The bad news about lead contamination

By Joe Lundequam / May 31, 2018 / General / No Comments

Actually, all the news is bad Lead has been around for a long time. The word plumbing comes from the Latin word for lead, plumbum. Lead was used as an inexpensive and reliable material for the vast network of plumbing that supplied Rome and its provincial cities with water. Even the Romans, howev...

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What’s a sump pump check valve?

By Joe Lundequam / May 15, 2018 / General / No Comments

Why is a sump pump check valve important? A check valve is the same diameter as the discharge pipe into which it fits and is usually a different color. A check valve should be installed in order to prevent pumped water in the discharge line from re-entering the sump pit when the device is turned ...

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Sump pump information

By Joe Lundequam / May 15, 2018 / General / No Comments

A lot more than you’d EVER wand to know about sumps First, what IS a sump pump? Sump pumps are self-activating electrical pumps that protect homes from moisture intrusion. They are usually installed below basement or crawlspace floors to remove rising groundwater and surface runoff before i...

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DYI roof vent repair

By Joe Lundequam / May 9, 2018 / General / No Comments

You can repair your leaky roof vent boot yourself. It’s easy!  As a home inspector in the Stillwater, MN area, one of the reasons that I make a point of getting up on a roof is because it’s important to look for leaks and potential leaks, and some problems are hard to see unless you [...

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More about ungrounded 3-prong outlets

By Joe Lundequam / March 30, 2018 / General / No Comments

In 1962, house builders started installing outlets with ground wires attached. Grounded 120-volt receptacles in the United States have a small, round ground slot centered below two vertical hot and neutral slots, and it provides an alternate path for electricity that may stray from an appliance. ...

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Wood Burning Fireplaces

By Joe Lundequam / March 5, 2018 / General / 2 Comments

Why don’t chimney sweeps wear top hats anymore? They keep falling off. Boring but true. Nothing about a chimney sweeps’s job can be described in breathless narrative. Well, until there’s a house fire. When that happens, folks want to know all about who  did what, when, why and h...

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Leaking bathtub overflow tube

By Joe Lundequam / February 22, 2018 / General / No Comments

An easy fix that doesn’t involve tearing out the ceiling in the room below the bathtub As a home inspector in the Stillwater area, I make it a point to check the overflow tube for leaks. It used to involve filling the tub all the way to the rim, and checking for leaks behind the […]

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A new way to heat water

By Joe Lundequam / February 18, 2018 / General / No Comments

Do you remember heating up water on the stove to take a bath? Me neither. But that’s how my mom took a bath when she was a little girl in a farm near Hastings. Of course, that was a million years ago. Still, the technology hasn’t changed much; Start a fire (or plug in an […]

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Attic bypass – a term you’re going to hear more often

By Joe Lundequam / February 7, 2018 / General / 1 Comment

Illustration credit: GreenBuildingAdvisor Chances are, you have the equivalent of a 2 – foot hole in your ceiling, letting heat out of the house. It doesn’t look like a 2 – foot hole, but it’s the equivalent of one, because there are a lot of small spaces around plumbing s...

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Rim joist insulation

By Joe Lundequam / January 17, 2018 / General / No Comments

Did you ever forget to winterize you hose bibbs and NOT have a split water pipe due to freezing? I bet I know why. You either have a newer house, which has frost-free faucets, or your rim joists are poorly insulated. Frost free hose bibbs  are pretty easy to understand. The valve itself is not [&...

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