Rochester NY Home Inspector Finds a Hole In a Furnace Heat Exchanger

Watch this video to see what a hole in a furnace heat exchanger looks like.

If you or someone you know is in need of a Rochester NY Home Inspector then contact us at (585) 654-7294 or visit our website at

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Rochester NY Home Inspector finds a failing garage floor and a flooded garage basement

This video was taken from an actual home inspection showing a deteriorated garage floor and flooded basement below the garage.

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Question: Should I Have PEX Plumbing Supply Lines Installed In My New Home?

PEX; short for cross-linked polyethylene has developed into an affordable product of preference for a number of general contractors and plumbers. It has been used in the USA since 1980?s for a lot of installations which include basic plumbing and hydronic floor heating systems.
PEX will never be freeze resistant, but is undoubtedly unlikely to burst especially during unusually cold temperature compared to almost every other type of plumbing. Because of overall flexibility PEX is often installed with a number of configurations as well as having a manifold and plumbing with a continuous home run for the cold and hot lines to each appliance. With this type of application there aren’t any plumbing connectors present to develop into water leaks inside crawl spaces, inside of walls or under cement slabs.
PEX can even be installed by using couplings which can be attached with specific fittings. It can be used as the main service line from your road but it really should be protected inside a sleeve where it is going through your foundation structure directly into the house.
PEX is typically offered in most plumbing sizes and in addition to that you will be able to purchase it color coded; red for your hot lines and blue for any of the cold water lines. It has many positive attributes however, there are a few facts that you should know regarding installation.
You should not install it in direct sunlight and you also really need to carefully consider thermal expansion which will be noticeable as sagging between hangers requiring the installation of more hangers.
There are not many build-it-yourself individuals working with PEX because it needs some specific tools when it comes to installation, but it’s starting to be very well liked in remodels as well as improvements of existing homes.
As a professional home inspector in Rochester NY we have not discovered many issues concerning this particular product. We have been discovering a large amount of home owners having excellent results and would probably recommend it to everybody building a brand-new home.

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The Rochester NY Home Inspector on Tankless Water Heaters – efficient but not necessarily economical
Heating water accounts for up to 30 percent of the average home’s energy budget. Some makers of gas-fired tankless water heaters claim their products can cut your energy costs up to half over regular storage heaters.

So is it time to switch? Probably not.

Gas tankless water heaters, which use high-powered burners to quickly heat water as it runs through a heat exchanger, were 22 percent more energy efficient on average than the gas-fired storage-tank models in our tests. That translates into a savings of about $70 to $80 per year, based on 2008 national energy costs. But because they cost much more than storage water heaters, it can take up to 22 years to break even — longer than the 20-year life of many models. Moreover, our online poll of 1,200 readers revealed wide variations in installation costs, energy savings, and satisfaction.

With the help of an outside lab, we pitted Takagi and Noritz gas-fired tankless water heaters against three storage water heaters. We didn’t test electric tankless heaters because many can’t deliver hot water fast enough to replace a conventional water heater if ground-water is cold. Even in areas with warm groundwater, most homeowners would need to upgrade their electrical service to power a whole-house tankless model.

Our tests simulated daily use of 76 to 78 gallons of hot water. That’s the equivalent of taking three showers, washing one laun-dry load, running the dishwasher once (six cycles), and turning on the faucet nine times, for a total of 19 draws. While that’s considered heavy use compared with the standard Department of Energy test, we think it more accurately represents an average family’s habits. We also ran more than 45,000 gallons of very hard water through a tanked model and a Rinnai tankless model to simulate about 11 years of regular use.

Here’s what else we found:

Water runs hot and cold. Manufacturers of tankless water heaters are fond of touting their products’ ability to provide an endless amount of hot water. But inconsistent water temperatures were a common complaint among our poll respondents. When you turn on the faucet, tankless models feed in some cold water to gauge how big a temperature rise is needed. If there’s cool water lingering in your pipes, you’ll receive a momentary “cold-water sandwich” between the old and new hot water. And a tankless water heater’s burner might not ignite when you try to get just a trickle of hot water for, say, shaving.

Nor do tankless water heaters deliver hot water instantaneously. It takes time to heat the water to the target temperature, and just like storage water heaters, any cold water in the pipes needs to be pushed out. And tankless models’ electric controls mean you’ll also lose hot water during a power outage.

Up-front costs are high. The tankless water heaters we tested cost $800 to $1,150, compared with $300 to $480 for the regular storage-tank types. Tankless models need electrical outlets for their fan and electronics, upgraded gas pipes, and a new ventilation system. That can bring average installation costs to $1,200, compared with $300 for storage-tank models.

Tankless units might need more care. During our long-term testing, an indicator on the tankless model warned of scale buildup. We paid $334 for special valves and a plumber to flush out the water heater with vinegar. Many industry pros recommend that tankless models be serviced once a year by a qualified technician. Calcium buildup can decrease efficiency, restrict water flow, and damage tankless models. Experts suggest installing a water softener if your water hardness is above 11 grains per gallon. Ignoring this advice can shorten your warranty.

Efficient storage models are pricey. We also tested the $1,400 Vertex, a high-efficiency storage water heater by A.O. Smith. The manufacturer claims its installation costs are similar to a regular storage model. But its high cost offsets much of the roughly $70 per year the Vertex will save you.

Instead, we recommend buying a conventional storage water heater with a 9- or 12-year warranty. In previous tests, we found that those models generally had thicker insulation, bigger burners or larger heating elements, and better corrosion-fighting metal rods called anodes.

How to choose? Tankless models probably aren’t for you if higher up-front costs and long payback are a concern. But they do use less energy and might make sense for long but infrequent use, such as back-to-back showers.

Keep these points in mind:

Factor in location. Unlike a regular water heater, a tankless model’s water output is immediately affected by groundwater temperatures. The same model that produces 7.2 gallons per minute (GPM) when installed in a warm Florida garage will output only 4.2 GPM in a cold New England basement because the colder water requires the temperature to be raised 77 degrees rather than 44. Use your coldest groundwater temperature to calculate the gallons per minute you’ll need.

Know your flow. Undersizing a tank-less water heater is a common mistake. Use our online calculator, at How to size a water heater, to help you calculate your hot-water use for both tanked and tankless water heaters.

Get the details right. Look for an oxygen-depletion sensor that shuts off the water heater if carbon monoxide is detected and a film wrap around the heat exchanger that will shut off the device if it gets too hot. Since tankless models are still relatively uncommon, consider using manufacturer trained installers. Some companies extend the warranty if you do.

Look for rebates or incentives. Many tankless models qualify for utility rebates and state tax credits. Check the Database of State Incentives for Renewable & Efficiency at

Reprinted from Consumer Reports October 2008 (published version includes a cost chart showing payback period)

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Rochester NY Home Inspector advises on Protection from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, toxic gas. Because it is impossible to see, smell or taste CO, it can be deadly before you even know it is in your home.

At lower levels of exposure, CO causes symptoms that can be mistaken for flu, such as nausea, headaches and dizziness. At higher levels, the effects can be fatal.

Follow these steps to reduce exposure to CO in your home:

Keep gas appliances properly adjusted.
Install and use an exhaust fan vented to the outdoors over gas stoves.
Open flues when the fireplace is in use.
Do not leave a car engine running in the garage.
Hire a trained professional to inspect, clean and tune-up the heating system.
Use properly sized wood stoves certified to meet EPA standards.
Purchase at least one CO alarm for your home.
For more information, go to
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Q: What does The Rochester NY Inspector look for when inspecting the attic?

Rochester Home Inspection

Inadequate insulation means that 10 to 50 percent of energy is lost through walls, ceilings and floors. Proper insulation helps lower energy bills by resisting heat movement through the barrier.

The first place to look for missing insulation is in the attic. Attics, in general, are fairly accessible, but in many homes, even newer homes, insulation is inadequate. As part of a general home inspection, a National Property Inspections professional will examine the type of insulation present and its approximate thickness or “R-value.”

The inspector will also examine (if the attic is accessible) the attic interior, including: roofing, framing, sheathing, insulation, ventilation and chimneys. The inspector will note any concerns or issues and make recommendations when necessary.

For more information or to locate an inspector in your area, visit:
Rochester Home Inspection

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Rochester NY Inspector Says “Do some research before replacing your carpeting”

Whether you’re in need of new carpeting or you’re just looking to update the look of your home, buying new carpet requires research. Here are some things to consider before you make your carpet selection.

Wool carpet offers a broader range of details, colors and designs than a traditional tufted carpet. It has good stain resistance and has flame retardant characteristics.

Nylon is comparable to wool, but on average costs less. It comes in a variety of styles and construction and has excellent soil resistance.

Oleyfin/Polypropylene is water and stain resistant, which makes it a good choice for indoor/outdoor carpeting.

Polyester is ideal for playrooms and bedrooms because it is soil resistant and easy to care for.

Different carpet piles offer different characteristics and purposes, so take this into consideration when making your selection.

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How to Prepare Your Rochester NY House for an Extended Vacation

Winter is a popular time for people who live in colder climates such as Rochester NY to take extended vacations. Before you leave your home for a majority of the winter, make sure you follow these tips to ensure a proper shut-down:

Secure anything that may contain water, including drain traps, piping, the water heater, dishwashers and clothes washers.
Fill drain traps and toilets with specialized antifreeze to keep sewer gas from entering your home and to prevent freeze damage.
Turn off the washing machine supply lines, and remove and drain them. To clear water from the washing machine pump, run the washer on the fill part of its cycle, set to warm water.
Remove the inlet hose for the dishwasher and open the supply valve after you have turned off the water supply to the house. Operate the dishwasher to clear the valve; remove the drain hose.
Unplug all electrical appliances to prevent any damage from power surges or lightning strikes.
Keep the heat turned on, at a low setting to avoid the risk of structural damage to your home.

Contact a qualified service technician if you don’t feel comfortable performing these tasks on your own.

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Q: What does an inspector look for when evaluating the plumbing system?

The plumbing in your home is an essential yet often overlooked system that provides clean water and proper collection and transportation of waste water. Due to the complexity of these systems, it is important to have them inspected for potential problems before you buy a home.

A National Property Inspections professional will provide a visual inspection of any bathtubs, showers, pipes, toilets, sinks, etc. The inspector will look over the visible piping for evidence of leaks or malfunction, such as staining, mildew or odors.

The inspector will turn on and off the faucets and check for signs of leakage or drain issues. Additionally, they will look for missing caulking and any visible drainage problems. The inspector will note if problems are identified and recommend repairs.

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The Eco Friendly Bathroom

Are you making plans to redesign your bathroom or do you just want to expand your “green” living plans?

Here are some ways to upgrade your bathroom space by bringing eco-friendly elements in.

Consider recycled glass, ceramic or porcelain products for an updated counter top or tiles for walls.
Efficient ventilation can help to create a healthier bathroom. Look for the Energy Star when selecting new windows or ventilation systems.
Look for safer, greener alternatives for paint and caulking with low or no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s).
Newer toilet models could save nearly 4 gallons per flush (GPF) compared to older models. Dual-flush toilets save even more by allowing you to select the amount of water needed for each flush.
If replacing cabinets, consider sustainably harvested woods bound with resins free of VOC’s.
Design your bathroom for longevity, which will equate to less maintenance and fewer repairs.

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