The more I use my infrared camera, the more problems I find and the bigger the benefit for everyone concerned. I have discovered it is not a perfect tool, but it is a great aid in detecting some problems. I currently use it mainly for moisture intrusion problems. Typically any home I suspect has a water problem, I will take my camera out of the car and use it. Between my infrared camera, moisture meter, and experience of inspecting thousands of homes, I get a little more comfortable with it and so should the buyers.
The digital picture on the left (top) looks normal as you view underneath the window banks. The infrared picture on the right (bottom) shows dark stains inside the wall as a result of moisture getting into the wall cavity and rearranging the insulation. Since the insulation has been moved, it created a difference in temperature, which is what we actually see.
Our governing bodies from Florida & Alabama tell us we do not have to light any gas appliances. It is an individual inspectors choice weather we choose to light them or merely say, “it’s beyond our scope” and let it go.
Tommy, a good friend of mine and fellow inspector and myself choose to light these appliances. As you can see from the picture it’s not always a good safety idea to do so. He took this picture of the exploded gas line into the fireplace after turning the gas down and wiping the singed hair off his arms and face (already not much hair on his head)
Though I somewhat joke about it here, it is a friendly reminder of the dangers we are in every day and often take for granted. One blink of the eyes and our lives change drastically.
So, be sure you pay your Home Inspector on time and don’t be afraid to give him a tip!
Flashing not properly installed has caused water damages behind the wall from the 2nd floor to the bottom of the home (ground level)
Current building guidelines require no more than 6 main service disconnects in a main panel.
During this home inspection, there were a total of 8 found. This is not to mention other problems found inside the panel. In order to correct this deficiency , they will need to install a sub panel next to the main which will cost several hundred dollars. This is likely the reason they did not add the panel in the first place.
These foundation piers found installed under a home are another good example of why you need a home inspection!
This home had been maintained by the good meaning home owners. Cinder blocks should not be installed on their sides when used used for support. I found a few of these blocks have cracks and are ready to split and fail holding the home up.
Most of the remaining blocks have settled due to improper footings and are leaning, allowing the home to do the same.
These repairs will run thousands of dollars$$$
In my 12 years of performing home inspections I have seen many changes on how reports get done. We started with NCR forms, which were difficult to read at best. Then trying to get all parties involved a copy was another story. Whoever ended up with the bottom of the NCR form couldn’t read much of it. Plus, they had to try and read my hand writing which was and still is terrible. A few years later we added a book with some pre-printed forms which was nicer. But, we still had NCR forms and my penmanship to deal with. Around 2001 we purchased our first reporting software. Along with it we bought our first digital camera! The camera cost over $500.00 and pictures were saved to a floppy disc. Technically, we were way ahead of everyone else in the home inspection field.
Our next big step was to buy a laptop and do the inspections on site. Nobody else was doing it, I could even fax the report from the site, unless we added some of those pictures. You know what happens when you fax a report with a picture? Lots of wasted black ink. Around 2003 we went to a different computerized report which took a lot longer to complete. So, we stopped doing them on site. I started using a PDA and did some of the report on site. We started adding lots of pictures. Cameras got much less expensive and home inspections got more complicated.
Customers starting demanding more information, home inspector schools were online and every home inspector is trying to out do, out report and out work the other home inspectors. For several years I did the entire report at home where I could get on the internet to look things up like manufacturers installation instructions.
So, today I take 40-50 pictures at a home inspection, set up my lap top somewhere at the home. I generally do some of the basics on site, then go back to my home and finish the report process. Lots of this can be done now with a Smart phone, but my fingers are too big for those little buttons. When finished it is uploaded to our website and emailed to all parties the buyers wish for it to go to.
There are a few HVAC insulation duct covers that don’t hold up well to our southern attics and sunshine. A recent home inspection revealed this problem. The current owner stated she just paid someone to fix her ducts but wasn’t able to get in the attic to check them. During our home inspection it didn’t take long to surmise she didn’t get everything she paid for. Approximately half the ducts had been poorly repaired and the other half nothing was done to. The outer plastic shell degrades quickly here and they loose some of there efficiency. You can see by the photo’s people will be paying to heat and cool their attic spaces.
This lower picture is another example of the attempted repairs
Very often I am asked how much longer will these appliance last. There are so many variables that I can’t accurately answer the question. Though NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) offers some guidelines and since I see so many different aged units I can often give some guidance.
The life expectancy of a typical appliance depends to a great extent on the use it receives. Moreover, appliances are often replaced long before they are worn out because changes in styling, technology and consumer preferences make newer products more desirable. Of the major appliances in a home, gas ranges have the longest life expectancy: 15 years. Dryers and refrigerators last about 13 years. Some of the appliances with the shortest lifespan are: compactors (6 years), dishwashers (9 years) and microwave ovens (9 years)” and water heaters 5-15 years
I frequently recommend at least a quality pleated air filter over the cheapie blue or green see through type as shown below.
MERV ratings range from 1 – 16 and measurements are in microns. Some of the common particles related to MERV ratings are pet dander, insecticide dust, smog, dust, viruses, wood, tobacco smoke, spores, bacteria and pollen.
Some of the most common filters found in residential use only have a merv rating of 1 to 4. I call these “bird stoppers” These are typically disposable panel type filters and do not do a good job of filtering the air because they will not stop particles smaller than 10 microns.
There are some manufacturers that have specific recommendations for their equipment, which should be followed for warranty purposes.