The House Whisperer

A free internet archive of Jack Milne's famous House Whisperer Show radio broadcasts.

The Email Box Revisited: Vol.5
Once again, I dive into the trove of emails and pick out a few to help answer questions that I feel will benefit everybody. Today's topics include selling in the winter market, fireplace cleaning, water actuated sump pump backup systems, and dated water heaters. A few other little surprises await your ears.
Fire Safety: What Can We Do To Prepare?
Fires within your home are called accidents because fires can occur in the home for multiple reasons, be it in the kitchen, the dryer, by heating and hot water equipment, fireplaces, etc. On this show, I talk about some of the simple things you can do to prepare your house in case of a fire, including proper planning, smoke alarms, egress windows, fire extinguishers, and sprinkler systems. I ask that you listen in so that your house and your family is fully prepared in the event of a catastrophe that can affect your entire family.
What's In The News For Spring 2015?
As you all know, I am an avid newspaper reader. It's one of the few news sources anymore where news writers are paid to create an accurate picture of what's going on around us. Today I chose to cover topics that apply to all of us, including propane safety, don't get nailed by a contractor, our great city of Philadelphia and how it's grown, reviewing rental costs in the city of Philadelphia, and the problem with Millennials buying real estate. Listen in, as we can all learn something from the latest news events.
Security Systems: Am I Still Safe?
Today's show touches on older security systems. Many people, when they move into a home, are not familiar with the operation nor the fees associated with operating and maintaining a security system. Most of the older systems are tied to a "land line" which many homeowners today no longer have, especially the younger generation of buyers. It also touches on some lazy wiring techniques, where the security system is plugged into a GFCI rated receptacle down at the panel box. If you own one of these older security systems, I ask that you listen in, as I can provide some great insight as to how to keep your family safe.
July is Safety Month: What To Check Around Your House
On this show, I talk about items around the house that we may take for granted, but can save our lives. I touch on smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, ground fault circuit interrupters, bath fans in showers, double locking deadbolts, and cleaning that dryer vent. I don't want to give away the whole show, but I ask that you listen in and learn a few more things about your home that you may take for granted.
Email Box Revisited: Volume 9
Once again, I delve deep down into the email box and pull out letters from my listeners about topics that I feel are relevant to everybody. Today's topics include the importance of getting an appraisal, as well as a pre-listing home inspection, before you put your house on the market, the clearing of trees and branches over your roof line (should it be done now or after the leaves fall?), installing a drybed for water treatment equipment, replacing your roof during the winter months, and finally, orphaned water heaters (what that means and how it can be relevant to not only your health, but the health of your home as well). Listen in, as the topics are great, and everyone can take an opportunity to learn a few more things about their house.
Glen Aust From GA Electric
(215-357-5259 or 610-346-8129) Glen has been a popular guest on The House Whisperer Show over the years. Today I have the opportunity to ask Glen about the various acronyms; GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) and AFCI (arc fault circuit interrupter). We discuss why they are important in your household and how they can save your life. Today's codes call for these specialized breakers and/or outlets in some areas that you wouldn't expect. Listen in, and if your house is not equipped with these specialized devices, you should consider them.
Child Safety After School
As our children begin to mature, at some point the time comes where you hand them a key and say to them, "I'll see you after school." There are always a couple of hours when the child is left alone in the home, and this episode covers some of the important things you should discuss with your child before you leave them this obligation. This episode will cover whether your child walks, rides a bike, or takes a bus to school, how to maintain the home in case of emergency, including fire extinguishers, water main shutoff, electric distribution panels, as well as garage safety. These are just a few things that your child should be aware of when left "home alone". Listen in, as we could all learn something from this show.
Holiday Safety: Food for Thought
"Tis the season for the holidays! With Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas, no matter the religion or the faith, it's about family, friends, and the sharing of love. On this show, I talk about kitchen safety. Although we may take this for granted, I ask that you listen in because not only do I talk about how to properly cook a turkey with two pans, but it's also a light episode about having fun, how to keep the kids (and the guys) out of the kitchen, and keeping the mayhem to a minimum. I talk about energy efficiency when using the refrigerator, and other alternatives than being locked in the kitchen. Have a great Holiday.
How to Safely Prepare for the Holidays
With the holidays approaching, we have to give thought not only to our loved ones, but also to our physical well-being. This is the time of year when we tend to stretch our limits, using ladders and electricity in order to make our houses brighter and more cheerful. I ask that you listen in to this show to learn more about ladder safety, electrical safety, as well as other topics including general maintenance of the home with regard to hose bibs, laundry centers, and also your vehicle.
Underground Fuel Storage Tanks
with Phil Getty of Boucher & James If any listeners have an underground fuel storage tank, regardless of age, I would ask you to listen to this show. Phil Getty, who graduated from Penn State in Geology, has worked for 20 years with Boucher and James and has been involved in many fuel tank investigations, as well as cleanup projects. He also currently services as President of the Board of the Bucks County Audubon Society. Phil and I discuss multiple topics regarding the life expectancy of fuel tanks, what types of problems can develop if a tank leaks, as well as ways to test an underground tank. Funding may be available to defray costs for extraction. Any concerns that you may have, I would ask you to reach out to Phil at 215-345-9400.
Going Away? Think About This
Although the vacation season may be behind us, when was the last time you really had some kind of a checklist to close your house down properly before you left on vacation or an extended business trip? On this segment, I walk you through some obvious close-down procedures, but also some not as obvious. In my opinion, your house should always appear as it is lived in and active, no matter how long you may be away.
How Come? Things That Don't Make Sense in Our Homes
GFCIs, or ground fault circuit interrupters, have become an integral part of our lifestyle. These circuited receptacles are designed to prevent potential shock and/or electrocution, and are generally placed near water sources. GFCIs, however, due to the electrical code, have been placed in some areas that typically don't make sense. Fortunately, as home inspectors we are not code officials. Thus, this episode discusses where GFCIs should be placed and where alternatives can be offered to maintain the mechanical integrity of your home. Listen in, especially if you have a home that was built within the last few years, where GFCIs are found everywhere.
Child Saftey: Kids From 2-5 years old
I chose this age group because, by the age of 2, kids are walking, talking and are slightly out of balance. This tends to be the time when most parents want to turn their home into a fortress to protect the children against themselves. This show discusses some of the things we don't commonly think about. I look at doors, windows, cabinets, etc. If you have children between these ages, please listen in before you spend big dollars on child safety.
Myths vs. Reality: Radon and Wood Destroying Insects in Cold Weather
How Can it Vary? With Rob Bruno Rob Bruno, who owns Boro Exterminating Company, has been one of my sponsors over the last three years, between two different radio stations. Rob visits us again to discuss wood destroying insects, and how they can thrive, or not thrive, during cold weather periods. We discuss the common wood destroying insects; termites, carpenter bees, and carpenter ants. Then we go in a different direction, and discuss radon testing, as Boro Exterminating also conducts radon testing in their service market. I ask that you listen in to set the record straight, especially being a homeowner, and not let those pesky insects take control of your home.
Email Box Revisited Vol 3
For the third time in the series I revisit the email box. It gives my listeners an opportunity to ask questions with me about revelent topics that I feel affect everybody. The show's topics touch on aging water heaters during a real estate transaction, issues with icicles; why they are formed and how to correct it, home inspections conducted during winter weather where snow may cover the roof, walk-throughs where the initial inspections have been conducted, where the house was both vacant as well as winterized, tankless water heaters vs. standard water heaters, and why vermiculite should not be disturbed.
Powerless: Fact vs. Fiction
This segment comes at a crucial time where climate change has begun to affect our local environment. With Hurricane Sandy and the recent snow storms, where we lost our power for multiple days on end, this segment covers not only being powerless within our homes, but also powerless because of our government institutions. I typically don't stand on the stump and discuss politics, however, due to the breakdown of communications between our politicians, our legislators, and their parties, the word "powerless" has new meaning. Because of this inactivity, global warming has continued and it's apparent that we are losing power, particularly in our homes, on a more frequent basis. I ask that you listen in to gain some resolve and some insight as to how we can all live better.
Living Near Waterways: What Concerns Should I Have?
If you ever thought about living near a source of water, be it a retention basin, brook, creek, river, or lake, each have their own peculiarities and can affect your quality of life due to such things as the moon and unpredictable weather patterns. I ask that you listen in if you are planning on either living or retiring near a water source.
Egress: What Does It Mean And How Does It Apply To Me? It May Save Your Family's Lives
The definition of egress is the action of going out or leaving a place. I dedicate the first segment of this show to appropriate window sizes and why this is relevant if you are planning to update your windows. You may want to consider egress windows over your typical sliding or awning style windows. The second segment of the show covers basic egress: bilco doors, foundation entries, walkouts, or alongside entry points. Listen in, because as winter approaches, we tend to close up our homes even more, and we want to make sure that we are all safe at this time of year.
Inspecting New Homes vs. Old Homes: There Is A Difference
Working in and around the Philadelphia market, home inspectors are offered a plethora of different aged properties, from pre-revolutionary farmhouses to brand new construction. Older homes require more due diligence on behalf of the inspector, who must be properly trained to evaluate older properties. At the same time, new homes, especially the new "engineered" homes, have to be inspected properly as well. Listen in as we look at both sides of a broad spectrum.
Holiday Safety: Ladders And Food
Although one may not have anything to do with the other, ladder safety and kitchen safety are paramount around the holidays. The first segment of this show is on ladder safety, and how to be safe when climbing and descending a ladder. We touch on all aspects, from 3-foot ladders to extension ladders. The second segment is about kitchen safety. The old saying, "Too many cooks in the kitchen can spoil the meal" has real relevance around the holidays. Listen in, and let's get ready to party!
DIY Disasters: We've All Had Them!
Most common disasters for the do-it-yourselfer typically occur when we don't think the job through. When we tend to rush, mistakes tend to be made. Today's show takes a humorous look at some of the things that I've run across as a home inspector in talking with my clients throughout the years.
Revisit With Rob Bruno From Boro Exterminating
610-586-5640 and Rob has been one of our long time sponsors, and I always enjoy having him on the air. Even though it's spring, we spend a few minutes talking about why you should still test your house for radon, and then we discuss some of the more interesting treatments that he has done in his career. Listen in, and if you happen to see any of those pesky swarms of termites, I would suggest that you reach out to Boro Exterminating.
Trials and Tribulations of Being a Home Inspector: Part 2
I had so much fun last week, that I wanted to continue with the next few chapters.
  • Chapter 6: The water valve
  • Chapter 7: Clients in the attic
  • Chapter 8: Jack, you will check the operation of the fireplace damper and flue, right?
  • Chapter 9: The panel box
  • Chapter 10: The vacant house
  • Chapter 11: The Kugelman approach

    I ask that you listen in, as the stories are light and fun, but at the same time you'll begin to understand what I do for a living.

    Stupid Stuff That We Take For Granted, But Should Do Anyway
    On this show, I discuss many of the things within our homes that we appear to take for granted. Some of the stupid stuff like cleaning the dryer vent, replacing your ice cubes, cleaning the oven, checking your fire extinguisher, and a few other important things that you should not take for granted. Listen in, and I ask that you tell your friends about this segment and pass it along. Paying attention to these little things could save your life.

  • © Jack Milne