Dan's Blog

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Here are my previous blog posts.

Dan Curl speaking at ASHI National Conference
Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - Permanent link

Happy Eco-Enviro-Green day to everyone,

The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) national conference has chosen me to be one of their presenters at their Inspection World conference in Orlando.

My presentation kicks off their “Green Energy Technology Track” and is aptly titled “Eco-Inspector:  Understanding the Basics of Building Science”.

I choose the trope Eco, a meaningless, overused cliché, for a reason.  Enviro, Eco, Green and the like describe everything and nothing.  What is important to understand here is that underlying these marketing adjectives there is a scientific, practical and common sense foundation. 

My seminar will discuss how this layman has come to understand how the easiest and cheapest way the average homeowner can help move our country away from energy dependency is an understanding of building science.

In a larger sense I want to do my small part to help save common sense and science from the marketing and political Bullshit our culture wishes to impose upon it

Now if I can just get the conference sponsors to rename
 “Green Energy Technology Track”


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I'm teaching "How Homes Work" for Evening at Emory on  Wednesdays, Oct 1-22, 2008
Tuesday, September 02, 2008 - Permanent link

Evening at Emory Personal Enrichment and Lifestyle
How Homes Work

Get a clear look at what needs to be done first in your home and avoid spending money where it really isn’t needed. One of the hardest tasks for a non-professional is balancing your budget for upgrades against unexpected big ticket problems. How can you identify potential defects and anticipate future problems? How does Atlanta’s mixed-humid climate affect building materials and systems? How do pests get in the house? How do you control termites, wood rot, and moisture? How do you improve ventilation, air quality, and reduce energy costs? After learning the basics of how homes work in metro Atlanta you’ll be better prepared to buy, sell, maintain, or improve your home. Your instructor has over 20 years of experience in metro Atlanta.

Instructor: Daniel Curl, Certified Home Inspector
4 session(s): Wed: Oct 1-22 / 7:00-9:00 pm
Registration fee: $130      Register now!
After this course, you will be able to

  • Look at homes from an inspectors’ perspective
  • Know how Atlanta’s mixed-humid climate affects building materials and systems
  • Know how pests get in the house
  • Control termites, wood rot, and moisture
  • Improve ventilation, air quality, and reduce energy costs
  • Identify potential defects and anticipate future problems
  • Be better prepared to buy, sell, maintain, or improve your home

Do you have a question or comment for Dan?

Hail Chasers
Friday, January 11, 2008 - Permanent link

Who chases hail? Roofers, of course.

Some roofers will tell you that your roof has hail damage and that your homeowners insurance will pay for replacement.

Recent changes in the International Residential Code prohibit re-roofing in an area subject to moderate hail damage; Atlanta and north Georgia included.

Two words were added to the existing section:

In the old code re-covering of roof shingles was prohibited in areas subject to severe hail damage
The national hail exposure map identifies north-central Texas and portions of eastern Oklahoma as areas subject to severe damage

The new code prohibits re-covering in areas subject to moderate or severe hail damage.

This change increased the area covered by a factor of 17 to include western portions of the Midwest from near the Canadian border almost to the Gulf of Mexico and a 200 mile wide swath from the northern Georgia/Alabama border through northwestern South Carolina and all of North Carolina except for the tidewater and coastal counties.

I received an inquiry from an inspection client regarding marketing by a roofing company. The company had told them a recent storm had caused hail damage. The contractor told them they could get their homeowners insurance to pay the bulk of the replacement cost. They were asked to sign a blank contract.

Insurance adjustors disburse payments for shingle replacement but cannot risk walking on roofs. They rely on roofing contractors for a reliable assessment of shingle damage. 

I inspected the roof and found no shingle damage other than normal wear and tear. 

The contractor returned and reminded my clients that their neighbors were using his company. He also left literature remarkably similar to a well-known and reputable roofing company.

I called that company and found that this sort of ploy is very common. All it takes is a dishonest roofing contractor and a compliant insurance adjustor.

Homeowners who buy into this scheme receive an overpriced shingle job of questionable quality and, because they sign incomplete contracts, have no legal recourse should their roofs leak. In addition they are either knowingly or unwittingly participating in insurance fraud. The insurance company ends up paying 5000 of the 6000 dollar replacement cost.

Of course we all pay for this type of practice with higher insurance premiums.

There is little evidence that hail causes appreciable damage and substantial evidence that roofing contractors “create” damage. Read the following abstract


Shingles deteriorate when their surface granules wear away exposing the asphalt base to ultraviolet light. Hail can aggravate the loss of granules but is not a principle cause of granule loss.

I didn’t ask the International Code Council why they changed the wording. 

Perhaps it’s because we are in a cycle of extreme weather and the potential for damage is greater.

Perhaps they don’t make shingles like they used to: newer shingles weigh less, have fewer granules for protection and therefore wear out quicker.

And no, I don’t think the Code officials are catering to the roofing industry. 

But the result of this two word change in the code may have opened the door to possible fraud. 

Just thought you might want to know, especially if you live in a 12-16 year old subdivision and there’s a roofer knocking on your door. 

Caveat Emptor


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Class pictures for "How Homes Work," Evening at Emory, October 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007 - Permanent link

Class picture - How Homes Work for Evening at Emory October 2007 Dan Curl
Here’s my Evening at Emory class fieldtrip to a home under renovation.
They did not hesitate to enter the crawlspace and crouch in the dirt
while I discussed structural issues

Another home and an explanation of the incoming power service

Is it a bird or a plane?  No, just a rotten fascia board.
We’re trying to figure out how it got that way and how to fix it

Here we are solving the mysteries of how to light a gas appliance

Attic furnace and ducting review

Nice House! Here I am lecturing on another inspection topic

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Odds are this oak tree will be dead within 3-7 years
Sunday, September 16, 2007 - Permanent link

Soils have been disturbed (excavated) along the diagonal running from the front left to right rear in one photo. See the orange fence; soils on the house side are disrupted. Since virtually all of the big infill houses require a full footprint basement, the soil, along with the root structure, has been scooped out. A small pile has been left to backfill the foundation and landscape the front yard. Note how the lower limbs were cut: the ones facing the street were probably removed by the power company so as not to interfere with the overhead power lines.

Soon to be dead Red Oak - Dan Curl

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