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MICHAEL'S NEWSFLASHES & MEMORIES!!!

Capturing the events and memories that make up our lives!

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, 2013LEFT TRAILHEAD: 3 PMRETURNED: 10 PMTRIP LEADER: Michael LeavittPARTICIPANTS: 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 below and...
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Google Nose - The Bleeding Cutting Edge

Google Nose - The Bleeding Cutting Edge
Fellow Inspectors, Family, and Friends:I have been having an incredible time playing with the newest beta from Google called Google Nose. It is free and quite an incredible feature. My kids are raving about it and I was feeling like such an out of the loop old fuddy dud. This email will help get any of you feeling the same back on top of technology’she cutting edge. I look forward to your feedback. It works with laptops, desktops, tablets and smartphones. bleeding cutting edge.DIRECT LINK: http://www.google.com/landing/nose/index.htmlYOUTUBE VIDEO:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFbYadm_mrwMake it a great day!Michael Leavitt – Orem, Utah – www.TheHomeInspector.com – Michael Leavitt & Co Inspections, Inc.
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Rolf & Poppy - Lion King Dancing

Rolf & Poppy - Lion King Dancing
Just watching Rolf and Poppy this morning makes me miss them so much. They are getting so big and it is difficult having them living all the way across the USA. I am glad to hear that they are appreciating The Lion King, as our kids always loved that movie. So even though the video is very short, it is incredible how big they are getting.Make it a great day!Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah - www.TheHomeInspector.com - Michael Leavitt & Co Inspections, Inc.
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Haily Plays Lacrosse

Haily Plays Lacrosse
It was great fun yesterday watching Haily play lacrosse. Haily is one of the team captains for the Timpanogos JV Lacrosse team and she also plays on the Varsity team. Since Shelly wasn’t feeling well I became one of the official drivers for the team and I transported the girls north to play against Juan Diego. Juan Diego is a private Catholic school in Draper, Utah and they have really good teams with lots of fan support.I was told that I could not write anything to embarrass Haily, so I will let the photos do the talking. haily was aggressive, yet kept her spirits high even though they came out on the losing end. Haily played goalie for the first half of the game because the JV goalie was brought up to fill a vacancy on the Varsity team. T...
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Buying Used - Appliance Exchange of Utah

Buying Used - Appliance Exchange of Utah
Buying new major appliances seems to always be expensive because it usually is a non-planned purchase. You find yourself in the middle of a big clothes washing day and the unit all of the sudden won’t spin out the water. It seemed to work fine yesterday. I know it was working fine last week. In fact, I haven’t thought about it for years. But all of the sudden doing a load of laundry is impossible as I look into the fully loaded wash chamber completely filled with water. It fills, it churns, but it will not spin out the water... I’m hosed!!!When this happened to us recently I decided to roll the dice and buy used instead of new. $700 just was not in the budget and I didn’t want to buy a new unit and have a non-matching dryer to go with the w...
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Poppy’s Wedding - I Wish We Could have Been There!

Poppy’s Wedding - I Wish We Could have Been There!
Being a Grandpa or three, it is fun to receive messages about my Grandkids and the high points in their lives. I was going back through my emails and had forgotten about Poppy’s wedding that took place back in January. This is the bad part about them living in Massachusetts; I wish that I could have attended the event. I know that Poppy is just two years old, but receiving this notice was a lot of fun to read... Today Popy woke up and decided today was the day she was going to get married in the temple.She found her big white skirt, was disappointed she couldn't find a white shirt and so she picked the cute pink flower shirt as an alternative.She found nice white flowers and a "hat" for her hair.Then she informed me that at her wedding...
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North Carolina 6 Year Code Cycle Change - BAD IDEA!!!

North Carolina 6 Year Code Cycle Change - BAD IDEA!!!
I was shocked to hear about a new proposal in North Carolina that will modify the current 3 year adoption cycle for new building codes and extend it out to 6 years. On the surface this is absurd and I think it is damaging to the end consumer and benefits the pocketbook of the larger builders. I know they have a strong lobby, but we must always keep the end consumer in mind.North Carolina Lawmakers Vote For Six-Year Code CycleFrom the Journal of Light ConstructionThe North Carolina House has voted 98-18 for a bill that would change the state’s code adoption cycle to every six years instead of every three, the Charlotte Observer reports (“NC House OKs building code editions to last longer,” by Associated Press). The bill would also prohibit t...
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Water Leak Alarms - Water Is The Big Destroyer

Water Leak Alarms - Water Is The Big Destroyer
When it comes to major issues involving houses, with the exceptions of the earth moving and tornadoes, the biggest issue is water. As a Utah Home Inspector, I find that percentage wise, water is the biggest destroyer of homes. Whether it is a flood, a rising water table, a leaking water heater, a leaking roof, or a dishwasher that just refuses to contain all the water inside the wash chamber, water causes major damage to wood structures. With the exception of the breaking of the levy type Hurricane Katrina floods, most water damage goes unnoticed until there is major evidence and damage. It is for that reason that I regularly tell my clients about water leak detectors.Homeowners have come to expect smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms in...
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Aaron Drives, He Scores, But They Came Up Short On The Scoreboard!

Aaron Drives, He Scores, But They Came Up Short On The Scoreboard!
What a thrill it was to watch Aaron compete in the 2013 LDS Young Men’s Cluster Tournament yesterday morning. The team was a bit depleted due to baseball tournaments in St. George, but when 10 AM rolled around Aaron looked at the three other players on his team and they were are ready as they were ever going to be. Unfortunately they were looking at a team of 8 that included four over 16 years of age, and some with a great deal of basketball experience.Aaron took charge of the situation by driving, shooting, and scoring. The highpoint of the game is his shot that put them up 18 to 17 with just over 5 minutes to go in the half. The game went downhill from there. Up to that point the team was on fire. Gordon hit a couple of threes that r...
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Closed To Occupancy - What Does it Mean? Beware of HUD Homes!!!

Closed To Occupancy - What Does it Mean? Beware of HUD Homes!!!
As a Utah Home Inspector, I found myself walking up to the front door of yet another bank-owned, foreclosed, and vacant property, I was confronted with a sign taped at eye level to the outside of the front door.“CLOSED TO OCCUPANCY by order of the Salt Lake Valley Health Department.” The yellow and black police tape was also a nice touch. If you look close at the sign you will see that I removed the address, but this sign was posted back in September of 2012. What does it mean? Is it safe to enter and evaluate? Am I risking my health to inspect this home for my client? And what were the causes of the sign placement?A little history of the sale process would help put you in my shoes. My client was deemed the “Eternal Optimist” by his Father ...
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Dr. Emmett - The Curious Savage

Dr. Emmett - The Curious Savage
Each of our children has had such a great experience with plays while attending Canyon View Junior High here in Orem, Utah. This has been largely due to the love and care of the drama teacher Ms. Kate O’Reily. Aaron has been the biggest benefactor while in Junior High because he was able to gain lots of stage experience while playing teenie roles in the plays of his older brother and sisters. By the time Aaron hit the stage as a 9th grader he had been in over 14 productions, with experience in ensemble, dance, and even leading roles, so his comfort level under the drama stage lights was very high. We owe a debt of gratitude to those who helped give him the experience thus far.This week ended the run of Seussical The Musical where Aaron play...
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Aaron: Playing Hard With a Chip on His Shoulder

Aaron: Playing Hard With a Chip on His Shoulder
PROLOGUE - THE CHIPAt 15 years of age, Aaron has become quite a basketball player. This year he had the chance to play basketball on both a combined LDS young men's team as well as with my LDS men's team. While he thrived playing with the young men, he shined playing the more mature men’s game. It was interesting to see how he would instill fear in the other teams as they would try to keep up with him for the full 32 minutes of game time. More than once you heard, “He is like the Eveready Bunny!”Well the season drew to an end and his young men’s team made it to the cluster tournament coming up this next week. Aaron’s name was submitted on the roster with his rather inexperienced team that stands very little chance of moving beyond the first...
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Lacrosse - Haily is Aggressive and Loving It!!!

Lacrosse - Haily is Aggressive and Loving It!!!
MARCH 8, 2013 - Who would have thought Haily would be having so much fun playing Lacrosse? I stood in the freezing cold late afternoon watching her Varsity team play Riverton as the cold rain started to fall and there remained an aggressive smile on her face as she continually checked and defended her opponent. This was weather that only the craziest would continue, but girl's’lacrosse is much like youth soccer and they play on unless lightning is physically threatening.Enjoy the photos. You can click to enlarge, but the larger versions are grainy due to the low light conditions of the late march afternoon and the very dark rain cloud environment. You can most easily track Haily by the #16 and the pink goggles.  
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CPSC Disco Light Recall

CPSC Disco Light Recall
As a Utah Home inspector, I need to issue a warning to all of you Saturday Night Fever disco fever types that are still sporting your Angel Flight leisure suits with buttoned down shirts and hair chests. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has just recalled the black style disco lights that probably adorn your bedrooms. Over 19,00 of them are out there in the marketplace and they are currently overheating and posing a shock hazard to all of those nearby the units.On a serious note, these are in many of the teenager bedrooms of the homes Utah Home inspectors are inspecting. If you see one, then contact the manufacturer for a full refund, and oh yes, stop using them immediately.For more information please visit my CPSC Recall page devoted ...
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Orem High’s Ernest is a Success!!!

Orem High’s Ernest is a Success!!!
It was both fun and odd to go to Orem High School tonight and watch a play that had none of my kids in it. The first time I saw “The Importance Of Being Ernest” my oldest daughter Jessica played the role of Cecily and I was completely overwhelmed with pride and joy. Jessica wowed me and won me over and the play was such fun. Tonight’s show was also fun and I encourage any of you seeking an enjoyable evening to attend one of the last 3 nights. The Little Theater is a wonderful place to watch a close and intimate play like Ernest. Showtime is 7PM in the Orem High School Little Theater.Here are a few pics from the show...Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah - www.TheHomeInspector.com - Michael Leavitt & Co Inspections, Inc.
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Cheerful Charlie Departs Mortality With A Smile In A Whiteout!

Cheerful Charlie Departs Mortality With A Smile In A Whiteout!
Brrrrrrr! To say it was unexpectedly cold Saturday morning is an understatement. Leaving home in Orem with a light calm snowfall and entering the blizzard country of Northern Highland, Utah was an amazing experience. Just getting to the LDS chapel for my Great Uncle’s funeral by driving on the ice skating rolling hill roads was trechorous for some and was even white knuckling for those of us with 4-wheel-drives. The family of my Great Uncle Charles had made the arrangements earlier in the week for the funeral and graveside service. They created a nice table at the entry that invited attendees to share their thoughts and feelings about Charles Del Mar Spurrier. The meeting was already underway by the time I made it to Highland. It seems...
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Say What? - Mold Smells

Say What? - Mold Smells
It is Saturday night and I am slaving over a report dealing with water entry. I am typing hundreds and hundreds of words identifying reportable conditions, conveying the severity, and providing clear courses of action. The entire time I am frustrated because there are others in my local area who put forth 20% of the effort and collect similar inspection fees. How can this be? Unfortunately many consumers just do not know any better. For example, while I was reviewing some online inspection reports of other local inspectors I found this one report that left me shaking my head wondering who trained this guy and to what inspection Standard of Practice is he preparing his reports. I felt sorry for the paying client when I read the following...T...
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Haily's Art - Springville Art Show

Haily's Art - Springville Art Show
What a joy it was to go to the Springville, Utah Art Museum to see Haily’s contribution to the annual High School Art Festival. This included entries from schools all over the state and just to be displayed is an honor. She was thrilled that the young men and young women from our LDS Ward came to see her picture. To say I was proud is an understatement. She works hard to develop her talent... Way-2-Go Haily!!!
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Sub $325 Thermal Imager - This is not a joke!

Sub $325 Thermal Imager - This is not a joke!
As a gadget guy I was pleased to come across this soon to be released thermal imager that will retail for just $325. Of course it is not to be compared with $10,000 to $50,000 self contained thermal imaging cameras, but from the specs shared below I would easily compare it with the sub $4,000 models. What’s the catch? Well it is worthless without a phone or tablet since they are the brains and the brawn of the IR process. That’s right, it runs off either an iOS or Android app and plugs into either the phone or tablet via the mini USB port. So why do I think this is a viable solution? Well the resolution is equivalent to the lesser model cameras, but there are future goals of increasing the resolution. But I think this is a gadget that you c...
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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...
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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 origin...
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Murphy’s Other 15 Laws

Murphy’s Other 15 Laws
Fellow Porto Alegre, Brasil LDS Missionary (86-88), Mike Barry passed along the other laws that Murphy wrote, but kept to himself. Several of these I have learned to be true... The hard way! The others just made me giggle. Make it a great day! Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah - www.TheHomeInspector.com MURPHY'S OTHER FIFTEEN LAWS1. Light travels faster than sound.This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak. 2. A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well. 3. He who laughs last thinks slowest. 4. A day without sunshine is like, well... um... night. 5. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine. 6. Those that live by the sword get shot by those who don't. 7. Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently un...
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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 is...
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Success in the burning ring of frie!

Success in the burning ring of frie!
With just 8 seconds to go, we witnessed the popcorn pop in the fire building contest. The record was reported to be about 2 minutes and 50 seconds. We may not have beat that record, but we did succeed at the task. Alex led the way and he started stacking the wood and placing the kindling. The technique was questionable as they took the first match when the log cabin was just about 2 inches tall when the limit was about 12 inches tall. this mean that if the fire took, then the flames would have to rise up at least a foot before it had any effect on the pie tin placed above. The match lit the tender and after about 10 seconds it went out.... There went the bonus award for getting it going with just one match. A second match produced the same ...
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Aaron Gets Voted Off The Island

Aaron Gets Voted Off The Island
In a true Survivor way, Drake cast the final vote and shoved Aaron to his fate as the rest of the Survivors thrust him off the island. Klondike 2013 was a thriving success. The 8-legged race was not so much. “C’mon Team, repeat after me, right, left, fall.... right, left fall.... right, left, fall! The winning time may have been 2:52, but we were impressed with Team/Troop 173 breaking the 13 minute barrier. Go Eagles!!!
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The Seussical Water Buffalo

The Seussical Water Buffalo
Coming at the end of February is the stage play Suessical at Canyon View Junior High here in Orem, Utah. We will get to see Aaron in the role as the Mayor of Whosville. Haily’s giraffe will be unveiled once again, and I was called upon to create the water buffalo head piece.So how do you make a water buffalo head piece? That’s what I thought when I received the phone call. I immediately thought of building off a bicycle helmet. So without any specific guidelines I went to the internet and found the image that I think people think of when they think water buffalo. The horns seem to be the key, but how to do it with a Seussical twist. Let’s start with the helmet and some coat hangars...Next came the Styrofoam cups and black electrical tape......
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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 their...
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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 p...
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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, Ind...
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Obernewtyn Has Consumed My Wife

Obernewtyn Has Consumed My Wife
Totally consuming! With an incredible smile on her face, Shelly was surrounded by the oracle spheres of power from another realm as I approached her in her bed. Little glowing globes of red and white were protecting her personal space. The pain which often overpowers her was being kept at bay. Is it a good book? It must be to have this effect. Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody, hmmm... Never heard of it. Adam must be the one to blame for introducing her to yet another book series. Wait a minute, with that kind of smile there is no blame to dole out. Instead, Adam gets all the credit. Thank you Son. So the book apparently gets high marks and the inside cover testimonial should read... “Totally Consuming!!! Shelly Leavitt”Michael Leavitt - Orem,...
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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  
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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 up...
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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 return...
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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.

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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.comWhat is your greatest snowman memory?PLEASE LEAVE YOUR THOUGHTS AND FEEBACK BELOW
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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.

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Snowy Days Remembered

Snowy Days Remembered
A neighbor knocked and then handed me a photo from more than a decade back. In it was Haily and Aaron sitting on our back porch swing with the snow falling in the background. The memories came flooding back of a more innocent time when the first snowfall found us immediately out in the yard trying to capture falling white flakes in our mouths.I remember their smiles and their winter clothes like it was yesterday. This was obviously still fall as half the leaves are still hanging on their branches. The swing set was used daily and flips were plentiful on the trampoline. Haily was always the Tomboy being situated two years younger than Adam and two years older than Aaron. Most days she was as as happy and dirty faced as both of our boys. I th...
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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 PRIVACYI 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 share ...
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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 ...
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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 retu...
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Thanks for the caterpillar!

Thanks for the caterpillar!
It is always fun to open up my email and receive a message from our youngest grandchild Tommy. “Thanks for the ceterpillar!” Tommy shared. He is very short in his messages, but the attached pictures always speak a thousand words. Cute? Yep, he is adorable! Proud? Yep, he coordinates his outfits perfectly and he will never be accused of his Mommy dressing him funny! Sad? Yes, I wish I was closer and could give him a big hug and kisses. It was fun rocking him to sleep as he fought it every step of the way, during our short visit to Cape Cod early in December. Tommy would scream and scream and scream, and then he would just go silent like somebody turned off a light switch.So thanks again Tommy for keeping me up to date with the highlights in ...
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New Years Sledding

New Years Sledding
The Leavitt family tradition of bringing in the new year continues with another successful late night sledding. Instead of midnight, we delayed it until 1 AM to accommodate Aaron and Haily’s big dance that ended just after midnight. Then we changed clothes and headed for the big sledding hill. And when I say big, it seemed much bigger to them when they were all under 10, but we had fun all the same while trying not to wake up the nearby neighbors. Haily was the newest 17 year old to attack the sledding mountain. Aaron caught incredible air Adam just always has a blast doing whatever we are doing. And yes, I was glad to survive the experience.HAPPY NEW YEAR! How did you bring in the new year?
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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 ge...
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Haily, the Tomboy - She draws and she also writes!

Haily, the Tomboy - She draws and she also writes!
From my daughter Haily’s blog... Friday, December 28not one of them [This is a paper I wrote for English. She let me keep the format like this. (Young rocks.) Anywho, enjoy!]-=-=-=-=-=-There comes a time in every tomboy’s lifeAt least once a dayWhen she is forced to surrender all independence,All knowledge,All of her muscles.Because her kryptonite is something she loves even more: Gentlemen. You see,My childhood consisted of aMuch different life than most girls.My childhood was the epitome of adventurous. While most girls were insideWith their perfect ringlets,And precisely painted nails.Playing House,And deciding what dress Barbie should wear. I lived under the sun.With dirt wedged between my bare toes,And gra...
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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
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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 powerDec 25, 2012 8:45 PM MST * By Jacqueline QuynhSIOUX 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 power s...
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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  &nb...
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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 PAGEAnd for more inf...
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Into The Woods - The Poster

Into The Woods - The Poster
INTO THE WOODS - Can you draw faces? It is a talent that few possess, but my daughter Haily nails them every time. She gets the proportions right. She gets the eyes and noses perfectly. She captures the look that never fails to please. Saturday afternoon she did it again when Miss Pam, the drama teacher at Orem High School, asked Haily to create the poster that would hang in the large commons area announcing to the school the opening of the play later this week.It is incredible to think that she took black butcher paper and taped up several rows to create the large 10 foot canvas. That combined with a few paints, a few hours and voila... Success! I feel a bit bad (tongue firmly placed in my cheek) for the two girls cast in the role of Littl...
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CPSC Recall - Ceiling Light

CPSC Recall - Ceiling Light
CPSC RECALL NOTICE - I have prepared another CPSC recall page and video regarding a popular style light fixture. Due to the tripping of AFCI’s, Dolan Northwest is recalling 8,000 ceiling mounted light fixtures. These were supplied primarily to builders for new home installations and sold by lighting showrooms primarily to builders from 2008-2009.LINK TO ARTICLE AND VIDEO - http://www.thehomeinspector.com/Clients/CPSC/111512_Dolan_Light_Recall.htmlI hope that you find the information helpful! Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah
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