The Mystery Behind GFCI's!
Have you ever wondered what is the purpose of the outlets with buttons on them? Skyline Inspections has the answer for you. The outlets we are referring to are called Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters, or GFCI's for short.
The NEC defines Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter as a device intended for the protection of personnel that functions to de-energize a circuit or portion thereof within an established period of time when a current to ground exceeds the values established for a Class A device.
Areas we would like to see GFCI's located at are garages, outdoors, crawlspaces, kitchens, bathrooms, wet bars, boathouses, rooftops, and pools.
GFCI's should be tested or exercised monthly. A common way to test the outlet is to connect a nightlight to the outlet and press the test button.
If the "RESET" button pops out but the light does not turn off, the GFCI has been improperly wired. Contact an electrician to correct the wiring errors.
If the "RESET" button does not pop out, the GFCI is defective and should be replaced.
If the GFCI is functioning properly and the lamp turns off, press the "RESET" button to restore power to the outlet.
Skyline Inspections takes pride in all our credentials that we have earned. One credential we are most proud of is being "Mobile Home Inspector Certified" through InterNACHI. One of the most common questions we get while inspecting mobile / manufactured homes is with the tie-downs. We would like to take this opportunity to discuss these tie-downs.
What is a tie-down?
Tie-downs are a system of heavy duty metal strapping that is installed to keep the manufactured home in place during weather with high winds. If tie-downs are not properly placed a manufactured home could slide or even overturn.
What are some types of tie-downs?
Over the Top Tie-Downs: Over the top tie-downs is strapping that goes over the siding and the roof. Some units, especially single wide, have over the top tie-downs already installed and are located just underneath the siding and the roof.
Frame Anchors; Frame anchor tie-downs are attached to the frame of the manufactured home underneath the unit. Most of the time you will locate these on newer manufactured homes and double-wide's. These are acceptable because these types of manufactured homes are heavier.
What are some safety and maintenance tips?
All straps should be tight and straight. Not loose.
Replace straps that are showing signs of corrosion.
Make sure your home has the correct amount of straps for our area.
Anchors must be installed to full depth.
Straps should not be stresses, kinked, or bent.
Keeping children safe is the number one priority with parents. Here at Skyline Inspections, we would like to give a few ideas to assist you in these endeavors. We came up with a few ideas that should be able to assist you in keeping your children safe.
1. Safety latches on cabinets and drawers. We know this one seems obvious but safety latches in the kitchen and bathrooms can help keep kids away from poisons and other objects that could provide injuries. Remember parents, always re-latch the safety latches once you are done with them.
2. Safety gates. Consider installing safety gates around stairs and steps to prevent your little ones from taking a tumble. For the top of stairs use the gates you can screw into the walls over the pressure gates.
3. Anti-scalding devices. Children's skin is more delicate than adults. By installing a anti-scalding device, you will be attempting to keep the water at a safe temperature under 120 degrees.
4. Smoke detectors. This is a great safety idea for children and adults. Install smoke detectors on each level of your home and near all bedrooms. Test the batteries at least once a month.
5. Receptacle / outlet covers. Use outlet covers to help prevent children from electrocution. Make sure they cannot be easily removed and large enough that children cannot choke on them.
Garages produce the highest risk of fires starting in residential households. At Skyline Inspections Inc. we would like to provide some tips to help prevent fires from starting or spreading into the house.
Garages provide the highest risk of fires starting due to flammable materials being stored, oil and gas can drip from cars, and this is usually the area you do work on cars or lawn equipment. Some ways to prevent fires are: store your flammable materials in self closing and labeled containers. Keep these containers with minimum amounts of flammable materials. Also, keep these containers far away from water heaters or air handlers that could create a spark.
Some ways to prevent fires from spreading are: make sure your attic hatch remains covered. Use light bulbs with proper wattage. This will help prevent the lights and its surrounding materials from over heating. Also, try not to overload your electrical outlets. Do not have a pet door going through the door. This can allow fumes to enter the house and could assist the fire spreading. The door between the garage and the house should be a fire rated self closing door.
These are just a few tips to help keep your family safe!
Congratulations on purchasing your first home. Now that you have your very own castle, you feel like you are missing something. Have no fear, Skyline Inspections has a few tool ideas that will help you get started!
1. Plunger - This isn't the most glamorous of tools! But when something is clogged a plunger will fix that inconvenience.
2. Combination wrench set - Consider purchasing these wrenches in metric and standard size.
3. Adjustable wrench - Be careful while using an adjustable wrench because if used incorrectly a bolt or nut can be damaged.
4. Caulking Gun - Caulking guns can assist in preventing water penetration. Make sure the caulking gun is used on clean and dry surfaces.
5. Flashlight - All the tools in this list is pointless if you cant see what you are doing!
6. Tape measure - Remember measure twice and cut once.
7. Hacksaw - This is useful to cut the pesky bolts that have been stripped.
8. Safety Glasses - Remember safety first!
9. Claw hammer - A good hammer is a crucial tool to own. Consider the 16 ounce version.
10. Screwdriver set - Consider having 4. A large and small version of the Flathead and Phillips.
Bonus item!!! Duct Tape - This adaptable item is perfect to make temporary repairs!
Who doesn't want to save money and the planet at the same time! Here are some ideas that can help you get on track to putting a little more money back into your pocket!
1. Find better ways to heat and cool your home.
- Install ceiling fans
- Replace air filters every month
- At night, close your curtains to better insulate your windows.
2. Update your water heaters to Tankless.
- The great thing about tankless water heaters, they do not constantly run to warm stored water in a tank! Instant savings! When a hot water tap is turned on the heating element heats up the running water on demand. So no need for a tank and 40 gallons of water being heated 24 hours a day.
3. Replace incandescent lights.
- Incandescent lighting on average only uses 10% of their energy for lighting. The other 90% of the energy is producing heat. LED's can on average save 50% to 75% on energy compared to incandescent lighting and they last longer!
4. Use your electrical appliances responsibly.
-On average household electronics and appliances consume 20% of your homes energy. A tip to save energy on your refrigerator and freezer is to keep them away from your stove and ovens. The closer they are to your cooking appliances, the more energy they need to use to keep your food cool.
-Unplug chargers when they are not in use. Chargers pull power even though they are not charging anything.
5. Change how laundry is being done at home.
- Consider only washing clothes when you have full loads. A typical medium setting is saves less than half the water and energy a full load consumes.
- Avoid using the highest temperature when washing clothes. 140 degree water is not that more effective than 103 degree water.
- Keep your lint trap cleaned on your dryer. Not only is this a fire hazard but it will take longer to dry your clothes with a dirty lint trap.