August 1997 Edition

Venting A Hot Attic

Our attic has gable vents and soffit vents but the heat build up is working our air conditioner overtime. Is there a quick and easy way to add additional ventilation?                       
The heat build up in the attic can indeed make your air conditioner run longer. It will also shorten the life of your roofing shingles. The more attic ventilation you have, the cooler your attic will be in the summer.



The easiest way to add additional ventilation is with a power ventilating fan added to the end on the roof at a gable vent. This will pull the air through the attic and exhaust it through the gable. The secret to the installation is to seal along the outside of the fan housing and over the portion of the gable vent outside the fan. This will prevent pulling air in around the fan which defeats the purpose. You want to pull the air through the other end of the house. The fans have detailed instructions on how to do this. The fans are thermostatically operated. Set the thermostat around 110 degrees. This will provide adequate ventilation without the fan running all of the time. The most difficult part of the installation is connecting the unit to the electrical system. A licensed electrician should only charge a nominal fee for this.  

 “Big Blue” Polybutylene

There is a lot of talk about “Big Blue” water pipes that leak. What is the story and how do you tell if you have it?
Blue polybutylene main water pipes, often referred to as “Big Blue” were used in the late ‘70’s thru the early ‘90’s. They connected your home’s water system to the street water main. The pipe is buried in the front yard normally. The pipe has been found to be potentially defective and is covered under a Class Action Law Suit.                        
To tell if you have “Big Blue” - go to the area where the main water pipe comes into the house - either the crawl space or basement. If you have a slab on grade home, most homes will have the main water shut off valve around the water heater. If the pipe penetrating the foundation wall or slab is blue plastic pipe, then it is probably polybutylene.                       
If the pipe ever breaks, you will probably notice a very wet spot in the front yard. The first thing to do is turn off the water at the meter and at the main shut off valve in the house. Now you have isolated the broken piping.                       
Go to your washing machine and remove the hot water hose on the rear of the washer. Do not forget to close the hot water valve. You will need a section of hose that has female treads on both ends. Screw the hose on an exterior hose bibb (water faucet). Take a garden hose and attach it to the end of the washing machine hose. If you have friendly neighbors, ask them if you can borrow some water. Run the hose over to your neighbor’s house and connect it to their hose bibb. Their front hose bibb may give you more pressure. Open both hose bibbs and your water will be restored. You will be able to use everything except the hot water for the washing machine (remember you borrowed one of the hoses).                       
Call the Plumbing Claims Group to report the problem at 1-800-356-3496. They will replace the pipe at no charge. It may take a few days to a week for the repair.

This Home Tip was compliments of Jerry Goldwasser with Buckhead Home Inspection Service.

Garbage Disposal With A Septic Tank

We are on a septic tank and have been told not to install a garbage disposal. We know other people that have garbage disposals on the same type system. Who should we believe?                       
The plumbing code does not prevent you from adding a garbage disposal if you want to. Just remember, you are adding extra solids to the storage tank and it would be a good idea to pump the tank out a little more often. 

 ASHI Web Site


The American Society of Home Inspectors has a web site that is full of information for the home owner. ASHI is the national professional organization of home inspectors with members throughout the United States and Canada. ASHI’s mission is to promote exemplary practice in the home inspection profession. ASHI has a Standards of Practice and a Code of Ethics which members subscribe to. 
You will find information for:
  • What is a Home Inspection
  • Find an ASHI member near you
  • What to expect from a qualified home inspector
  • General information about ASHI
  • FAQ’s for Buyers: Aluminum Wiring, Oil Tanks, Septic Systems, Siding, etc.
  • Links to home and building information
  • ASHI Libraries  
You can find ASHI at:

If you have a question, change of address, comment, home tip or would like to send Home Tips to your clients, 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 We reserve the right to edit questions for length.

Quote of the Month

“It is a funny thing about life;

If you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it”

- Somerset Maugham

A Tip Of The Hat To:

Tammy Park

Re/Max North Atlanta

Doraville, Georgia

**** Thank You****