Carbon Monoxide (CO) the Silent Killer
We have all heard about incidents with carbon monoxide (CO) in the local news. Many home inspectors are not familiar with the sources or the “acceptable” exposure levels. The sources are very straight forward, improperly vented combustion appliances and motor vehicles. Any home with combustion appliances; stoves, furnaces, water heaters, dryers, or an attached garage should have at least one CO detector.
So what are the acceptable levels? It depends on who you ask. OSHA says you can be exposed to 50 ppm as an average during an 8-hour workday. NIOSH says 35 ppm and has a 200 ppm ceiling (maximum) limit. The ACGIH says 25 ppm. But these are all workplace requirements.
In the home, the EPA is the one that sets the “recommended” limits. This limit is set at 9 ppm for occupants in a home. Other entities have the same 9 ppm limit; WHO and ASHRAE. There are studies that indicate that even low level exposures can have long term health effects especially if the occupants already have re-existing pulmonary (lung) or circulatory (heart) conditions.
At low level concentrations the symptoms are; fatigue in healthy people and chest pain in people with heart disease. At higher concentrations symptoms include impaired vision and coordination, headaches, dizziness, confusion, and nausea. Exposures can cause flu-like symptoms that clear up after leaving home.
Acute effects are due to the formation of carboxyhemoglobin in the blood, which inhibits oxygen intake. At moderate concentrations, angina, impaired vision, and reduced brain function may result. At higher concentrations, CO exposure can be fatal.
CO detectors do not function like smoke detectors. They have a certain concentration of CO that must be attained over a certain time period. One manufacturer for example has the following requirements for the alarm to sound (threshold):
|Parts Per Million
||Detector Response Time, Minutes
|30 +/- 3ppm
||No alarm within 30 days
|70 +/- 5ppm
|150 +/- 5ppm
|400 +/- 10ppm
CO detectors should be placed much like smoke detectors; bedrooms, hallways, one per floor minimum, etc. Consult manufacturer’s installation instructions for proper placement.
Courtesy of AHIT
The Great Unknown Danger About Unsafe Pool Drains
Pools and spas are designed for fun, however, Drowning is second only to car crashes as the leading cause of unintentionaldeath among children and adults. However, The dangers in and around pools go beyond the obvious, such as unsuspecting swimmers being entrapped by drains. Especially if pools’ drains are improperly maintained, or havefaulty covers. Hair, jewelry or limbs can get tangled in the drain, or bodyparts suctioned to it. The force of suction – hundreds of pounds per squareinch – is so powerful that the strongest adults can’t free the victim. Evengood swimmers can drown or suffer catastrophic injuries.
What are some of the ways to prevent pool’s accident?
- Make sure that the drain cover is in good condition with no broke gridsto the cover and make sure all the cover screws are in place and tight.
- Install the drain cover is a anti-vortex type cover, which is designed to distribute the intake water in the sides aswell as the top to lessen the pressure at any one given area in the cover. Beloware pictures of examples of an older drain cover and a newer anti-vortex type cover.
ADDITIONAL STEPS TO SAFERPOOLS.
1. Avoid dangerous drains watch for non-compliant, loose,missing or broken drain covers. If you spot one, don’t enter the pool or spaand notify the owner/operator immediately. Before swimming, tie up long hair securely orwear a swim cap to help prevent entanglement. Warn children to stay away fromdrains and other openings to avoid entrapment.
2. Teach swimming & lifesaving skills Knowing how toswim well is essential. Make sure yourchildren can swim, float, tread water and get in and out of the pool safely.Take classes in First Aid and CPR (for infants, children and adults) and have anemergency plan.
3. Install barriers as every pool needs an isolation fence surroundingit on all sides – four to five feet high. Gates should be self-latching andlocking. Keep spas and hot tubs coveredand locked when not in use.
4. Be vigilant and make sure an adult is watching children inthe pool or spa at all times. Don’t assume kids are OK just because they canswim. Use the Water Watchdog system to divide supervision responsibilities.Encourage children to exercise good water judgment and follow pool rules.
Courtesy of Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation
Your Home.. Typical Repair Cost
Inspectors do not perform repairs and we do not normally provide price estimates in our inspection reports, however, we have developed this list to serve as a guideline and to provide “ball park” estimates for common items. These costs are for a typical small to medium house in Southern California. Additional factors such as difficult access and location could increase cost substantially. It is highly recommended to get a signed bids by three or more qualified contractors whenever possible. Keep in mind that the lowest bid may not be the least expensive in the long term.
- Upgrade service to 125 amps $1,800 to $2,400.
- Install 120-volt outlet $175 to $275 each.
- Install 240-volt outlet $400 to $800 each.
- Install GFCI outlet $100 to $175 each.
- Correct reverse polarity $50 to $85 each.
- Add grounding to outlet $95 to $165 each.
- Install battery smoke detector $30 to $45 each.
HEATING / COOLING
- Install central A.C. system $4,800 to $8,500.
- Install new forced-air furnace $2,500 to $5,000.
- Replace A.C. compressor $1,400 to $2,700.
- Service A.C. system $150 to $450.
- Service furnace $150 to $500.
- Remove ducts with asbestos $1,900 to $2,800.
- Install new flexible ducting $2,500 to $3,500.
- Install new wall furnace $1,300 to $2,800.
- Replace condenser pump $400 to $700.
- Replace galvanized piping with copper $2,700 to $5,000 per floor.
- Install new waste piping to street $3,500 to $7,000.
- Reset toilet (excluding floor damage) $200 to $300.
- Install new toilet $350 to $450.
- Replace water heater $1100 to $1,900.
- Install pressure / temperature valve $200 to $450.
- Replace shower pan $1,200 to $1,900.
- Replace tile shower $1,500 to $4,000.
- Replace faucet $150 to $250.
- Painting $400 to $800 per room.
- Rebuild masonry fire box $900 to $2,000.
- Install prefabricated fireplace $3,500 to $7,000.
- Replace main entry door $700 to $10,000
- Major bathroom remodel $9,000 to $18,000.
- Major kitchen remodel $16,000 to $65,000.
- Refinish hardwood floors $3 to $5 per sq. ft.
- Buff hardwood and apply finish only $1 to $2.50 per sq. ft.
- Install Laminate wood floor $3 to $6 per sq. ft.
- Carpet covering $24 to 55 per yard.
- Tile covering $8 to $32 per sq. ft.
- Paint building exterior $3,500 to $7,000.
- Replace windows $400 to $750 each.
- Wooden deck $35 to $75 per sq. ft.
- Exterior wooden staircases $2,500 to $3,500 per story.
- Wooden fencing $25 to $45 per linear ft.
- Metal fencing $29 to 49$ per linear ft.
- Build detached garage $125 to $175 per sq. ft.
- Build addition $165 to $450 per sq. ft.
- Install anchor bolts $1,500 to $3,000.
- Install subarea shear paneling $2,000 to $4,000.
- Extensive seismic retrofit $5,000 to $10,000.
- Install cap on foundation wall $100 to $150 per ft.
- Replace low foundation wall $185 to $350+ per ft.
- Install footing under precast pier $300 to $600 each.
- Fiberglass batt 6-inch thick R-19 $1.25 to $2.45 per sq. ft.
- Fiberglass batt 9-inch thick R-30 $1.75 to $3.25 per sq. ft.
ROOFING & GUTTER
To install an area of 100 square feet (10 x 10):
- Composition shingles $200 to $400.
- Cap sheet built-up roofing $350 to $500.
- Gravel surfaced built-up roofing $395 to $500.
- Modified bitumen roofing $395 to $540.
- Tile $800 to $1,600+.
- Strip roofing & install new sheathing $95 to $135 per sq. ft.
- Install skylight $1,800 to $3,700
- Install new rain gutters and downspouts $8 to $13 per ft.
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Our Service Areas
Our Building Inspection coverage area includes the cities; Arcadia, Arleta, BellCanyon, Burbank, Calabasas, Canoga Park, Canyon Country, Chatsworth, Eagle Rock, Encino, Glassel Park, Glendale, Granada Hills, Hidden Hills, Highland Park, La Canda Flintridge, La Crescenta, Lake View Terrace, Mission Hills, Newhall, North Hills, North Hollywood, Northridge, Pacoima, Panorama City, Pasadena, Porter Ranch, Reseda, San Fernando, San Marino, Santa Clarita, Saugus, Sherman Oaks, Sierra Madre, South Pasadena, Studio City, Sunland, Sylmar, Tarzana, Toluca Lake, Tujunga, Universal City, Valencia, Valley Village, Van Nuys, West Hills, Winnetka, Woodland Hills, and extends beyond the San Fernando Valley and Simi Valley to provide home inspection services to the entire Los Angeles County and the Ventura County areas