former municipal building inspector, former building contractor and SBCCI Code Certified “Chief Building Code Analyst” with over 21 years of experience in home and building inspections, we hope you will choose Accu-Spec Inspection Services for your next home inspection.  But, as a minimum, look for the ASHI seal of approval for your next home inspector, it is the “Gold Standard”.  Call us at 800-511-4880 or just click the link and leave us a message at our Contact Page.

 

Why You Should Update Your Old Smoke Detectors to the New Photoelectric Smoke Detectors

Friday, January 24th, 2014 | Uncategorized | No Comments

 

 

This is a video that was made during a recent ASHI Inspection World Conference in Nashville, TN.  I’m talking about the difference between older “Ionization” and newer “Photoelectric” Smoke Detectors.  Photoelectric Smoke Detectors double your survival rate in the event of fire.

Although studies show ionization alarms are responsive in flaming fires, they often fail to detect immediately smoldering fires. In fact, the Smoke Characterization Project Technical Report, released by Underwriters Laboratories Inc. on behalf of The Fire Protection Research Foundation, found 91 percent of ionization alarms failed to trigger at all in smoldering fires.  Smoldering fires occur when a synthetic material like mattress foam and nylon carpet catch fire. They smolder instead of flaming up.  Most people don’t realize that smoke inhalation kills more people than the fire itself and therefore presents the most danger to you and your family. In addition, photoelectric alarms are less-susceptible to nuisance alarms—such as false alarms from cooking or showering.

The bottom line is that Photoelectric Smoke Detectors provide superior protection and at least double your survival rate in the event of a house fire.  We recommend that all homeowners replace their older “Ionization” type Smoke Detectors with new “Photoelectric” Smoke Detectors.  See www.ashi.org  for more important safety information.

 

 

What is a HERS Index and Why Is It Important to You?

Thursday, January 9th, 2014 | Uncategorized | No Comments

The HERS Index is a measure of a home’s energy use (performance) compared to other similarly built homes.  The Index was developed by RESNET (Residential Energy Services Network) and introduced in 2006, was adopted by the Department of Energy to replace DOE’s E-Scale as the method used to determine those homes that qualify as a DOE Challenge Home and adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA  as a compliance tool for contractors wishing to distinguish themselves by meeting ENERGY STAR requirements.  Most recently, it has been referenced as a compliance tool option by the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code.

The way the index works is really quite simple. A certified RESNET Home Energy Rater conducts an energy rating on a home to determine its energy performance. A HERS Index score is generated based upon the results of the rating. This score gives the homeowner an indication of how energy efficient their home is in comparison to other similar homes. The lower the HERS Index score means that the home is a more energy efficient home.  A rating score of 100 means that a home conforms to the current International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) standard.  For example, a typical resale home in the United States is typically rated at 130 on the HERS Index.  What this means is that a home with an Index scoring 130 is 30% less efficient than a standard Code built new home, and a home scoring a HERS Index score of 70 is 30% more energy efficient than the standard Code built new home.

So what benefit is the HERS Index to homeowners?  It’s all very well knowing that your home is 30% more energy efficient than a standard new house, but how does that help you?  When you are considering what new car to purchase doesn’t the MPG (miles-per-gallon) weigh into the equation?  Would you buy a new car without disclosure of such information?  Then why would you buy a home without having some idea of how much it is going to cost you to operate it?  The HERS Index Score gives you just such a tool to compare houses like the MPG Index gives you when comparing cars.

Not only will it make the purchase decision easier, the index will also help you sell your home as well.  More and more builders, Realtors and homebuyers are waking up to the benefits of using the HERS Index to buy and sell houses.

So, if you’re in the market for a new home, or want to sell your existing one, do yourself a favor: find out what your HERS Index score is!  Call us to set up an energy rating of your home today!

Why You Should Choose an ASHI Inspector to Perform Your Next Home Inspection

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014 | Uncategorized | No Comments

ASHI is the acronym for The American Society of Home Inspectors.  An ASHI inspector can provide you with a professional, personalized inspection that combines more than 30 years of the highest technical standards, adherence to a strict code of ethics and the very best in customer service and education.  The ASHI Certification (ACI) is the only home inspector certification that is accredited by a third party nationally recognized certifying agency (NCCA National Commission for Certifying Agencies).

When you choose ASHI, you’re working with a professional home inspector who has passed the most rigorous technical examinations in effect today.  In addition to passing the National Home Inspector Exam, Inspectors are required to perform more than 250 professional inspections before they’re even allowed to call themselves ”certified”.

The ASHI Standards of Practice were the first standards created for the home inspection profession, have been recognized the most and have been copied by the most state legislative bodies in writing home inspection legislation than any other home inspection organization.  ASHI wrote the book on what a Home Inspection is and what it is not.  In addition, by agreeing to perform inspections according to the ASHI Standards, a home inspector is agreeing to the Ethical Standards as well.  This should be of utmost importance to buyers.

ASHI’s Code of Ethics stresses the home inspector’s responsibility to report the results of the inspection in a strictly fair, impartial and professional manner, avoiding conflicts of interest. Things that the average consumer might take for granted like the inspector can’t be a Realtor, do repair work on the inspected property, should act in an integral manner, should act in and report in good faith, are only bound on inspectors who agree to inspect according to this standard.  Of all the various home inspector professional organizations, only ASHI has such a Code of Ethics!

When looking for a doctor, do you choose the guy who is fresh out of school with little experience?  No, you want experience and knowledge second to none.  ASHI home inspectors are generally more experienced than other inspectors and are held to a higher technical and ethical standard.  In short, an ASHI home inspector is the best of the best and second to none!  That is why it is of utmost importance for you the home buyer to hire an ASHI inspector!  For more information please go to http://www.ashi.org/customers/ .

Should You Ask Your Home Inspector Whether to Buy A House?

Monday, May 28th, 2012 | Buying a Home | No Comments

From time to time I have home buyers ask me if they should buy the house I am inspecting.  In fact, I had an inspection this past week where I was pulled aside before the inspection and asked to please give them (the buyers) an indication prior to completion as to whether the house was a good one or a “dud” and should be avoided.  My response was that she was asking me to do something I could not do and that she should ask her Realtor or an appraiser for that kind of advice.  It really is an unfair question.  My job is “defect recognition” and home “evaluation”, not home “valuation”.  People think that because we (home inspectors) see a lot of houses, we are qualified to comment on the particulars of their deal.  While I do feel competent to comment on new construction costs and some repair costs, I cannot comment on a fluctuating used home market and whether a home purchase is a good “deal” or not.  There are simply too many factors to consider that I am either not privy to, or, am not exposed to frequently enough to be expert in them.

This does not diminish the importance of having a home inspected by a professional home inspector prior to purchase.  You want to know the condition of the property you are considering purchasing before buying it.  The true cost of a property is the repairs needed to bring the property up to “average acceptable condition” added to the price you are paying.  Then, using your Realtor’s comparison values (prices of comparable “sold” properties), and anticipated future appreciation/depreciation, you can come to an understanding of whether you are making a good investment.  It’s more art than science as average acceptable condition is not easy to define, comparison values take some interpretation and who really knows what the housing market is going to do?  This is where you have to rely on a good experienced Realtor!

 

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What to look for when buying a log home.

Thursday, April 19th, 2012 | Buying a Home | No Comments

Here in Eastern Tennessee, we inspect more log homes than conventional built homes due to the strong rental market for log homes.  It seems that everyone who comes to Dollywood wants to stay in a log home.  Over the last 18 years I have learned that there are a few recurrent themes that a potential log home buyer should watch out for and a few things to look for.

It is way too common to see log homes with sloping floors.  This is common because just about all log homes settle as the logs loose moisture content, shrink and settle.  The amount of shrinkage and settlement depends on the “greenness” of the logs when incorporated into a structure.  Logs can be “air dried”, “kiln dried”, and “dead standing timber”.  The driest of these choices, and therefore the one that will shrink the less, is the dead standing timber (typically a product of western US states).  Of course these are also likely to be the most expensive logs.  But, even if logs are the code minimum 19% moisture content, a properly designed and executed “settlement system” can compensate for the shrinkage factor.  This generally is the difference in “package log home” companies and lumber saw mills.  The package companies generally have engineered systems to take care of this issue where with a lumber mill, it is up to the builder to allow for shrinkage.  Therein lies much of the problem and blame.

Another common problem to look out for is lack of overhangs.  Deeper and wider overhangs help protect the log walls from the effects of weather.  Generally, three feet (or better) of overhang is considered good.  Designing a log home with more porch roofs is generally a good practice.  Exposed log walls from small overhangs are going to require more cleaning and staining maintenance.  The best quality stains on the market will only last 7-10 years and with exposure to weather and unfavorable sun orientation (southwest sides wear quicker) the best stain is not going to last even that long.

Watch out for logs too close to grade.  Logs in close proximity to the ground can rot or have wood boring insect infestations.

Make sure all roof drainage is properly conveyed away from the house foundation.  The lack of gutters can cause spillage and “splash-back” on to the logs that can result in rot or wood boring insect infestations.

Look for carpenter bees.  Carpenter bees drill small holes in logs and beams, then create cavities for larvae inside the logs or beams.  Because the larvae is a favorite food of wood peckers, it is not uncommon to see significant damage to a log home due to wood pecker damage.  The best defense for preventing carpenter bees is to either spray insecticide prior to staining, or, add an insecticide to the stain.  It really depends on the stain manufacturer’s recommendation.

Look for unprofessional work.  In the 1980’s and 1990’s log homes were promoted as a “do-it-yourself” type project.  Well I’m here to tell you building a house is not a task for an amateur.  House construction is intricate and complex and the “devil is in the details”.  I have seen a lot of amateur mistakes that have resulted in latent defects for the seller of houses I have inspected.  Many structural in nature, some wiring related, some plumbing, you name it I have seen problems from homeowners trying to live the “pioneer experience”.

On the positive side, log home owners generally love their homes.  You can tell they have pride in their home by the way they take care of it.  Owning a log home is a labor of love.  I know because I live in one I built.

Avoiding The Blind Inspector: Learn Seven Things You Must Know To Hire The Right Home Inspector When Buying Property in East Tennessee, or, Anywhere For That Matter!

Saturday, April 14th, 2012 | Buying a Home | No Comments

1. Get a Home Inspector With Lots Of Experience:

It takes a full time inspector at least 100 inspections to start to develop the eyes, ears and nose for hunting down problems. Part-time home inspectors simply don’t have the time in the field to develop that radar. Be sure to ask how many inspections the inspector conducts annually and how many years he/she has been doing them. A quality full time home inspector conducts between 200 and 300 inspections annually – inexperienced inspectors conduct 50 to 100 inspections annually.

(Accu-Spec Home Inspections has conducted thousands of home inspections in the last 20 years of business and currently conducts between 200-300 inspections annually)

2. Education & Training:

Being a contractor is very different from being a Professional Home Inspector.  Contractors have developed a “craftsman” skill set.  A good Home Inspector has developed an analytical skill set.  In addition, Home Inspectors are responsible for evaluating all of the systems and components of the home — not just one aspect, like the brick or the framing.  To be able to provide a competent evaluation of all of these elements takes formal education, training and home inspection experience.  Be sure to ask if the inspector attended one of the top home inspection schools like The American Home Inspectors Training Institute (AHIT) or  Inspection Training Associates (ITA)? Or, did he complete a correspondence course, or worse have his brother-in-law, Bubba show him how to inspect? Upon completion of the inspector’s formal education did he work for years with a seasoned professional in the field? Or did the inspector learn on the job at the Buyers expense? Engineering and technology in today’s home is becoming more sophisticated all the time.  Tennessee contractors are not required to attend continuing education courses.  For Home Inspectors, comprehensive continuing education and training is not only required, but is a must!

(Accu-Spec Home Inspectors have State as well as ASHI CE requirements that are met every year.  No one is more educated!  All our inspections are conducted by a college degreed, certified and licensed inspector).

3. Certifications:

While certifications are certainly important, it’s the combination of Experience, Education and Training that make the difference in the competence of your next home inspector. Code certifications are good indicators of an inspector’s depth of knowledge, and more is better. But, while code and other certifications are helpful, there is simply no substitute for experience and proper training.

(Accu-Spec is one of the oldest inspection firms in the greater Knoxville area.  We can proudly say no one is more certified or qualified to inspect your home.)

4. The Inspection Report:

The top home inspectors in today’s business don’t produce handwritten reports. A professional inspector will provide a combination checklist/narrative report. Technology has evolved where you should expect to receive a full-color report, with digital photographs of the issues discovered during the course of the inspection. The report should provide “Summary Pages” with specific categories like Major Concerns, Safety Issues and Deferred Cost Items, etc. The report should not contain repair costs or action plans for repairs. Professional home inspectors inspect — they don’t repair! An inspector that makes repairs should always be avoided due to the conflict of interest inherent in that situation.

Ask for a sample of an inspection report so you’ll know what you can expect for your time and money. After all, you are the client!

(Accu-Spec Home Inspection reports are a combination of checklist and narrative reports, are thorough with digital photographs. Ask us for a sample report!   As ASHI members, we are prohibited from soliciting work on homes we inspect!)

5. How Long Has The Inspection Company Been In Business:

Is the inspection company locally owned and operated or are they some far away faceless corporation where no one is monitoring and evaluating the quality of their work? If you are dealing with a multi-inspector firm, how long has the inspection company been in business? Does the inspection company have dedicated employees serving as customer service representatives to schedule appointments and provide any needed follow up assistance?  Remember, the quality of your inspection will depend upon the knowledge and motivation of your inspector.

(Accu-Spec Home Inspections is Locally Owned and Operated and has been in business since 1993. We have thousands of satisfied clients in the Sevier Co., Jefferson Co. and Knox Co. area)

6. Ask To See What Other Home Buyers Have Said About The

Inspector:

Quality Professional Home Inspectors ask their client’s to complete comment cards upon completion of the inspection. Professional Inspectors want to know what they are doing right, as well as what might need improvement. If the inspector can’t or won’t provide client referrals, he might be blind in more ways than one!

(Accu-Spec clients gladly provide their feedback on our Inspections and we’ll be glad to share it with you!)

7. Ask Your Lender For A Referral To A Quality Home Inspector:

The lenders sole interest in the transaction is seeing that You get a quality home that’s right for you and your family!

Why You Should Have An Independent Energy Audit First Before Energy Upgrades

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012 | Maintaining a Home | No Comments

Many of us believe we know what to do to reduce energy bills. We have been educated by the television and other sources to believe that it is rather straight forward. Replace old light bulbs with compact florescents, add insulation, etc. Many energy reduction programs offered by utility companies focus on one aspect like replacing heat pumps with more efficient ones, or, upgrading attic insulation. All of which are good things to do, but these prescriptive improvements do not consider how the house performs as a “system” of components, and are usually costly improvements. Understanding how a house performs, and finding the least costly improvements at the start of the process, requires some understanding of Building Science. First, lets talk about some common myths about energy reduction.

Do you think buying windows will save you energy and thereby money? If you said yes, you would be in the majority. However, spending money on windows is not the most cost effective or necessarily the most energy efficient way to spend money. Due to their high cost and low return on investment in terms of saving energy, they are not the first place you should invest money to get the most cost effective energy savings. The reason many of us believe the myth about windows is that through extensive advertising, window companies have convinced most of the public that this is the way to save money on energy. While it is true you will save energy, in most cases, they are expensive and you most likely still need to spend more money to get the final result you desire- less money out of pocket for energy.

What about a solar powered attic fan? Assuming you live in the Southern US or Western US, wouldn’t that lower cooling bills and energy use? Again, most people believe yes, but the correct answer is no in most cases. Before air conditioning became the norm, using fans was smart because you needed to move air to keep your home cool. However, as homes have become “tighter” and in the last 30 years we have come to rely more on air conditioning for comfort, a powered attic fan, whether solar or not, is a bad idea. To understand what is going on, we have to talk about Building Science. At the risk of over-simplification, what happens is you are creating a negative pressure in the attic that drives conditioned air (that costs money to cool) into the attic. That raises the cost to condition the living space because unconditioned air from the outside is finding leaks and cracks to replace the conditioned air “sucked up” into the attic. To make matters worse, if you live on a crawl space type foundation, much of that unconditioned air is coming from the crawl space and that air may have mold and other unhealthy conditions going on. Some experts say as much as 60%-70% of the air we breathe on the 1st living level comes from the crawl space, and that is without the use of a powered attic fan!

I recently performed an Energy Audit on a historic home that had been recently remodeled and retrofitted with spray foam in the walls, floor and attic. The owner who was a builder, was complaining of continued high energy bills despite his installation of on-demand water heating, high SEER heat pumps, good air sealed thermal enclosure using spray foam and better than average R-value windows. During my site visit I noticed one significant oddity: an under the slab Radon mitigation system installed in the unconditioned basement. As I modeled the home in RemRate software, I was able to confirm what I already suspected was the problem and make clear recommendations to fix the problem. What I suspected was that the negative pressure created by the Radon mitigation system, was pulling conditioned air from the main level into the unconditioned basement. My recommendation was to treat the basement as a conditioned area; to insulate walls and rim and band joists. The modeling software confirmed that this approach would result in a 15 point drop on the HERS index.

Let the Buyer beware, there are a lot of so called Energy Auditors who are really just sales men or women for a window company, insulation company, solar installer, etc. They may sell you a “bill of goods” that looks good on paper, but falls far short of cost effective, significant energy savings. An independent energy auditor using a “whole house approach” should be able reveal where the “low hanging fruit” is. Using tools such as a Blower Door, Duct Blaster and Infrared Camera are essential in finding the best, most cost effective areas to improve a home’s energy performance. Armed with this equipment and some understanding of Building Science, an independent Energy Auditor working in strategic partnership with an independent Contractor, can often find the simplest and least costly fixes first, then, give you other more expensive options. Where can you find a team of independent retrofit Contractors and Energy Auditors working together to improve America’s housing stock? Start with RESNET (or the residential energy services network). RESNET has recently developed strategic work teams called RESNET Energy Smart Home Performance Teams. More information about these teams and how to find one in your local market is available at http://www.resnet.us/ . Then, look for an independent Energy Rater (raters are qualified to perform audits) at the RESNET site. Some contractors have Energy Raters on their staff and that is the arrangement you want to avoid. The Energy Rater should be able to put you in touch with an independent Contractor that they have a working relationship with.

Procedure for Sanitizing or “Shock Chlorinating” a Well

Friday, March 23rd, 2012 | Maintaining a Home | No Comments

If you use a well for drinking water, ensuring that the water is safe to drink should be a high priority. Well water can be the best water for your health provided that you take certain precautions. Well water quality can be negatively affected by factors such as: “bio-film” build-up in pipes and equipment, iron bacteria plugging up pump and equipment, natural events such as flooding and spring runoff can cause contamination, hydrogen sulfide present in water can cause smelly water, and anytime a well cap is removed the well should be sanitized before it is put back in service. Sanitation, or “shock chlorination”, is needed for these reasons; and, annual maintenance sanitation of a well is also recommended.

Because conditions can change with time, shock chlorination of the well two weeks prior to a well test is a good idea. Without shock chlorination, you may get a “false positive” bacteria test result. “False” because it may not be a true measure of water quality and may reflect the condition of your pipes and equipment instead. This can be a major issue for a home seller being served by a well. Real estate agents should encourage home owners who have homes served by a well to perform this procedure when putting the property up for sale. The use of liquid household bleach for shock chlorination is generally not the best choice because it is less stable and often contains additives, but straight sodium hypochlorite (the key component in household bleach) could be used in a time constrained period. Sodium hypochlorite solution (10%-15%) is available from local hardware stores or places that sell “well equipment”.

The best choice for shock chlorination is granular or pellets such as ChlorPel available from Grainger and other sources. Caution: these treatment pellets are not the same pellets used to treat swimming pools and spas. These pellets are designed specifically for treatment of drinking water and will cost more than swimming pool treatment pellets.

The procedure is as follows:

1. Check the pH of the well water. The ideal pH for shock chlorination is 6-7. If necessary, pre-treat the well water with an acid before shock chlorinating (do not mix acid and chlorine at the same time). This can be done with acid, such as muratic or phosphoric, or dry acids like sulfamic or sodium bisulfate.
2. Determine the amount of water to be sanitized refer to the table below.
3. Take cap off well casing and drop the proper amount of pellets into the casing. It is very important that when pellets are dropped into the well, cistern, etc., that the pellets get to the water and are not lodged on wiring, pitless adaptor, etc. Make sure that the pellets can be heard hitting the water.
4. Drop 1/2 of the pellets into the well. Dissolve the remaining pellets in a few gallons of water and pour into the well.
5. To mix the concentration in the well, run water from a hydrant or faucet (plumbed to the well) into the well for about 15 minutes. This re-circulates the well water, and after a short period of time there will be a strong chlorine odor. Turn off the water.
6. Run water through all taps, spigots, etc., connected to the water system until the smell of chlorine is present. Allow treated water to stand 12-24 hours. After this time, flush all taps through the outside hose bibb. You do not want chlorine going in to the septic system as it can kill the beneficial bacteria in the system.
7. After the water pipe system has become completely flushed with clean water, a bacteria test can be done.  Ideally, this test should not be performed sooner than five days after disinfection to be certain the water has no continuing chlorine contamination and that the water test is representative of the water normally used for drinking.

 

2 – 10″ diameter wells
Well # pellets/ cups pellets/
Diameter(in) 100 ft water 100 ft water

Diameter # Pellets Cups
2 9
3 20
4 36
5 57 1/4
6 82 1/3
8 146 2/3
10 228 1

If you need more information, or, assistance with a well bacteria test please call me at 865-453-9965.
Tom Maides
Accu-Spec Inspection Services PC

Benefits of Infrared Thermography in Home and Building Inspection

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 | Buying a Home | No Comments

We get asked all the time “what is Infrared and do I really need it when I have my house inspected?”  Well, would you go to a medical doctor who did not use the latest technology to find what all may be wrong with you?  Same goes for a home inspector.  You want the most experienced home inspector using the latest technology who knows how to interpret and use the technology.  Basically, Infrared Thermography uses the same technology as the Infrared Thermometer to “map” out in a visual form the difference in temperature of surfaces.  This difference in temperature we call a “Delta T” is what allows IR Thermographers to sometimes see roof leaks, plumbing leaks, missing insulation, air leaks, etc that are not apparent to the “naked” or “unaided” eye.  Following is a short video explaining the benefits of using Infrared Thermography in Home and Building Inspections from the manufacturer of the camera we use:

Log Homes, Wood Sided Homes and Carpenter Bees

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 | Maintaining a Home | No Comments

It’s spring time and carpenter bees are everywhere! I have seen a lot of damage to wood sided and log homes caused by carpenter bees. Unfortunately, once they start to inhabit your home, they will come back year after year to the place they were hatched. Then, the wood peckers come calling, looking to feed on bee larvae, and cause even more significant damage. So what is the best way to treat for them? My answer is prevention. There are additives like “Bug Juice” and NBS 30 Insect Repellant that can be added to your stain prior to staining your home.

But what do you do about a current infestation? You can call a licensed pest control operator, or, if only a small area is affected, you can try this little trick I learned from Vince Palmere of Perma Chink Systems: Spray WD40 in the hole until you fill the hole to point you see WD40 coming back out, fill the hole with a small rock or balled up aluminum foil (the approximate size of the hole) and caulk the hole. I have tried it and it works!

Another product that you can try is called BeeGone™ Insecticide. If you are not ready to re-stain yet, this product is designed to be sprayed as a stand alone product. It’s main draw-back is being water soluble, it is not long lasting and has to be re-applied as needed to reduce the bee population. Of course, if you have hard to reach areas, or, a lot of damage, you will want to get a professional pest control operator involved. Then, when you re-stain, use the proper insecticide additive for your stain. Check with your stain manufacturer for the proper insecticide additive to use with their stain.