Yearly Home Inspections
Hello, My name is Alex and I have been a home inspector since 2012. I have seen countless homes in various conditions. From newly built homes to older homes that have been lived in for decades, every home has its own unique characteristics. However, one thing remains constant – the importance of getting a yearly home inspection. Home inspections are an essential part of homeownership. They provide an in-depth assessment of the condition of a home, identifying potential issues and providing recommendations for repairs or improvements. Here are some reasons why you should consider getting a yearly home inspection:
1. Discover hidden issues Many issues in a home are not visible to the naked eye. A home inspector has the expertise and tools to identify hidden issues such as leaks, faulty wiring, or structural problems. Getting a yearly home inspection can help you catch these issues early on before they turn into costly repairs.
2. Ensure safety A home inspection can identify safety hazards in a home such as carbon monoxide leaks, radon gas, or faulty electrical systems. By getting a yearly home inspection, you can ensure that your home is safe for you and your family.
3. Prevent future problems A home inspector can identify potential problems that may arise in the future such as a leaking roof or a failing HVAC system. By catching these issues early, you can prevent them from turning into larger, more expensive problems down the line.
4. Save money Getting a yearly home inspection may seem like an additional expense, but it can actually save you money in the long run. By identifying issues early on, you can address them before they turn into costly repairs. Additionally, a home inspection can help you identify areas of your home that may be costing you money such as inefficient insulation or outdated appliances.
5. Peace of mind Finally, getting a yearly home inspection can provide peace of mind. Knowing that your home is safe and in good condition can alleviate stress and worry. It can also help you plan for future repairs or improvements, giving you a sense of control over your home.
In conclusion, getting a yearly home inspection is a wise investment for any homeowner. It can help you identify hidden issues, ensure safety, prevent future problems, save money, and provide peace of mind. As a home inspector, I highly recommend scheduling a yearly home inspection to assess the condition of your home.
Invest in Quality
Why Hire InsideOut Inspections Plus?
There is an unspoken understanding that something of quality is worth a larger price tag. Have you ever heard of the saying, “You get what you pay for.”? If quality and knowledge is something you are looking for in a home inspection, let us explain why you should look no further than InsideOut Inspections Plus.
What are you purchasing when you choose to work with InsideOut?
Knowledge & Experience
Every InsideOut Inspector is trained, licensed, and insured. We understand that your home is often one of the most important investments made in your lifetime and we are continually learning to ensure we are providing you the most accurate information possible. Our Company was founded on the “coattails” of a successful 45+ year construction business. Our niche understanding of construction combined with our continuing education makes our inspections incomparable to others in the industry.
Peace of Mind
Whether you are a seasoned investor or a first-time homebuyer, our inspectors will give you the highest quality inspection possible. We encourage our clients to be present during the inspection so we can walk through the entire home, explaining our findings, and teaching them about their perspective home. When a client cannot attend their inspection, they are protected by an extremely thorough and detailed, electronic inspection report and the opportunity to call and speak with their inspectors and ask any questions.
Attention to Detail
Our company sends multiple inspectors to each property to ensure efficiency and the utmost attention to detail. We are trained to find abnormalities and defects that may be hard to identify by the untrained eye. For reference, here’s an idea of what is covered in a Standard Home Inspection with our team:
We understand that purchasing a home can be overwhelming and requires a lot of work to coordinate everything. Our team works hard to provide all of our ancillary services IN-HOUSE, to ensure a streamlined inspection. There is no need to coordinate multiple vendors and worry about everyone’s schedules. Our office staff works together with all clients and realtors involved in the transaction to do all the heavy lifting of coordinating schedules for you. Services provided by our team include:
We promise that working with Inside Out Inspections Plus as a client or Realtor, will change your expectations about home inspections and the standard of care you should receive. With 10 inspectors on staff, we can cater to short contingency periods and provide electronic reports within 24 hours. The quality we provide in an inspection is valued well above the prices we charge. We understand the importance of educating our clients and want to make sure that knowledge is accessible to all. Our prices are very competitive and discounted for more ancillary services being included. Every home is different, so we customize our pricing to fit the needs of the specific property. Don't just take our word for it, take a look at our 500+ Google reviews & our 200% Guarantee.
InsideOut Inspections Plus assures that you will get
Move-In Certified Inspections
Buyer Purchased Home Inspection
A few facts about adjustable steel columns:
- Non Compliant Paint Allowing Rust To Form: According to the IRC Section R407.2, All adjustable steel columns should be protected by rust-inhibitive paint. It says, specifically, "All surfaces (inside and outside) of steel columns shall be given a shop coat of rust-inhibitive paint, except for corrosion-resistant steel and steel treated with coatings to provide corrosion resistance." Inspectors will not be able to identify paint as rust-inhibitive, but may be able to observe the earliest stage of rust beginning to form and recommend further attention. In dry climates where rust is not as much of a problem, rust-inhibitive paint may not be necessary. Visible signs of rust constitute a potential defect. Advanced rust will weaken the post and could cause structural collapse and extensive damage.
- The post is not straight. The post should not bend anywhere along it's length or especially at its mid-point. Bent Posts indicate that the column cannot bear the weight of the house. The maximum load is affected by many factors, such as the height and diameter of the post.
- The column is not connected to the floor. An inspector can determine whether a connection between the post and the floor exists as long as this connection has not been visually obscured.
- The column is not connected to the beam. To provide proper support, the post should connect to the beam above. This connection provides additional resistance against lateral displacement.
- Too much extension: If more than 3 inches of the screw thread are exposed the post may be overextended and thus have it's load bearing capacity reduced.
- There are cracks in upstairs walls. If a post is not properly adjusted, then cracks may appear in walls. This would suggest a failure of the columns.
Attic Pull-Down Ladders
Homeowners, not professional carpenters, usually install attic pull-down ladders. Evidence of this distinction can be observed in consistently shoddy and dangerous work that rarely meets safety standards. Some of the more common defective conditions observed by inspectors include:
- loose mounting bolts. This condition is more often caused by age rather than installation, although improper installation will hasten the loosening process;
- attic pull-down ladders are cut too short. Stairs should reach the floor;
- attic pull-down ladders are cut too long. This causes pressure at the folding hinge, which can cause breakage;
- improper or missing fasteners;
- compromised fire barrier when installed in the garage;
- attic ladder frame is not properly secured to the ceiling opening;
- closed ladder is covered with debris, such as blown insulation or roofing material shed during roof work. Inspectors can place a sheet on the floor beneath the ladder to catch whatever debris may fall onto the floor; and
- cracked steps. This defect is a problem with wooden ladders.
- In sliding pull-down ladders, there is a potential for the ladder to slide down quickly without notice. Always pull the ladder down slowly and cautiously.
The 2009 edition of the International Building Code (IBC) and the 2006 edition of the International Residential Code (IRC) offer guidelines regarding attic access, although not specifically pull-down ladders. Still, the information might be of some interest to inspectors.
2009 IBC (Commercial Construction):
1209.2 Attic Spaces. An opening not less than 20 inches by 30 inches (559 mm by 762 mm) shall be provided to any attic area having a clear height of over 30 inches (762 mm). A 30-inch (762 mm) minimum clear headroom in the attic space shall be provided at or above the access opening.
2006 IRC (Residential Construction):
R807.1 Attic Access. Buildings with combustible ceiling or roof construction shall have an attic access opening to attic areas that exceed 30 square feet (2.8m squared) and have a vertical height of 30 inches (762 mm) or more. The rough-framed opening shall not be less than 22 inches by 30 inches, and shall be located in a hallway or readily accessible location. A 30-inch (762 mm) minimum unobstructed headroom in the attic space shall be provided at some point above the access opening.
Tips that inspectors can pass on to their clients:
- Do not allow children to enter the attic through an attic access. The lanyard attached to the attic stairs should be short enough that children cannot reach it. Parents can also lock the attic ladder so that a key or combination is required to access it.
- If possible, avoid carrying large loads into the attic. While properly installed stairways may safely support an adult man, they might fail if he is carrying, for instance, a bag full of bowling balls. Such trips can be split up to reduce the weight load.
- Replace an old, rickety wooden ladder with a new one. Newer aluminum models are often lightweight, sturdy and easy to install.
In summary, attic pull-down ladders are prone to a number of defects, most of which are due to improper installation.
How a Sump Pump Works
A pit, known as a sump pit or sump trench, can be dug at the lowest part of the basement floor to capture and contain any flowing water. A sump pump sits at the bottom of this trench (or beside it) and expels excess water through a series of interconnected pipes to a suitable discharge location. The pump can sense water levels through a float that rises and falls with fluctuating water levels in the trench. The sump pump becomes activated and deactivated based on the height of the float, providing a simple, automated way to monitor and deal with variable water levels.
- Pedestal sump pumps sit above the water line beside the sump trench and are not designed to get wet. Since they are not contained within the sump pit, they can be accessed easily but are also very noisy. They cost roughly $60 to $200, which is significantly less than other varieties.
- Submersible sump pumps rest underwater at the bottom of the sump pit, and are much quieter than pedestal pumps. Their oil-cooled motors and tight seals protect against water and dust and afford them a long lifespan. They can cost up to $600.
- Water-powered sump pumps are normally used as backups and kick in when the main pump experiences an electrical or mechanical failure.
- The pump can be tested by pouring water into the pit to make sure it becomes activated and expels the water. The homeowner should seek professional assistance if the pump does not activate.
- Maintenance should take place annually, and when the home is sold.
- When testing the pump, no one should ever reach into the pit. The float can be reached and manipulated with a household item such as a golf club (with a rubber handle) or anything else non-conductive that happens to be lying around.
Inspectors should check for the presence of the following:
- A GFCI. There is considerable debate among inspectors concerning whether or not a sump pump should be connected to a GFCI. It is possible that a GFCI can prevent electrocution, but it is extremely unlikely that a sump pump will energize water in the first place. It is much more likely that a GFCI will trip during safe conditions and deactivate the sump pump when it is needed. A sump pump is among the most critical of all household appliances, and its deactivation, especially if the tenants are not home, could allow catastrophic building damage. Codes recommend that appliances in basements and crawlspaces be connected to GFCIs to reduce the chance of electrical shock, but this advice is often ignored due to these concerns over nuisance tripping.
- An alarm. Sump pumps can burn out, lose power, become clogged or misaligned, or malfunction in a variety of other ways. It is valuable to have a warning device installed that will signal water build-up. These alarms can alert homeowners or neighbors of flooding so that it can be resolved before water damage occurs. Alarms are especially important in residences that are not occupied for long periods of time. Inspectors should keep in mind that, while an alarm can be helpful, it is not a requirement.
- a backup power source. Power outages are most likely to happen during heavy rains and floods, which are situations when the sump pump is most needed. For this reason, combined with the nuisance-tripping from GFCIs, sump pumps should have a backup power source to rely on. A pump powered by a battery or the home’s water pressure can also be installed as a backup. Installation of a backup power source or backup pump is not a requirement, but can be offered to a client as a recommendation.
- that the pit that is large enough for the pump. The sump pit does not need to be constructed from any particular material, as long as it is solid and provides permanent support for the pump. It must, however, be large enough to allow the pump room to work properly. Some homeowners use a 5-gallon bucket as a sump pit, but this is insufficient. For most homes, the sump pit should not be less than 24 inches deep and 18 inches wide. One of the most common reasons why sump pumps fail is that the float gets jammed between the pump and the pit because the pit is too cramped.
- a cover. The sump pit should be covered to prevent water from evaporating into the home.
Insideout inspectors are not required to check for a proper discharge location. They can note an improper discharge if they see it, but searching outdoors for the discharge is not recommended. The following is good general information that can be passed on to the homeowner:
- Water must be discharged at least 20 feet from the building.
- Water should not drain back into the house! Cycling water will place unnecessary strain on the pump and can weaken the structure’s foundation.
- Water should not drain onto a neighbor’s property without their approval.
- Many jurisdictions do not permit pumped water into public sewer systems.
- Pumped water should never drain into a residence’s septic system. Especially during heavy rain, a septic drainfield will become saturated and will struggle to handle the normal flow of water from the house. Additional water from the sump pump can damage the septic system.
In summary, sump pumps are used to remove excess water from homes that would otherwise cause property damage. There are multiple types, but they all monitor water levels and ensure that they do not rise higher than predetermined levels. Proper maintenance and inspection will ensure pump efficiency and prolong their lifespan.
Some important factors a home inspector should consider include:
- that the guttering system is adequately sized to prevent runoff;
- that the gutters are free of rust, cracks and holes in order to prevent leaking; and
- that the downspouts divert water 4 to 6 feet away from the home's foundation.
A few inches of rain falling on the roof of a house can produce several thousand gallons of water runoff. This runoff must be channeled away from the home's foundation. Otherwise, the excess water can quickly saturate the soil surrounding the building and wick through the foundation to the interior. (See Figure 1 below.) Once inside, this moisture can lead to a variety of problems, including mold and wood rot. Excess moisture can also cause indoor air quality problems.
Gutter System Basics
Gutter systems consist of two parts: 1) gutter channels that run horizontally along the roof edge to collect runoff; and 2) the downspouts that carry the collected water to grade level. Roofing gutters should slope down toward the downspout at the rate of 1/16-inch per foot, or 1/4-inch per 5 to 10 feet. An angle less than this won't allow water to move effectively, and much more of an angle will cause the water to move at too great a speed, potentially resulting in overflow over end caps and corners.
In terms of standards, InsideOut home inspectors are not required to measure the amount of gutter slope. To do it accurately would be time-consuming, would require a transit or water level, and would exceed InterNACHI's Standards of Practice. A more practical approach is to make sure that all gutters slope toward the downspout. In judging adequate slope, look for signs of standing water in portions of the gutter away from the downspout, and eyeball the margin against the fascia.
Gutter channels are typically available in 4, 5, and 6-inch sizes. They are referred to by their shape: there are K-style gutters (also known as "ogee" because the shape resembles this molding type); and U-style gutters (or half-round), as shown in Figure 2 below. The style differences are principally aesthetic; there is no substantial difference in performance. Larger sizes conduct more water at a faster rate, provided that there are enough downspouts to drain the gutter channels without overflowing.
Most downspouts are made of the same material as the gutter system, so they tend to suffer from similar problems, but with a few twists -- especially in the area of mechanical damage from proximity to high-traffic areas.
Downspouts should be inspected for:
- the connection between the downspout and the gutter;
- proper attachment of the downspout to the structure;
- leakage in joints (sometimes they will have been installed upside-down);
- impact damage from doors of vehicles parked nearby; and
- downspouts that terminate onto another roof surface.
The following are some climate-specific considerations for different types of gutter systems:
- Hot-Dry and Mixed-Dry Climates: Gutters are not required in all dry climates. However, a wide roof overhang will keep occasional runoff away from the home. As with any structure, the grade at the foundaiton should slope away from the building. Metal, rather than vinyl, gutters and downspouts are safer in areas susceptible to wildfires.
- Hot-Humid and Mixed-Humid Climates: In areas with heavy rainfall, the gutter and rain leader capacity should be increased. Kickout and diverter flashing will prevent high water volume from spilling over the gutters and running down the exterior walls of the home.
- Marine Climate: In areas that experience high winds and heavy rains, the gutter and rain leader capacities should be increased, especially for large roofs.
- Cold and Very Cold Climates: Depending on the building codes for the jurisdiction, it may be wise to avoid the use of gutters in areas that receive high snow loads. If gutters are installed, ice buildup inside the gutters during freezing and below-freezing temperatures can lead to ice damming, which can cause moisture intrusion through the roof's sheathing and any unsealed openings. There are products available at building supply stores that will help prevent Ice Dams from forming.
Inspectors can relay the following tips to their clients to help them properly and safely maintain their home's gutter system:
- Observe common-sense safety precautions (and enlist a spotter, if available) when using a ladder to reach the gutter system. Always maintain three point contact and don't over-reach; move the ladder instead.
- If mounting the roof, wear footwear with gripping treads to prevent slipping.
- Wear gloves to protect hands and arms from sharp debris, as well as from animals and insects that may be hiding in the gutters.
- A gutter scoop is a convenient tool for removing leaves and other debris.
- Cleaning gutters can take a substanial amount of water. Place a garden hose in the gutters and downspouts to flush them out, making sure that the water is directed away from the home via the downspouts. This will help reduce the chances of saturating the soil around the foundation.
- Covered gutter systems may be effective in preventing excessive debris buildup, but these are not maintenance-free.
- Homeowners can install a rainwater harvesting system (if allowed in their jurisdiction) that includes a drainage mechanism to handle overflow.
The home inspector should also explain to his clients the importance of a properly functioning gutter system, and the potential problems that an undersized or damaged system can create.
This article was sourced from the U.S. Department of Energy and InterNACHI®.
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