Greetings to everyone and thanks again for reading. This week I will go over a few things regarding your home. The first thing I will go over is some home descriptions that I have been asked about recently.
What is the difference between a stick-built home, mobile home and manufactured home?
A stick-built home is a home that is built on the site where it will remain. It also sits on a foundation that covers the entire perimeter of the home.
A mobile home is a home that is built on a steel frame with wheel axles, and sits on either concrete blocks or concrete runners.
A manufactured home is built off-site on various types of temporary supports. When completed, it is divided into one, two or three sections and craned onto a trailer. The home is delivered to the homesite where it is taken off the trailer and placed on a permanent foundation. Unlike a mobile home, a manufactured home is not meant to ever be moved again.
Standards in construction in all types of homes and their differences
A stick home that is built after 1980, is a home that has 2×6 stud exterior wall construction and 2×4 stud non-load bearing walls, all which is standard today. Due to increased customer expectations, interior load-bearing walls often are 2×6; however, building codes usually only require 2×4 studs. This is also true with most types of home construction today. In some homes with non-load bearing walls, no matter the type of home, you will see 2×3 studs used.
Stick-built homes have drywall-finished walls and ceilings that each measure ⅝” and 1⁄2” thick, that are taped and textured. This is also the case with manufactured homes. Mobile homes today are also built with a different type of drywall called VOG, which stands for vinyl over gypsum. This is a special drywall that is sold in full sheets and does not need tape and mud. Instead, it has small runner sticks that cover the seams.
Wiring types found in homes
It is my opinion that the most important detail to know, if you have had electrical issues or are looking to buy a home, is the type of wiring in the home.
Copper romex wire is the standard code today in any type of home. It is the safest type of wire and when installed correctly, it rarely fails.
From 1965 to 1973, aluminum wiring was an alternative used in mobile homes and some stick-built homes. After 1973, it was outlawed because it was found to overheat and cause fires.
Most homes built in this time have been upgraded to copper wire due to insurance requirements; however, many mobile homes were left unchanged.
Knob and tube copper wiring was used in homes prior to 1948, but was banned in new construction, (post 1948), due to wires coming off the knobs and fraying, resulting in fire or injury.
Special note: Upon doing a home inspection of a home built prior to 1948, make sure to inspect the wire past the electrical box. An illegal shortcut some people use when remodeling a home is to remove about one foot of the old wiring and to replace it with new, up-to-code wiring, giving the false impression that the entire wiring is within code. This is punishable by a fine and may result in jail time. Make sure to check that there are no bobtails installed in a home you are looking at. If the seller does not disclose they have some or all knob and tube wiring, the seller can be held financially responsible and charged with a felony if a fire and loss occurs due to the wiring. I would walk away and find another home if you find the seller is lying.
Your home’s pipes
There are three types of pipes used in homes today. In some cases, there is more than one kind. Copper is still a standard pipe used in homes. Today’s copper pipes are no longer soldered, aka sweating, with lead, but are lead-free and perfectly safe. Some builders today will not use a sweating of the pipe process at all anymore, but will use compression fittings only.
PEX pipe is a plastic pipe that is very flexible and requires no glue. It is connected with copper connectors and compression fittings. In homes that are built close together in urban areas, this pipe is used for the home’s drinking water supply and its fire sprinkler lines.
PVC pipe is rated for potable water. This pipe typically has glued connections and is available in a range of colors.
Tips this week for saving in winter energy costs
Change your furnace air filters every 90 days with a 90-day rated filter. Doing so will take pressure off your blower fan and make it last longer.
Install a programmable thermostat. This way your temperature stays in a relatively comfortable zone when you are away, saving you energy costs.
Set your hot water heater to 110 degrees instead of 120, again, saving you energy costs.