Home inspection findings by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck, Professional Real Estate Inspector TREC# 9073

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Finding Product Manuals Online to Help Manage Your Home

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During my Houston home inspections, I find non-working equipment, mainly alarm systems. When I check, product manuals for these home accessories are missing. The internet can help.


Helping to protect your family and investments, home security systems can be a great feature. With security cameras and new wireless systems your home cannot be set up for any type of intrusion detection. However, trying to find monitoring services that will not hold you to an unreasonable contract or finding low cost monitoring can be hard. I think that is why most homeowners disable alarm systems. The other main reason is not understanding the system, so they do not know how to turn off some annoying alarms, so we turn to the family dog for protection from that burglar, an easy do it yourself solution.

I tried looking for free tech support with many consumer electronic items to discover that this is rarely free, so I save my product manuals to guide me with my equipment. Every time I have called some firm, I first have to sit through a high pressure sales pitch to buy a warranty or some other extra feature, before someone comes online to help me. Even then, I experience a surreal situation where the tech support cannot understand what I am saying, no matter how I say it. My new pet peeve are firms that have online systems for their sites that direct you to FAQ sheets which do not answer your question. When you are able to find the spot where you can get to send an email, they do not respond. That is my rant portion of this post. Let’s move on. I keep all of the product manuals in one file where I keep other form and documents for my home. This post was inspired by two situations. After a home inspection, I did tell a client that he could find a manual for an alarm system, but I also was going through my product manual folder to check that it was relevant to my current accessories (consumer electronics is the big deal here). To manage my home efficiently, I check these manuals to find that I am making the most of this equipment.

What if you are buying a home, and you do not know how to use all of the functions of a piece of equipment? I tell clients that they can use their alarm systems without having them monitored. The system will not call the police or fire department, but it will warn you with its sound. However, moving away from alarm systems, what about a dishwasher from HotPoint or GE or a water heater from A.O. Smith? Knowing the name of the brand can help. Many firms keep product manuals or specifications on their corporate sites. The problem we face now is many brands no longer exist or they are owned by a new firm, so you cannot find any product manual. There are two sites that can help you find such manuals.

OwnerIQ.net is one solution when searching for product information. This site has many equipment manuals with a quick search function. This site also features a forum that allows users to discuss issues with their equipment, or find out what other users have said. I thought that this was a well designed site if you need to find specifications or need to discuss that digital TV.

Another site that can offer assistance in searching for product manuals is SafeManuals. Diplodocs is the other name for this site. It also has a forum, and it has many product guides. My favorite aspect of this site is that you have the manufacturer/brand names to the right, so you can search for your product by that means.

You may find that keeping these manuals in one spot for quick access will allow you do it yourself repairs. To manage a home effectively, and at lower cost, you may see that these product guides can give you repair options that anyone can handle. Always good to know.

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© Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Home Inspector Houston, Texas
Frank Theodor Schulte-Ladbeck
home inspector, TREC# 9073
Houston , Texas , 77063 United States

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