July, 2006
You Tell Us
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



Founder Speaks

EDITED BY ASHI STAFF

To the Editor,

I was somewhat pleased to see my picture on the front cover of the ASHI Reporter until I looked for the article supporting the photograph. I do not recall ever seeing someone’s picture on the cover of a publication and nothing in the body of the publication about the person or why the photo is there in the first place.

In addition, I am not the founding member; I am The Founder of the American Society of Home Inspectors, membership #000001. I don’t understand why this fact is so difficult for those in leadership to grasp, maybe because they were not there.

I was asked several months ago by someone from your public relations group to help them establish ASHI’s history. I spent several hours doing this and sent a three-page letter outlining this for you. Yet, in the timeline you published, someone has chosen to leave out the first meetings of our history before we met at the White Plains Hotel and before I was a “founding member.” These first meetings and the persons who attended them were the most important aspects of ASHI’s beginning; they are the founding members, yet no mention of them in the timeline.

I would appreciate this letter being published in the Reporter so our members can understand that our history, as outlined in the Aril 2006 issue, is not complete or fully accurate.

Ron Passaro, Founder of the American
Society of Home Inspectors, member 000001


Editor’s note: The editor is solely responsible for the magazine’s content, including choosing the cover photo of Mr. Passero to represent the 30th Anniversary timeline. A more detailed account of ASHI’s history was published for the 25th Anniversary, and the editor regrets that this recap offended Mr. Passaro.


More on whole house fans


To the Editor:

Bob Mulloy’s article on whole-house fans (Reporter April 06) makes many good points, to which I would like to add one. As he noted, attics can be a source of many allergens, which accumulate there. If an attic has inadequate ventilation, the pressurization can force allergens into the home through an inactive air conveyance system located in the attic. (I measured about 100 feet per minute air velocity at a ceiling diffuser with an attic AC unit running, and 30 fpm at the same diffuser with the blower off and the whole house fan on!). Incompletely shut louvers during winter can lead to moisture infiltration and mold growth on the sheathing in cold attics (the fans should be sealed for winter, as well as have the power shut down, as Mulloy pointed out). Finally, the depressurization of the house, even with windows open, in addition to radon and combustion gases, can lead to significant infiltration of odors, spores, etc., from moldy or otherwise contaminated basements and crawl spaces.

Jeffrey C. May, ASHI Member,
Author of “My Office is Killing Me! The Sick Building Survival Guide”


How things look after you’ve been out of touch

(The following letter was sent to Rob Paterkiewicz, ASHI executive director)

I received my first ASHI Reporter in nine months, after having USPS second-class mail service finally returned to my downtown New Orleans address. It is good to see ASHI media dollars are still being well spent and that Joe (Corsetto) was so well received in NYC. I appreciate the heads-up from legislative quarters regarding the Health Plan bill and will take action accordingly.

Only this week did someone contact me regarding PATH Technology and housing innovation. Your staff’s reference to the tool base was excellent timing. Although I appreciate Frank Lesh’s “Guide to EIFS,” I am still miffed by his opposition to federal aid for Dutch-like water barriers, Category 5 hurricane protection for the New Orleans region. Much to my surprise and disappointment, many in Congress feel the same. If only we could shut off the flow of oil north, or close the Port of New Orleans to agriculture headed south...perhaps they would come around.

Dan Friedman’s introduction of the Internet ASHI Bulletin Board to a crowded Orlando Hotel meeting room 12 years ago was literally history in the making, and was a first for any association I know of.

It is good to see the Standards and Code of Ethics still being refined. It is important that all members remember the words of John Heyn’s 1978 report to the membership that, “Morally, home inspectors carry a major responsibility in advising the homebuying public on their largest financial commitment.” Back then, Realtor® referrals was an unknown term in the home inspection profession and was certainly not a seminar topic at an ASHI conference. Perhaps that is now old school, as are those who attended those historic ASHI gatherings. I am encouraged by the number of people I don’t recognize in the ASHI Reporter, serving on committees and staff
supporting your efforts. It is indeed a positive sign that you and ASHI’s leadership have done just that over the years, i.e., provided leadership to others so that we can carry on.

In New Orleans, home inspectors are busy. Most homes that we inspect have been flooded and gutted. We provide guidance and technical advice to those who are buying flooded homes at substantial discounts. Many are first time homebuyers who never dreamed they would have an opportunity to buy good homes in good neighborhoods and build equity so fast. They are the pioneers and foundation of the new New Orleans.

With a new mayor on the horizon, and a resiliency of unbelievable proportions...
we will ReNew Orleans! The Hyatt Hotel may be back on line in 2007; ASHI should act now to secure another successful InspectionWorld in New Orleans soon! Thanks again to you, your staff and our membership for their efforts and support on the behalf of our long-term recovery.

Andrew Polmar, ASHI Member
Louisiana Real Estate Inspection, Inc.
New Orleans, La.


The challenges of standby generators

Recent weather disasters have brought about an increase in the number of standby generators that you may encounter during a typical home/building inspection and that your client will expect you to comment on. Like many specialty items excluded from the Standards of Practice, not commenting on them in your normal inspection may bring some criticism from your client.

You will probably not be privy to the specification sheets, or as to the initial sizing/design capabilities and as to whether the unit will successfully provide needed power when called upon winter or summer, along with whether or not the fuel supply is adequate with anything other than a utility-supplied natural/LP gas questionable. Also, other electrically operated appliances/equipment may have been added since the original design/installation, which may now entail the disconnecting of certain appliances/equipment if a power failure occurs, with a critical part of the system being the transfer switch that prevents, among other things, the “back feeding” of power into the electric utility com-pany’s entrance supply line.

You may also encounter generator applications using small contractor types whereas after using certain methodologies/precautions they are able to supply power to the furnace-television-refrigerator etc., whether directly to the electrical outlet/receptacle nearby or else through the main panel and/or sub-panel etc.

Regardless of the generator’s operation parameters/capabilities, you need to
distance yourself from all potential liability issues if the generator and/or
its application fail.

I am a 27-year member of ASHI, and joined following the first-ever national conference at Rutgers University in 1978 being ASHI #000108. Being a member has been a real learning experience; attest to the fact that my typed narrative reports prior to joining ASHI were no more than two pages. I still do typed narrative reports, but they typically contain 17 pages or more.

Kurt R. Grashel, ASHI Member
Home and Building Inspection Service
Sugar Grove, Ohio



Correction

Our apologies to ASHI Charter Member John J. Heyn, chair of ASHI’s first Standards Committee, for misspelling his name in the article “ASHI Standards & Code Now One,” May 2006.