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MICHAEL'S NEWSFLASHES & MEMORIES!!!

Capturing the events and memories that make up our lives!

BlowholeCave - Rabbit Traps, Flaming Torches & Navajo Blankets

BlowholeCave - Rabbit Traps, Flaming Torches & Navajo Blankets
What a great experience it was to lead a group of excited new cavers through Northern Utah'’ Blowhole Cave.5 of the members of our group had never been in a wild cave before and they were excited with the prospect of heading subterranean. As a group of Boy Scouts, you can’t just say, “Hey let’s go explore a cave next Saturday that includes a vertical 80 ft. rappel into the earth.” The BSA has wise put into place special restrictions and guidelines to ensure that only experienced participants take on these great risks. I was contacted by this local Varsity Team a few months back with their goal of being able to cave and we started the training wheels in motion. They already had done canyoneering which included lots of bouldering, climbing an...
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Aaron's 16th Bday - Our Youngest is Dating

Aaron's 16th Bday - Our Youngest is Dating
Yes, to day is the day that our youngest child officially became older enough to date. We have a family rule that there is no dating before 16 and then only in group dates until at least 18. It has been a good family policy with our older three kids, and tonight Jessica, Adam, and Haily all decided to group date with Aaron to get him started on the right track. Aaron asked Vanessa Kirkby to be his first date, and she gladly accepted. She is a little bit older, which is good because our family policy also means that you can't date anybody younger than 16.  So for a little while many of Aaron's friends will be off limits until they too become of age. I was fortunate because I was able to head over to the Riverwoods and take pictures of t...
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Meth Discovered - 74-year-old suffers symptoms

Meth Discovered - 74-year-old suffers symptoms
  While researching meth contamination news stories online, I came upon this article and video about a 74 year old woman who discovered that her home had elevated levels of meth contamination. She had lived in the 100 year old apartment for a couple of years and saw a great decrease in her quality of life, so her daughter did a self-test for meth. The results were very low, but above the State of Utah regulated levels so they got the Health Department involved. More testing was performed and it was confirmed that elevated levels were present. Typically, these levels have no affect upon the majority of mankind, but the most susceptible are the very young, the elderly, and those with respiratory illness. Once again though, very low level...
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PHOTO CHALLENGE - Deck Ledger - Brick Veneer

PHOTO CHALLENGE - Deck Ledger - Brick Veneer
As home inspectors we get to see installations that most people don’t even notice as being wrong. While researching images on the internet I found a specialty website dealing with front porches and this photo was prominently displayed. How many things can be wrong?... Let me count the ways!!! INSPECTOR CHALLENGE - Take a look at the photo and list the items that you see wrong. If you see anything done right, then you might want to list those as well, but that list should be short. LINK TO WEBPAGE HOSTING THE PHOTO PHOTO CREDIT: Front-Porch-Ideas-And-More.com What issues do you see?
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FROZEN PIPES - The Deep Freeze Is On!!!

FROZEN PIPES - The Deep Freeze Is On!!!
It was 3 degrees outside when my son Aaron came into my home office this morning and said, “Hey Dad, when I turn the shower water on, nothing happens.” There are few things that bring more fear to my soul than the thought of frozen pipes. “How could I have been so stupid?” I told myself again. Why is it that I did not give any thought to protecting myself this year from pipe freeze ups? It was a few years back when our laundry room froze up and as I got the water to flow again I realized there was a ruptured pipe and we had major flooding until I could dig out the water meter shut off cover and get the water shut off at the meter. Few things are worse than winter time flooding. Everything is freezing cold and the conditions are absolutely t...
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Meth Contamination Makes 3 Girls Dizzy

Meth Contamination Makes 3 Girls Dizzy
One of the best things I ever learned in my earliest of schools days was that A+B does not automatically equal C. You would think that I would be all for any news story and video that helps promote meth contamination testing, but I do not. I love it when the reporting is fair and on target, but when it misses the mark and spreads unfounded fear, then it is bad for everybody. I am left to wonder if meth contamination was the actual cause of the long term dizziness suffered by three Western Washington University students who fled their 100 plus year old near college rental home when very low levels of meth contamination was discovered... Meth found in Washington home after renters felt dizzy Updated 6:51 pm, Friday, December 6, 2013 BELL...
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CPSC RECALL - Crown Boiler Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

CPSC RECALL - Crown Boiler Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
The following is cast iron water boiler recall. In my area I have never seen a Crown Boiler, but this recall is a safety hazard that gets added to the list. The majority of homeowners here in Northern Utah have forced air gas fired furnaces and not radiant heat boiler systems. QUESTION: What is the risk associated with this recall? ANSWER: Carbon monoxide poisoning. QUESTION: What should you do if you have one of these boilers? ANSWER: Consumers with recalled boilers should immediately contact the installer or distributor from whom they purchased the boiler or Crown Boiler to schedule a free in-home repair. Consumers who continue using the boilers while awaiting repair, should have a working carbon monoxide alarm installed outside of sleepi...
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Moisture Meters - An Inspector’s Lifesaver

Moisture Meters - An Inspector’s Lifesaver
When I was trained as a home inspector back in the mid-1990’s it was common to be told to not take pictures (film cameras) for fear of missing something displayed in the background of a shot, and never to use a moisture meter. Both of these concepts are flawed, as modern tools help home inspectors do a better job. Yes we still have our minimal Standards of Practice which help establish realistic expectations, but if I can find an otherwise concealed issue or do a better job of documenting an issue, then I greatly lessen my liability because I have better protected my client. Fellow home inspector Reuben Saltzman from St. Louis Park, Minnesota shared in his blog... Home Inspectors Shouldn’t be Nail Biters While having lunch during a recent a...
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Certainteed Fiber Cement Siding Litigation

Certainteed Fiber Cement Siding Litigation
This morning, after I posted the class action settlement on the Trex decking mold and color fade issue, my good friend and fellow home inspector, Darryl Piatt, from Coos Bay, Oregon, responded with information on yet another settlement from another brand. Darryl wrote... Michael, I posted information some time back on the Certainteed Fiber Cement class action settlement. I just noticed that you are blogging about the plastic lumber Trex suit so thought you might be interested so I thought you might be interested in the link... http://www.certainteedfibercementsettlement.com/hc/en-us Darryl Piatt - Coos bay, Oregon I just love it when friends, family, and fellow home inspectors share informational links and stories with me because it helps m...
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TREX - Mold & Color Fade Settlement

TREX - Mold & Color Fade Settlement
Have you heard the news? There has been a settlement to the Trex decking mold and color fading class action lawsuit. Now don’t mistake this for the prior settlement almost a decade ago dealing with deterioration. This latest settlement deals with color inconistencies and staining only. IMPORTANT DATES PRIOR ROT, SPLINTER SETTLEMENT FOR PRODUCT SOLD PRIOR TO: July 31, 2004CURRENT SETTLEMENT FOR PRODUCTS SOLD BETWEEN: Aug. 1, 2004 and Aug. 19, 2013 This one may have slipped by your radar, as it did mine. I just barely saw the notice in the latest issue of the Journal of Light Construction magazine. Here are the major links... Trex® Mold and Color Fading/Variation Class Action Settlement Mahan, et al. v. Trex Company, Inc. Case No. CV 09-00670...
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My Wood Badge Beading Ceremony - 11/24/2013

My Wood Badge Beading Ceremony - 11/24/2013
After 28 years of adult leadership in the Boy Scouts of America, I finally was awarded my own personal beads from Wood Badge. How cool is that? Wood Badge is advanced Boy Scouts of America leadership training that helps an adult leader better understand the roles of young men as they progress through scouting. The six day course culminates with the participant creating a Wood Badge Ticket that features 5 goals that must be completed within an 18 month period in order to receive your beads. After 14 months, I am happy to report that I completed my goals and was ready to be awarded. Bob Church was our Buffalo Patrol Guide and he gladly arranged his schedule to be at the meeting and conduct the ceremony. Bob has been a great example to me and ...
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Family, Vows, & Snitching to Get Out of Solitary Confinement - Part VIII of “I Survived Washington Irving JHS”

Family, Vows, & Snitching to Get Out of Solitary Confinement - Part VIII of “I Survived Washington Irving JHS”
FAMILY, VOWS, & SNITCHING TO GET OUT OF SOLITARY CONFINEMENT - The following is part of a series of articles written by Michael Leavitt about his real life experiences at Washington Irving Junior High School in Los Angeles, California from 1974-1976. The events are true and have been documented to help Michael's family better understand the racial tensions he endured during that era. CH. 1 * CH. 2 * CH. 3 * CH. 4 * CH. 5 * CH. 6 * CH. 7 * CH. 8 * CH. 9 * “DAD, WHAT WAS IT REALLY LIKE FOR YOU IN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL?” CHAPTER 8 - FAMILY, VOWS, & SNITCHING TO GET OUT OF SOLITARY CONFINEMENT I am absolutely amazed at how destructive a prison sentence can be for the remaining family members who remain long after the gang member is impriso...
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Gang Mentality - Part VII of “I Survived Washington Irving JHS”

Gang Mentality - Part VII of “I Survived Washington Irving JHS”
GANG MENTALITY - DOCUMENTARIES - The following is part of a series of articles written by Michael Leavitt about his real life experiences at Washington Irving Junior High School in Los Angeles, California from 1974-1976. The events are true and have been documented to help Michael's family better understand the racial tensions he endured during that era. CH. 1 * CH. 2 * CH. 3 * CH. 4 * CH. 5 * CH. 6 * CH. 7 * CH. 8 * “DAD, WHAT WAS IT REALLY LIKE FOR YOU IN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL?” CHAPTER 7 - GANG MENTALITY - DOCUMENTARIES In putting all of this latest research together this past week regarding Frank Reyna, it is obvious that when you train up a child to become a gang member, then it is a pathway through life that is ingrained into their soul ...
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Solitary Confinement - Part VI of “I Survived Washington Irving JHS”

Solitary Confinement - Part VI of “I Survived Washington Irving JHS”
FRANK REYNA’S SOLITARY CONFINEMENT - The following is part of a series of articles written by Michael Leavitt about his real life experiences at Washington Irving Junior High School in Los Angeles, California from 1974-1976. The events are true and have been documented to help Michael's family better understand the racial tensions he endured during that era. CH. 1 * CH. 2 * CH. 3 * CH. 4 * CH. 5 * CH. 6 * CH. 7 * CH. 8 * “DAD, WHAT WAS IT REALLY LIKE FOR YOU IN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL?” CHAPTER 6 - RANK REYNA’S SOLITARY CONFINEMENT It is Thanksgiving Eve 2013 and I am faced with sadness as I sit here at my computer having performed research into the internet presence of Frank Reyna. If you haven’t read any of the last five blog posts dedicated t...
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My Response to Frank Reyna - Part V of “I Survived Washington Irving JHS”

My Response to Frank Reyna - Part V of “I Survived Washington Irving JHS”
MY RESPONSE TO THE UNEXPECTED LETTER - The following is part of a series of articles written by Michael Leavitt about his real life experiences at Washington Irving Junior High School in Los Angeles, California from 1974-1976. The events are true and have been documented to help Michael's family better understand the racial tensions he endured during that era. CH. 1 * CH. 2 * CH. 3 * CH. 4 * CH. 5 * CH. 6 * CH. 7 * CH. 8 * “DAD, WHAT WAS IT REALLY LIKE FOR YOU IN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL?” CHAPTER 5 - MY RESPONSE TO RANK REYNA Wow! Frank Reyna... I am so impressed to receive the letter from you. I came into my home office and my wife of 24 years, Shelly, had propped it up on my computer keyboard. I picked it up and immediately read the red stamp ...
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The Unexpected Letter - Part IV of “I Survived Washington Irving JHS”

The Unexpected Letter - Part IV of “I Survived Washington Irving JHS”
THE UNEXPECTED LETTER - The following is part of a series of articles written by Michael Leavitt about his real life experiences at Washington Irving Junior High School in Los Angeles, California from 1974-1976. The events are true and have been documented to help Michael's family better understand the racial tensions he endured during that era. CH. 1 * CH. 2 * CH. 3 * CH. 4 * CH. 5 * CH. 6 * CH. 7 * CH. 8 * “DAD, WHAT WAS IT REALLY LIKE FOR YOU IN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL?” CHAPTER 4 - THE UNEXPECTED LETTER Michael Leavitt   We need to fast forward 37 years to November 25, 2013. It was a cold and clear winter day in Northern Utah when I walked into my home office from a difficult afternoon of inspecting, only to see a letter propped up on m...
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The 9th Grade Wall - Part III of “I Survived Washington Irving JHS”

The 9th Grade Wall - Part III of “I Survived Washington Irving JHS”
THE LONG WALK OF SHAME - The following is part of a series of articles written by Michael Leavitt about his real life experiences at Washington Irving Junior High School in Los Angeles, California from 1974-1976. The events are true and have been documented to help Michael's family better understand the racial tensions he endured during that era. CH. 1 * CH. 2 * CH. 3 * CH. 4 * CH. 5 * CH. 6 * CH. 7 * CH. 8 * “DAD, WHAT WAS IT REALLY LIKE FOR YOU IN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL?” CHAPTER 3 - THE 9TH GRADE WALL Michael Leavitt 1976 was 36 years ago and “The Dreamers” bi-centennial graduating class from Washington Irving Junior High School was enjoying their last year together before the great divide that would send all of the student body at least thr...
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The Long Walk of Shame - Part II of “I Survived Washington Irving JHS”

The Long Walk of Shame - Part II of “I Survived Washington Irving JHS”
THE LONG WALK OF SHAME - The following is part of a series of articles written by Michael Leavitt about his real life experiences at Washington Irving Junior High School in Los Angeles, California from 1974-1976. The events are true and have been documented to help Michael's family better understand the racial tensions he endured during that era. CH. 1 * CH. 2 * CH. 3 * CH. 4 * CH. 5 * CH. 6 * CH. 7 * CH. 8 * “DAD, WHAT WAS IT REALLY LIKE FOR YOU IN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL?” CHAPTER 2 - THE LONG WALK OF SHAME Michael Leavitt1976 brought us the bi-centennial celebration of our country as the Viet Nam war was fading into past memories. My Dad was a depression baby who had lived with the scars of living through a tornado that exploded the house whe...
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Fear & Survival - Part I of “I Survived Washington Irving JHS”

Fear & Survival - Part I of “I Survived Washington Irving JHS”
THE LONG WALK OF SHAME - The following is part of a series of articles written by Michael Leavitt about his real life experiences at Washington Irving Junior High School in Los Angeles, California from 1974-1976. The events are true and have been documented to help Michael's family better understand the racial tensions he endured during that era. CH. 1 * CH. 2 * CH. 3 * CH. 4 * CH. 5 * CH. 6 * CH. 7 * CH. 8 * “DAD, WHAT WAS IT REALLY LIKE FOR YOU IN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL?” CHAPTER 1 - FEAR & SURVIVAL Michael Leavitt I often think about my survival from Washington Irving Junior High School. Survived is the key word in an era and environment that was anything but conducive to academic learning. Set in the heart of East Los Angeles with young...
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Michael Leavitt
Augie shared... "Wow, Washington Irving JHS. I was a 7th grader when you were in ninth. I moved in with my aunt and uncle. Their k... Read More
Monday, 28 December 2015 14:23
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Real Estate Broker - Jail Time For Forging Termite Documents

Real Estate Broker - Jail Time For Forging Termite Documents
And fear spread throughout the Northern Utah real estate community... I was saddened to read the story of the real estate broker in Vernal that felt he needed to forge   documents to complete his real estate transactions. One of the documents he forged must have been the NPMA-33 termite, since this is the official report needed for many HUD backed loans. I look forward to learning more about the how’s and why’s, since all he had to do was make a call to somebody like me and the termite inspections could have been done the same day he called. This was especially true back in the 2011 to 2012 time frame of which he did this at least 14 times. It isn’t like the real estate market was booming then, and I am sure the termite inspectors in h...
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Want Solar??? Residential PV Info

Want Solar??? Residential PV Info
For a quick primer on residential solar systems, ECO Building Pulse shared the following... Reach for the Sun A guide to understanding photovoltaic systems for residential applications. By Hallie Busta Federal and state incentives have lowered the cost of residential photovoltaic (PV) systems, piquing the interest of homeowners hoping to slash their energy bills. But when choosing among the growing stable of solar technologies available, designers must consider other factors beyond economics. Before specifying a PV system, an architect or consultant must calculate how many kilowatt-hours of energy a project will require. Austin, Texas–based architect Peter Pfeiffer, FAIA, uses an energy-modeling program that combines information about the s...
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Radon Mitigators - Preferential Referral Conflict of Interest

Radon Mitigators - Preferential Referral Conflict of Interest
I climbed up on my soap box again today and wrote a letter to the State of Utah official over radon at our Department of Environmental Quality regarding an added revenue program that affects their squeaky clean reputation. NOTE: This information is not meant to reflect badly on John Seidel and/or Radon Be Gone, Inc.. I wrote...   Mr. John Hultquist: John, this is Michael Leavitt, a home inspector from Orem Utah. A stinky situation has come to my attention regarding the business practices of a service entity that is directly linked to from the Utah State DEQ radon website found at http://www.radon.utah.gov/. If you look at screenshot 1 you will see that your DEQ “Order Radon Test Kit” link takes Utah consumers directly to the “Dr Home A...
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Home Inspector Scam - Ukraine Troubles

Home Inspector Scam - Ukraine Troubles
Just the other day I wrote about a scam geared towards the real estate professionals regarding search engine optimization. The prior scam was phone call related and gave one a chance to listen to the liar on the other end of the phone. Today I opened my email box and just like scavenger subterranean termites looking for soft and easy wood targets, the Nigerian money scammers have targeted soft and unsuspecting targets in the Home Inspection industry. No longer do I have to read sad woes from dignitaries and royalty in Nigeria, because now I can read the woes of vacationing home inspectors in the Ukraine. Check it out...   Unexpected trip turns sour....................Lou Gustafson I really hope you get this quickly. My trip was rather ...
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Termites Feast Upon Drywall

Termites Feast Upon Drywall
A recent client was shocked to learn that Northern Utah subterranean termites can tunnel through drywall. The blog title “Termites Feast Upon Drywall” is kind of a misnomer because they don’t enjoy the gypsum, other than it makes a very easy substrate to bore their tunnels to get them to the really good wood in the home. What the termites do enjoy is the paper skin on both sides of the drywall. But I guess the title “Termites tolerate the gypsum in order to feast upon the paper skin on the outer surfaces of the drywall” is just not that catchy. TERMITES LOVE... Subterranean termites love soft wood, moist soft wood, and almost any type of cellulose products. They especially love to migrate through moist soil to the heated portion of basement...
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SCAMMERS - Search Engine Rankings

SCAMMERS - Search Engine Rankings
SCAMMER ALERT   Fellow real estate professionals. Watch out if you get a call from (323) 271-4533 This number is from professional scammers. It took me a few minutes to reveal them for what they are, but I am glad I took the time.I hope that you can learn from their tactics. It is really sad because there are legitimate firms doing this work, but this was NOT one of them. Ring ring ring....“It’s a great day, this is Michael!”Long pause of silence...“Hello, Hello this is Michael”, I say again and then a small click and “Hello is this Michael Leavitt?”“Why yes it is, how can I be of help?”“Michael, this is Neil, and we are looking for a real estate agent in your area”///To which I immediately cut him off and say, “Well I am a home Inspec...
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Firestop Collars on Garage Fire Separation Penetrations

Firestop Collars on Garage Fire Separation Penetrations
On January 21st of this year I composed a lengthy blog entry regarding a question that Sacramento, California Home Inspector Ken Ives had regarding garage fire separation wall penetrations’ Ken asked... “Maybe I was on Maui for too long (if that is even possible), but I saw this today and it looked odd. PVC exhaust piping thru the ceiling of a garage.  Is this a fire wall compromise issue?” Ken Ives - Sacramento, CA - www.KenIves.com I did a lot of research and thought I had come up with all of the right answers, until today. So flash forward 10 months and I received a call from another good friend and fellow Utah Home Inspector, Kurt Salomon. Kurt is one of the busiest radon mitigation contractors in Utah and he ran this scenario by m...
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11-year old boy dies in accidental hanging

11-year old boy dies in accidental hanging
It is with great reverence that I share the following news story from a home accident that ultimately took the life of an 11 year old boy. My online news alert system notified me of the headline from 6 days ago and I quickly read the story and sat back with shock, thinking of the horrible nature of the accident. As a Home Inspector I inspect a lot of homes in the Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain area. Since all of the homes are newer, many of them have unfinished basements that get turned into adventurous indoor play areas, especially when the weather turns cold and outside play diminishes. I searched the various accounts and none really shared very many details about how it actually happened, so I am left to my imagination by rememberin...
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Water Heater Fire Leaves 6 Homeless

Water Heater Fire Leaves 6 Homeless
As a Northern Utah Home Inspector, only a small percentage of my home inspections involve mobile homes. Most of our housing stock includes houses with basements. This means that the water heater is usually located on solid concrete, so when they leak the floor does not rot out. However, mobile homes, multi-story condos, and houses with crawl spaces usually have their water heaters positioned on a raised wood floor. When the units leak, then the wood subflooring gets wet, rots, and turns into “Was Wood”. Water heaters usually have a minimum of 40 gallons of water at about 8 pounds per gallon. That means 320 pounds, plus the weight of the water heater concentrated onto a 24”x24” area. When the wood floor gives way, the unit shifts. This can c...
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Tommy Conquers The Dinosaurs

Tommy Conquers The Dinosaurs
It was so much fun watching Tommy climb up and conquer the dinosaur that resides less than 30 feet outside his front door. To say that he is the master of his domain is an understatement. Love ya, Kido!!!
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Who’s Driving This Crazy Train?

Who’s Driving This Crazy Train?
There is nothing funnier than placing Rolf & Poppy in the control seat of a kiddy train. From the moment they enter the battle for control ensues. Don’t think Rolf is a pushover to Poppy’s assertiveness. Quite the contrary. He may not be as vocal, but Rolf definitely has desires to take control. In the meantime the train continues to speed down the tracks. All I could think of was Ozzy shrieking... “I’m going off the rails on a crazy train!” LOCATION: Mama Shelly wanted to take the twins to see Monster University at the Water Gardens in Pleasant Grove, Utah.
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Giant Stucco Eating Snails - Watch Out Florida!!!

Giant Stucco Eating Snails - Watch Out Florida!!!
As a Utah Home Inspector, there are few things as scary as the thought of giant African snails, as large as a football, showing up in the U.S.A., and loving traditional stucco homes upon which to feast. I heard about this phenomena and shivers immediately went up and down my spine. Relief only came as I considered the great distance between Orem, Utah and the shores of Cocoa Beach, Utah where I spent part of my youth. Luckily these destructive slimey and overgrown snails only prefer the tropical portions of our great land and they could not make a go of it here in the high desert of Northern Utah... Huge sighs of relief!!! As I investigated the recent news stories and videos I became that much more thankful that I am not inspecting homes in...
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Wildfire Damage Prevention

Wildfire Damage Prevention
The summer heat is here and wildfire season is in full gear. I have inspected lots of hillside home along the Wasatch Front and cabins in the local mountains that are anything but prepared for a wildfire. Once news of the fire is announced, then the chance for preparation has passed. I have spent many hours watching the victims on CNN as they return to what is left of the home they had to flee. I find it amazing when I see cars burned to the ground and possessions smouldering in the rubble after the homeowners were given very little notice. The time to prepare is now and although this article may not apply to you, we all know someone with a home set in the mountains that do need the reminder. Follow the story links learn... I was most intri...
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Father's Day 2013 - Thanks Dad!

Father's Day 2013 - Thanks Dad!
It is my 52nd year here in mortality and I am left to ponder how I have become the man that I am. What factors contributed to my character and whose prayers were answered on my behalf hundreds of time that has allowed me to still be enjoying life as I know it? At age 25 I spent Father’s Day in the LDS Missionary Training Center preparing to head to Brazil as a Mormon Missionary. Prior to my entry my Dad told me I was a fool for that decision and wasting my life. He reasoned that there was so much more I could accomplish by staying and applying my focus to higher education and employment. This advice came as he expressed his disgust in my progress here in mortality just before the funeral of his only sibling, Uncle Harley. Then he drove off ...
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Over 24 Injured in Miami Heat Deck Collapse

Over 24 Injured in Miami Heat Deck Collapse
It is always sad to report another deck failure that causes injury. Last night’s warm Southern Florida weather brought a huge crowd to the Shucker’s Bar in Miami, Florida to watch their home town Miami Heat baseketball team play the San Antonia Spurs in the fourth game of the NBA Finals. Just before halftime, as the Heat were on a run, the deck over the bay gave way in the middle, folded in a V, and the inebriated patrons went into the drink. 15 had to be transported to local hospitals and many more were treated on the scene. This collapse was complicated by the need to rescue the fallen victims from water and the fact that nobody knew exactly how many people they were searching for. This is far different than a backyard party where you kno...
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James Hardie Kickout Flashing - Stop the water entry!!!

James Hardie Kickout Flashing - Stop the water entry!!!
All of North America is coming to know James Hardie as one of the premier cemetitious sidings for residential and commercial structures. We are finally starting to see more of it than vinyl siding on newer construction. I love James Hardie and HardiePlank because they have such good installation specs for their products. When an installation is done wrong, then I find it is very easy to research their website and find the correct detail and installation description. Their information has long been a great resource for several of my specialty websites, one of which is www.Kickout.info. Kickout.info is not a site devoted to 50 ways to kick your children out of your house. Instead, it is a website devoted to one piece of flashing that is criti...
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Top 10 List to Avoid Deck Failures

Top 10 List to Avoid Deck Failures
I spend many dozens of hours each year scouring the internet for deck failure related information and articles. The way I see it, if my compiling this information saves even one life from the prevention of a deck collapse, then my efforts are worth the time invested. I want your next family BBQ to be filled with fun and laughter, and not with screams and ambulances carrying your friends and loved ones off to the local hospital. I was impressed with this well written article from the Gaudette Insurance Agency in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. NOTE: I have a specialty website, www.DeckFailure.com, that has the news accounts of the major collapse of decks and balconies archived for research and educational purposes. Top 10 Tips to Avoid Balcony,...
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This Zinsco Panel Needs To Be Replaced!

This Zinsco Panel Needs To Be Replaced!
Long time Sacramento, California home inspector Ken Ives sent along some great Zinsco electrical panel pics. Ken shares with his clients... “It would be best to have this panel further evaluated by a licensed electrician and if there are any evidences of charring at the breaker to bus bar connections, then you should upgrade the panel.”Ken Ives Sacramento, Ca. That is the very least that a good home inspector should be recommending when they encounter a Zinsco panel. Why? Because they are prone to poor connections that can escalate to a fire in the home. But what happens when we make that recommendation to our clients? Do they actually call in an electrician?   Read the full blog entry at our newest MLC specialty website www.Elect...
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Zinsco Panel Hazards - www.ElectricalFire.info

Zinsco Panel Hazards - www.ElectricalFire.info
I have been having an incredible time researching and formatting information and photos for my latest specialty website www.ElectricalFire.info. The site deals with electrical risks inside the homes that I inspect here in Northern Utah, but the same issues are widespread all across North America. The current project has been my compiling and organizing information regarding antiquated Zinsco electrical panels. These older electrical panels are proving themselves hazardous and the source of many electrical fires.  Do you know what brand electrical panels you have in your home? You might find one brand outside and different brands of interior subpanels. If your electrical panels were installed between 1950 and 1985, then you better take ...
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Tommy’s Birthday - Rubber Ducky

Tommy’s Birthday - Rubber Ducky
What a great day today is. The only way it could be better was if I was in Cape Cod in person to celebrate my Grandson Tommy’s birthday. Skype is good, but I want to eat one of those delicious cupcakes baked and decorated by Jessica. As a special request I was asked to prepare an MP3 file featuring various versions of Rubber Ducky. The final mix is an entertaining and mixes Ernie, Adam, Little Richard, and others doing various versions including and Israeli version and a German Techno-pop version. It ends with Ernie losing his Rubber Ducky, but you can then start the 23 minute audio all over again. Make it a great day and enjoy “Rubber Ducky!” RUBBER DUCKY - MP3 Make it a great day! Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah - www.TheHomeInspector.c...
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Happy Mother’s Day 2013

Happy Mother’s Day 2013
Happy Mother’s Day! I don’t know if my Mom is like the others in the world, I only know that I love her dearly and her loving way has helped nurture me into the man I am today. Yes I am full of imperfections and warts, but there are some really great qualities that I can directly attribute to her loving care. I want everyone to know that I love her for her ability to always love me, in spite of what I was doing, as well as during those times I made it easy for her to stand back and beam with pride. I am really fortunate to still have her here in mortality to share my latest success and failures. She is currently back at my sister’s, so I don’t get to give here a loving kiss and hug in person this year on this special tribute day. Instead, I...
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Rain Gutter Guards - Do they work?

Rain Gutter Guards - Do they work?
I have been getting spam wanting me to be a dealer/installer for gutter guard protectors. I am not tempted to take them up on their “Special Offer” but they made me stop and think about the few that I have encountered over the years while inspecting homes along the Wasatch Front of Utah. What is you experience? Do these things really work? As a home inspector here in Orem, Utah when I see a tree I know it was planted by man. That is just the nature of living in a high desert area. In mature neighborhoods we do have tall trees and do have issues with leaves and debris. In the newer neighborhoods it will be another 10 years before their trees are tall enough to be an issue. In the local mountains they can’t have gutters because of the heavy s...
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Veins Bleed and Arteries Spurt

Veins Bleed and Arteries Spurt
I count myself as blessed to be able to sit here and relate the second time in my life where I learned that "Veins bleed and Arteries spurt!"   FIRST TIME I LEARNED THIS LESSON Two days before 5th grade was to start, I found myself playing at the Greens’ home, just two doors down from our house on Jessica Drive in Highland Park, California. I was chasing 10-year-old Kelly Green in anger and she ran into her house and slammed the front door shut, hoping to keep me out and escape my retaliation. I tried to come to a screeching halt but instead tripped over the welcome mat and this is where everything slowed down to slooooow motion as my right arm went through a lower French door window pane and shattered the glass on the way in. I instin...
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Hey Dad, I’m Ready To Go!

Hey Dad, I’m Ready To Go!
Really Son... Howzabout another sock, shoes, and oh yes, tie up your shorts. CAPTION: Adam acting as a deer in the headlights! Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah - www.TheHomeInspector.com - Michael Leavitt & Co Inspections, Inc.
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Polybutylene Pipe - What’s The Big Deal???

Polybutylene Pipe - What’s The Big Deal???
POLYBUTYLENE PIPE As a Master Home Inspector inspecting in Northern Utah, part of my responsibility inspecting homes is to identify the types of piping used to supply water throughout the home. The piping that always draws the most attention is polybutylene. Have you ever wondered why home inspectors always make such a big deal about polybutylene piping? Is there really anything to worry about if you have it in your home? When polybutylene piping is identified during an inspection the inspector should always include a recommendation for further evaluation by a qualified plumber. It is that recommendation that always gets the client, the seller and the agents asking the same questions. What is polybutylene pipe?What causes the pipes to ...
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Roof Repair Needed ASAP - Is it spam?

Roof Repair Needed ASAP - Is it spam?
Email is an amazing tool that definitely is key in gaining me business. I am always flattered when somebody finds one of my websites and contacts me for more information. More often than not they live outside my geographic region, so an on site visit to earn revenue is not possible. I often take time to respond and help to whatever extent is possible. But then there are those dark individuals that have exploited this tool to extract money from the bank accounts of the unsuspecting. And then there are those emails that fall somewhere in the middle. Are they a real request that will ultimately generate business, or are they just trying to exploit for their own personal gain. This brings to light the email that came into my inbox not less...
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3177 Hits
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Wow... Boston Marathon Explosion

Wow... Boston Marathon Explosion
Sorry about the levity of the last “Mister Fog” post in the midst of the Boston Marathon explosion chaos. Shelly called me in and said, “Your not going to believe this!” And with that we have been glued to the TV. What a shame! My heart goes out to those affected by this tragedy. 2 have been reported dead with over 20 injured. By the looks of it I expect those numbers to increase. I hope that it stops there and that this is NOT part of some greater nefarious attack. What an awful shame! Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah - www.TheHomeInspector.com - Michael Leavitt & Co Inspections, Inc.
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2021 Hits
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Mister Fog Made Me Laugh Out Loud

Mister Fog Made Me Laugh Out Loud
Thanks to my Mother, who followed in the footsteps of my Grandmother, there has always seemed to be a Reader’s Digest magazine laying around the house. I have read only a handful of the articles over the recent years, but I always seem to search through each issue for the little quips and stories at the end of most of the articles. Occasionally I even find myself laughing out loud when a humorous story catches me off guard. This past Saturday I had the pleasure of taking my son Adam to the local Dollar Cuts for what LDS folks refer to as a Missionary haircut. While they were shaving Adam down to the skin on the back of his neck I picked up the latest Reader’s Digest and started my search... And then I stumbled upon this beauty...   Bew...
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Jack & Corona - Does this influence your inspection?

Jack & Corona - Does this influence your inspection?
When you walk around the property and find dozens of broken bottles in the poorly maintained yard, does this influence your inspection? Or better stated, does it put you “under the influence” and cause you to be biased? If so, then what do you find yourself being more harsh upon? As I inspect the housing stock in Northern Utah it is rarer for me to inspect the visible party houses. Most people trying to sell the home for the highest value see this as a negative and they take the time to clean the yard first. But this particular home is a true sign of our sellers market where the owner knew he would have multiple offers within hours of the listing hitting the MLS. The home was foreclosed and sold on the steps of the courthouse and then quick...
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3181 Hits
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Stockton To Malone - Aaron Needs Good Role Models

Stockton To Malone - Aaron Needs Good Role Models
Earlier this basketball season Aaron and I got nosebleed tickets to see the Oklahome Thunder come to town to play the Utah Jazz. It was fun to watch the Jazz pummel the Thunder, but it was even more enjoyable getting to the arena early and spending some time with Aaron. Taking the pictures of Aaron wearing shorts in the cold freezing rain is a classic reminder of Aaron’s 9th grade year. If you can’t see his lower legs, then Aaron must be going to church. Otherwise, Aaron wears shorts to nearly everything. That’s right, whether it is shoveling snow, running to school, or going to any non-formal activity, then you can bet that Aaron will be doing everything possible to wear shorts. While at the Jazz game it was fun trying to explain to Aaron ...
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Spanish Moss Cave - A Great Trip

Spanish Moss Cave - A Great Trip
TRIP REPORT: We had a very successful trip to Spanish Moss Cave. TRIP DATE: April 4, 2013 LEFT TRAILHEAD: 3 PM RETURNED: 10 PM TRIP LEADER: Michael Leavitt PARTICIPANTS: Dave Allison, Matt, Josh, Robert, Keaton, and Aaron Leavitt. For 5 of the participants this was there very first experience in a wild cave. We stopped by Roadside Cave just to pique their interest. Hiking up to the locked gate is always a challenge, but these young men were up to the task. CONDITIONS INSIDE: The cave was extremely dry. I had never seen the upper room flowstone completely dried up. The lower chamber ceiling water feature was also 98% dried up. In fact, only about 5% of the features were wet and glistening. ACCIDENTS: The only near injury occurred as I was be...
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