Category Archives: Home Evaluations

A Visit To The Crawl Space

By | Fixing things, Home Evaluations, Indoor Air Quality, Problem Solving, Understanding your home, Water Awareness | No Comments

Nobody really wants to admit that they have one especially if you haven’t been down there for a while or ever. I just bought a new to me 1988 home and what I found told a story. Fortunately, I had a prepurchase inspection and so there was not much shocking to deal with. As a teaching tool, here is what I found and what I did not find. What I Found I knew that there had been a substantial flood. 30K worth and so there was a nice new Visqueen on top of the old stuff which I thought was…

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New Great Use For A Home Inspection

By | Home Evaluations, Understanding your home | No Comments

As I visited with a client that had lived in their home for 20+years. and wants to live out their lives in the same place. As I walked around looking at the overflowing shopping list of to-do’s, it dawned on me. Rather than me telling them what needed to be done, that a third party would be a better way to express what needed to be done. Sure I can remodel the bathrooms and eliminate some bedroom skylights but for the subjective things IMHO it is not my place to say. Who is Best  Suited to Give Advice? As trustworthy…

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How Energy Efficient is Your Home

By | Energy, Environmental Awareness, Green Remodeling, Historic District Homes, Home Evaluations, HVAC | No Comments

For the past 110 years, we have been in a rush to make sure the hurdle of the new housing stock is built safer, stronger, and more energy efficient than the last code cycle because people dying in tragic collapses and fires is not a good thing, nor is wasting our limited natural resources on poor quality construction techniques. The insurance industry started the trend by suggesting building codes to address huge losses. The codes were adopted by building industry and all of the sub-trades and updated every few years like clockwork over the years. The same cyclic process done…

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Your Home’s Thermal Envelope

By | Home Evaluations, HVAC, Indoor Air Quality, Insulation, Understanding your home | 2 Comments

No, it has nothing to do with insulated packaging. It does, however, involve thinking differently about energy efficiency and reducing air infiltration into our living spaces. I recently had an in service at a heating company by a nice young man who really knows his stuff. He talked about and displayed a blower door machine. What an amazing tool. When deployed by a qualified technician, it can detect several problems and help to expose problems that can lead to poor home energy efficiency. If your home is not a “slab on grade” type construction, there is a space below the…

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Mislabeled Electrical Panel

By | Aged Home Upgrades, Electrical, Home Evaluations, Understanding your home | 2 Comments

I realized this issue after a friend called. He had just purchased a remodeled home, and was concerned that his electrical panel was mislabeled. This turns out to be a fairly common problem. What happens is that over the years, our electrical needs change and or problems occur, and an electrician is called to either upgrade or replace a faulty breaker. The electrical paned is opened up and the circuit breakers a rearranged to fit better. Unfortunately, the step that is frequently skipped is relabeling the panel correctly. Years ago, we had half of the gadgets that we have now….

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Where is My Heat Going?

By | Green Remodeling, Home Evaluations, HVAC, Insulation, Understanding your home, Weatherization | 2 Comments

For years now I have noticed an interesting phenomenon that I am not sure anyone else notices. It has to do with recognizing roof patterns in the winter. This is clear evidence that heat is escaping through your roof. Head down the block and check out your roof and compare it to your neighbors place. Of course there are a myriad of issues that could be contributing to the results you find, but this is a telling sign. If your roof is the bare one when others have snow or frost, despite having a similar pitch, you could be losing…

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Remodeling and Your Senses

By | Historic District Homes, Home Evaluations, Moisture Protection, Understanding your home | 4 Comments

Let’s first outline the subject matter. I recently published a similar blog on foundation moisture to review the senses and how they can be used to ferret out what is wrong. In this post I am exploring how I use my senses in a broader way. I work like a Crime Scene Investigator or CSI when it comes to remodeling. It gets easier with time but it requires concentration and some reflection when it is all done. The standard 5 senses work just fine for most things, however it is the 6th that often solidifies the course for my recommendations….

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Engineering 101

By | Architecture & Design, Concrete, Home Evaluations, Problem Solving, Process, Understanding your home | One Comment

We, ” Levco” just encountered another situation where the handy man would not be a good fit. Did you ever get the feeling that the (fill in the blank) just didn’t feel strong enough to hold a few folks in the same place. Weird feeling, trust your gut. I recall seeing a video of a post accident reconstruction. A newly constructed balcony had fallen off the second story of a home and killed a few people. I have seen several poorly supported structures in my day but nothing quite like this one. To be truthful a guy could argue that…

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Foundation Moisture Protection

By | Home Evaluations, Moisture Protection, Understanding your home | No Comments

Much of what we do at Levco here in Boise Idaho, seems to be dealing with moisture in foundation walls. Weather we are dealing with a remodeling project and active problem, doing preventative measures, or just inspecting foundations that have telltale signs of moisture penetration, there are several signs and symptoms of water being a culprit.Essentially you need to use several of your senses. Smell, a musty odor often a clue to water behind a wall. Touch, a flaky powdery feeling mineral build up called effervescence. Moisture passes through the foundation slowly and deposits minerals on the inside of the…

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