Why You Need an Inspection on New Construction Homes.
Purchasing a new construction home comes with a lot of advantages that are usually worth the higher price tag to a buyer. Unfortunately, there tends to be a misconception surrounding new construction homes and whether or not they need an inspection. While new construction homes do tend to have fewer issues than older homes, this does not guarantee that a home is without flaws or safety defects. Just like having a research paper peer-reviewed, there are always errors that come to light with a fresh set of eyes.
Small Issues Add-Up
One of the biggest issues in new construction homes is a contractor's use of sub-contractors. When hiring multiple outside contractors to work on different components of the home, some of the smaller items could be looked over, rushed, or forgotten all-together. For instance, all of the photos below were taken at an inspection of a new construction home. If a homeowner found all of these issues after moving into their new home and didn't obtain a home warranty, the repairs alone could cost upwards of $1,000.
Some of these specific issues are small cosmetic mistakes that won't cause much damage however, left untreated the issues with the fascia and loose siding could lead to excess water damage over time and cause thousands of dollars in repairs.
If an builder does include a 3rd party quality inspection in the purchase price of your home, looking into additional ancillary inspections could also protect you and your investment in the long run. For instance, we inspected a new construction home recently and our client decided to add on a sewer scope inspection. At some point during the build of their new home, someone crushed their sewer line. Sewer line replacement can cost anywhere from $6,000-$12,000 and in most cases, is not covered under home warranties or common homeowners insurance policies.
Radon is another Inspection that should still be purchased regardless of the age of a home. Radon is a Radioactive gas that comes up from the ground and can enter a house in many different ways. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and should be tested for in order to install a mitigation system if needed. Radon does not discriminate between new and old homes.
This blog is in no way meant to tear down builders or their work however, it is meant to equip clients and their realtors with more information.
When purchasing any home, new or used, we will look out for the best interest of our clients, always!
Have you used, or been told to use RID-X for septic maintenance?
Additives like RID-X or yeast can actually cause you more money and headache than not using anything. RID-X contains much stronger enzymes than the natural bacteria that is found in a healthy septic system. Breaking down solids at a much more rapid rate actually allows them to travel out to your drain field. This will lead to your drain field becoming clogged and potentially even needing to be replaced, and the average septic system replacement cost could set you back anywhere from $8,000 - $25,000!
How can you maintain a healthy septic system?
Be aware of everything you are putting down your sinks and NEVER treat your toilets or sinks like
a garbage can.
Did You Know There Are Different Types of Home Inspections?
During a real estate transaction you will most likely have your home inspected if you are selling.
There are a few different ways sellers can approach the inspection process.
InsideOut offers Pre-Inspection certifications and they are a huge selling point for any listing. If you know you are entering into a hot market and want your home to move quickly, this option will absolutely help. When you hire InsideOut for a pre-inspection we will come out and preform and inspection just as we would if we were hired by the buyer. We will provide you with a very detailed report and make sure to flag and health and safety issues that could be a deal-breaker when selling your home. After issuing you the completed inspection report InsideOut will return to the residence to inspect that any issues that were flagged during our initial inspection were corrected. Once everything has been completed we will put a Certified Pre-Inspection sign in your front yard right next to your for sale sign.
If your buyer chooses us for their home inspection they become our customer however, that does not mean that we are not on the same team. We compiled a list of 10 ways that you as the seller can help us and yourselves when entering into the inspection period on your home. These common items are quick/easy fixes that can allow our time at your home to be as quick and efficient as possible. Taking these 10 steps will also allow provide less opportunity for items to be flagged in your inspection. Please find the printable 10 step form attached below!
Contact us to learn about all of the inspection services we offer
If you have a basement, or a crawl space, you probably have adjustable steel columns, also known as screw jacks and beam jacks. These are hollow steel posts designed to provide structural support. An attached threaded adjustment mechanism is used to adjust the height of the post. Adjustments can properly distribute support to the floors above, to prevent out of level conditions that might cause structural damage. A professional home inspector can determine if these appear to be properly positioned and adjusted, or may suggest consulting a Structural Engineer.
Other Possible Defects In Structural Supports:
Attic pull-down ladders, also called attic pull-down stairways, are collapsible ladders that are permanently attached to the attic floor. Occupants can use these ladders to access their attics without being required to carry a portable ladder.
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:
In summary, attic pull-down ladders are prone to a number of defects, most of which are due to improper installation.
Sump pumps are self-activating electrical pumps that protect homes from moisture intrusion. They are usually installed below basement or crawlspace floors to remove rising groundwater and surface runoff before it has a chance to seep into the home. Accumulated water can cause interior damage and encourage the growth of mold, mildew, and fungus. Pumps should be maintained and equipped with all necessary components in order to ensure their reliability.
Types of Sump Pumps
Inspectors should check for the presence of the following:
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:
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.
InsideOut Home Inspectors are required to inspect the gutters and downspouts as part of the roof portion of the home inspection.
Some important factors a home inspector should consider include:
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.
Figure 1: If not drained away from the house, the volume of water coming off a roof in a large rainstorm can quickly saturate the soil and wick through the foundation into the interior of the building.
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.
Figure 2: Standard gutter styles found in building supply centers include the K and U styles. The difference is purely aesthetic. (Image courtesy of the U.S. Dept. of Energy's Building America Solution Center.
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 following are some climate-specific considerations for different types of gutter systems:
Inspectors can relay the following tips to their clients to help them properly and safely maintain their home's gutter system:
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®.
Homeowners may use a generator to supply electricity to their home in the case of a power outage, either out of necessity or convenience. Inspectors may want to know about generators and the potential hazards they present when improperly wired or utilized.
There are two main types of generators: permanently installed, standby generators; and gasoline-powered, portable generators.
Standby generators typically operate on natural gas or liquid propane. They remain fixed in place outside the home and are designed to supply on-site power to specified circuits through a home's electrical wiring. These generators work in tandem with a manual or automatic transfer switch, which automatically detects an interruption in grid-powered electricity and subsequently transfers over electrical input to the generator.
Some advantages of standby generators are as follows:
Gasoline-powered, portable generators are typically smaller in size and power capacity than permanently installed generators. They are designed so that corded electrical devices may be plugged directly into them.
Advantages to portable generators are as follows:
Inspecting A Generator
InsideOut inspectors check for the following:
In summary, generators can be lifesavers during a power outage, but they present serious health and safety concerns if they are not installed and used properly.
While you can’t predict the lurking dangers in an unfamiliar home, its age offers clues about what you can expect to encounter. Older homes, especially those that have remained in the same hands for much (or all) of their lifetime, are often plagued by a common set of defects that InsideOut inspectors and potential home buyers may want to learn about.
Some of the more prevalent issues of older homes are as follows.
wiring is acceptable, aluminum will generally become defective faster than copper due to certain qualities inherent in the metal. It can be identified by its color or the labels “CO/ALR,” “aluminum” and “AL”;
Arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) are special types of electrical receptacles or outlets and circuit breakers designed to detect and respond to potentially dangerous electrical arcs in home branch wiring.
What is an arc?
When an electric current crosses an air gap from an energized component to a grounded component, it produces a glowing plasma discharge known as an arc. For example, a bolt of lightening is a very large, powerful arc that crosses an atmospheric gap from an electrically charged cloud to the ground or another cloud. Just as lightning can cause fires, arcs produced by domestic wiring are capable of producing high levels of heat that can ignite their surroundings and lead to structure fires.
According to statistics from the National Fire Protection Agency for the year 2005, electrical fires damaged approximately 20,900 homes, killed 500 people, and cost $862 million in property damage. Although short-circuits and overloads account for many of these fires, arcs are responsible for the majority and are undetectable by traditional (non-AFCI) circuit breakers.
Where are arcs likely to form?
Arcs can form where wires are improperly installed or when insulation becomes damaged. In older homes, wire insulation tends to crystallize as it ages, becoming brittle and prone to cracking and chipping. Damaged insulation exposes the current-carrying wire to its surroundings, increasing the chances that an arc may occur.
Where are AFCIs required?
Locations in which AFCIs are required depend on the building codes adopted by their jurisdiction.
The 2006 International Residential Code (IRC) requires that AFCIs be installed within bedrooms in the following manner:
E3802.12 Arc-Fault Protection of Bedroom Outlets. All branch circuits that supply120-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-amp outlets installed in bedrooms shall be protected by a combination-type or branch/feeder-type arc-fault circuit interrupter installed to provide protection of the entire branch circuit.
Exception: The location of the arc-fault circuit interrupter shall be permitted to be at other than the origination of the branch circuit, provided that:
The National Electrical Code (NEC) offers the following guidelines concerning AFCI placement within bedrooms:
Dwelling Units. All 120-volt, single phase, 15- and 20-ampere branch circuits supplying outlets installed in dwelling unit in family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, sun rooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, or similar rooms or areas shall be protected by a listed arc-fault circuit interrupter, combination-type installed to provide protection of the branch circuit.
Home inspectors should refrain from quoting exact code in their reports. A plaintiff's attorney might suggest that code quotation means that the inspector was performing a code inspection and is therefore responsible for identifying all code violations in the home. Some jurisdictions do not yet require their implementation in locations where they can be helpful.
allowing its contents to spoil. There are a few procedures an electrical contractor can perform in order to reduce potential “nuisance tripping," such as:
Arc Faults vs. Ground Faults
It is important to distinguish AFCI devices from Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) devices. GFCIs detect ground faults, which occur when current leaks from a hot (ungrounded) conductor to a grounded object as a result of a short-circuit. This situation can be hazardous when a person unintentionally becomes the current’s path to the ground. GFCIs function by constantly monitoring the current flow between hot and neutral (grounding) conductors, and activate when they sense a difference of 5 milliamps or more. Thus, GFCIs are intended to prevent personal injury due to electric shock, while AFCIs prevent personal injury and property damage due to structure fires.
In summary, AFCIs are designed to detect small arcs of electricity before they have a chance to lead to a structure fire.
This blog is to help people better understand their home inspection. It is filled with great in depth advice. If you'd like a topic covered just send us an email on what you need more information on!