• Upper Marlboro, MD 20774
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Customer FAQ

How many of you write up the lack of an identifiable address on the properties you inspect?
In a new condo the return air grill was removed and I saw a fair amount of over spray on the AC coils. To me it seems this will affect the transfer of heat thus reducing the efficiency of the unit. I called for further evaluation. Is this really a reportable condition?
How many people are inspecting swamp coolers? If so, what are the main things to look for? How many are disclaiming them?
Does anyone know if a drip pan is required on attic mounted FAU’s with an air conditioning evaporator?
I know a disconnect must be in sight of the equipment and within 50 feet but can a ladder be required to reach an air conditioner compressor disconnect on a roof?
A couple of times recently I’ve run into a horizontal furnace with A/C condenser coils, where there are two female drain openings at the A/C unit. One drain opening is used to service the normal condensate drain line, while the other opening is left open. Both times there was a properly installed drip pan under the unit with a separate drain line. On one of these occasions, during cooling operation, water was dripping out of the unused opening - meaning that the drip pan was always in use. I called this out in my report. On the latest occasion, while the unit was running in heating mode, hot air was blowing out of the unused opening. My question — should the second opening be plugged?
What is the minimum size for a condensate drain line?
Could the disconnecting switch for the air conditioning compressor be one breaker in the main electrical panel box? The panel box was less than 3 feet from the compressor.
Seller has bypassed the meter to run the A/C unit. Wires are run through the panel and have over heated. How do I report it?
I came across a condenser located in an exterior closet/alcove. The room was approximately 8x4x8. I am unsure about this location and am concerned about whether it will have proper air circulation.
Is it OK to for the AC refrigerant lines to be buried in the soil?
How does one calculate or determine the tonnage of an AC unit?
How do I know whether an AC unit is the right size for a particular home?
I am aware that A/C units in attic are required to have a secondary condensate line, but are they also required to have a drip pan beneath to prevent potential ceiling damage?
In an new construction home recently inspected the homeowner reported that when the central A/C unit is operating, air blows from the bathroom sink drain. The heater and coil are located in the attic. What’s up with that?
What is the technical consequence of wiring an A/C disconnect backwards? The conductors from the main panel were tied into the load side of the disconnect and the conductors to the A/C compressor on the line side.
The house I inspected had a dual pack HVAC under a deck open on three sides but had less than 22" from the HVAC exhaust vent to the wood deck. Is there any concern about the A/C unit?
Is an electric float cutoff switch required on attic air conditioner drip pans? Most new houses have them, though occasionally there is only a condensate drain line installed.
Are anti-tip brackets required for ranges in California? Where would one find such information? My code books don’t mention such a thing?
What is the minimum distance a built in microwave can be from above the range top? I thought there was a recognized minimum distance but cannot find it.
What is the typical useful life of gas space heaters and which parts usually wear out first?
Although it is not permitted to have a gas water heater located in a bathroom, are there restrictions regarding a gas clothes dryer or other gas appliance in a bathroom?
Do gas clothes dryer inside the garage have to be raised 18" from the floor?
Does anyone call out the lack of anti-tip brackets on free-standing cooktop/ovens?
Can a dishwasher be installed without a waste disposer?
I was questioned about a call I made about no ventilation in a laundry “closet.” The laundry equipment was located in a closet at the end of a family room. The doors were not louvered and there was no exhaust fan or window in the closet. Common sense tells me that ventilation is needed, but I can’t find anything in writing requiring it. Does anyone know if there is an applicable code?
Is there a way to tell if a metal exhaust hood is energized or wired correctly?
I have a question for someone who knows the “whys” for disconnect requirements. I know things like furnaces, air conditioning condensers, garage door openers, and portable spas require a service disconnect at the unit for the safety of personnel servicing or repairing the unit. Why don’t electric cooktops, electric ovens, and electric water heaters require service disconnects? They are 220 volt loads drawing more current than, say a garage door opener or a gas furnace. This general question grew from a discussion about whether or not a service disconnect is required for a window type air conditioner that is no longer portable because it is permanently installed in an opening in the wall and has no visible wiring. We wrote it up for having no disconnect to be on the conservative side, but I’m not sure one is really required. Comments?
The clothes dryer was connected with the usual plastic flex vent, but then went to a smaller diameter plastic vent pipe which went underground and came up outside about three from the house, ending with a U shaped elbow to keep rain out. Is this OK?
Are there any simple suggestions to help remember to turn off any appliance or system that I tested during an inspection so that I don’t leave the property in a potentially damaging or dangerous situation?
What is the recommended length of clothes dryer vent lines? How far is too long?
Does anyone out there remove the dryer vent caps while inspecting roofs? Many are plugged with lint. Recently I reported plugged dryer vents. The lint had pushed through the roof flashing. On one house the owner had just replaced his dryer because the original had burned up.
Hot water heaters in garages have to be raised 18" off floor, why wouldn’t gas dryers in garages fall into this category?
Am I right in saying that a minimum two-inch clearance is required between wood and masonry? When I inspect the attics a lot of the time I am seeing wood in contact with the bricks.
Am I right in saying that a min. 2-inch clearance is required between wood and masonry. Often, when I inspect the attics I see wood in contact with the bricks.
What is the best and most careful way to inspect an attic with blown-in insulation — how far should I go?
Asbestos was obviously present in an attic I was about to inspect — should I go near it?
I inspected a small house built in 1950 with a toilet-only bath (in addition to a full bath). This “quarter bath” had no sink for washing after using the toilet. This situation doesn’t seem right to me but I can’t find an answer in the UBC or the UPC ... any help?
Does it matter which way a hinged shower door opens?
Is plastic flexible (dryer connector type) duct acceptable for bath exhaust fans?
It is my understanding that a bathroom without a tub or shower is not required to have a window or extractor fan. If the toilet is in a separate room off the bathroom, where should a fan be installed if there is no window in the room with the toilet? In a half-bath (toilet and sink), is a fan required?
Because most drop ceiling panels are so flimsy I usually don’t remove them to avoid damage but on occasion something compels me to look and every time I do I am amazed at what I find. I guess I’ll have to start looking at all of them. How many of you move the panels to look at the lighting?
What should I look for when inspecting a ceiling fan?
The ceiling fan was only 6'4" from the floor to the blades. Is there any written requirement for this situation?
I’m puzzled. Why do we refer to the 2000 IRC when CA (to my understanding) is not going to adopt it? Will someone please correct me if I am wrong!
Any suggestions for a comprehensive list of applicable codes for California on CD ROM?
Later this year I plan to start performing commercial inspections. Does anyone have a source of information for this type of inspection?
What is the descriptive difference between a “deck” and a “balcony?”
I have encountered a couple of homes with sliding glass doors both to a concrete patio and to a wood deck. The single exterior wood steps attached to the house are 8 1/2 to about 9 1/2 inches below the floor level. The metal threshold adds to this height measurement. In reading 97 UBC Sec.1003.3.1.6 and .7 I am confused. These are not landings, only steps (in both cases), and big steps. Please help.
The structure is a water-proof deck. The floor framing is truss joists. Can these engineered wood products be installed exposed to the exterior environment like this? I felt like they should have been soffited but I am not sure.
If a balcony functions as a decorative feature to the house in the front of a window (not a door) should we still recommend upgrading the wide-open balusters?
What does the code say regarding decks being built on new homes with no stairs for egress? Are the front door and the basement door considered sufficient egress?
I am about to inspect my first dome house. Is there anything special I should look for?
I have been asked to perform a home inspection on what the real estate agent describes as a “geodesic” home…any advice?
Is it OK to have exterior facing hinges on exterior doors? Seems like the pins could be removed and allow the door to be easily removed.
Should double keyed locks on exiting doors be reported?
It was recently reported that effective April 1, 2002, that the County of Los Angeles is requiring seismic valves. Does anyone have information to support this?
Sometimes a GFCI receptacle will be installed on a circuit that already has GFCI protection. When you test the GFCI, the other device might the one that trips. Is having one GFCI fed from another GFCI a defect or just a nuisance?
Twice this week I have inspected a house with old cloth wiring and fuses. I would like to know how others comment on these? Do you just recommend an electrical contractor because of the system being outdated?
I see where gas piping is not allowed to be a grounding electrode, yet it is required to be bonded. How can you “bond” it to the system and not have it also act as a grounding electrode?
Where would I find information regarding the inspection of an electrical system that contains 3 phase wiring, and determine the adequacy of service size to add a 3 phase appliance to an existing system.
I found eleven open boxes in the garage for plugs. The wires were made up and folded in the boxes, and the Romex was in the panel box looped inside for future use. Would you have an electrician install outlets and breakers or cover the boxes with blank covers? There were 3 new circuits and one 220 circuit with no breakers and room in the panel box. How would you write this up?
I have been finding a number of arc fault breakers in new houses. They often control the bedroom circuits. The last house I checked had three, one for each bedroom. One of the circuits did not work at all, even when reset. What’s up with these things?
Looking in the basement of a 1913 house, I came across a subpanel that looks like it has been there forever -- very old, with 6 circuits protected by screw-in, plug fuses. Each circuit had two fuses, one in each leg, for a total of 12 fuses. The subpanel controlled basement circuits. Curious with this setup, and thinking that this must have been some type of redundancy in protection that they did in olden times, I unplugged the fuses protecting the grounded legs. Nothing happened. Removing those fuses had no effect on the circuits. Removing the “hot” side fuses did shut down the circuits. Why was something like this was done… is this something they used to do back then?
What code states that GFCI outlets are adequate for ungrounded outlets on the load side?
Does the ground wire coming out of a panel box require a cable clamp or bushing? Many do not have them and there is essentially a hole in the panel with only the ground wire coming out of it. Should there be a connector as with other wire for both security and fire safety? Should this be called out?
Does anyone know if there is a minimum required height for installing outlets in a basement (finished versus unfinished)?
I run into coated or ‘tinned’ copper wires quite often, where the core of the conductor is copper with a thin alloy coating of some sort on the outside. What is the coating and why is it there? Are there any problems with this wire other than it’s usually of the cloth wrapped type?
Is anything wrong with stranded wire for use with twelve-gauge wire?
Is there a minimum height requirement (18 inches) above the garage floor for receptacles? I call them out as a possible ignition source and a safety concern, but I have not been able to locate any documentation to support my concerns.
In a kitchen area are two separate countertop circuits required?
I inspected a 4-unit apartment complex built in 1972, which had a main service panel with main breakers and meters for each unit. Within each unit was a sub panel. Each subpanel had the ground and neutral wires connected on the same bus. I noted the condition and recommended further evaluation and repair by a licensed electrician. Subsequently, the electrician called saying that this was OK when the house was built. Could anyone out there help me out with the year that splitting of the ground and neutral was required at sub panels?
What is the proper way to connect an aluminum sub feed cable to copper lugs in a panel?
Should I test for false or bootleg ground on GFCIs?

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