January 2011 Edition

Understanding Winterizing

It is becoming very common to see homes that have been winterized. With the expanding foreclosure market, more vacant homes are being listed than ever before. With high energy cost, it is only logical to have the utilities turned off. This newsletter will cover problems with winterization as well as myths about dewinterizing.
Some home inspectors cringe when they see the sign that says “Winterized.” You never know what to expect. There may be a broken pipe caused by improper winterization that may leak and flood the house as soon as the water is turned back on.
Some companies just turn off the water at the street and only drain the water heater and go though the house opening faucets to drain the water out of the piping. This will drain some of the water, but not all. There may still be areas in the piping located below the lowest faucet that will not be drained. Not to mention areas such as refrigerator ice maker water lines, jetted tub piping and washing machine water hoses.
A better method of winterizing is using air pressure to force the water out of the piping. An air compressor is attached to the piping, and the system is pressurized. Then each fixture is opened until all of the water is removed. The fixture is then closed, and the next fixture is opened. This works great for items such as ice makers, dishwashers, etc. After all fixtures are checked, you can be pretty much assured all of the water is removed from the water piping. The only items remaining to be winterized are the fixture traps such as sinks, tubs, showers and toilets. Antifreeze is then added to the water that is located in the traps which completes the operation.
Anyone can dewinterize a home. There is no special tool required or special knowledge needed.
1.    The first thing to do is to go through the entire house and turn off all of the water valves and faucets. This is especially important for refrigerator ice maker lines and washing machine valves since they can flood the home in a very short period of time. Next turn off the water valve to the water heater. Be sure to verify the water heater drain valve is closed which may require the use of a screw driver. Go around the outside of the house to close all of the hose bibbs.
2.    Go out to the water meter and turn on the water. Verify the meter does not run. If it does, turn the water back off and go back to the house to check to see what you missed. After you have everything turned off, turn the meter back on.
3.    Go to the closest hose bibb and open it. Allow the air to escape. When you get a steady flow of water, turn it back off.
4.    Open the valve to the water heater and fill the tank. Open a hot water valve from one of the bathrooms to allow the air to escape. When the tank is full, light the burner or turn on the panel breaker.
5.    Go around checking each fixture for leaks. Sometimes leaks will not occur during the inspection, but hours later.
6.    When finished with the inspection, ask the realtor or the seller if the water should be turned back off. Be sure to keep the heat on to prevent future freezing.

Window Seal Failure

We have three windows with moisture between the glass panes. We heard from friends that there are companies that specialize in this type of repair. Is there a method available to remove the moisture without replacing the glass? 
What you are referring to is commonly called “glass pane seal failure.” Your windows are double pane glass that have a vacuum applied to remove the air between the two pieces of glass. With the air removed, no moisture can enter inside the glass. Over time the seals around the two pieces of glass can fail allowing moisture in. Most windows are warranted against seal failure for ten years. If you look at the strip between the two pieces of glass, you can sometimes see the manufacture month and year. The only problem is most manufacturers do not put their name on the windows making it impossible to know who to contact if you have a problem.
Window Seal 
  First, check with your builder, if possible, to see where they purchased the windows. If you can get this information, you stand a good chance of finding the manufacturer. Otherwise, you will just need to replace the glass. There are many glass
companies around Atlanta that do this type of repair. They will come out, measure the window, and order the glass. They will come back out and install it. You do not have to replace the entire window frame. A word of caution: Some companies will quote you very high prices, so be sure to get three quotes.
There have been a couple of companies that claimed to be able to remove the moisture without replacing the glass, but all of the ones I know have gone out of business. If you do find a company, make sure they have been in business for years and check Google or some other search engine for complaints. Also, check with the Better Business Bureau.


With Any Home Inspection By

Christian Building Inspectors, Inc.

If you have a question, change of address, comment or home tip, send your letter to Home Tips, Christian Building Inspectors, Inc., 3697 Habersham Lane, Duluth, Georgia 30096. You can E-Mail your questions to us at rodharrison@christianbuildinginspectors.com. We reserve the right to edit questions for length.

Quote Of The Month

"Do Not Let The Things You Cannot Change Affect Your Attitude.”

Rod Harrison

A Tip Of The Hat To:

Steve Bing

Virtual Properties Realty

6650 Sugarloaf Parkway, Suite 700

Duluth. Georgia 30097

**** Thank You****

Warranty Recall Chek