Archive for July, 2011


More often than not, when I check water temperatures during a home inspection, the temperature is set too high.  If you own the home it’s easy to get ‘used’ to a setting and you compensate. However a visitor that isn’t familiar with your home may get a surprise.  It’s not uncommon for me to find temperatures in excess of 140 degrees… that’s just TOO hot!  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urges all users to lower their water heaters to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.  In addition to preventing accidents, this decrease in temperature will conserve energy and save money.

If you have a standalone water heater there is usually a dial on it where you can set the temperature, or if it’s not marked clearly, at least adjust it until the water is the right temp.  Here in Pennsylvania, boilers are common and with a Summer/Winter hookup, domestic water runs through a coil in the boiler and will always be too hot unless a tempering valve is installed.  About half of the homes I inspect have working tempering valves.

You can use a candy or cooking thermometer to check your water heater temperature. Go to the faucet nearest the water heater. Run the hot water for one full minute (this will heat the water pipes and give you a more accurate reading ). Fill a coffee cup from the faucet and read the thermometer.

This easy to do tip can save someone from getting burned.  Ask your Inspector to check this for you.

Helpful Links.

Water Heater Repair Guide.

U.S. Department of Energy.

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

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Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Decisions to move, relocate or upgrade are being put off in this current economy.  Starter homes are becoming permanent homes.  Many are choosing to renovate, adding that room or upgrading others, but where should your priorities be?

Often overlooked are Air Conditioning units or roofs.  Even the Water Heater (some call it a Hot Water Heater others a Cold Water Heater), which is relatively inexpensive unless it fails, often get put off until it’s too late.  So… when you are budgeting for renovations you need to prioritize.

Home Inspections are not just for Buyers or Sellers, they are appropriate for those that are choosing to stay at home.  For less than the cost of a new water heater you can have a full Home Inspection, assess the condition of your whole home, and make choices on what needs to be done BEFORE the loan money is spent and you can’t get more!

Inspections can reveal moisture issues, mold, leaks, age and life expectancy of major components, and a host of other potential problems.  Sure a new kitchen will look nice, but if you have moisture issues that are affecting your foundation then the better choice is to fix what you have.  On the other hand, finding out everything is fine or in good condition can make moving ahead with a renovation the right call.

Wouldn’t a little piece of mind be nice?  Get your home inspected!

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