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Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) are shock protection devices that we have come to appreciate since their introduction into the building code and local requirement in 1979.  GFCI protection is required on exterior, basement, kitchen countertop, laundry room, bathroom, and garage receptacles circuits.  Any electrical receptacle within six feet of water, such as a fountain, or any light within 20 feet of a swimming pool, must be protected by GFCI. They operate by measuring the current passing from the hot to the neutral through any protected receptacle, and if the current varies by 3-5 milliamps then the breaker stops the power in less than 1/20th of a second.  


The inventor of the GFCI was Charles Dalziel, a professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at US Berkeley.  It is reported that to sell his invention to investors, he put his daughter into a tub full of water and threw in a toaster plugged into a GFCI protected outlet.  The GFCI worked and today is a required safety device in every new home.  You can recognize the circuit breaker, installed at the beginning of the circuit, by the test and reset buttons on the receptacle. Lightning and power surges can damage these breakers and they should be tested on a monthly basis, and replaced when they quit working properly.


Another electrical safety device has been invented recently, and has been required installation on bedroom circuits since 2003. It is called an Arc Fault Circuit Breaker. This safety electrical circuit breaker is located in the main electrical service panel and is designed to stop power to the bedroom circuits if an arc is detected in the circuit that would start a fire.  This breaker has a test button on it, but if you find it tripped, don't simply reset the breaker, because you will be restarting the fire.  Call your electrician if you find this arc fault tripped.  The funny thing is, this arc fault protection is required by the 2009 International Residential Code for the whole house. Unfortunately, it has not yet been invented to service the entire house! 


Allen Blaker of Inspection Specialists has done numerous property inspections for me and for my clients for over twenty years.  He has always been thorough,reliable,personable and accurate.  He works well with my clients, and his reports and his detailed explanations are clear and informative. I look forward to working with him again in the future.

Howard Roth, CRS, E-PRO, GRI
Catalina Foothills Realty





 Inspection Specialists

sincerely thank you for your valued business.  We appreciate your goodwill and loyalty throughout the past year.  It has been our pleasure to work with you, and we look forward to serving you in the future. 




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Allen's Anecdotes

  Home Inspection Humor

    Allen Saves Christmas


The day before Christmas is the day to get all the last minute stuff done that procrastination or time deprivation has kept us from doing!  Everyone is busy on this day, but you can imagine what that day would be like if you were selling or buying a house. The seller in this story was having guests over for Christmas, and the buyer was from out of state and looking to get back home in time for Santa to arrive.  Of course, the all important home inspection had to happen, and the day before Christmas was the ONLY day it could be arranged.  If there is a need for an inspector, I am the inspector that can make it happen 24/7!


The day was uncharacteristically windy and cold for Tucson, AZ, even in December.  It was about 20 degrees F. with strong, gusty, 20-25 M.P.H. winds making it seem like 20 below zero!  The house to be inspected was a single story ranch style home built in the 50's of wood frame construction with a flat roof.  The seller was understandably grumpy when I knocked at the door at 10:00 AM sharp.  The first words out of his mouth were"This isn't going to take very long is it?  I have company coming and I have a long list of things to accomplish today." I responded in a reassuring tone, "I should be only a few hours...and then the buyer and his agent will be arriving at 12:30.  It's not my favorite day to do an inspection either, and I assure you that I will be out of your hair as quickly as I can."


I proceeded to inspect the exterior, the garage and then the interior.  One of my first stops on the interior was the hall mechanical room closet, to take a good look at the forced air natural gas furnace which was roaring in action.  As I opened the door, I couldn't help but notice an orange glow throughout the closet.  It was a flickering light that seemed to be coming...from the rafters above the closet!

As I ran to the bathroom, which was conveniently located directly across the hall from the heater closet, I screamed at the top of my lungs: "Call the fire department...your house is on FIRE!"  I pulled the sink stopper to fill the bath sink with water and scooped up as much water as my two hands could carry.  I threw the water up into the rafters through the space round the furnace hot vent pipe in an attempt to fight the fire.  Back and forth I went...throwing water up into the ceiling as best I could...thinking to myself: "I wonder what this would look like on my curriculum vitae?...my home inspection resulted in the home being burned to the ground!"

Fortunately, the fire was just getting started and was confined to the rafter space next to the furnace hot vent pipe.  The pipe had separated within the rafter space...due to the high winds that day, and had fallen against one of the wooden rafters which caught on fire. The fire department was there in two minutes...giving me just enough time to create a ton of smoke and steam, in my successful efforts to extinguish the fire with handfuls of water.  The ceiling of the closet got an eight inch hole in the plaster from the fire departments fire extinguisher to make sure the fire was out.  As the firemen were leaving, their comment to the home owner was definitely my life saver: "You are a very lucky man today to have had a home inspector here.  Your home likely would have burned to the ground if the inspector hadn't been here at just the right time to Save Christmas."




Makes 1 large or 2 medium


2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

1  8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup dairy sour cream

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1  2-ounce jar diced pimento

2 Tablespoons sweet pickle relish

10 slices bacon crisp-cooked, drained & crumbled

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Dash salt

Dash pepper

1/4 cup snipped parsley or 1 Tablespoon dry parsley

1 Tablespoon poppy seeds

Assorted crackers


Let grated Swiss cheese, Cheddar cheese, and cream cheese come to room temperature. In a large mixer bowl beat together cream cheese and sour cream till fluffy.  Beat in Swiss cheese, Cheddar cheese, onion, 
pimento, pickle relish,
of bacon, 1/4 cup or half of the pecans, salt and pepper.
In small bowl combine the remaining bacon, pecans, parsley, and poppy seeds.  Turn mixture out onto clean sheet of waxed paper. Roll cheese ball/balls in seed mixture to coat.  Wrap and chill. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature before serving. Serve with crackers.
Per Tablespoon: 60 calories, 3 g protein, 1 g carbohydrate, 5 g fat, 13 mg cholesterol and 78 mg sodium




Inspection Specialists | | ablaker@hotmail.com | http://www.yourinspectionspecialists.com
10645 N Tatum Blvd., #200-536
Phoenix, AZ 85208


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