May, 2002
News in Brief
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Hurricane Season Coming Soon


The official start of hurricane season is now only a month away, which still allows time for some advanced preparations. The Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) has produced a brochure outlining retrofit tips that you can pass along to your clients. The title of the guide is “Is Your Home Protected From Hurricane Disaster? A Homeowner's Guide to Hurricane Retrofit.”

A PDF file is available to download at:

Termite time

As termites start to swarm this spring, inspect your home for termite invasion. The following check list was provided by Bayer Corporation’s Professional Care business unit, which is sponsoring Bayer Home Health™ One Million Checkup Challenge with Bob Vila.

Perform this seven step checkup to find out if your home is at risk for termites:

1. Keep it dry. Termites need moisture for survival, so they seek out wet places around your home. Check your gutters to make sure water drains away from the home and doesn't pool around your foundation.

2. Wood is an avenue in for termites, so keep all firewood, lumber or wood products away from your home's foundation or crawl space. Also embed all outdoor wood posts and stairs in concrete, and always allow an 18-inch gap between the soil and wooden portions of your home.

3. Have a solid foundation. Termites can sneak through openings as small as a pinpoint, so seal all cracks and holes in your home’s concrete foundation.

4. Examine your storage spaces. Rotted wood, or damage to cardboard boxes, wallpaper, carpeting or sheetrock are all signs that termites have already invaded your home.

5. Inspect windowsills and doorframes for sawdust and bug-size wings. Termites leave behind their wings when they reproduce, so check to make sure these locations are free of debris.

6. Look for mud tunnels running along your home's foundation. These “bug size” tracks of damp dirt or bubbled paint on wooden surfaces allow termites to enter your home without being exposed to sunlight and air, which can be deadly to termites.

7. Are you swarm-free? Beginning in the spring, reproductive termites swarm in the early evening or after rainstorms. Swarming termites around or inside your home is a major warning sign of potential infestation.

Want to totally make sure you're termite-free? Contact your pest management professional today and set up an inspection.

Mechanical Ventilation Strategies in Residential Construction” study available

The use of mechanical ventilation in houses has been the focus of increasing attention in the home building industry due to concerns about the envelope tightness of new homes and indoor air quality. To provide builders and designers with more information about the use of mechanical ventilation systems, the NAHB Research Center investigated the performance of whole house mechanical ventilation systems in new homes. Test sites were located in Alabama, Maryland, and Minnesota. Each of the test homes had three independent mechanical ventilation systems so that we could test different systems in the exact same house during varied seasonal conditions. All of the homes were built with special attention to air sealing of the building envelope.

The main questions that this research answered were:

• Do the mechanical ventilation systems achieve the air exchange rates that they were designed to provide?

• How much do they cost to install?

• How much do they cost to operate?

• What are some of the pros and cons of the systems that were tested?
A summary of the results of the project is available online at

You can view the summary online or down-load a PDF version. The complete publication costs $100 and can be ordered from the Web site.

Mosquito handout sheet for customers

A PDF version of a mosquito handout sheet for customers is available from the Pest Control Industry (PCI) Web site

The handout includes types of repellents, proper use and safety guidelines. There is
room at the top to imprint your company name.