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Recipe for a Deliciously Safe Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year when kitchens are humming! We just love the sights (and smells!) Thanksgiving brings.

With the kitchen seeing an increased amount of action, we also want to ensure our appliances are up-to-speed and have been properly inspected for the season’s heavy use.

In general, home inspections include built-in kitchen appliances such as wall ovens, ranges, surface cooktops, range hood, built-in microwaves, dishwashers, compactors and waste disposals. When checking these appliances, home inspectors will answer two main questions:

  1. Does the appliance operate as it should?
  2. Are there apparent defects in the function of the appliance?

So let’s take a closer at a couple of key appliances pertaining to the holidays to ensure you’re ready for a safe and happy gathering.

Stoves, Cooktops and Wall Ovens

First, a fun fact… did you know the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) requires a house to have a range, wall oven or cooktop? In short, the following info applies to every homeowner.

Kitchens can be equipped with one of the following: an electric or gas range (a freestanding oven and cooktop in one appliance); a wall oven (a single or double appliance installed in a cabinet); or a cooktop (4-6 electric or gas burners mounted on a kitchen countertop).

A home inspector will first check for visual defects of the appliance to determine its safe operation. The visual check includes:

  • Looking inside the oven for damage to the heating elements
  • Ensuring there is no damage to burners
  • Making sure there are no damaged or missing control knobs and controls
  • Checking to see whether the wall oven and cooktop are properly secured to their cabinet or countertop
  • Ensuring the oven door operates properly
  • Looking at the condition of visible electrical and gas connections
  • Checking to see whether the range has an anti-tip bracket installed
  • Ensuring the glass in the oven door is not cracked or broken
  • Making sure there is no damage to the seal around the oven door
  • Ensuring the range is visibly level

Once the home inspector has completed the visual check, they will then verify that the appliance works for normal daily operation. This includes operating the oven in bake and broil modes as well as turning the burners onto high.

  • For electric ovens, the inspector will run the oven broiler and bake elements to ensure they properly heat using a thermal temperature gauge
  • For electrical cooktops, the inspector will also operate all burner elements to make sure they properly heat using a thermal temperature gauge

In much the same manner as the cooktop, ranges and ovens, inspectors will also inspect built-in microwaves, convection ovens and exhaust fans. The inspector will first perform a visual check followed by an inspection to ensure proper and safe operation.

Dishwasher

The not-so-glamorous part about holiday gatherings, of course, is the clean-up… a process made slightly better with a properly functioning dishwasher. “Properly functioning” is key, as a leaky dishwasher can cause water damage, mold and attract critters.

Home inspections do include checking the dishwasher’s overall condition and operation. When checking a dishwasher, a home inspector will inspect:

  • For any evidence of water leaks or damage to the floor and cabinet around the dishwasher
  • The condition of the drain hose and the connection to the plumbing drain under the sink
  • The condition of the water supply line to the dishwasher including a functional shut-off valve
  • That the dishwasher is securely installed in the cabinet
  • Proper operation of the door without binding or scraping to the countertop or the cabinet as well as that the seal is in good condition
  • The internal condition of the dishwasher including checking for rust, drain build-up or other damage inside the dishwasher
  • Operation of the dishwasher, including checking that the appliance fills up, operates a washing cycle and drains properly

Related to the dishwasher, a home inspector will also check sinks and food waste disposals. A home inspector will operate the disposal to check for obstructions, run the water to test for leaks, check electrical connections as well as the plumbing fittings.

Once your stove, oven and dishwasher are inspected and up-to-speed, you can take on the holidays full-force with a new peace of mind. (Sorry, we can’t do anything to help the relationship with the in-laws.)

Call KC Inspections Inc. today at 352-538-5796 or visit KCInspectionsFL.com to schedule your home inspection.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Don’t get Spooked by Hidden Damage

KC Inspections - Thermal Imaging

The scariest home damage – and, of course, the easiest to ignore – is the damage you can’t see.

But hidden damage can lead to huge problems if left untreated. Moisture in ceilings and walls, leaky plumbing, rot behind EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems) and stucco, wood-destroying insects, electrical issues, roof leaks, structural defects and energy inefficiencies are just some of the issues that may be lurking behind the scenes.

The good news, there’s a way to help identify potential problem areas and address them before the damage worsens using thermal imaging.

Thermal imaging is a method of using infrared radiation and thermal energy to gather information about objects in order to formulate images of them. Even in low visibility environments, thermal imaging works in the absence of any light. Which is why KC Inspections uses thermal imaging to effectively discover potential problems in your home.

Here are just some of the issues for which KC Inspections uses thermal imaging:

Moisture Detection in Walls and Ceilings

Thermal imaging can help identify thermal anomalies which could indicate water damage in walls, floors and ceilings. The technology does so by detecting the difference in temperature between a wet area and the surrounding dry areas – discovering moisture issues that would not be visible during a basic home inspection.

Leaky Plumbing

Water leaks from plumbing systems often go unnoticed until major damage has occurred. KC Inspections uses thermal imaging to scan in, under, and around plumbing figures to determine whether there are any active leaks. Since thermal imaging is not a moisture meter – the technology instead discovers temperature anomalies which then leads to further investigation of the source and cause of the leak.

Rot behind EIFS and Stucco

Thermal imaging enables our inspectors to perform EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems) and stucco moisture intrusion inspections. Again, thermal imaging is able to discover anomalies along the stucco or EIFS wall which could indicate extensive moisture damage. Using the technology, our inspectors are able to better locate trouble areas and determine the extent of the area that requires repair.

Wood-Destroying Insects

Wood-destroying insects, such as termites, generate heat during an active infestation. Therefore, KC Inspections can use thermal imaging to identify critters that may not be visible to the naked eye.

Electrical Issues

KC Inspections uses thermal imaging to discover hot spots caused by defects in electrical connections and components. The technology finds areas of excess heat (caused by increased resistance) so that problems can be corrected before a component fails leading to safety hazards and worse-case scenario, starting a fire. Because increased temperatures is a sign of failure, infrared technology is one of the best diagnostic tools available for finding hot connections in the early stages.

Roof Leaks

Before having a new roof installed, KC Inspections could save you a bundle by using thermal imaging to assist in pinpointing the precise location of a roof leak. It may be the case that a new roof can be postponed and a repair can be done instead.

Energy Loss

Thermal imaging is an effective tool to determining your home’s energy inefficiencies. Our inspectors use this technology to help homeowners save money on their ever-rising power bill by assessing AC/heat loss and cold/hot air influx and identifying areas with inadequate insulation.

This Halloween, don’t get spooked by hidden ghouls and ghosts hiding in your home. Contact KC Inspections today at admin@kcefl.com for a free quote and to schedule your thermal imaging inspection.

‘Tis the Season of Storms… and Savings

It’s that special time of year, when homeowners often flaunt their seasonal decor. You know, the fancy wooden window coverings – sometimes embellished with a little spray paint art. And don’t forget the beach-themed yard ornaments in the form of sandbags.

In the midst of the decorating frenzy and excitement of the season [read: anxiety over an impending storm], many homeowners often forget about the biggest area that needs protection… the roof!

No, we’re not suggesting you board your roof. Especially not when getting a wind mitigation inspection is much more effective.

Your roof is the first line of defense against wind and water intrusion. It’s a no-brainer to have it inspected, if for no other reason than to ensure you quite literally keep a roof over your head.

But wait, there’s more! Wind mitigation inspections may provide you significant savings on your homeowners’ insurance. KC Enterprises Florida recently saved one homeowner more than $1,000 on their insurance premium with a wind mitigation inspection costing only $110!

A wind mitigation inspection is the ONLY inspection that can significantly reduce the cost of your insurance policy. That’s because this inspection helps determine whether your home has features that drastically decrease severe property loss from storm winds. If your roof is sound – and you haven’t had a wind mitigation inspection – you’re probably paying too much for your homeowners’ insurance coverage.

Forget waiting for annual Black Friday deals, and enjoy these savings year-round.

So, what in the world is a wind mitigation inspection and how do you cash in on this deal?

In short, a wind mitigation inspection looks at seven key areas of your home to check wind-resistant features, and ultimately helps determine your home’s ability to withstand strong winds.

During a wind mitigation inspection, KC Enterprises adheres to requirements put forth by the insurance industry, and considers the following seven indicators of your home’s ability to withstand strong winds.

 

Wind Mitigation Inspection Checklist

  1. Building code: Was your home built in compliance with the Florida Building Code 2001 or later, or South Florida Building Code 94?
  2. Roof covering: What type of roof covering does your home have? That is, what material is your roof made of: asphalt/fiberglass shingle; concrete/clay tile; metal; built up; membrane; or other.
  3. Roof-deck attachment: How well is your roof deck secured to the truss/rafter and what is the strength of the attachment?
  4. Roof-to-wall attachment: How well is your roof attached to the walls of your home? There are five primary types of connections: (A) toenails, (B) clips, (C) single wraps, (D) double wraps, and (E) anchor bolt. 
  5. Roof geometry: What is the shape of your roof? Hip roof, flat roof or other? This has a big impact on how well your roof withstands winds.
  6. Secondary water resistance: Does your home have a self-adhering protective layer under the primary roof coverings (like shingles)?
  7. Opening protection: Does your home have “glazed openings” (i.e. openings with windows or glass) and “non-glazed openings” (e.g. solid entry or garage doors) and are these items impact-rated or protected with impact-rated coverings?

As you can see from the list, some wind mitigation components can be added (such as shutters, truss straps) while others – like the shape of your roof  – are harder to change.

 

Cash-In on the Savings

The following components are generally considered the “safest” for most homes:

  1. Roofing materials and installation that meet Florida building codes.
  2. A roof-deck attachment with plywood/OSB sheathing with a minimum thickness of 7/16 an inch attached to the truss by 8d nails spaced 6 inches apart.
  3. A roof-wall attachment that uses double wraps (metal connectors that are attached to the wall frame and wrap over the top of the truss).
  4. A hip roof (a roof where the ends and side incline).
  5. Secondary water resistance under the roof covering and over the sheathing.
  6. Impact-resistant coverings verified for cyclic pressure and large missiles (9 pounds for windows / doors and 4.5 pounds for skylights) over all glass openings, doors and non-impact rated items. 

After the inspection is complete, our inspectors will offer suggestions that could improve the sustainability of your property. You’ll likely receive the most savings if you take our inspectors’ suggestions, which will also add to the value of your home. You can make changes to your property or simply submit your wind mitigation report to your homeowners’ insurance agent.

Then, get ready to save! Wind mitigation inspections in Florida are valid for five years. Put another way, you pay for the inspection, but it saves you money on your home insurance premium EVERY year for five years.

One note of caution… a wind mitigation inspection is NOT an inspection of the overall structure of your home and does NOT determine the condition of your home. If you’re interested in knowing the overall condition of your home, we suggest also doing a full home inspection.

While a wind mitigation inspection won’t eliminate your storm decorating, it may just make the process a little more enjoyable with your newfound peace of mind and savings.

To schedule your wind mitigation inspection today, click here or email us at admin@kcefl.com. Have additional questions? Feel free to call KC Enterprises Florida at 352.538.5796.