AC Refrigerant

One of the major troubles we warn customers about when it comes to their home air conditioning systems is signs of leaking refrigerant. The refrigerant in an air conditioner must remain at a constant level, which is known as the AC’s charge, during its lifetime. The air conditioner doesn’t consume refrigerant as it runs (it’s not an energy source, but a heat transference medium), so the only way it can lose its charge is due to leaks. When an AC is undercharged, not only will cooling performance drop, but the whole system will suffer damage—eventually leading to a burned-out compressor.

But the reverse can happen, an air conditioner that has too much refrigerant. This sometimes occurs because a homeowner tried to do a DIY repair attempt on the air conditioner and put in more refrigerant. The most likely cause of an overcharged air conditioner is a poorly trained technician who wasn’t sure of the right amount because of unfamiliarity with a particular cooling system. Experience and training are essential in AC repairs, and that’s why we urge you to always call a licensed professional.

Why Too Much Refrigerant Is a Problem

The simple answer is that it can cause permanent damage to the air conditioner. It will start causing other problems before the catastrophic damage sets in, which gives you time to notice the symptoms.

Excess refrigerant will start to lower the efficiency of an air conditioner and its cooling ability. This might seem backwards: wouldn’t the AC start to get too cold? But the problem comes from the way the air conditioner is designed. If an air conditioner is designed to work with 3 pounds of refrigerant but has 4 pounds in it, it’s pushing the system to work as if it were larger than it is. It also increases the pressure inside the system. This wastes energy and means a cooling loss. As soon as air conditioning bills spike and you notice rooms are warmer than they should be, have a repair technicians out to assist you. The problem may not be overcharged refrigerant, but something is wrong that needs to be fixed.

The serious danger from overcharged refrigerant is to the compressor. Too much refrigerant can cause the compressor to suffer a permanent breakdown. The reason is because refrigerant will become trapped inside the compressor. Liquid refrigerant should never get into the compressor because it will lower the compressor’s lubrication and may allow oil to pool inside it leading to a complete breakdown. Replacing a compressor is expensive, and in most cases it is a more cost-effective choice to have a new air conditioning system installed.

Truss Uplift

Truss uplift is a phenomenon common in homes built with roof trusses. If a house suffers from truss uplift, the top floor ceilings literally lift off the interior walls in the winter. They drop back down in the summer. Needless to say, this is a tad disconcerting to the homeowner. At first glance, one might assume that the floors have settled. Actually the ceiling has gone up – sometimes creating a gap of as much as two inches where interior walls meet the ceilings.

What is a Truss?

Trusses are prefabricated structural assemblies which hold up the roof and the top floor ceilings. Trusses tend to be a stronger lighter and less expensive approach to roof framing. Trusses are strong because they make use of the most efficient geometric shape we know of – the triangle. Trusses are a series of triangles fastened together with gusset plates. The outside members of a truss are called chords while the inner pieces are known as webs.

Why Truss Uplift?

Houses have changed over the years. Attics of newer houses have lots of insulation and ventilation. They also have roof trusses instead of rafters and ceiling joists. The bottom chord of a truss is buried below a deep blanket of insulation. Even on the coldest days the bottom chord is nice and warm. The top chords however, are above the insulation and get very cold in a well ventilated attic.

While the bottom chord is warm and is drying out, the top chords are doing just the opposite. The cold winter air has very high relative humidity. The top chords absorb moisture from the air causing them to elongate.

With the top chords growing and the bottom chord shrinking, the truss arches up in the middle causing the ceilings to lift off the walls. In the summer, the cycle reverses itself.

What Is The Problem?

No problem really – from a structural point of view. But cosmetically it’s another story. No one has yet solved the problem, but some builders mask it by securing the ceiling drywall to the top of the walls and not to the trusses for a distance of 18 inches away from the walls. The drywall flexes and stays fastened to the walls while the trusses lift above it.

Others use a decorative molding where the walls meet the ceilings. They fasten the moldings to the ceilings but not to the walls. As the ceilings move up, the moldings go with them hiding the gap.

Reports in 24 Hours or Less

With the pace of today’s markets and due diligence deadline’s looming you need your reports fast so you can negotiate before the clock runs out. That’s why we provide you and your clients with your report as quickly as possible.

Over 20 Years Construction Experience

Our inspectors have years of experience in the construction field which gives us a greater knowledge of systems than other inspectors. Understanding the construction industry allows us to more efficiently and knowledgeably inspect the homes components and provide your clients with a report that highlights the items of true concern.

New Construction Package

Buyers receive a comprehensive pre-drywall, pre-closing, and one year home warranty inspection for one low price. Although we give you a package price you pay at the time of each inspection. Our package simply locks you into the rates quoted.

Each inspections takes between 2-3 hours depending on the size of the home as well as systems to be inspected. After the inspection is complete, I will walk the property with you to review findings and answer questions. A comprehensive report will be provided within 24 hours.

*Package price for homes up to 3000 sq ft. For larger homes please call for pricing.

Ten Common Reasons for Roof Leaks

Roof leaks can cause significant damage to a home if the underlying cause isn’t discovered and repaired promptly. Since water can travel outward from the point where a leak occurs, it may be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause. Check your roof for some of the most common causes of leaks to stop an existing leak or to prevent future problems.


Roofing materials deteriorate with age and become less effective at keeping water out. Temperature fluctuations and weather conditions may cause roofing materials to become brittle and crack over time. Exposure to direct sunlight can melt the tar that seals shingles together.

Roof Vents

It’s important for any penetration through the roof to be sealed properly to prevent leaks. Inspect the gaskets around vent pipes for cracks or gaps and check for missing nails. Plastic vents may crack after years of exposure to the weather.


If the roof slope is too shallow, wind can lift shingles and drive rain underneath. Roof slope, or pitch, is measured as a ratio of its vertical rise, in inches, over a horizontal distance of 12 inches. The International Building Code stipulates that the roof slope must be at least 2:12 for installation of asphalt shingles. If the slope is between 2:12 and 4:12, a double layer of underlay material must be used. Ensure that your roofing materials are appropriate for the roof pitch and have been installed properly.


Buildup of debris such as twigs, leaves or pine needles can trap water against the roof and allow it to seep in by capillary action. It’s important to keep the roof clear to permit water to run off quickly. Trimming overhanging tree branches will make it easier to keep your roof free of debris.


Metal roof flashing seals roof transitions where large amounts of water run down or where absorption may occur. Flashing is placed where the roof joins a dormer, where a chimney penetrates the roof and around the edges of skylights. Flashing sections may slide out of place if nails are missing and caulk may dry and crack over time.

Ridge Cap

The ridge cap covers the gap at the peak of a roof where the two slopes meet. Contractors who use rope and harness systems without protecting the ridge cap can create holes in the roofing material, allowing rain to enter.

Gutter Backup

Gutters that are clogged with leaves or other debris can slow the water flowing off the roof, giving it time to soak through. Gutter covers can help keep gutters clear of debris to ensure that water flows freely and quickly off the roof.


Holes remaining after the removal of a TV antenna or some other rooftop installation can draw water into the house. Inspect the roof for holes and seal any that you discover.

Excess Moisture

Draining upper roof gutters directly onto a lower roof can lead to the lower section becoming overly saturated, which can cause leaks. Extend the downspout to the next gutter or down to the ground instead.

Missing Shingles

Strong winds can rip shingles from the roof, and you may have an exposed area where you can’t see. Climb a ladder to inspect hidden areas and check for missing shingles.

Common Gas Fireplace Issues

Unusual Odors

This common gas fireplace problem can be a source of panic for homeowners – the combination of a gas appliance and a strange odor can be terrifying! Fortunately, it many cases, the odors aren’t as problematic as your initial fears may suggest.

There are several non-threatening sources of gas fireplace odors:
• Pet dander/fur
• Dust
• Dirt

Some things, like objects near the fireplace or even cleaning residue you may have used on the glass can also emit an odor when heated.

That said, there are some smells that are a cause for concern! If you smell gas directly or notice a smell like burning wires or electrical components, immediately shut off your fireplace and contact a professional!

Ignition Failure

Is your fireplace failing to ignite? Depending on the cause, you may be able to fix the problem yourself! If you haven’t used your gas fireplace in a while, there may be air in the tubing. You’ll need to bleed the air out by holding down the pilot button for a minute or two. In many cases, this is all it takes to get the fireplace going again.

Do you notice gas coming out of the pilot, but it won’t ignite? Your spark igniter could be faulty. Check to see if there is any debris that may be causing an issue between the thermocouple and spark igniter.

Lastly, if you have compressed air, it’s possible that blowing the pilot area clean can help restore the proper conditions to ignite again. Use the air and wait a few minutes, then try again.

Soot Build-up

If there is an abundance of soot built up, air flow may be the problem. You may need less gas flow and more air flow. There may be a mixing valve on your fireplace or a vent to allow in more air. Doing this every so often produces a bluish flame, but tends to remove the soot.