Yearly Archive 2019

ByThe Home Inspector

What gets Inspected?

Home inspections performed according to the North Carolina Standards of Practice shall provide the client with an understanding of the property conditions , as inspected at the time of the home inspection.

Structural Components

The Home Inspector shall observe structural components including:

  • Foundations
  • Floors
  • Walls
  • Columns or piers
  • Ceilings
  • Roofs

The home inspector shall describe the type of:

  • Foundation
  • Floor structure
  • Wall structure
  • Columns or piers
  • Ceiling structure
  • Roof structure

The home inspector shall:

  • Probe structural components where deterioration is suspected
  • Enter under floor crawl spaces, basements, and attic spaces except when access is obstructed, when entry could damage the property, or when dangerous or adverse situations are suspected
  • Report the methods used to observe under floor crawl spaces and attics
  • Report signs of abnormal or harmful water penetration into the building or signs of abnormal or harmful condensation on building components

The home inspector is not required to:

  • Enter any area or perform any procedure that may damage the property or its components or be dangerous to or adversely effect the health of the home inspector or other persons

 

Exterior

The home inspector shall observe:

  • Wall cladding, flashings, and trim
  • Entryway doors and a representative number of windows
  • Garage door operators
  • Decks, balconies, stoops, steps, areaways, porches and applicable railings
  • Eaves, soffits, and fascias
  • Driveways, patios, walkways, and retaining walls
  • Vegetation, grading, drainage,  with respect to their effect on the condition of the building

The home inspector shall:

  • Describe wall cladding materials
  • Operate all entryway doors
  • Operate garage doors manually or by using permanently installed controls for any garage door operator
  • Report whether or not any garage door operator will automatically reverse or stop when meeting reasonable resistance during closing
  • Probe exterior wood components where deterioration is suspected

The home inspector is not required to observe:

  • Storm windows, storm doors, screening, shutters, awnings, and similar seasonal accessories
  • Fences
  • Presence of safety glazing in doors and windows
  • Garage door operator remote control transmitters
  • Geological conditions
  • Soil conditions
  • Recreational facilities (including spas, saunas, steam baths, swimming pools, tennis courts, playground equipment, and other exercise, entertainment, or athletic facilities)
  • Detached buildings or structures
  • Presence or condition of buried fuel storage tanks

The home inspector is not required to:

  • Move personal items, panels, furniture, equipment, plant life, soil, snow, ice or debris that obstructs access or visibility

 

Roofing

The home inspector shall observe:

  • Roof covering
  • Roof drainage systems
  • Flashings
  • Skylights, chimneys, and roof penetrations
  • Signs of’ leaks or abnormal condensation on building components

The home inspector shall:

  • Describe the type of roof covering materials
  • Report the methods used to observe the roofing

The home inspector is not required to:

  • Walk on the roofing
  • Observe attached accessories including but not limited to solar systems, antennae, and lightning arrestors

 

Plumbing

The home inspector shall observe:

  • Interior water supply and distribution system, including: piping materials, supports, and insulation; fixtures and faucets; functional flow; leaks; and cross connections
  • Interior drain, waste, and vent system, including: traps; drain, waste, and vent piping; piping supports and pipe insulation; leaks; and functional drainage
  • Hot water systems including: water heating equipment; normal operating controls; automatic safety controls; and chimneys, flues, and vents
  • Fuel storage and distribution systems including: interior fuel storage equipment, supply piping, venting, and supports; leaks
  • Sump pumps

The home inspector shall describe:

  • Water supply and distribution piping materials
  • Drain, waste, and vent piping materials
  • Water heating equipment, including fuel or power source, storage capacity, and location
  • Location of main water supply shutoff device

The home inspector shall operate all plumbing fixtures, including their faucets and all exterior faucets attached to the house, except where the flow end of the faucet is connected to an appliance

The home inspector is not required to:

  • State the effectiveness of anti-siphon devices
  • Determine whether water supply and waste disposal systems are public or private
  • Operate automatic safety controls
  • Operate any valve except water closet flush valves, fixture faucets, and hose faucets

or Observe:

  • Water conditioning systems
  • Fire and lawn sprinkler systems
  • On-site water supply quantity and quality
  • On-site waste disposal systems
  • Foundation irrigation systems
  • Spas, except as to functional flow and functional drainage
  • Swimming pools
  • Solar water heating equipment
  • The system for proper sizing, design, or use of proper materials

 

Electrical

The home inspector shall observe:

  • Service entrance conductors
  • Service equipment, grounding equipment, main over current device, and main and distribution panels
  • Amperage and voltage ratings of the service
  • Branch circuit conductors, their over current devices, and the compatibility of their ampacities and voltages
  • The operation of a representative number of installed ceiling fans, lighting fixtures, switches and receptacles located inside the house, garage, and on the dwelling’s exterior walls
  • The polarity and grounding of all receptacles within six feet of interior plumbing fixtures, and all receptacles in the garage or carport, and on the exterior of inspected structures
  • The operation of ground fault circuit interrupters
  • Smoke detectors

The home inspector shall describe:

  • Service amperage and voltage
  • Service entry conductor materials
  • Service type as being overhead or underground
  • Location of main and distribution panels

The home inspector shall report any observed aluminum branch circuit wiring

The home inspector shall report on presence or absence of smoke detectors, and operate their test function, if accessible, except when detectors are part of a central system

The home inspector is not required to:

  • Insert any tool, probe, or testing device inside the panels
  • Test or operate any over current device except ground fault circuit interrupters
  • Dismantle any electrical device or control other than to remove the covers of the main and auxiliary distribution panels

or Observe:

  • Low voltage systems
  • Security system devices, heat detectors, or carbon monoxide detectors
  • Telephone, security, cable TV, intercoms, or other ancillary wiring that is not a part of the primary electrical distribution system
  • Built-in vacuum equipment

 

Heating

The home inspector shall observe permanently installed heating and cooling systems including:

  • Heating equipment
  • Normal operating controls
  • Automatic safety controls
  • Chimneys, flues, and vents, where readily visible
  • Solid fuel heating devices
  • Heat distribution systems including fans, pumps, ducts and piping, with supports, insulation, air filters, registers, radiators, fan coil units, convectors
  • The presence of an installed heat source in each room

The home inspector shall describe:

  • Energy source
  • Heating equipment and distribution type

The home inspector shall operate the systems using normal operating controls

The home inspector shall open readily openable access panels provided by the manufacturer or installer for routine homeowner maintenance

The home inspector is not required to:

  • Operate heating systems when weather conditions or other circumstances may cause equipment damage
  • Operate automatic safety controls
  • Ignite or extinguish solid fuel fires
  • Ignite a pilot light

or Observe:

  • The interior of flues
  • Fireplace insert flue connections
  • Heat exchanges
  • Humidifiers
  • Electronic air filters
  • The uniformity or adequacy of heat supply to the various rooms
  • Solar space heating equipment

 

Air Conditioning

The home inspector shall observe:

  • Central air conditioning and through-the-wall installed cooling systems
  • Cooling and air handling equipment
  • Normal operating controls

Distribution systems including :

  • Fans, pumps, ducts and piping, with associated supports, dampers, insulation, air filters, registers, fan-coil units
  • The presence or absence of an installed cooling source for each habitable space

The home inspector shall describe:

  • Energy sources
  • Cooling equipment type

The home inspector shall operate the systems using normal operating controls

The home inspector shall open readily openable access panels provided by the manufacturer or installer for routine homeowner maintenance

The home inspector is not required to:

  • Operate cooling system when weather conditions or other circumstances may cause equipment damage
  • Inspect window air conditioners
  • Inspect the uniformity or adequacy of cool-air supply to the various rooms

 

Interiors

The home inspector shall observe:

  •  Walls, ceiling, and floors
  • Steps, stairways, balconies, and railings
  • Counters and a representative number of installed cabinets
  • A representative number of doors and windows

The home inspector shall:

  • Operate a representative number of windows and interior doors
  • Report signs of abnormal or harmful water penetration into the building or signs of abnormal or harmful condensation on building components

The home inspector is not required to observe:

  • Paint, wallpaper, and other finish treatments on the interior walls, ceilings, and floors
  • Carpeting
  • Draperies, blinds, or other window treatments

 

Insulation and Ventilation

The home inspector shall observe:

  • Insulation and vapor retarders in unfinished spaces
  • Ventilation of attics and foundation areas
  • Kitchen, bathroom, and laundry venting systems
  • The operation of any readily accessible attic ventilation fan, and, when temperature permits, the operation of any readily accessible thermostatic control

The home inspector shall describe:

  • Insulation in unfinished spaces
  • Absence of insulation in unfinished space at conditioned surfaces

The home inspector shall:

  • Move insulation where readily visible evidence indicates the need to do so
  • Move insulation where chimneys penetrate roofs, where plumbing drain/waste pipes penetrate floors, adjacent to earth filled stoops or porches, and at exterior doors

The home inspector is not required to report on:

  • Concealed insulation and vapor retarders
  • Venting equipment that is integral with household appliances

 

Built-In Kitchen Appliances

The home inspector shall observe and operate the basic functions of the following kitchen appliances:

  • Permanently installed dishwasher, through its normal cycle
  • Range, cook top, and permanently installed oven
  • Trash compactor
  • Garbage disposal
  • Ventilation equipment or range hood
  • Permanently installed microwave oven

The home inspector is not required to observe:

  • Clocks, timers, self-cleaning oven function, or thermostats for calibration or automatic operation
  • Non built-in appliances
  • Refrigeration units

The home inspector is not required to operate:

  • Appliances in use
  • Any appliance that is shut down or otherwise inoperable

 

 

 

ByThe Home Inspector

Anti-Tip Brackets for Freestanding Ranges

Anti-tip brackets are metal devices designed to prevent freestanding ranges from tipping. They are normally attached to a rear leg of the range or screwed into the wall behind the range, and are included in all installation kits. A unit that is not equipped with these devices may tip over if enough weight is applied to its open door, such as that from a large Thanksgiving turkey, or even a small child. A falling range can crush, scald, or burn anyone caught beneath.

Bracket Inspection

Inspectors can confirm the presence of anti-tip brackets through the following methods:

  • It may be possible to see a wall-mounted bracket by looking over the rear of the range. Floor-mounted brackets are often hidden, although in some models with removable drawers, such as 30-inch electric ranges made by General Electric, the drawers can be removed and a flashlight can be used to search for the bracket. Inspectors should beware that a visual confirmation does not guarantee that the bracket has been properly installed.
  • Inspectors can firmly grip the upper-rear section of the range and tip the unit. If equipped with an anti-tip bracket, the unit will not tip more than several inches before coming to a halt. The range should be turned off, and all items should be removed from the stovetop before this action can be performed. It is usually easier to detect a bracket by tipping the range than through a visual search. This test can be performed on all models and it can confirm the functionality of a bracket.

If no anti-tip bracket is detected, inspectors should recommend that one be installed.

Clients can contact the dealer or builder who installed their range and request that they install a bracket. For clients who wish to install a bracket themselves, the part can be purchased at most hardware stores or ordered from a manufacturer. General Electric will send their customers an anti-tip bracket for free.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were 143 incidents caused by range tip-overs from 1980 to 2006. Of the 33 incidents that resulted in death, most of those victims were children. A small child may stand on an open range door in order to see what is cooking on the stovetop and accidentally cause the entire unit to fall on top of him, along with whatever hot items may have been cooking on the stovetop. The elderly, too, may be injured while using the range for support while cleaning.

In response to this danger, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) created standards in 1991 that require all ranges manufactured after that year to be capable of remaining stable while supporting 250 pounds of weight on their open doors. Manufacturers’ instructions, too, require that anti-tip brackets provided be installed. Despite these warnings, retailer Sears estimated in 1999 that a mere 5% of the gas and electric units they sold were ever equipped with anti-tip brackets. As a result of Sears’ failure to comply with safety regulations, they were sued and subsequently required to secure ranges in nearly 4 million homes, a measure that has been speculated to have cost Sears as much as $500 million.

In summary, ranges are susceptible to tipping if they are not equipped with anti-tip brackets. Inspectors should know how to confirm that these safety devices are present.

 

 

ByThe Home Inspector

15 Tools Every Homeowner Should Own

The following items are essential tools, but this list is by no means exhaustive. Feel free to ask your inspector during your next inspection about other tools that you might find useful.

  1. Plunger

A clogged sink or toilet is one of the most inconvenient household problems that you will face. With a plunger on hand, however, you can usually remedy these plumbing issues relatively quickly. It is best to have two plungers — one for the sink and one for the toilet.

  1. Combination Wrench Set

One end of a combination wrench set is open and the other end is a closed loop. Nuts and bolts are manufactured in standard and metric sizes, and because both varieties are widely used, you’ll need both sets of wrenches. For the most control and leverage, always pull the wrench toward you, instead of pushing on it. Also, avoid over-tightening.

  1. Slip-Joint Pliers

Use slip-joint pliers to grab hold of a nail, a nut, a bolt, and much more. These types of pliers are versatile because of the jaws, which feature both flat and curved areas for gripping many types of objects. There is also a built-in slip-joint, which allows the user to quickly adjust the jaw size to suit most tasks.

  1. Caulking Gun

Caulking is the process of sealing up cracks and gaps in various structures and certain types of piping. Caulking can provide noise mitigation and thermal insulation, and control water penetration. Caulk should be applied only to areas that are clean and dry.

  1. Adjustable Wrench

Adjustable wrenches are somewhat awkward to use and can damage a bolt or nut if they are not handled properly. However, adjustable wrenches are ideal for situations where you need two wrenches of the same size. Screw the jaws all the way closed to avoid damaging the bolt or nut.

  1. Flashlight

None of the tools in this list is of any use if you cannot visually inspect the situation. The problem, and solution, are apparent only with a good flashlight. A traditional two-battery flashlight is usually sufficient, as larger flashlights may be too unwieldy.

  1. Tape Measure

Measuring house projects requires a tape measure — not a ruler or a yardstick. Tape measures come in many lengths, although 25 feet is best.  Measure everything at least twice to ensure accuracy.

  1. Hacksaw

A hacksaw is useful for cutting metal objects, such as pipes, bolts and brackets. Hacksaws look thin and flimsy, but they’ll easily cut through even the hardest of metals. Blades are replaceable, so focus your purchase on a quality hacksaw frame.

9. Torpedo Level

Only a level can be used to determine if something, such as a shelf, appliance or picture, is correctly oriented. The torpedo-style level is unique because it not only shows when an object is perfectly horizontal or vertical, but it also has a gauge that shows when an object is at a 45-degree angle. The bubble in the viewfinder must be exactly in the middle — not merely close.

10.  Safety Glasses / Goggles

For all tasks involving a hammer or a power tool, you should always wear safety glasses or goggles. They should also be worn while you mix chemicals.

11.  Claw Hammer

A good hammer is one of the most important tools you can own.  Use it to drive and remove nails, to pry wood loose from the house, and in combination with other tools. They come in a variety of sizes, although a 16-ounce hammer is the best all-purpose choice.

12.  Screwdriver Set

It is best to have four screwdrivers: a small and large version of both a Flathead and a Phillips-head screwdriver. Electrical screwdrivers are sometimes convenient, but they’re no substitute.  Manual screwdrivers can reach into more places and they are less likely to damage the screw.

  1. Wire Cutters

Wire cutters are pliers designed to cut wires and small nails.The side-cutting style (unlike the stronger end-cutting style) is handy, but not strong enough to cut small nails.

  1. Respirator / Safety Mask

While paints and other coatings are now manufactured to be less toxic (and lead-free) than in previous decades, most still contain dangerous chemicals, which is why you should wear a mask to avoid accidentally inhaling. A mask should also be worn when working in dusty and dirty environments. Disposable masks usually come in packs of 10 and should be thrown away after use. Full and half-face respirators can be used to prevent the inhalation of very fine particles that ordinary face masks will not stop.

  1. Duct Tape

This tape is extremely strong and adaptable. Originally, it was widely used to make temporary repairs to many types of military equipment. Today, it’s one of the key items specified for home emergency kits because it is water-resistant and extremely sticky.

 

ByThe Home Inspector

10 Easy Ways to Save Money & Energy in Your Home

Most people don’t know how easy it is to make their homes run on less energy, and here at The Home Inspector, we want to change that. 

Drastic reductions in heating, cooling and electricity costs can be accomplished through very simple changes, most of which homeowners can do themselves. Of course, for homeowners who want to take advantage of the most up-to-date knowledge and systems in home energy efficiency, InterNACHI energy auditors can perform in-depth testing to find the best energy solutions for your particular home. 

Why make your home more energy efficient? Here are a few good reasons:

  • Federal, state, utility and local jurisdictions’ financial incentives, such as tax breaks, are very advantageous for homeowners in most parts of the U.S.
  • It saves money. It costs less to power a home that has been converted to be more energy-efficient.
  • It increases the comfort level indoors.
  • It reduces our impact on climate change. Many scientists now believe that excessive energy consumption contributes significantly to global warming.
  • It reduces pollution. Conventional power production introduces pollutants that find their way into the air, soil and water supplies.
  1. Find better ways to heat and cool your house. 

As much as half of the energy used in homes goes toward heating and cooling. The following are a few ways that energy bills can be reduced through adjustments to the heating and cooling systems:

  • Install a ceiling fan. Ceiling fans can be used in place of air conditioners, which require a large amount of energy.
  • Periodically replace air filters in air conditioners and heaters.
  • Set thermostats to an appropriate temperature. Specifically, they should be turned down at night and when no one is home. In most homes, about 2% of the heating bill will be saved for each degree that the thermostat is lowered for at least eight hours each day. Turning down the thermostat from 75° F to 70° F, for example, saves about 10% on heating costs.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat saves money by allowing heating and cooling appliances to be automatically turned down during times that no one is home and at night. Programmable thermostats contain no mercury and, in some climate zones, can save up to $150 per year in energy costs.
  • Install a wood stove or a pellet stove. These are more efficient sources of heat than furnaces.
  • At night, curtains drawn over windows will better insulate the room.

Image of a high-efficiency thermostat at the InterNACHI® House of Horrors® in Colorado.

  1. Install a tankless water heater.

Demand-type water heaters (tankless or instantaneous) provide hot water only as it is needed. They don’t produce the standby energy losses associated with traditional storage water heaters, which will save on energy costs. Tankless water heaters heat water directly without the use of a storage tank. When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit. A gas burner or an electric element heats the water. As a result, demand water heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water. You don’t need to wait for a storage tank to fill up with enough hot water.

  1. Replace incandescent lights.

The average household dedicates 11% of its energy budget to lighting. Traditional incandescent lights convert approximately only 10% of the energy they consume into light, while the rest becomes heat. The use of new lighting technologies, such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), can reduce the energy use required by lighting by 50% to 75%. Advances in lighting controls offer further energy savings by reducing the amount of time that lights are on but not being used. Here are some facts about CFLs and LEDs:

  • CFLs use 75% less energy and last about 10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
  • LEDs last even longer than CFLs and consume less energy.
  • LEDs have no moving parts and, unlike CFLs, they contain no mercury.
  1. Seal and insulate your home.

Sealing and insulating your home is one of the most cost-effective ways to make a home more comfortable and energy-efficient, and you can do it yourself. A tightly sealed home can improve comfort and indoor air quality while reducing utility bills. An InterNACHI energy auditor can assess  leakage in the building envelope and recommend fixes that will dramatically increase comfort and energy savings.

The following are some common places where leakage may occur:

  • electrical receptacles/outlets;
  • mail slots;
  • around pipes and wires;
  • wall- or window-mounted air conditioners;
  • attic hatches;
  • fireplace dampers;
  • inadequate weatherstripping around doors;
  • baseboards;
  • window frames; and
  • switch plates.

Because hot air rises, air leaks are most likely to occur in the attic. Homeowners can perform a variety of repairs and maintenance to their attics that save them money on cooling and heating, such as: 

  • Plug the large holes. Locations in the attic where leakage is most likely to be the greatest are where walls meet the attic floor, behind and under attic knee walls, and in dropped-ceiling areas.
  • Seal the small holes. You can easily do this by looking for areas where the insulation is darkened. Darkened insulation is a result of dusty interior air being filtered by insulation before leaking through small holes in the building envelope. In cold weather, you may see frosty areas in the insulation caused by warm, moist air condensing and then freezing as it hits the cold attic air. In warmer weather, you’ll find water staining in these same areas. Use expanding foam or caulk to seal the openings around plumbing vent pipes and electrical wires. Cover the areas with insulation after the caulk is dry.
  • Seal up the attic access panel with weatherstripping. You can cut a piece of fiberglass or rigid foamboard insulation in the same size as the attic hatch and glue it to the back of the attic access panel. If you have pull-down attic stairs or an attic door, these should be sealed in a similar manner.
  1. Install efficient shower heads and toilets.

The following systems can be installed to conserve water usage in homes:

  • low-flow shower heads. They are available in different flow rates, and some have a pause button which shuts off the water while the bather lathers up;
  • low-flow toilets. Toilets consume 30% to 40% of the total water used in homes, making them the biggest water users. Replacing an older 3.5-gallon toilet with a modern, low-flow 1.6-gallon toilet can reduce usage an average of 2 gallons-per-flush (GPF), saving 12,000 gallons of water per year. Low-flow toilets usually have “1.6 GPF” marked on the bowl behind the seat or inside the tank;
  • vacuum-assist toilets. This type of toilet has a vacuum chamber that uses a siphon action to suck air from the trap beneath the bowl, allowing it to quickly fill with water to clear waste. Vacuum-assist toilets are relatively quiet; and
  • dual-flush toilets. Dual-flush toilets have been used in Europe and Australia for years and are now gaining in popularity in the U.S. Dual-flush toilets let you choose between a 1-gallon (or less) flush for liquid waste, and a 1.6-gallon flush for solid waste. Dual-flush 1.6-GPF toilets reduce water consumption by an additional 30%.
  1. Use appliances and electronics responsibly.

Appliances and electronics account for about 20% of household energy bills in a typical U.S. home. The following are tips that will reduce the required energy of electronics and appliances:

  • Refrigerators and freezers should not be located near the stove, dishwasher or heat vents, or exposed to direct sunlight. Exposure to warm areas will force them to use more energy to remain cool.  
  • Computers should be shut off when not in use. If unattended computers must be left on, their monitors should be shut off. According to some studies, computers account for approximately 3% of all energy consumption in the United States.
  • Use efficient ENERGY STAR-rated appliances and electronics. These devices, approved by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Program, include TVs, home theater systems, DVD players, CD players, receivers, speakers, and more. According to the EPA, if just 10% of homes used energy-efficient appliances, it would reduce carbon emissions by the equivalent of 1.7 million acres of trees.
  • Chargers, such as those used for laptops and cell phones, consume energy when they are plugged in. When they are not connected to electronics, chargers should be unplugged.
  • Laptop computers consume considerably less electricity than desktop computers.
  1. Install daylighting as an alternative to electrical lighting.

Daylighting is the practice of using natural light to illuminate the home’s interior. It can be achieved using the following approaches:

  • It’s important that they be double-pane or they may not be cost-effective. Flashing skylights correctly is key to avoiding leaks;
  • light shelves. Light shelves are passive devices designed to bounce light deep into a building. They may be interior or exterior. Light shelves can introduce light into a space up to 2½ times the distance from the floor to the top of the window, and advanced light shelves may introduce four times that amount;
  • clerestory windows.  Clerestory windows are short, wide windows set high on the wall. Protected from the summer sun by the roof overhang, they allow winter sun to shine through for natural lighting and warmth; and 
  • light tubes.  Light tubes use a special lens designed to amplify low-level light and reduce light intensity from the midday sun. Sunlight is channeled through a tube coated with a highly reflective material, and then enters the living space through a diffuser designed to distribute light evenly.
  1. Insulate windows and doors.

About one-third of the home’s total heat loss usually occurs through windows and doors. The following are ways to reduce energy lost through windows and doors:

  • Seal all window edges and cracks with rope caulk. This is the cheapest and simplest option.
  • Windows can be weatherstripped with a special lining that is inserted between the window and the frame. For doors, apply weatherstripping around the whole perimeter to ensure a tight seal when they’re closed. Install quality door sweeps on the bottom of the doors, if they aren’t already in place.
  • Install storm windows at windows with only single panes. A removable glass frame can be installed over an existing window.
  • If existing windows have rotted or damaged wood, cracked glass, missing putty, poorly fitting sashes, or locks that don’t work, they should be repaired or replaced.
  1. Cook smart.

An enormous amount of energy is wasted while cooking. The following recommendations and statistics illustrate less wasteful ways of cooking:

  • Convection ovens are more efficient that conventional ovens. They use fans to force hot air to circulate more evenly, thereby allowing food to be cooked at a lower temperature. Convection ovens use approximately 20% less electricity than conventional ovens.
  • Microwave ovens consume approximately 80% less energy than conventional ovens.
  • Pans should be placed on the matching size heating element or flame. 
  • Using lids on pots and pans will heat food more quickly than cooking in uncovered pots and pans.
  • Pressure cookers reduce cooking time dramatically.
  • When using conventional ovens, food should be placed on the top rack. The top rack is hotter and will cook food faster. 
  1. Change the way you do laundry.
  • Do not use the medium setting on your washer. Wait until you have a full load of clothes, as the medium setting saves less than half of the water and energy used for a full load.
  • Avoid using high-temperature settings when clothes are not very soiled. Water that is 140° F uses far more energy than 103° F for the warm-water setting, but 140° F isn’t that much more effective for getting clothes clean.
  • Clean the lint trap every time before you use the dryer. Not only is excess lint a fire hazard, but it will prolong the amount of time required for your clothes to dry.
  • If possible, air-dry your clothes on lines and racks.
  • Spin-dry or wring clothes out before putting them into a dryer. 

Homeowners who take the initiative to make these changes usually discover that the energy savings are more than worth the effort. InterNACHI home inspectors can make this process much easier because they can perform a more comprehensive assessment of energy-savings potential than the average homeowner can.