Structure Talk

Structure Talk
Home inspections, home maintenance, repairs, upgrades, safety, real estate, energy, performance, and durability.

George Floyd, commentary from Dr. Stephen Crawford
May 29 • 15 min
For this podcast episode, Reuben does a one-on-one interview with Structure Tech’s business coach, Dr. Stephen Crawford. Dr. Crawford has been conducting weekly team huddles for his coaching clients every Friday morning, and he conducted a special meeting…
Air conditioners and the end of R-22 refrigerant
May 25 • 27 min
Bill, Tessa and Reuben discuss how air conditioners function, why it’s extremely unusual to have an undersized air conditioner, and the end of R-22 refrigerant. Older air conditioners that contain R-22 refrigerant are typically going to be…
Patrick Huelman, Tessa’s professor
May 18 • 42 min
The gang is super-excited to finally get Patrick Heulman, a leading building science expert, on the show! We’ve talked about having him as a guest for a long time and now that we’re temporarily recording our podcasts from our homes, we were able to get…
PODCAST: Everyone loves Milind
May 11 • 34 min
Milind Angolkar was the first home inspector to join the Structure Tech team after Reuben, and we love him. In fact, everyone loves Milind because he’s a good, kind person. We start the show by discussing Milind’s history with the company, and Milind…
Mean feedback, leaky hose spigots, and wet sub-slab ducts
May 4 • 32 min
Bill starts off the conversation talking to Reuben and Tessa about life, spring maintenance, and business in general. Reuben and Tessa go on a tangent talking about mean feedback given during free continuing education classes, which leads to Tessa…
Reuben’s flooded house and other homeowner flubs
Apr 27 • 29 min
The gang starts off the show by talking about their lives spent working from home, and they quickly move on to projects happening around the house. Bill discusses the time that he ended up with a frozen outdoor faucet because he forgot to remove his…
PODCAST: Tessa and Reuben get serious about attic access panels
Apr 20 • 26 min
Bill, Tessa, and Reuben start the show off by talking about the new standards for life at home, working with family, and trying to broadcast to large audiences while not having spouses carry on loud phone conversations in the same room. Reuben discusses…
COVID-19 and Home Inspections discussion
Apr 13 • 20 min
Bill, Tessa, and Reuben do their first-ever remote podcast, where everyone on the team broadcasts from home. The gang discusses changes that COVID-19 has brought to the home inspection world, which includes things such as restricting buyer and seller…
Ceiling fans don’t cool rooms
Apr 6 • 23 min
Do ceiling fans actually cool down rooms? No! They only cool people. Reuben and Tessa explain how this works, while Bill grumbles about how he still likes running fans all over his house while he’s not home. In the sustainable urban core. The gang also…
Real estate talk with Dan Sibinski, part 2
Mar 30 • 26 min
We have Dan on for a second podcast because there was just too much content to cover in one episode. We continue on with the discussion of pocket listings, and Dan discusses the pulse of real estate in the Twin Cities market. This episode was recorded…
Pocket listings with Dan Sibinski
Mar 23 • 25 min
For this episode, we sit down with Minnesota Realtor® Dan Sibinski to talk about the ins and outs of pocket listings. Tessa also shares a frustrating personal story related to pocket listings.
Best advice ever with Neil Saltzman
Mar 16 • 24 min
We interview Reuben’s dad, Neil Saltzman, on this episode. Neil talks about doing home inspections in a suit and tie, and Reuben and Neil talk about the early history of home inspections. Reuben also shares the best advice that Neil ever gave him related…
Interview with Minneapolis TISH program supervisor Breanna Patsch
Mar 9 • 25 min
We interview Minneapolis Truth-In-Sale of Housing (TISH) program supervisor Breanna Patsch during this podcast. We discuss the purpose of the Minneapolis TISH program, and how the program has ‘teeth’. We also sidetrack into the licensing requirements for…
Facebook Live Q&A Session #2
Mar 2 • 31 min
For this episode, we answer your questions about houses and home inspections. These include the following: Should home inspectors open Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok panels? How to deal with ice dams if you don’t want to pay a professional to remove…
Old houses vs new houses, Part 2
Feb 23 • 25 min
For part 2, the gang starts out discussing the operation of gravity furnaces, and then discuss forced air heat vs gravity heat. They also discuss ductwork design and the design of heating and cooling systems. Next, the gang discuss changing out the air in…
Old houses vs new houses, part 1
Feb 17 • 24 min
Today the gang digs into the pros and cons of old houses vs new houses. We all know that we don’t build them like we used to, but is that a bad thing? New houses are more energy-efficient, but they’re also less durable. This the result of less drying…
Why some homes qualify for hail damage insurance restoration but others don’t
Feb 10 • 30 min
Today, we interview Charles Thayer from All Around. If you listen to the radio here in the Twin Cities, you’ve surely heard his company’s rock-anthem slogan: “We get it done and we do it right! Chya!” Charles explains that while his company is an exterior…
Don’t call them smoke detectors!
Feb 3 • 25 min
For this episode, the gang digs into the details of smoke alarm safety, starting with a discussion between the differences between smoke alarms and smoke detectors. That turns into a discussion of exactly which smoke alarm everyone should have, and why…
Podcast: Roof Vents with Ross Anderson, Part 2
Jan 27 • 24 min
We complete our two-part interview with Ross Anderson, president of the Minnesota Building Performance Association. We discuss the myth that ventilation is a cure-all for roof and attic and ice dam issues, and discuss the real reason for these problems,…
Air Quality with Ross Anderson, Part 1
Jan 20 • 24 min
We interview Ross Anderson, president of the Minnesota Building Performance Association. We discuss energy score ratings for homes, managing indoor moisture levels and indoor air quality, and challenges faced by Minnesota homes. We also discuss the…
What should be negotiated after the home inspection?
Jan 13 • 24 min
Bill, Tessa, and Reuben discuss negotiations after the home inspection. Some home buyers turn to the home inspector for advice on how to negotiate with sellers after the home inspection, but this is something that we also lean on the real estate agent…
Podcast: George’s Pet Peeves
Jan 6 • 28 min
We had our very own George Ury on the podcast a few weeks ago to discuss the new Minneapolis energy stuff, and he was such a peach that we decided to have him on for another episode. This time, we just let him rant about all of his pet peeves. And he has…
The most common place to find mold in homes: mold talk with Vickie Swenson, Part II
Dec 30, 2019 • 29 min
One podcast just wasn’t enough. For part II, we open the show with Reuben discussing whether or not it’s possible to identify mold in attics just by looking at it. We also discuss mold remediation strategies for attics. Tessa asks about the Top 5 places…
Mold talk with Vickie Swenson
Dec 23, 2019 • 24 min
We sit down with Vickie Swenson of Minnesota Mold Inspection to discuss mold testing in Minnesota. We discuss Vickie’s background, the lack of official standards for mold testing, the health effects of mold, contractors diagnosing mold types by sight, and…
Our thoughts on the new Minneapolis Energy Disclosure program, taking effect 1/15/20
Dec 16, 2019 • 23 min
It’s official, Minneapolis is implementing a Time of Sale Energy Disclosure program, which takes effect on January 15, 2020. For today’s episode, we invited Structure Tech home inspector and Minneapolis Truth-in-Sale of Housing Evaluator George Ury onto…
When the seller attends the home inspection
Dec 9, 2019 • 24 min
Tessa starts off the podcast by talking about a recent “memorable” home inspection. A less-than-helpful seller decided to stay home for the inspection because nobody told her that she was supposed to leave, and the situation got extremely awkward. To make…
Smart Home Improvements
Dec 2, 2019 • 22 min
Bill, Tessa, and Reuben discuss several ‘smart home’ improvements they’ve either made or have considered making to their own houses. Reuben also mentions how his Arlo camera caught some kids stealing his pumpkins and his kid’s scooter from his front door:…
Facebook Live Q&A Session
Nov 25, 2019 • 34 min
For this podcast episode, we did a live Q&A session through Facebook Live, while also recording the podcast. We covered a lot of listener questions and didn’t have time to get through all of the questions that were asked. We’ll do another one of these…
Home Maintenance with Kura
Nov 18, 2019 • 22 min
For this episode, we interview Daniel Felt, the owner of Kura Home Maintenance. We talk about some of the most important home maintenance things that are neglected by homeowners and talk about some of our least-favorite chores.
Projects we’re working on
Nov 11, 2019 • 23 min
Bill, Tessa, and Reuben discuss projects they’re working on at their own houses.
Chimney and Fireplace Safety
Nov 4, 2019 • 21 min
This episode is all about chimney inspections, chimney safety, and we discuss some of our craziest interactions with so-called chimney experts.
Roof de-icing cables with Steve Kuhl
Oct 28, 2019 • 30 min
We have a special guest on this episode, Steve Kuhl. Steve owns a bunch of companies, but for this podcast, he’s representing his heat tape company, Radiant Solutions Company. What we didn’t know about heat cables before talking with Steve could fill a…
All about Radon
Oct 21, 2019 • 26 min
Reuben, Tessa and Bill discuss all things radon. They cover radon conspiracy theories, health effects, test methods, mitigation systems, licensing in Minnesota, and a whole bunch of myths regarding radon. Related Links: DIY test kits for $9.95 New…
Fall maintenance for Minnesota Homeowners
Oct 14, 2019 • 21 min
Reuben and Tessa talk about several of the required fall maintenance chores that Minnesota homeowners need to take care of. Bill laments about how difficult it is to be a homeowner, and how he’d rather be watching football ;-).
Asbestos, Home Inspections, and Vermiculite
Oct 7, 2019 • 24 min
Today the gang discusses asbestos. While home inspection standards of practice don’t require home inspectors to report on environmental hazards such as asbestos, most home inspectors will still point this stuff out if they believe that it presents a…
Stucco Failures
Sep 30, 2019 • 20 min
In this episode, the gang discusses stucco failure on newer Minnesota homes, as well as failures with stone veneer siding. Related links: City of Woodbury Position Paper on Stucco in New Residential Construction Stucco Woes - The Perfect Storm Moisture…
Home Inspection Mistakes
Sep 23, 2019 • 22 min
Everyone makes mistakes. In this episode, we share some of our worst home inspection mistakes. We’re also joined by Structure Tech home inspector Jim Tobias. Reuben has already blogged about several of these mistakes recently, which you can find here:…
Home inspector training
Sep 16, 2019 • 17 min
Reuben, Tessa, and Bill discuss home inspection schools, certifications, licensing, and training requirements, along with the training process at Structure Tech.
A home inspector’s perfect house
Sep 9, 2019 • 22 min
Reuben, Tessa, and Bill discuss what would make for a perfect house. They talk about roof lines, water management, siding, basements, heating, and cooling systems. They also talk about an old blog post of Reuben’s, titled Boilers vs. Furnaces.
Ice dams: how a professional fixes them the right way
Sep 2, 2019 • 20 min
Reuben, Tessa, and Bill discuss repair methods for ice dams. Before starting with Structure Tech, Tessa used to spec out insulation and air sealing work for houses with ice dam issues. The team discusses the cause of ice dams, how to fix them the right…
Problems with Story-and-a-Half Houses
Aug 26, 2019 • 20 min
Reuben and Tessa gang up on Bill, complaining about the shortcomings of story-and-a-half houses. The discussion is focused on insulation, ventilation, heating, cooling, and ice dams. Reuben blogged about this topic back in 2011: My beef with 1.5-story…
Sewers and floor drains
Aug 19, 2019 • 16 min
Sewers and floor drains: In Episode 3 of our podcast, Reuben, Tessa, and Bill discuss all things related to wastewater leaving houses. They discuss the importance of sewer inspections on all houses, not just old houses, and discuss what it takes to fix…
Basement Water
Aug 12, 2019 • 17 min
In Episode 2 of our podcast, Reuben, Tessa, and Bill discuss ways of keeping water out of basements. It all starts with exterior water management; roof lines, gutters, downspouts, downspout extensions, and drainage and grading. When everything has been…
Pilot Episode: Home Inspection Easter Eggs
Aug 2, 2019 • 22 min
This is our very first podcast episode, hosted by Reuben Saltzman, Tessa Murry, and Bill Oelrich. The focus of this podcast is crazy stuff that we’ve found inspecting, and finds that we’re especially proud of.