Every effort has been made to evaluate the size of the service. Three wires going into the home indicate 240 volts. The total amperage can be difficult to determine. We highly recommend that ground fault circuit interrupters (G.F.C.I.) be connected to all outlets around water. This device automatically shuts the circuit off when it senses a current leak to ground. This device can be purchased in most hardware stores. G.F.C.I.'s are recommended by all outlets located near water, outside outlets, or garage outlets. Pool outlets should also be protected with a G.F.C.I.
If you do have G.F.C.I.'s, it is recommended that you test (and reset) them monthly. When you push the test button, the reset button should pop out, shutting off the circuit. If it doesn't, the breaker is not working properly. If you don't test them once a month, the breakers have a tendency to stick and may not protect you when needed.
Knob and tube wiring found in older homes should be checked by an electrician to insure that the wire cover is in good condition. Under no circumstances should this wire be covered with insulation. Recess light fixtures should have a baffle around them so that they are not covered with insulation. The newer recessed fixtures will shut off if they overheat. (no representation is made as to proper recess lighting fixtures). Federal Pacific Stab-Lok Electrical® panels may be unsafe. See www.google.com (Federal Pacific) Aluminum wiring in general lighting circuits has a history of overheating, with the potential of a fire. If this type of wiring exists, a licensed electrical contractor should examine the whole system.
In some areas arc faults are required for bedrooms in new homes starting in 2002. In some areas arc Faults are required for all 120 Volt circuits that are not GFCI protected in new homes starting in 2009. Upgrade as desired for enhanced safely.
A common problem that surfaces in many homes is reverse polarity. This is a potentially hazardous situation in which the hot and neutral wires of a circuit are reversed at the outlet, thereby allowing the appliance to incorrectly be connected. This is an inexpensive item to correct. Each receptacle has a brass and silver screw. The black wire should be wired to the brass screw and the white wire should go to the silver screw. When these wires are switched, this is called "Reverse polarity". Turning off the power and switching these wires will correct the problem. Main service wiring for housing is typically 240 volts. The minimum capacity for newer homes is 100 amps though many older homes still have 60 amp service. Larger homes or all electric homes will likely have a 200 amp service.
Main service wiring may be protected by one or more circuit breakers or fuses. While most areas allow up to six main turnoffs, expanding from these panels is generally not allowed.
Testing A/C System and Heat Pump- The circuit breakers to A/C should be on for a minimum of 24 hours and the outside temperature at least 60 degrees for the past 24 hours or an A/C system cannot be operated without possible damage to the compressor. Check the instructions in your A/C manual or on the outside compressor before starting up in the summer. Heat pump can only be tested in the mode it's running in. Outside temperature should be at least 65 for the past 24 hours to run in cooling mode. Temperature differential, between 14 -22 , is usually acceptable. If out of this range, have an HVAC contractor examine it. It is not always feasible to do a differential test due to high humidity, low outside temperature, etc.
A/C CONDENSER COIL
They should not become overgrown with foliage. Clearance requirements vary, but 2 feet on all sides should be considered minimal with up to 6 feet of air discharge desirable. If a clothes dryer vent is within five to ten feet, either relocate the vent or do not run when the A/C is running. The lint will quickly reduce the efficiency of the A/C unit.
Chimneys built of masonry will eventually need tuckpointing. A cracked chimney top that allows water and, carbonic acid to get behind the surface brick/stone will accelerate the deterioration. Moisture will also, deteriorate the clay flue liner. Periodic chimney cleaning will keep you apprised of the chimneys condition., The flashing around the chimney may need resealing and should be inspected every year or two. Fireplace, chimneys should be inspected and evaluated by a chimney professional before using. Chimneys must be, adequate height for proper drafting. Spark arrestors are recommended for a wood burning chimney, and, chimney caps for fossil fuels. Unlined Chimney - should be re-evaluated by a chimney technician. Have flue, cleaned and re-evaluated. The flue lining is covered with soot or, creosote and no representation can be, made as to the condition.
The flue was not evaluated due to inaccessibility such as roof pitch, cap, cleanout not accessible, etc.
Small, sloped structure made of metal and designed to drain moisture away from a chimney. Usually placed at the back of a chimney.
GUTTERS AND DOWNSPOUTS
This is an extremely important element in basement/crawlspace dampness control. Keep gutters clean and downspout extensions in place (4 or more). Paint the inside of galvanized gutters, which will extend the life. Shortly after a rain or thaw in winter, look for leaks at seams in the gutters. These can be recaulked before they cause damage to fascia or soffit boards. If no gutters exist, it is recommended that they be added.
Wood siding should not come in contact with the ground. The moisture will cause rotting to take place and can attract carpenter ants. See page 34 for siding that have known problems, but are not always recognizable. Brick and stone veneer must be monitored for loose or missing mortar. Some brick and stone are susceptible to spalling. This can be caused when moisture is trapped and a freeze/thaw situation occurs. There are products on the market that can be used to seal out the moisture. This holds true for brick and stone chimneys also. Metal siding will dent and scratch. Oxidation is a normal reaction in aluminum. There are good cleaners on the market and it is recommended that they be used occasionally. Metal siding can be painted.
This type of siding is a synthetic stucco and has experienced serious problems. It requires a certified EIFS inspector to determine condition.
DOORS AND WINDOWS
These can waste an enormous amount of energy. Maintain the caulking around the frames on the exterior.
Check for drafts in the winter and improve the worst offenders first. Windows that have leaky storm windows will usually have a lot of sweating. Likewise, well sealed storms that sweat indicate a leaky window. It is the tighter unit that will sweat (unless the home has excess humidity to begin with). Wood that exhibits blistering or peeling paint should be examined for possible moisture sources: roof leaks, bad gutters, interior moisture from baths or laundry or from a poorly vented crawl space. Some paint problems have no logical explanation, but many are a symptom of an underlying problem. A freshly painted house may mask these symptoms, but after you have lived in the home for a year or two, look for localized paint blistering (peeling). It may be a clue.
New glazing will last longer if the raw wood is treated with boiled linseed oil prior to glazing. It prevents the
wood from drawing the moisture out of the new glazing.
Many different types of caulk are available on the market today. Check with a paint or hardware store for the kind of application you need.