I have an awesome wife. Kara has stuck with me for the past 22 years and supported me in everything that I have done. She is a very talented photographer who runs a successful business - Kara Jovag Photography, is an outstanding Mom for our 3 daughters and can still be patient with her husband.
She was nice enough to help with some of the pictures on this website and design my new business cards. Besides the business cards, Kara does portrait work, some real estate photography and has become the unofficial photographer for all of my daughters lacrosse teams. Check out the website and her blog for more examples of her work.
A recurring theme - water causes problems if it gets to places it is not supposed to be in.
This chimney is a bit weathered and has no protection from the rain. Exposure to water over the years has deteriorated the mortar between the bricks. It's now at the point where the bricks are loose and have the potential to tumble off the roof. Not good if you happen to be standing in the back yard.
This is a non working and abandoned chimney, when the roof is replaced it would be a good idea to remove the chimney to below the sheathing and roof over the opening.
In the meantime, the chimney needs a rain guard / rain cap to be installed once the loose bricks are removed and a stable base is established. This will reduce the chances of water intrusion and help preserve the remaining mortar. No more bricks falling off the roof.
Water heaters are one of the most important things for daily comfort in our homes. Who doesn't look forward to that hot shower in the morning to get you going for the day? We rely on our water heaters to work day in and day out throughout years of service and rarely think about them. They are usually hidden away in the garage working hard to make hot water for daily use and slowly corroding away.
Since they are so back of mind, it's a good idea to check on them every once in a while. Catching problems early saves you in the long run, emergency service calls by a plumber tend to be a bit spendy.
Something that is easy to catch if you look for it is early signs of galvanic corrosion at the supply lines. Galvanic corrosion happens when two dissimilar metals make contact in a wet environment. The supply pipes to a water heater are a prime location for this to occur.
What causes it? Like the root of a lot of problems in a house - water. Obviously water flows through the pipes and it can act as a bridge for an electrical charge. The pipe connections have to be shielded from water. This is usually done with a dielectric union and teflon tape. In the picture above likely both of these safeguards have failed.
This can be an easy fix if caught early. The dielectric union needs to be replaced and the connections need to be well protected with teflon tape.
I recommend watching this video from This Old House to learn more about this issue.
"Brian, what are you going to do when you get out of the Army?" - common question I was asked in August of 2016.
I was retiring after 22 years in the Army and all my training and education was as a Physical Therapist. It seemed like I had educated myself into a corner. I wanted a break from being a full time PT but I still wanted to do something that utilized my skills and provided a challenge.
I've always loved DIY projects (and my wife keeps me busy with projects around the house). We have a rental home that I maintain and have remodeled over the past 8 years. I enjoy projects around the house and learning something new about plumbing, electrical, construction and building practices with each new problem to solve.
It hit me when we bought a college rental house in Bellingham. It was built in 1902 and had a ton of character as well as a lot of problems to fix before it was ready to rent. I walked around the house with the home inspector during the inspection and was fascinated with the process.
Looking at a house and assessing the systems, construction and how the whole thing goes together is very similar to doing an evaluation of a patient. I'm skilled at diagnosing musculoskeletal issues in patients and those same skills are essential in being a good home inspector.
I needed a change and this was it - become a home inspector. I get to use all my skills I've learned as a PT and combine them with my love of DIY with the challenge of looking at something new every day.
Brian Jovag, owner of Jovag Home Inspection.