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Kaplan ITA's Monthly Inspection Tips - Free Electronic Newsletter

October, 2004
The Right Tool Does Make a Big Difference
Issue #30

Dear Inspector,

Sometimes just having the right tool really does make a big difference. In my inspection pouch I have many gadgets but this month I want to feature one that is getting more and more use daily. I have a laser sighted digital thermometer. This piece of equipment has become tremendously important in several ways as I perform my tour through someone’s new home.

Think of the various uses … obviously testing the heating and cooling is right on top of the list. A quick reading at the plenum and at the register will let me know the differential and indeed if the unit is functioning but also hot spots on breakers in the panels and on controls may indicate typically hidden problems. Testing electric heat and radiant heat is a snap with this unit as well.

Before having a digital thermometer tucked in my tool belt when I inspected appliances I hated waiting for elements to heat up. Then they would get so hot I’d have to protect my client from hot ovens and elements on the cooktop. The digital thermometer reads the jump in temperature almost immediately and I do not have to waste lots of time once I know an element is working. Temperature of the water, the refrigerator, and the freezer also are quickly figured out.

I can measure the temps in an attic and in the peak of a cathedral ceiling room to show heat rise and with the laser I can point to something thirty feet away and have my client see it without needing them to traverse an attic or a basement crawl area. If the cat is driving you crazy, they will follow the laser like a cat toy. I was told this is helpful when the cat has left the home accidentally, you can lead them back into the home with some ease.

The particular unit I use is a Raytek Mini Temp and it works with a 9 volt battery. The unit can read both Fahrenheit and centigrade and is a great addition to my toolkit. See the product here.

We sell this model at the school for about $99.00 and there is a nice optional belt holder to reduce the chance of dropping or losing it.

Perhaps you have some additional ideas for use of this tool as well!

More next month,

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