Residential Forced-Air Ducted Heating and Cooling

Something Old

I’ve been doing a lot of studying about Indoor Environment Comfort (IEC) and HVAC systems. For those that don’t know, the acronym stands for Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning. I’m hoping my learning experience will help others. Bare with me as this will be a multi-part blog. There is so much information, and history, a single blog post would be TLDR.

First, some facts and a bit of history.

If you live in the United States, there’s a 70% chance your home is being heated by a forced-air, ducted furnace. Today’s heating systems are based on ideas and designs that date back hundreds, if not thousands of years. Forced-air ducted heating has been around since about 1935, It has long been the ‘go-to’ system for most residential HVAC contractors. Continue Reading

LED Light and Potential Impact on Energy Savings

LED Light and Potential Impact on Energy Savings

LED Lights

Most of us take for granted the ability to flip a switch and illuminate a room. What you may not realize is that electricity is a secondary form of energy. It’s produced in large part (67%) by steam turbines, driven by steam-producing boilers burning fossil fuels. Fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, petroleum) are non-renewable fuels that result in upwards of 78% of our world’s air pollutants.

In the past few decades, humanity has searched for better, safer and renewable energy sources to supplant our dependence on fossil fuels. And, while there have been significant improvements and discoveries with respect to renewable energy sources, we are still sorely dependent on fossil fuels to make sure the light turns on when we flip that switch. Being both a consumer of electricity and a human with choices, I believe it is my responsibility to reduce my ecological footprint.   Continue Reading

The Underlying Dynamic of the Home Inspection: Liability Hand-off from Client to Inspector and Back Again.

Home Inspection Hand off

Many buyers and even some realtors don’t understand the true nature of a properly performed home inspection. When a home buyer has an offer accepted on a property and engages the services of a home inspector (hopefully after doing extensive research and comparing inspector backgrounds, inspection reports, online reviews, etc.) they are placing a significant burden upon that home inspector. That burden or expectation is that the inspector will find all significant defects in the subject property and report upon them in a clear and useful manner. What the home buyer may not understand, however, is that upon completion of the inspection report the inspector is handing that burden back to the homebuyer. In other words, by ferreting out the conditions and defects in the property and providing the buyer with a clearly worded report, the inspector gives the liability back to the homeowner to read the report, call back with any questions, and follow up on recommendations contained within the report.
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Zen and the Art of Home Inspecting: Pursuing Non-Attachment

Now, I’m not a card-carrying Buddhist but I’ve read a bit about that wisdom tradition and I admire its practitioners. I am though a card-carrying home inspector and have been one for about 20 years. Over those two decades, I’ve noticed that some of the principles of the Dharma (Buddha’s teachings) can be applied to the process of inspecting homes. One of those principles, non-attachment, means that one should not attach oneself to outcomes, to fame, to fortune, to pleasure, etc. lest this lead to Dukkha (usually translated as suffering or dissatisfaction).
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Risk Reversal in Real Estate Inspections: Putting the Responsibility Back on the Seller

moisture intrusion

So you found the perfect home and your offer has been accepted. Congratulations…..now it’s crunch time. In the typical Chicago real estate transaction you, as the buyer, have 5 days during which your attorney will review your contract and your inspector will evaluate the condition of the property. In a competitive and active market, you don’t have much time to waste. You’ve gotten referrals from your realtor, closing attorney, lender, Yelp, Angie’s List, neighbors, friends and co-workers, and you’ve found just the inspector for the job….you hope.  You set the appointment and the inspector sends you the Inspection Agreement. Reading through the agreement, or contract for services, you may be struck by the apparently one-sided nature of the risk placement…it’s all on you!

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Introducing Our “Kick-the-tires” Home Inspection

Saving Home-buyers Time and Money

Business and marketing experts tell us to find the “pain points” in our client’s experiences and to find ways of solving those problems. One such issue we’ve noted over our two decades of inspecting homes has been the unfortunate need for clients to have multiple home inspections performed. Occasionally, we’ll end up doing three or even four inspections for our clients before they find a house that is in acceptable condition and which meets their needs.   Continue Reading

What “Professionalism” Sometimes Means in the Real Estate Game

quote-professionalism-is-a-frame-of-mind-not-a-paycheck-cecil-castle-292453

To My Realtor Friends Who May Read This,

Please accept my preemptive apologies for some off the cuff, unvarnished notes rants from the field. I know quite a few agents who bring tremendous value to their clients and who have the best interests of those clients in the forefront. We love working with those kind of agents on a collaborative basis and we cherish those relationships. Having said that, I’d like to talk about yesterday’s 2 unit ‘vintage’ apartment building inspection. Continue Reading