Search

Wait a minute, while we are rendering the calendar

The Critical Eye!

Michael Leavitt’s professional inspection related blog.
Since 1995, Master Inspector Michael Leavitt has continued to run the finest inspection firm in Northern Utah. Michael Loves to write and this business portion of his blog captures fun moments and informative topics geared towards educating and entertaining homeowners and other real estate professionals. Michael has consistently built his inspectio...n reputation by being extremely thorough in our inspection protocols. If you are looking for the finest inspection firm in Northern Utah, then confidently draw upon Michael’s experience and order your inspection today!!! More

Cabela’s Recall Furry Friend Flashlights - Beamerzzz

Cabela’s Recall Furry Friend Flashlights - Beamerzzz
Happy Valentine’s Day! On this romantic day it is a bummer for those home inspectors who are used to taking their cuddly stuffed animal friends in the crawlspace with them to both provide protection and light the way. I can think of fellow home inspectors Jim Maass in South Carolina, Mike Campbell in Montana, and Jeff Herboldshimer in Northern California who are all going to be heartbroken. You see, Jim can successfully shoot anything that moves, Mike loves the remote freedoms of Montana living, and Jeff just loves new gadgets. But all three have a fondness for furry stuffed animals, and have since their youth. So how could Cabela’s be so cruel as to sell them trusted stuffed animal friends and then have them recalled immediately without wa...
Continue reading
  4293 Hits
  0 Comments
4293 Hits
0 Comments

My House is SCREAMING at Me!!!

My House is SCREAMING at Me!!!
Houses can’t talk, or can they? I know that on the surface it sounds crazy, but I want to share from the perspective of a house whisperer like myself, houses are screaming for help. This is especially true in the wintertime when the snow has fallen, melted, and fallen again. About every 3 to 5 years we have one of those prime house yelling winters here in Orem, Utah, and this happens to be one of those years. Let me show you a house that is yelling loudly...   The house is mad that its light pink was painted drab grey light green. It decided to open up the flashing joint from the chimney above and allow rain and snow melt to run down through the roof and soffit areas until it could finally strip off some of the paint and expose the ori...
Continue reading
  2539 Hits
  0 Comments
2539 Hits
0 Comments

Electrical Panels - Why Are Home Inspectors So Picky!

Electrical Panels - Why Are Home Inspectors So Picky!
Fellow Home Inspector Scott Neimann from Bay City, Oregon shared a great photo and asked, “Is this an acceptable method of installing the service conductors? IF not... what are the potential issues?” As Home Inspectors, the issues found behind the electrical panel covers are usually some of the most important finds during our inspections. Many of the agents and sellers complain about the findings, but we all have to understand that electrical issues cause fires and electrocutions; neither of which is desirable for new home buyers and their loved ones. CASTING JUDGEMENT - There is no way to avoid seeing the craftsmanship, or lack thereof, of the installer once we remove the cover of the main panel and subpanels. Electrical panel workmanship ...
Continue reading
  5239 Hits
  0 Comments
5239 Hits
0 Comments

Baffle ‘em With Brilliance - The Turbo Entabulator

Baffle ‘em With Brilliance - The Turbo Entabulator
My good inspector friend, Jeff Herboldshimer, from the Yuba City, California area shared with me a great video that makes me think about the way many inspectors treat their home inspection reports and clients. Instead of speaking simply and directly, there seems to be a widespread use of inspectorspeak attempting to “Baffle ‘em With Brilliance.” You know, look smart by using phrases that nobody understands. Check out this video that describes the function of a Turbo Entabulator... You may recognize the item as a transmission. Here is the verbiage that helps to explain the video and how it came about... Many years ago Rockwell International decided to get into the heavy duty automatic transmission business. They were getting ready to tape th...
Continue reading
  3251 Hits
  0 Comments
3251 Hits
0 Comments

Tamper Resistant Outlets

Tamper Resistant Outlets
Tamper Resistant Receptacle outlets are now the norm on new construction in Utah, but most homeowners have no clue about these new receptacles. You would think that in the baby birthing capitol of America that there would be more awareness, but I guess it is up to us Home Inspectors to help spread the awareness. TAMPER RESISTANT RECEPTACLES - These outlets are designed so that if a child attempts to stick a screwdriver, fork, or other sharp metal item into just one side of an outlet, that entry is prevented and electrocution is avoided. Mothers should be the most aware of these new outlets since they are the most safety conscious in the household and worried Mothers have been the primary purchasers of plastic caps and shuttered safety wall ...
Continue reading
  10650 Hits
  0 Comments
10650 Hits
0 Comments

Feds Remove 90% Furnace Mandate... Yeah!!!

Feds Remove 90% Furnace Mandate... Yeah!!!
Photo Courtesy of Ken Salvo - ASHI -  New Jersey   There was a big courtroom battle between the Department of Energy (DOE) and the American Public Gas Association (APGA) that has resulted in the backing off of a requirement that was set to greatly impact the majority of American homeowners regarding residential heating furnaces. Starting in May 2013 all installed residential furnaces in the northern states were going to have to be 90% or higher models. But now that mandate has gone by the wayside, we get to keep the lesser 80% or greater mandate in place. Let me repeat, you will NOT be forced to upgrade to a 90% efficient furnace when you lesser model fails. The affected states are: Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, ...
Continue reading
  3248 Hits
  0 Comments
3248 Hits
0 Comments

NEC 2011 - Retrofitting GFCI’s on 2-wire systems.

NEC 2011 - Retrofitting GFCI’s on 2-wire systems.
The following is the 2011 National Electrical Code section relating to grounding receptacles, and retrofitting GFCI’s on a 2 wire circuit. I am posting this due to a question from a fellow inspector. I will add comments below the code citation after some further discussion... Enjoy the read! Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah - www.TheHomeInspector.com  
  2860 Hits
  0 Comments
2860 Hits
0 Comments

Firewalls - I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means!

Firewalls - I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means!
It’s a great (frigid) day here in Orem, Utah! I have a long-time inspector friend, Ken Ives, from Sacramento, California, that has always given me a hard time when I referred to a water heater as a hot water heater. Kind of like fingernails scraping on a chalkboard, this has always been Ken’s pet peeve. For years I regularly made him squint when he read my messages referring to hot water heaters. and he pounced on me every time I did until I finally purged “hot water heater” from my vocabulary. Well I have a similar pet peeve, and it deals with home inspectors referring to the walls in residential garages as “Firewalls”. Is the wall in a home’s garage really a firewall? As home inspectors we need to write with exactness and be able to back ...
Continue reading
  11393 Hits
  0 Comments
11393 Hits
0 Comments

Plagiarism - Inspector Steals My Website Content

Plagiarism - Inspector Steals My Website Content
They say that to copy somebody is the greatest form of flattery, but to steal intellectual property and claim it as one’s own is wrong, wrong, wrong. I understand accidents and overlooked crediting of information, but I find it hard to be kind to a fellow home inspector who literally copied and pasted one of my specialty information webpages and has been using it as his own, without my permission, for probably over a decade. OFFENDER - Tom Horning - Uniontown, Ohio - ASHI Member - http://www.detectivehomes.us - or his web designer. The buck stops with Tom Horning since his name is on the site. DISCOVERED - I performed a simple Google search this morning, 1/15/2013, for “Michael Leavitt FHA” and I was very surprised to see the following retu...
Continue reading
  3177 Hits
  0 Comments
3177 Hits
0 Comments

NEWSFLASH! - Frozen Pipes - Take Action Now!

NEWSFLASH! - Frozen Pipes - Take Action Now!

Homeowners, Inspectors, Real Estate Professionals, Friends & Family:

I need to alert you to take immediate action if you are living in Northern Utah. I came into the kitchen of our Orem, Utah home about an hour ago and the water was off at the kitchen sink. Did I pay my bill? I checked the meter and it was on. I then went to my neighbor Marvin’s house and his front hose faucet turned on so I knew it wasn’t a widespread outage. I then returned home and all of my faucets and fixtures inside the house were off. The front hose bib would not turn so I knew we had issues.

Let’s face it, it’s cold here in Northern Utah and our pipes are prone to freezing. The thermometer said minus 1 this morning and I think it has warmed up to about 8 degrees now and we might make it to 10-15 degrees later this afternoon. The point is, no matter how new or old your home, please go open one faucet and allow it to drip slowly until we warm up to near freezing again.

Continue reading
  2918 Hits
  0 Comments
2918 Hits
0 Comments

30 Foot Snowman Terrorizes Orem, Utah

30 Foot Snowman Terrorizes Orem, Utah
I couldn't believe it when I heard the news of a 30 foot snowman somewhere in Orem, Utah. Thanks for the head’s up from Mike Campbell in Bozeman, Montana when he emailed and said he read about it in his local newspaper. We just had to go see if it was true. Bigger than Big Foot and yet smaller than King Kong, this over-sized BYU fan snowman was quite impressive. Deemed the 849th wonder of the world, we were truly awed by the site, creativity, and amazement at how they got the second and third layers up into position. Michael Leavitt - www.TheHomeInspector.com What is your greatest snowman memory? PLEASE LEAVE YOUR THOUGHTS AND FEEBACK BELOW
  3525 Hits
  0 Comments
3525 Hits
0 Comments

Sparks in the Microwave

Sparks in the Microwave

Michael LeavittHave you ever turned on your microwave and sparks started to fly? It is then that you realize that there was some type of foil in whatever you were trying to cook. So you remove the foil portion of the item and voila, everything is normal. So what happens when you check the item and there is no foil or metallic item? That is what happened to fellow home inspector, Victor Sparks (Yes, that really is his name), from Sacramento, California.

Victor shared,

“Shortly after turning the microwave on today at my inspection I noticed a small electrical storm going on inside.

Continue reading
  2552 Hits
  0 Comments
2552 Hits
0 Comments

Social Networking - The Business Perspective

Social Networking - The Business Perspective
I took the time to format some electrical bonding information here on my blogging website and then I invited some fellow inspectors to visit the page and click the “Thumbs Up” like button at the bottom and share it on their social networks if they did indeed found the information beneficial. I received back the following response... Michael, Don't get your feelings hurt if some of us don't want to spend every waking moment on the Social network sites. Everyone has their own idea about how to handle these things, and there are other resources' out there - NAME REMOVED FOR PRIVACY I then took the time to write my thoughts. At first I had to deal with what could have been veiled sentiments by the home inspector, but then I took the time to sha...
Continue reading
  2252 Hits
  0 Comments
2252 Hits
0 Comments

To Bond Or Not To Bond....

To Bond Or Not To Bond....
To bond or not to bond, that is the question? I must tell you that I become foggy on the issue every few years and I have to go back and refresh my memory banks. I was glad when Geoff Stewart from Lincoln City, Oregon shared the image above with the green wire and then asked his fellow inspector friends at the American Institute of Inspectors, “I found a #10 stranded wire from the electrical panel grounding bus bar to the incoming propane tank pipe. The main house ground was a good UFER so why would this be done?  The panel itself was wired by a Master Electrician. In fact, it was really gorgeous, so it makes me wonder if this is wrong or right?” As usual, Geoff has asked an important question that troubles most home inspectors at...
Continue reading
  4894 Hits
  0 Comments
4894 Hits
0 Comments

Deck Ledger Connections - Simpson SSD’s

Deck Ledger Connections - Simpson SSD’s
As a home inspector I have become quite aware of deck failures over the years and look at their inspection as a high priority when they are attached to the homes I inspect. The International Residential Code seems to be very clear that the attaching point to the home requires 1/2” bolts or lag bolts with washers. Anything less is supposed to be unacceptable, this includes the use of just nails only. This is to help prevent injuries and death from collapse. On the surface this seems like a very simple item to look for. About 2.5 years ago I started to see a new kind of bolt that was smaller and was being used with no washer at alland I started running around like Chicken Little until my phone call to the engineers at the manufacturer was ret...
Continue reading
  2425 Hits
  0 Comments
2425 Hits
0 Comments

Circuit Analyzers - Which Should I Buy?

Circuit Analyzers - Which Should I Buy?
Testing electrical outlets is very important. The selection of testing tools is vital to making accurate assessments. Knowing what your testing device is telling you is also critical as you convey your findings to your clients. So what tester should you use. What if somebody was purchasing a tester for you, which one would you choose? Longtime inspector from Hawaii, Michael Stewart asked: Aloha all,  Are there any opinions out there on which circuit analyzer performs best in our line of work, the Ideal Suretest or the Amprobe INSP-3?Online reviews seem to favor the Amprobe but I seem to recall the Suretest as being the one to have from some you out there.My bride is purchasing the one I want as a late Christmas gift and I sure want to ...
Continue reading
  6215 Hits
  0 Comments
6215 Hits
0 Comments

CPSC RECALL - LG Washing Machines Recalled

CPSC RECALL - LG Washing Machines Recalled
457,000 LG washing machines sold between February 2010 and November 2011 are now subject to a recall spearheaded by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. So check out the recall information at http://www.thehomeinspector.com/Clients/CPSC/121812_LG_Washer.html for more details and pictures of the affected LG and Kenmore units. These products were sold at Best Buy, Home Depot, Kmart, and Sears stores. The information shows how to locate and read the identification sticker to determine if your unit is part of the recall. Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah - www.TheHomeInspector.com
  2032 Hits
  0 Comments
2032 Hits
0 Comments

Electrical Fire - Self-extinguished inside panel

Electrical Fire - Self-extinguished inside panel
A 2012 Christmas night fire displaced Sioux City, Iowa family. I get notified of electrical fires regularly and am always intrigued by the reporting. Unfortunately there are rarely any credible follow-up stories with details as to the findings, so we are left to imagine what actually caused the fire to happened. Here is the story... Electrical fire leaves Sioux City family without power Dec 25, 2012 8:45 PM MST * By Jacqueline Quynh SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) A Sioux City family was without power Tuesday night after a fire broke out in their home's basement. Five people were inside when it happened around 8 p.m., but none were hurt. According to a fire official at the scene, when the fire broke out residents inside smelled smoke and had some p...
Continue reading
  1708 Hits
  0 Comments
1708 Hits
0 Comments

USB Charging Receptacles

USB Charging Receptacles
If I had a Christmas wish beyond peace on earth, then it just might be to install these new USB charging duplex receptacles throughout my home, my city, Utah, and throughout the world. We took a trip back to Cape Cod a few weeks ago and we encountered them in some of the airport terminals. Legal?... Absolutely! Did they catch me by surprise, you betcha! They are supposed to run about $35, but I know that price is going to drop once they become commonplace. Here are some of the details. FEATURES - From Cooper Industries)     Standard AC duplex receptacle with two USB charging ports rated at 2.1A     Dual USB charging ports charge most compatible electronic devices that charge via a 5V charger adapter   ...
Continue reading
  1951 Hits
  0 Comments
1951 Hits
0 Comments

CPSC - Window Hardware Recall

CPSC - Window Hardware Recall
The Consumer product Safety Commission has announced the recall regarding a specific window manufacturer's hardware. I doubt many of us will see this particular window, but I want everyone to understand the risk so that they can be more aware of the risks of their surroundings. In this case the window opens inward and this creates a fall hazard zone. Some residential windows operate this way, but this is more common in commercial building applications. This means openable windows in the workplace, office buildings, and shopping areas. My sharing this warning is not meant to be like “Chicken Little”, but meant to enhance your awareness of risks around you. Check out this link to the actual recall... WINDOW HARDWARE RECALL PAGE And for more i...
Continue reading
  1555 Hits
  0 Comments
1555 Hits
0 Comments

MLC Newsflash - CPSC Energizer Nightlight Recall

MLC Newsflash - CPSC Energizer Nightlight Recall
Target shoppers beware... The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issues a recall for Energizer brand nightlights sold exclusively at Target stores between January 2010 and January 2011. Please visit my website at  http://www.thehomeinspector.com/Clients/CPSC/82212_Energizer_Nightlight.html to see a video I created for the recall as well as the information and pictures that will help you identify if you have an affected unit. WHAT'S THE DANGER? The units are prone to overheating and smoking and when the client unplugs them they can be burned by the overheating units. But logically, what comes after overheating and smoking? FIRE!!! None have been reported yet, but that is the next logical progression if the units are continued...
Continue reading
  1522 Hits
  0 Comments
1522 Hits
0 Comments
Facebook
TIPS - Michael Leavitt
Twitter - Michael Leavitt
YouTube - Michael Leavitt
Google+ Linked In - Michael Leavitt Blog - Michael Leavitt
Zillow - Michael Leavitt
             
Zillow - Michael Leavitt