Archive for December, 2007

While posting this on our web site and thinking about which of these items I report on during our home inspections, I couldn’t help but notice a common thread…
Parents not watching our children like we should. Now we need the government to tell us about some rather evident safety hazards. I know accidents happen but, if you have children, take care of them and yourselves the way responsible adults should.

CPSC Releases the “Top Five Hidden Home Hazards”
Each year, 33.1 million people are injured by consumer products in the home. Some hazards are from products the Agency has warned about for years; others come from new products and technologies. To keep Americans informed of dangers, the CPSC has identified the Top Five Hidden Home Hazards – associated with products that people may be using everyday, but are unaware of the dangers that they can cause. These home hazards are often unseen or unnoticed by consumers.
To learn more about these and other home hazards, and to sign up for recall information, visit our Web site at
Since 2005:
1 Death, 86 Injuries;
8 million magnetic toys recalled.
Recalled Products
Each year there about 400 recalls.
Average of 22 deaths per year;
31 in 2006 and an estimated 3,000 injuries.
Windows & Coverings
Average of 12 deaths annually from window cords;
Average of 9 deaths and an estimated 3,700 injuries to children annually from window falls.
Pool & Spa Drains
15 injuries, 2 fatalities from 2002-2004.



Below is most of our contract for our standard home inspections. It helps to keep us on our toes and do the best work possible for our clients. Does any one else guarantee their work like this? I think it’s just one more reason why we are booked most of the time and our competition is not.



$2.500.00 Guarantee

Our Home Inspectors Guarantee Their Work

Home buyers put their faith in home inspectors to give them complete knowledge of the property they plan to purchase. If the inspector makes a mistake, the home buyer will be left with the repair cost. This is not acceptable for our clients. To ensure your confidence, we have increased our liability to $2,500.00. Most of our competition limits their liability to the fee paid for the inspection (this clause is in most contracts).  This will save you the attorney’s fees and increase your confidence that our inspectors will be your best protection from surprises.

I recently performed a home inspection on a home that has been vacant for some time now. Shortly after turning on the hot water faucets the odor became offensive. Rotten eggs and other descriptions would fit this well. This particular home is supplied with municipal water. This smells like a fairly common problem and is called hydrogen sulfide. If the smell is only from the hot water faucet the problem is likely to be in the water heater.
How is this hydrogen sulfide gas produced in a water heater?
A water heater can provide an ideal breeding ground for the conversion of sulfate to hydrogen sulfide gas. The water heater can produce hydrogen sulfide gas in two ways – creating a warm environment where sulfur bacteria can live, and sustaining a reaction between sulfate in the water and the water heater anode. A water heater usually contains a metal rod (sometimes plastic) called an “anode,” which is installed to reduce corrosion of the water heater tank. The anode is usually made of magnesium metal, which can supply electrons that aid in the conversion of sulfate to hydrogen sulfide gas. The anode is 1/2 to 3/4 inches in diameter and 30 to 40 inches long depending on the heater design.
Is there a cure?
1) Disinfect and flush the water heater with a chlorine bleach solution and sometimes hydrogen peroxide. This can kill sulfur bacteria, if done properly. If all bacteria are not destroyed the problem may return within a few weeks.
2) Increase the water heater temperature to 160 degrees for several hours. This will destroy the sulfur bacteria. Flushing to remove the dead bacteria after treatment might control the odor problem.
CAUTION: Increasing the water heater temperature can be dangerous.
Before proceeding, consult with the manufacturer or dealer regarding an
operable pressure relief valve, and for other recommendations.
3) Replace or remove the magnesium anode. Many water heaters have a magnesium anode tube, which is attached to a plug located on top of the water heater. It can be removed. Removal of the anode, however, may significantly decrease the life of the water heater. You should consult with a water heater dealer to determine if a replacement anode made of a different material, such as aluminum or zinc, can be installed.