Tag Archives: Inspection

Checklist to Judge the Right Condition of a House Using Home Inspection

If as a house purchaser you want to get assured that price quoted is right & defects do not surface after the house is purchased leading to extra expenditure then a home inspection is necessary. Additionally, it opens up an opportunity for you as well as your property agent to bargain with the seller on reducing the price in case there are defects in the house.

What is Buyer’s Role?

The main thing for you as a buyer to do at the time of the home inspection is to get all the information about the house so that you are aware of the problems which exist. You should not hesitate to ask questions even if they sound very simple or insignificant.

Home Inspection – What it consists of?

The main aim of a home inspection is to find our problems that are present in the house. Problems can exist in:

  1. Roof, where there could be asphalt shingles which are deteriorating, the ridges may be sagging, slits which are wider than normal, roof vents which are quite visible and roof deck in de-laminated condition.
  2. Chimneys, with missing mortar, masonry caps which have been cracked or chimneys which are leaning.
  3. Gutter/Downspouts, where slope of gutter is not directed to downspouts and downspouts that are far away from the foundation.
  4. Wall coverings, with flaking bricks, sidings which are rotting, exterior walls which have started leaning and missing mortar.
  5. Foundation, where masonry is damaged and soft mortar has started appearing.
  6. Basement & walls/floors, with water pipes which are corroded, walls with loose plaster, basement having water penetration and drywall seams.
  7. Electrical fittings, where heating/cooling system is very old and electrical outlets are ungrounded.

Other Problems

Some of the other problems which are traced during inspection consist of things like checking whether electrical wiring has been done as per government regulations, condition of power connections, fire safety norms have been followed or not, if radon test has been done, whether wooden beams have been damaged due to termite problem, is there a mold problem and several similar conditions.

Conclusion

Thus as we can see the main goal of any home inspection is to figure out if the house you are going to purchase is in good condition or not so that you do not have to face problems after purchasing it. The seller may not always tell you about the problems house has or he may not be aware of it and a home inspector will be the right person to judge the condition house is in.

Termite Inspection For Property Preservation

No homeowner likes the presence of termites or the white ants because they are linked to massive property disaster when left to work their own destruction. This is the reason why termite inspection must be done as a way to keep buildings safe from termite infestation. Interference to termite activity is a proactive approach.

Requesting the pest control experts to determine if an area is infested by termites is by far the most sensible action to make, especially if you live in Australia. This region supports termite life well due to the kind of climate that Australia has. In the Sunshine Coast, the weather is mostly humid, with at least seven hours of sunshine most days and there is plenty of rain in the area.

Where do termites like to inhabit? They are primarily social insects, so they live together as one big happy family with their queens and kings called the reproductives, the workers and the soldiers. The subterranean termite is most common in Australia so they are frequently noticed in mounds and trees, which are actually their nests. The northern part and the coastal areas are most prone to subterranean termite presence and infestation, they can also be found all throughout the country.

Why get natural pest control? Termite inspection is an ocular checking of an area where termites can access. They may be the inside of homes, buildings, exteriors, in basements and in attics. Termite infestation is a serious threat but you can prevent them from living around and inside your structures. You will not incur additional termite treatment costs along the road.

What signs can be detected with termite presence? If you are not keen, you will not notice any sign of a termite infestation around your area unless you see a big mound of them outside. They can definitely live underground, hence the subterranean descriptive for these termites. As they make their nest mostly underground, these insects are also capable of creating their colonies above ground.

They seek their food in secret, evading the observation of humans. Yet if you can see discarded wings that are of the same sizes, then it is mostly from winged termites. If you can tap wood that sound hollow, expect that termites are living inside that block of wood. They can also create mud tubes which serve as their passage in transporting food and larvae. A mud tube is constructed from termite saliva. Termite droppings look like sawdust, so if you notice little brown specks where they shouldn’t be, there must be a termite colony nearby. However, they do not only eat wood but other types of materials such as leather, plastic, fabric and paper among a few.

Requesting for your property to be inspected for termites and be applied with natural pest control can bring several advantages. It prevents future infestations by applying organic prevention techniques on the area where you want to build a house or building. Inspection by professionals can also help verify the extent of termite infestation such as how much area was destroyed and how big is the threatened area these termites are about to destroy, if not interrupted.

The Home Inspection: Cavemen, Home Inspectors, And The Way It’ll Always Be

In prehistoric times, when a family was considering a move to a different cave (Hey… who wants to stay in the same old cave their whole life?), they probably communicated with their cave-dwelling neighbors to get an opinion as to whether or not their new cave was up to par… whether or not their potentially new abode was in satisfactory condition… whether it was prone to leak… or to leave them out in the cold.

There were likely some fellow cavemen that had a bit more experience with the evaluation of caves than others. So, they were sought out to give their opinion even though that opinion might have been delivered through a series of gestures and grunts… since they didn’t have any hand-held PDA’s, touch-screen computers, or highly developed language to convey their thoughts and findings.

And, no doubt, there were various levels of professionalism among the acknowledged and preferred cave assessors that led the cave-dwelling masses to choose one assessor over another in their search for new shelter… some combination of combined experience and ability to effectively communicate (Arghghhh… Urgghh… Hyrpthmblomsit) that separated them from some other creature. It’s the same way today with modern Home Inspectors… although most can communicate in their native dialect and most use computers, some sans the touch-screen, of course. Some are good, some are not so good, and some are, well… pretty darned good.

While a fairly high percentage of most all modern Home Inspectors do a reasonable job of assessing the physical condition of a home, they can be generally divided into 5 categories or types:

  • The Nit-Wit Inspector – This is the inspector that advertises the cheapest prices (sometimes referred to a Cheap Charlie) and gives the least value to his clients. They speak as little as possible (perhaps out of necessity), deliver their poor hand-written reports in a week or so after being repeated prompting, and rarely engage in anything approaching a high degree of critical thought process beyond how to get home as quickly as possible. Often, they often have little knowledge or concern about the rules and standards that pertain to their field of work. The Nit-Wit inspector is sort of like the cockroach on the wedding cake… and is best avoided by everyone.
  • The Gloved Inspector – This is the inspector who, while perhaps technically competent, has no intention whatsoever of reporting on anything that might damage their chance of future client referrals. They perform the ole’ soft-shoe routine, dancing around any potentially troubling issues, and deliver their candy-coated findings in such a way as to offend nobody at the sometimes partially disguised expense of inferiority. This inspector should be avoided almost as much as the Nit-Wit inspector
  • The Alarmist Inspector – This is the inspector who just can’t seem to control themselves when it comes to describing issues. Their description is usually accompanied with flailing arms, a red-faced demeanor along with the occasional emotional fit, and a general tendency to scare the ever-lovin’ bejeebers out of everyone within a three block radius including the home-buyer, the real estate agents, the home-seller, and the guy standing on the corner down the street. Everything’s a disaster just waiting to happen and they’re really eager to be credited for saving someone from certain and impending doom. Be careful with this type of inspector because they may burst into flames at any time
  • The Professorial Inspector – This is the inspector who is technically competent, is probably a reasonably effective communicator, and knows what they are supposed to do… but insists on relating, to anyone within earshot, everything they know about everything they’ve ever had the occasion to learn about anything. Sometimes, too much information is, well, too much information. Form your own opinion about this inspector… although, you may actually end up getting a pretty thorough Home Inspection
  • The Professional Inspector – Not to be confused with the Professorial Inspector above, this is the inspector that will provide the very best value to their clients even if their clients have to a pay a bit more to get that value. They’ll fully and calmly explain what they are going to do, how they are going to do it, why they’re going to do it a particular way, do it, and then explain what it is that they have done. They’ll welcome client questions and participation, and they’ll understand that the amount of time it takes to inspect the home is time for which the client is providing payment and not the other way around. They won’t participate in alarmist reporting practices. They won’t try to impart a lot of information that is not pertinent to the Home Inspection and the home being evaluated. They’ll be courteous to all those present and they’ll be fair to the home; they won’t inspect or report upon a 100 year old house as if it were somehow expected to be brand new, and they’ll possess a thorough knowledge and understanding of their profession. They’ll be an active member of a national Home Inspectors organization such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).They’ll accurately convey the findings of their inspection, in accordance with their applicable Standards of Practice, in an even-keeled and informational manner while making reasonable and proper recommendations based upon their observations. And, they’ll convey their findings in a good, readily understandable Home Inspection report

Some things never change and so it likely goes with Home Inspectors. Home Inspectors, as with any other types of professional service providers now or as it likely was in the day of the caveman, will vary widely insofar as their knowledge, level of education, communications skills, inspection methodologies, and the delivery/explanation of their findings are concerned; it’s always been that way and it’ll likely always be that way.

For the very best Home Inspection experience, actively seek out a Home Inspector with the demeanor, education, experience, and professionalism that will provide you with the highest level of comfort and confidence.

Urghh… Arguff… Hyrpthmblombsit!

What Is a Gas Safety Inspection?

Gas Safety Inspection

The gas safety inspection is a check of all gas appliances within a property.

Checking there is no danger to the user when the appliances are working.

Statistics state that around 70% of homes in the United Kingdom never have their gas appliances checked over until something goes wrong.

Property that is classed as rented needs to have an annual gas safety inspection carried out every 12 months by law.

My boiler is serviced every year, is this not a gas safety inspection?

No, The boiler service is only to check the boiler and no other appliances.

Let me explain the difference between a boiler service and a gas safety inspection.

A boiler service is checking first that it is still safe to operate and in no danger to the user.

The boiler is checked to make sure it is fitted to the wall correctly and is stable, then we move on to the flue, this is checked to make sure it is still in good condition and has no corrosion.

Over the last 12 years, all boilers installed are condensing boilers, they produce condense water which is acidic.

Should the condense leak within the boiler or flue it will cause corrosion and let products of combustion leak out, so this check is very important.

The gas supply is checked to ensure it is adequate for the boiler, one of the most common problems found is the gas is undersized, normally on combination boilers.

The boiler combustion is checked with a gas analyser and checked against the boiler specifications if needed adjustments can be carried out.

When a boiler service is carried out it’s advisable to follow the maker’s service instructions if possible.

If the service manual is not present then you can normally find one online. Most boilermakers now list their manuals online.

All safety devices are checked to make sure they are functioning correctly if the boiler has an expansion vessel fitted, this is also checked and reset if needed.

Gas safety inspection.

The gas safety inspection is safety check on all gas appliances, a little similar to the boiler service.

Whatever the appliance maybe, it has to be checked to make sure it is safe to use and of no danger to the user.

The appliance is checked to ensure it is installed correctly and stable and is suitable for the room it is located in.

If the appliance has a flue connected this needs to be checked to ensure there are no blockages and the products of combustion can disperse correctly.

Ventilation is checked to ensure it is adequate for the appliance to burn correctly, and cannot be closed off.

The flame picture is checked to make sure it is crispy blue and not a yellow colour.

Gas cookers are checked to ensure they have a stability bracket or chain fitted to stop them being pulled over by young children.

Gas hobs are checked to make sure they have the correct clearances around them.

The gas supply to the hob must have an isolation valve fitted, so if the hob needs to be removed it can be without disrupting the supply to the other appliances.

The most common fault found on a gas safety inspection is a flexible cooker hose connected to the hob, all gas hobs must be connected to a solid pipe.

Any visible gas pipes are checked for signs of corrosion and stability, ensuring that they are supported with clips and labelled if needed.

The gas supply for the whole property is checked to ensure it is adequate when all appliances are working.

One of the most important checks is a gas leak test, this is called a tightness test. This test is carried out at the gas meter.

While at the gas meter we are also checking to make sure the meter is secured to the wall correctly and not moving around.

We are also checking the gas pipe has the correct earth bonding and is of the right size.

A gas safety inspection is a very important process and should be carried out at regular intervals.

Home Inspection Tips for Buyers and Sellers

Many will think that home inspection is not essential while buying a house but it is not so. A home inspection is important for your family’s safety as all the components, systems, structure, appliances & installations are inspected thoroughly to ascertain they are working properly. By having a home inspection you will make sure that the house is safe your family to live in and you are paying the right price for the house.

Pre-requisites for Home Inspection

At the time a NACHI certified home inspector goes to the house for a home inspection you need to make sure that the seller provides him proper access from where he can inspect every area of the house. You need to ask the seller to remove storage containers away from wall to make it easy for the home inspector to check. In case he is not able to view any particular section of the house then he should indicate it in his report.

Broad Categorization of House Defects

Most of the problems that are looked at during a home inspection can be broadly categorized into following:

  1. Tracing major defects such as some type of structural failure.
  2. Things which can cause major problems in future such as minor roof flashing leakage.
  3. Problems in the house which can create hindrance in financing the house, insure or occupy it.
  4. Safety related problems like electric panel with buss bar which is exposed.

Home Inspection Tips for Sellers

A seller can expedite the home inspection process if he follows the under mentioned tips. If these suggestions are followed then it will result in smoother inspection and less number of concerns to solve before the closing.

  1. Check that electric, gas & water services are running. Additionally, make sure that gas pilot lights are properly burning.
  2. Avoid getting light inoperable report by changing burned out electrical items such as bulbs.
  3. Get rid of dead batteries so that they do not create problems during smoke tests and carbon monoxide detection.
  4. Check that air filters (HVAC) fit in properly.
  5. Clean out wood, stored items & debris kept near the foundation as home inspector may term it as ideal location for growth of termites.
  6. Clear the path leading to water heaters, HVAC equipment, electrical panels, crawl spaces, closets & attics so that these can be inspected properly.
  7. Check and repair broken things such as latches, door knobs, screens, window panes, chimney caps & downspouts.

As mentioned above the major defects categorization & tips for sellers on how they can make the house ready before the inspector comes to the house will greatly assist buyers and sellers in evaluating problems in the house and take remedial steps to solve these problems.

What Happens During a Home Inspection?

When you begin the home buying process it is an exciting, and yet often stressful time. You look at home after home, perhaps even place a few offers, and eventually you find the place that makes you sing. You know that it is everything you could possibly want, and perhaps even a bit more, but now it is at a point that can make one crazy – the property inspector needs to check out all aspects of your potential dream home so you can know if it is truly the home for you, and your budget.

The home inspection is truly an important part of the buying process, and it should be remembered that it is there to protect you. When the property inspector visits the potential home, they will check a long list of areas of the property to determine what – if any – problems you need to be cognizant of and can often let you know how much it will cost to have the repairs made.

Areas Commonly Checked during a Home Inspection

When a home inspection is done, there are key areas that will be checked. Be sure that your inspection includes these, as well as any other areas or concerns that you may have. If the home inspector balks at any of these areas or your other requests, then you will want to talk to another inspector.

· Exterior – The inspector should check all sides of the home, being sure to check siding, windows, doors, decks, foundation, gutters, chimneys, soffit, and fascia. They will also check the surface of a paved driveway, patio or – if a part of the home – the poolside. Also included in part of the exterior inspection will be the sloping of the lot as this affects the potential for flooding, whether there has been any settling in the yard and any damage to masonry work.

· Interior – The interior home inspection will include the walls, ceiling, appliances, electrical, plumbing, flooring, fireplaces, plumbing related features, and any other elements of the home.

· Condition – As part of the inspection, the inspector will also check mechanical systems such as the HVAC system, or note any irregularities in plaster, paneling, any damage due to pests, mold or other home features.

Working a home inspector is not something that should be skipped in the real estate buying process. It is a way to protect you and help you make a wise, informed purchase that will be affect you and your family’s lives for many years to come. Many companies can be contacted regarding a home inspector, but one company used in St. Paul is AmeriSpec Home Inspection.

What Does a Home Well Inspection Include?

If you have a well, an annual well inspection should be part of your maintenance to-do list. Even if your water tastes good, lead and other contaminants can seep into the water supply and lead to health problems. A well inspection is a small price to pay to ensure the safety of your drinking water.

What Does a Well Inspection Include?

Conducted by a licensed and/or certified well water contractor, your annual well inspection should include several components:

  • A flow test to measure water output and level, pump performance, tank pressure and switch contact pressure,
  • An inspection of equipment to ensure that it meets local codes and appears to be safe,
  • A test of water for coliform bacteria and nitrates,
  • Tests for any minerals known to affect water conditions in the area, such as sulfides, manganese or iron,
  • Periodic tests for pH levels or total dissolved solids,
  • Additional tests if the water is cloudy or oily, if there are signs of bacterial growth on fixtures or if equipment is not working properly, and
  • A written report that includes laboratory data, explains results and offers recommendations.

Useful Information about Well Inspections

Once you receive the reports from your well inspection and from any other tests that were performed, you should retain the records and keep them in a safe place, along with construction documents from when the well was first dug. Most wells have a life expectancy of about 20 years or more. Having your records on hand will be useful in determining when you might need to replace it, and necessary if you sell your house.

How much can you expect to pay for a well inspection? The cost varies according to the area and is based on the sampling methods, test procedures and the number of tests performed, but a homeowner can generally plan on spending around $150-$350. More extensive sampling for more contaminants can raise the cost.

When choosing a well inspector, it is important to use one who is licensed and certified in your state and who is familiar with the local codes. The inspector should use laboratories that are licensed to test for various contaminants that may appear in the water.

Why Should You Order an Annual Well Inspection?

You may wonder why an annual well inspection is necessary if you have no problems with taste, appearance, odor or performance. Since your well is underground, you may be unaware of any possible changes. If your home is near farms, mines, a landfill or gas or oil fields, contaminants could infiltrate your water. The same is true if you have dumped oil or waste in your yard, had your home exterminated, have a septic tank problem or develop cracks in the sealed sanitary cap on your well.

Having an annual well inspection is the best way to assure the safety and quality of your water supply.

Advantages Of Hiring Video Pipe Inspection Services For Sewer Pipes

Earlier, when there used to be a blockage in sewer pipes or drain at anyone’s home, people use to call a plumber for diagnosing the problem. As there was no such technology like video pipe inspection at that time, the plumbers had no other option than to dig out across that pipeline and look for damage or blockage. It would take hours to figure out the exact location and the cause of problem after causing huge damage to the expensive flooring or walls of your house. At the end, people used to pay heavy bills to the plumbers for major sewer repair services.

Then came an innovative piece of advanced technology, the video pipe inspection, which created a revolution for plumbing services a big way. Now, there was no need to dig out the entire area suspected of blockage or damage in the pipe. Through video pipe inspection, it becomes so easy to figure out the exact location where the problem could exist.

In case you were still not aware about this mind-blowing technology in plumbing, then you should definitely look more its numerous advantages as follows-

1. Easy to locate the damage area: The very first major advantage of doing video pipe inspection when you suspect pipe leakage in your home is its ability to locate the exact position under problem. Once the plumber knows where the leakage exists, he will dig only that limited area to repair the damaged pipe. This will help avoid unnecessary digging of floors and walls and reduce overall expenses for sewer repair services at your home.

2. Easy to locate the blockage: In a house where children exist, it is quite common to face clogging of sewer pipes or drains. The kids do throw one or the other thing into sewer pipes accidentally or sometimes intentionally, which ultimately causes blockage in the pipes. In such situations, all you need to do is hire the video pipe inspection services and know the exact location of blockage. The video inspection will not only clarify the true reason of blockage, but also saves a lot of time and resources trying other methods.

3. Prevents major situations: Generally, when people face any blockage in sewer pipe at home, they try various home remedies to clear that blockage. Such remedies may solve the problem for temporary basis, but there is a possibility that your ignorance may lead to some serious issues with time. So, instead of relying on guesswork it is highly recommended going for video inspection of pipes from time to time and prevent any major situations.

4. Saves time and money: In today’s world, it is extremely important to value both time and money. Opting for video pipe inspection for maintenance of sewer pipes and drains saves your valuable time and money. Therefore, it is always beneficial to hire some professional video pipe inspection services for repairing any damage or blockage in home sewer pipes.

The next time you will find any problem in sewer pipes in your home, better go for video pipe inspection first. It can save you a lot of repair bills through sewer repair services at your home.

Electrical Home Inspection: What You Need to Know!

Whether you’re buying a home, or just moving in to your new home, here is some advice that can help you. If you’re in the buying process the things you will be looking for are safety and repair aspects. Most electrical contractors can offer you an inspection to check for both of these. If you are thinking to yourself right now that you have or are going to hire a Home inspector, think again. A home inspector does a generalized inspection. Most of them will know a little about a lot of different areas, but be an expert in none with a few exceptions. It is a certainty in most areas to say you will be forced to hire one to get a mortgage, and that’s a good thing. If you hire an experienced licensed electrician, your electrical inspection will be more thorough and you can get an estimate to what repairs will cost at the same time.

When buying a home you’ll want to know what if any defects there are, or safety hazards. Items that rate high on the list are things like aluminum wiring, GFCI receptacles, grounding and water leaking into service parts. The two of these that are most critical, dangerous and expensive are the aluminum wiring and water leaks into the main service. If you are just moving into a home you purchased, there are some things you can do to be sure your electrical system is safe. I highly recommend that all the devices be changed to new ones. This would be all the switches and receptacles. There is a reason for this. Most electrical problems occur when termination points become loose or corroded. See Picture

By having the devices professionally replaced, you can nip any of these problems before they occur. The other item to consider changing is light fixtures. This can be a bit expensive so if it isn’t in your budget try to at least change the very old ones. The reason for changing these is older fixture wires tend to get very brittle. If the bulbs used in them over the years were of an improper wattage, this can exaggerate the situation, a very common occurrence.

The peace of mind you will get, knowing a professional in the electrical field inspected your home, is well worth the money spent.

Cesspool Inspection When Buying a House

People who look for new properties are concerned about the aesthetics of the house or the landscape, but only a few consider asking about the septic tank or cesspool. However, cesspool inspection is important when obtaining a property. Cesspool services are necessary in many cases. You have to learn the value of cesspools in homes.

A lot of home buyers are not too concerned about cesspools. Knowing whether the cesspool is in good condition and functional is important whenever you are about to buy a property. You have to ask your realtor about this, and he or she should be able to give you an answer. A realtor who does not know the condition of a property’s cesspool or septic system cannot be trusted.

The problem with cesspools is they are buried underneath the ground, so you cannot be sure if the one in a prospective property is in good condition. A specialist should be called to do an inspection. There are companies that offer cesspool services including inspection. Keep in mind that an inspection is just an inspection. The service specialist will not fix problems unless you specifically ask him to do so. You probably will not need cesspool repair unless you really are planning to move into the property. If a property you are looking into has damaged cesspool, you can consider a repair service. If not, you can look at another property.

Cesspool inspection is a dangerous task if you are untrained. This is why it has been stressed that only a trained professional should do the task. You may only do as far as removing the cover. The next step should be reserved for the trained professionals.

How would you know if it needs service? A faulty cesspool may leak and cause contents to pollute the surrounding soil. In this case, foul odor will diffuse from the ground into the air. If the area smells like rotten eggs, the pit must be damaged. Water leaking from the pit will also saturate the ground around it. Look for signs of sogginess. You would also know if the cesspool is draining properly if the leach field has green grass. If not, the drainage lines must be clogged.

Cesspools should be checked regularly for signs of clogging or leaks. Settling solid matter and scum may build up and block drainage pipes. Such event poses problems in the future, but this may be momentarily un-obvious. Ask the realtor if it has been checked in the past year. You don’t want to buy a property and then spend your bucks getting the troublesome pit serviced.

Supposing you have bought the property and then sometime in the future you encounter a problem with the cesspool, what would you do? In this case, you can contact a septic plumber or a cesspool cleaner to find out what the problem is and fix it. Cesspool and septic tank services may be available in your area. Be careful when checking out your cesspool on your own. The gas build-up is toxic and flammable, not to mention extremely sickening.