Archive for the ‘hazards’ Category

Thanks to Home Inspector Kevin Rose for sharing this photo.

” The ENTIRE plumbing system was updated about 20 years ago” says the seller!
Bay Minette, 1950’s house.

Yet another good reason to get a home inspection. Are you going to go into the crawlspace under the home to inspect it?

Old drain pipes

 

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The home inspection we did the other day had a beautiful looking pool with an interesting deck surrounding it. As we were inspecting the pool, we couldn’t help but notice the deck sagging with a few broken boards in a few areas.

The deck was built so low to the ground complete viewing was not possible. Much of the deck had been shimmed with left over pieces of 2×4’s and larger.

It’s time to rebuild the deck!

It is very rare I enter a crawlspace under a home and don’t find some sort of concerns. Let’s face it, it’s nasty underneath most homes. Therefor, homeowners typically don’t go under often and this allows small problems to turn into potentially larger issues.

In our local area we have a large coverage area of good draining sand (close to the beach) and poor draining dirt.

We have entered into a rainy season and the grounds are soaked, thus creating even more problems. More research is being done in closing in crawlspaces and making them essentially “conditioned” spaces, similar to our homes. I really like the idea and have seen only a few homes that are employing this method. These few that I have seen were relatively dry and had few problems.

Some building codes are starting to adopt these changes and I, for one am looking forward to seeing more upgrades to these areas. I recently attended a spray foam school where they showed their approach to keeping a crawlspace dry. It looks like it will work well, time will tell for sure.

I did a home inspection recently and the buyers wanted a thermal image of the crawlspace, so here it is…Remember warmer temperatures are brighter in color. This crawlspace had a very good vapor barrier with open air vents.

 

Below is one of the building guidelines for closing in a crawlspace. Remember every home and situation is different, do lots of research before making any changes to your home.

Traditional crawlspace designs include passive foundations # wall vents that are supposed to let moisture and contaminants escape outside. Yet field research shows that wall vents may make moisture problems worse. Replacing crawlspace vents with an exhaust fan and drawing house air in to condition the crawlspace reduces moisture problems and can increase energy efficiency. The International Residential Code (IRC) specifically allows crawlspace designs with an exhaust ventilation system instead of fixed ventilation openings through the foundation walls. To comply, a mechanically vented crawlspace design must have a continuously sealed, vapor-retarding ground cover, have no fixed ventilation openings to the outdoors, and be supplied with a continuously operating exhaust fan.

With the cold winter Holidays here, brings a time for celebration, and that means more cooking, home decorating, entertaining, and an increased risk of fire and accidents.

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You probably remember the movie “Christmas Vacation” Every home inspector and firefighter will tell you not to let your lights, plugs and outlets look like theirs did!

Please be safe

Merry Christmas

 

As you are getting ready to decorate for the holidays:

Remember to check the amperage, use compatibility (indoor or outdoor) and the physical condition of extension cords. Is it frayed, worn and the proper size.

After a rainstorm look for water puddling near your foundation.  If there are puddles you need to re-grade, install a moisture barrier, french drain, cut a swale, gutters, etc.

Ideally water will drain 3″+ away from the foundation of your home

I just finished an inspection that the client didn’t want, at first. Her lending institution told her she needed one to get a loan. (That’s another story) During the course of the inspection things went very well. The house was 30 plus years old and had recently been rehabbed by someone local.

When I got to the heating and cooling I found an item which costs only a few dollars and it was incorrectly installed which could cost someone their life. I found that someone used a clothes dryer vent pipe for a gas flu vent type “b” vent. Needless to say, this won’t work, the back side of the vent was cooked with a large hole in it. Carbon monoxide had been pouring into the house while doing this home inspection until I found this safety issue.

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I immediately turned the heater off and asked the clients and their young kids to go outside and get some fresh air. Fortunately they had not been there but a very short time and fresh air is all they needed and they refused medical treatment. I do carry a small medical bag with me and checked my SPO2 levels which were fine.

Lots of lessons to be learned here. Above all else, GET A HOME INSPECTION!

 

 

We found these problems with this chimney during a recent home inspection.

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The base flashing had been removed and someone painted on roofing cement in an ill attempt to stop water leaks. From the ground these repairs looked a little off, but nothing very alarming. My home inspector antennae went up just enough to make sure I got a closer look. These repairs have been leaking for sometime and there is an unknown amount of wood rot surrounding the chimney in the attic.

 

The chimney cap mortar has completely disintegrated and was falling off the chimney while we were there. Rain had been getting inside and causing even more problems. Upon closer examination, we found a crack at the outside of the chimney which carried through to the clay liner inside. This is certainly a fire and safety hazard!

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The buyers are certainly glad we climbed the roof and found these dangerous and very costly problems during our home inspection.

 

 

We are often confronted with potential unsafe conditions.

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Whether it’s entering crawlspaces under homes or trying to make it through a golf tournament.

 

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You just never know all the Things We Do.

This well meaning home owner didn’t know anything about installing traps under his newly remodeled bathroom sink.

All kinds of problems can arise from this. Including…sewer odors, poor drainage and other unsanitary results.

There are lots of rules to follow when installing sink drains and vents.

For some more basic information I often review ASHI web site

http://www.ashireporter.org/HomeInspection/Articles/The-Word-Plumbing-Vents-Traps/2342

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