Tools and Material Required: Utility knife and/or drywall saw, small piece of thin wood (I used 1/2" plywood), replacement piece of drywall.
Do you have wall siding that is in contact with concrete? This is a common site of water penetration and long term can lead to hidden damage in the wall framing. There needs to be a gap between wall siding and any contact with concrete or earth to allow water to drain. If this isn't possible, flashing needs to be installed to help with water shedding.
These pictures show a wall where the siding that was in contact with the concrete patio has been removed for further investigation. The siding showed signs of rot and the wall framing behind looks to have been in contact with water for awhile. The sill plate and rim joist (important framing pieces) are rotted out from the long term presence of water. This homeowner will need to consider some extensive repairs. The sill plate and rim joist need to be cut out and replaced with sound wood.
It's finally spring and time to think about all those outdoor clean up and maintenance projects. While your are outside, take a minute to look at the dryer vent outlet cover located somewhere on the side of your house. It needs to look nice and clean with freely moveable vent louvers. You don't want it to look like the pictures below.
Dryer vent clogs like the above have two main implications. The first is that they are a fire risk and a pretty significant one at that. From the FEMA website: "2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year and cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss." The second implication is that a clogged dryer vent leads to decreased efficiency of the dryer. If it is harder to get the exhaust out, the dryer has to work harder and clothes will take longer to dry.
The fix for this is pretty simple. Remove the lint accumulation from the outside (you may need to remove the cover from the wall to do this). You can usually just brush and pull the lint from the cover but a vacuum with a brush attachment can come in handy for this task. If you notice a large amount of lint within the duct work, there is a brush on a long cable that can be used to help clean the system.
To check that everything is working correctly, put the cover back on the wall and turn the dryer on inside. The flap or louvers on the dryer vent cover should open freely and allow the dryer exhaust to blow out without restriction.
It's such a small hole, why should you bother to seal it? It doesn't look like much could get through. I can ignore it, can't I?
This hole is hard to see from far away but on closer inspection of the electrical conduit an unsealed siding penetration is easy to notice. The hole is less than an inch wide but this is a lot of room if you are an insect, a drop of water or even a small rodent. From the outside it can be difficult to tell where the hole leads. In this case, with the hole next to the main electrical service meter, you really need to investigate farther.
As you can see from the picture above, the hole leads directly to the main electrical service panel for the house. When the panel was opened and the safety cover removed it was quite evident that this panel was found to be an inviting and cosy home for spiders and other insects.
This is a problem. There is a lot of organic and potentially flammable material in the electrical panel. This can trap heat and serve as a source of ignition for a fire. The panel needs to be cleaned by a qualified party and the hole in the siding needs to be repaired. A little bit of maintenance and routine repair can prevent a much bigger problem down the road.
Brian Jovag, owner of Jovag Home Inspection.