Category Archives: Safe Practices

window winter

How cold is it?

By | Basements, Safe Practices | No Comments

Its so cold I saw a dog stuck to a tree. Just kidding, but it did freeze a vinyl window shut. Egress windows are giving a false sense of security if they don’t open when they need to. To say the least it has been a hell of a winter. I am exhausted and frustrated with it. One of my residents just informed me that it took an hour with a hair dryer to thaw the darn thing. He used WD-40 to lube it up and we will see if it works. Heed this warning Check your egress windows for…

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dryer vent

Dryer not working well solution

By | Appliances, Safe Practices, Understanding your home | No Comments

I got a concerned call the other day from an old friend about a dryer problem. The first indication of the problem was prolonged drying times. There was the suspicion that when the new roof was installed that the roofer had neglected to reattach a vent to the outside and just had covered up the exhaust. (Roofers always get the blame). These build ups happen slowly and could cause an owner to suspect the dryer is at fault. Upon inspecting the place where the exhaust vent entered the wall lots of moist lint existed and that had everyone concerned and…

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9 Volt Battery Safety Alert

By | Green Remodeling, Safe Practices, Understanding your home | 2 Comments

I saw a heartfelt plea from a gentleman on the internet that had a 9 volt battery cause a serious house fire. Part of his concern is that he felt very responsible because he was ignorant of the danger and asked that I pass this information along. I’m doing my duty to pass on the warning. The story is that when he changed out his smoke detector batteries once a year at daylight savings, just like the fire department recommends, he put the old ones in a bag and left them in the garage on a shelf. Later he inadvertently…

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I Just Found Mold in my Home

By | Moisture Protection, Problem Solving, Safe Practices, Understanding your home, Water Awareness | No Comments

Mold, also know as Fungus, has become a huge issue in homes as of late, with concerns coming from the medical as well as the insurance communities. Many misconceptions are floating around, which that have caused panic and hysteria. Usually a trained sense of smell is all that is required to locate a problem, and visible signs all that you need to confirm the diagnosis. The spores can cause a respiratory irritation, and if a preexisting sensitivity or respiratory illness exists, it can exacerbate that problem. But all mold  is not bad, although I often refer to it as the…

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Thermocouple with a button?

By | Appliances, Safe Practices, Understanding your home | 66 Comments

This situation caught me off guard. I was presented with a thermocouple from an AO Smith, sealed combustion chamber water heater. The symptoms included that the water heater would go off for no reason. Eventually he couldn’t even get the pilot lit. With careful inspection, you could see it had a little button in line. I had never seen one before, but this is what what I learned. What is a thermocouple for anyway? Thermocouples are used in gas appliances that use a standing pilot. That means that there is a small gas flame on all the time.  Without the…

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What is Asbestos

By | Deconstruction, Insulation, Safe Practices, The Law, Trust, Understanding your home | 2 Comments

Asbestos is a mined substance commonly found in all sorts of building materials.  In the meantime it was used since the days of the ancient Greeks for its many fire resistant and its ability to be used as cloth. It has gone in and out of vogue. There had been suspicion about asbestos and health problems. It was not clinically associated with serious medical problems until the late 1920’s, when workers in the mines began to fall ill with lung disease, cancer and death at a young age, that asbestos became a known health hazard. Here in Boise Levco brings…

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Smoke Detectors & CO Detectors

By | Architecture & Design, Plans, Process, Safe Practices, The Law, Understanding your home | One Comment

The new 2009 IRC mandates wired together smoke detectors and Carbon Monoxide detectors be placed at the entry of each bedroom. This means that if one detector alarms then all of them alarm. When remodeling, there is a mandate to upgrade homes when a permit is pulled. Thankfully there are times when it would be a hardship and/or too complicated or expensive to retrofit the entire home. In some cases battery operated devices are still allowed. Essentially, If there is a crawl space below or an attic above then you are able to go ahead and upgrade without too much…

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Building Code Updates

By | Electrical, Framing, HVAC, Plans, Plumbing, Process, Safe Practices, The Law, Understanding your home | One Comment

As of January 1st 2011 Boise City along with all of the other jurisdictions that adopt building codes, followed the states lead and adopted parts of the 2009 IRC international Residential Building Code. The last code was the 2006 IRC which was implemented in the same year. Plumbers use their own code 2003 UPC and electricians use their own code 2008 UEC, there are fire codes, mechanical codes, and energy codes to navigate as well. Thankfully the inspectors in this city are fantastic. As long as it is clear that they are not the enemy, they do a great job…

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