Monday, July 31, 2017
8:13 am edt
This issue has been around for more than 20 years, but it seems now the insurance companies
are getting better about asking about this type of piping on a more proactive basis. It's a fair bet that if the insurance
company finds out that a particular house has Polybutylene in it (often referred to as "gray pipe"), then they will
not write the policy until it is replaced. Again since the insurance industry is so fragmented and ever in flux, nothing
is 100% but as you might imagine, they have very little incentive to write insurance on a home with a known risk that is quite
literally attached to it. Most of the Polybutylene piping is actually found in manufactured homes in this area. I
have found it in a few dozen times in site-built single family homes in Brevard (much higher incidence of this plumbing in
Orange and Volusia counties) but that is a couple dozen out of 8,000-9,000 inspections that I've completed so it's really
quite rare in this area. It's most commonly found in homes that were built in the late 80's through the 90's (or renovated
in the time period). It is most commonly replaced with PEX or CPVC when found. You can do a quick search on the
Internet to see pictures of it and why it's an issue. It's quite easily spotted, in most cases as it is visible under
sinks and behind toilets. On a site-built home it's typically run throughout the entire attic so when it fails it can make
a real mess! On a manufactured home, most of it is run under the house only penetrating the living envelope at each
point of use.
Monday, June 1, 2015
Well hurricane season is here again,
Just a reminder to those of you with hurricane panels to make sure they are accessible as well as the fasteners if needed.
I always recommend to buyers to do a "dry run" and install them all just to make sure all of the panels are
present as well as the fasteners. Also if they have never done it before it will go much smoother than it would by learning
with a hurricane bearing down on them. A client in Melbourne called me recently after he installed all the shutters,
saying that it took a lot longer than he thought as some were mis-labeled or not labeled at all, missing parts, stuck screws,
the works! So he was glad that he did it before actually needing to do it in a hurry. Anyway, everyone have a
happy and safe summer!
10:35 am edt
Sunday, December 2, 2012
Federal Pacific Electric Panels
9:27 am est
There has been some ongoing uncertainty about issues with the FPE Stab-lok panels. There are some real world issues
with this panel and most electricians would agree that they should be replaced. However, the more immediate problem
is that they are becoming harder and harder to get insurance on. If they panel is found on the 4-point inspection, many
insurance companies will not insure the home until it is changed out. Here is a quote from AAA.
"November 12, 2012
Auto Club Insurance Company
Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) Electrical Panel
Effective immediately, homes with an
electrical panel manufactured by Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) Company will be ineligible for a AAA Package Policy.
It is known that homes with FPE electrical panels present a potentially dangerous situation. FPE electrical
panels sometimes fail to trip a breaker when an electrical surge occurs, which can lead to overheating and fires. A
class-action lawsuit brought this to light and FPE electrical panels are a common “hazard” that 4-Point inspectors
Due to the fire hazard presented by these panels, homes where an FPE electrical panel is found during
a 4-Point inspection must have the electrical panel replaced in order to be eligible. If the FPE panel is not replaced,
the home will be ineligible for a AAA Package Policy. As a reminder, 4-Point inspections are required for 40+ year old
homes at new business.
your continued support of AAA Insurance. "
...and they aren't the only ones. Here is a
list of other companies reportedly not accepting the panel:
Tower HillSecurity First
So at this point it doesn't really make sense to go into any further discussion on whether
or not there is a real problem with these panels (it's more about the breakers actually), if they aren't insurable then that's
pretty much the nail in the coffin for FPE.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
I have confirmed with Citizens Insurance this morning that Citizens is now writing policies on houses with aluminum with a
few provisions. They are only accepting houses that have been "pig-tailed" with Alumiconn or Copalum connectors.
They also have to have a state certified, licensed electrician sign off on the house that the approved connectors were
used and the aluminum wiring in the breaker panel is corrosion free, tight, and properly connected. They have finally
made the distinction between the 240 V multi-strand circuits and the 110 single strand branch circuits. All outlets,
switches and fixtures will need to be made up with either of these two connectors. These are NOT wire nuts, rather they
are a proprietary system tested by UL and NEC approved. Most "pig-tail" jobs that I've seen will not be accepted
under the latest requirements. The good news is that there is an alternative to the prospect of totally rewiring a house
with copper. These requirements can be met at about 1/10 of the cost of a total rewire. You can search for ALUMICONN
or COPALUM and get all the info that you need. if you are dealing with an aluminum wire house, buying or selling, this
will need to be dealt with if the house is going to be insurable. As it stands right now (as I've been told) Citizens
is the only insurer of houses with aluminum wiring and they are only insuring with these requirements met. I'm also
told by Citizens that they are looking at other ways of making the connections but for now these two are the only approved
ones. However due to the ever-changing nature of the insurance industry in Florida please understand that I can only
relate what I've been told. I've heard there is an insurance company that will take aluminum wiring on occasion but
I can't confirm that nor which company it was.
9:51 am edt
Saturday, March 5, 2011
10:38 am est
Now I'm sure most people don't hear this very often much less say it, but, I can't believe how quick the Department of
Business and Professional Regulation of Florida moves these days! I suppose I just wanted to publicly acknowledge the
state for it's improvement in efficiency and speed. They keep saying they are getting better, leaner/meaner and faster,
and they really are.
Last month I finally got around to submitting my granfathering application to the state
for my state home inspector license. The deadline to submit it was March 1st 2011 so I supposed I'd waited long enough
and I'm really glad I did. The reason I was putting it off was a very good one and it actually paid off. The state
originally wanted us to submit 120 inspection reports to prove the required 3 years of experience. So several months
back I pulled all 120 inspections from 2000-2001 because back then my inspections were much shorter. However even with
the "shorter" inspections, I was still gonna have to print out 3-4 reams of paper and ship them off to the state!
So I figured I'd take a small gamble and wait for the state to realize they can't possibly follow through with that
requirement, as they would have rooms filled with useless inspections that they couldn't possibly ever go through, and I'm
glad to say it worked. Instead of 120 full reports, they changed it to a LIST of 120 home inspections, what a huge difference!
Only took me an hour and 10 sheets of paper, I already had my list, just had to type it up.
So I sent off my
application double, triple, and quadruple checked...and I had my state license 3 days after I sent it! I'm not sure
how the heck they got it done that quick, but they did and I couldn't be happier with my latest interaction with Florida's
DBPR. Now I have another state license to maintain, how fun. Well at least it seems maintaining that license
has gotten much easier with the greatly improved DBPR.