This past vacation, down the Oregon coast, led to an interesting experience at a motel.
Now I know what you are probably thinking, but this is not your typical racy story about fun activities in a “notell-motel,” it is about how a home inspector never really leaves his work behind.
This motel was a very modern, new construction unit, built in 2007 (according to the water heater and refrigerator date codes–you know I had to look).
There was a little kitchenette in our unit and the unit actually looked newer than 2007, it was so well cared for.
In the morning, my sweetie decided to try out the toaster and immediately proceeded to make charcoal. To avoid setting off the smoke alarm, she turned on the kitchen range hood but nothing happened. The smoke just sat there.
I decided to open the kitchen window to see if that would help.
As soon as I opened the window the kitchen range hood actually started to do its job and air poured into the room through the open window.
This was a great example of how all modern, tightly constructed homes function.
When we turn on the exhaust fans in our homes, there has to be a way for the air that is being displaced by the fans to come into the home from somewhere else. If it cannot, a negative pressure is created on the home and the fan will not function. It will just sit there and whine. The fan will spin and spin doing nothing but spin. As soon as the window was opened the spinning fan could start to do some work and move the smoke from the room. The fact that the fan was actually “working” could be detected in the sound difference as soon as the window was opened. The fan got noticeably louder and the smoke started leaving the room.
The best thing of all—the smoke alarm never went off.
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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