Saturday, January 16, 2016

It's cold out there.

Oh boy it's cold outside!!!

The temps sure have dropped here in the Chicago area the past day. Who doesn't like to stay warm after a long day at work by taking a soak in the Jacuzzi or hot tub? If you do, please take a few moments to read this article.

Anti-Scald Valves

by Nick Gromicko
Anti-scald valves, also known as tempering valves and mixing valves, mix cold water in with outgoing hot water so that the hot water that leaves a fixture is not hot enough to scald a person.Anti-scald valves are used to regulate water temperature in buildings
Facts and Figures
  • Scalds account for 20% of all burns.
  • More than 2,000 American children are scalded each year, mostly in the bathroom and kitchen.
  • Scalding and other types of burns require costly and expensive hospital stays, often involving skin grafts and plastic surgery.
  • Scalding may lead to additional injuries, such as falls and heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
  • Water that is 160ยบ F can cause scalding in 0.5 seconds.
Unwanted temperature fluctuations are an annoyance and a safety hazard. When a toilet is flushed, for instance, cold water flows into the toilet’s tank and lowers the pressure in the cold-water pipes. If someone is taking a shower, they will suddenly feel the water become hotter as less cold water is available to the shower valve. By the same principle, the shower water will become colder when someone in the house uses the hot-water faucet. This condition is exacerbated by plumbing that’s clogged, narrow, or installed in showers equipped with low-flow or multiple showerheads. A sudden burst of hot water can cause serious burns, particularly in young children, who have thinner skin than adults. Also, a startling thermal shock – hot or cold – may cause a person to fall in the shower as he or she scrambles on the slippery surface to adjust the water temperature. The elderly and physically challenged are at particular risk.
Anti-scald valves mitigate this danger by maintaining water temperature at a safe level, even as pressures fluctuate in water supply lines. They look similar to ordinary shower and tub valves and are equipped with a special diaphragm or piston mechanism that immediately balances the pressure of the hot- and cold-water inputs, limiting one or the other to keep the temperature within a range of several degrees. As a side effect, the use of an anti-scald valve increases the amount of available hot water, as it is drawn more slowly from the water heater. Inspectors and homeowners may want to check with the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) to see if these safety measures are required in new construction in their area.
Installation of anti-scald valves is typically simple and inexpensive. Most models are installed in the hot-water line and require a cold-water feed. They also require a swing check valve on the cold-water feed line to prevent hot water from entering the cold-water system. They may be installed at the water heater to safeguard the plumbing for the whole building, or only at specific fixtures.
The actual temperature of the water that comes out of the fixture may be somewhat different than the target temperature set on the anti-scald valve. Such irregularities may be due to long, uninsulated plumbing lines or defects in the valve itself. Users may fine-tune the valve with a rotating mechanism that will allow the water to become hotter or colder, depending on which way it’s turned. Homeowners may contact an InterNACHI inspector or a qualified plumber if they have further questions or concerns.
In summary, anti-scald valves are used to reduce water temperature fluctuations that may otherwise inconvenience or harm unsuspecting building occupants.

But my Home Inspector didn't.....................................

But my Home Inspector didn't...............

Have you had a home inspection and later read the report only to find that the home inspector did not check over what you thought they were going to look at? Maybe some items include: Sewer Lines, Mold, Radon, Permits for additions, structural load, and HVAC capacity and efficiency to name a few.

Lets start with this: 
Did the inspector prepare and have you sign a "Pre Inspection Agreement" or PIA? In this "contract" it should have spelled out what what they were and were not going to inspect. In Illinois and most states, there is a statute in which it defines what the inspector shall inspect, if receiving compensation. In Illinois that SOP can be found here. If an inspector cannot inspect an item, they should have explained why in the report. Most non-inspected items are for lack of access or weather and safety.

Does the inspector have the training and qualifications for additional items to be assessed. This could be mold, radon, asbestos and many more. Some of these items also carry an additional liability for the inspector as well. 

If you had an inspection on a house that obviously had an addition put onto it, did the inspector check for permits being issued for said addition? Many inspectors do not do this service as it could take weeks, in some jurisdictions, to find out the results. This can needlessly hold up the process of selling the house. In most instances, the seller will readily provide that information. Remember this: if you go to sell that house that had an addition put on and permits were NOT issued and there is a deficiency, you are ultimately responsible to bringing up deficient items into code.

Speaking of "code". Home Inspections are this: a non-destructive evaluation of the house and its systems. Although inspections are performed to do this through "common construction codes", this does not mean they are necessarily "code compliant". Authority having jurisdiction, or AHJ, is simply stating that each county, township, town, city, village will each have their own building codes the follow. Many will be similar, but some may be more stringent than others. For example: if the waste plumbing is determined to be ok having PVC in one town, the other town may still require cast iron waste plumbing. That is not a defective issue then in one inspection.

To sum up: do your due diligence. Ask the inspector what they will inspect. Make sure they give the PIA and have time to review it. When in doubt, ask. A truly trustworthy inspector will anser your questions. If they do not have an answer, they will find the answer for you. 

Until next time

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