to name a few
home inspection is intended to assist in evaluation of the overall
condition of the dwelling. The inspection is based on observation
of the visible and apparent condition of the structure and its components
on the date of the inspection and not the prediction of future
You should expect to find problems in your house that were not identified
in your home inspection report. That's because a home inspection will
not reveal every problem that exists or ever could exist,
but only those "material defects" that were observed on
the day of the inspection.
A "material defect" is a condition of a residential property
or any portion of it that would have a significant adverse impact
on the value of the real property or that involves unreasonable risk
to people on the property. The fact that a system or component is
near, at or beyond the end of the normal useful life does not make
the system or component itself a material defect.
An inspection report shall describe and identify in written format
the inspected systems, structures and components of the dwelling and
shall identify material defects observed. Inspection reports may contain
recommendations regarding conditions reported or recommendations for
correction, monitoring or further evaluation by professionals, but
this is not required.
One of the most common problems in small residential structures is
a wet basement. You will want to monitor walls and floors for signs
of water penetration such as dampness, water stains, peeling paint,
efflorescence and rust on exposed metal parts. In finished basements,
look for rotted or warped wood paneling and doors, loose floor tiles
and mildew stains. It may come through the walls or cracks in the
floor, or from backed-up floor drains, leaky plumbing lines or a clogged
air conditioner condensate line.
To properly correct a moisture problem, you must determine the source
of the moisture. There's no point in cleaning or wiping up a problem
without investigating the source of the problem.
If moisture appears to be coming through the walls, check the roof
drainage system and grading around the exterior of the building (the
problem could be as simple as a clogged gutter).
Check the sump pump, if there is one, to be sure its discharge is
not draining back into the basement. Look for unprotected or poorly
drained window wells, leaking exterior faucets, and signs of leakage
in the water supply line near the building. Check the elevation of
an earthen floor in a crawl space. If the water table is high or the
drainage outside the building is poor, the crawl space floor should
not be below the elevation of the exterior grade.
If the basement or crawl space is merely damp or humid the cause simply may be lack of adequate ventilation.
Tank water heaters
consist of a glass-lined or vitreous enamel-coated steel tank covered
by an insulated metal jacket. They are gas-fired, oil-fired or electrically
fired tank heaters have an average life expectancy of about 6-12 years
and have fairly high recovery rate.
• Oil-fired heaters have an average similar to gas fired
with high recovery rate.
• Electric water heaters have an estimated service life
of 5 to 10 years with a low recovery rate, requiring a larger storage
Watch for signs of leakage on the bottom of the tank, such as rust
or water stains at fuel burning components or on the floor. Leaking
tanks cannot usually be repaired, and therefore must be replaced entirely.
Garage doors should be monitored for operation, weathertightness,
overall condition and fit. Garage doors are made of wood, hardboard
on a wood frame, steel, glass fibre on a steel frame, fibreglass,
and aluminum. Garage doors can come with glazed panes in a wide varity
of styles. Wood and hardboard can rot, hardboard can crack and split,
steel can rust, fibreglass can deteriorate from ultraviolet light,
and aluminum can dent.
Doors with motors should be periodically tested using each of the
operators on the system (key lock switch or combination lock key pad
where control must be accessible on the exterior, remote electrical
switch, or photoelectric control switch).
Check the operation for smoothness, quietness, time of operation and
safety. Check for the presence and proper operation of the door safety-reversing
device. Look at the exposed parts of the installation for loose connections,
rust and bent or damaged pieces.
Generally speaking, each wall should have at least one wall outlet
and each room should have one switch-operated outlet or over-head
light. When operating light switches, look for dimmed or flickering
lights that may indicate electrical problems somewhere in the circuit.
Also check the light switches for sparks (arcing) when switches are
turned on and off. Feel the light switch for overheating. Switches
that are worn should be replaced. When a light will not turn on, even
after the bulb has been replaced, it will likely be the result of
a bad switch.
in sloped roofs resulting from too many layers of roofing materials,
failure of fire retardant plywood roof sheathing, inadequate bracing
or undersized rafters. Sometimes three or more layers of shingles
are applied to a roof, generally increasing its dead load. Or when
an attic story has been made into a habitable space or otherwise altered,
collar beams or knee walls may have been removed. A number of factors,
such as increases in snow and wind loads, poor structure design and
construction errors result in undersized rafters. Look for all these
A building inspector may be able to confirm that the service panel
appears to be grounded. Its grounding conductor should run to an exterior
grounding electrode or be clamped to the metal water service inlet
pipe between the exterior wall and the water meter.
Grounding electrode is a device that makes an electrical connection
to the earth. A grounding electrode can be rebar in a footer, a metal
underground water supply pipe within 10 feet of contact with the earth
and a grounding rod.
clothes dryers can cause fires
the lint screen/filter before and after drying each load of clothes.
If clothing is still damp at the end of a typical drying cycle or
drying requires longer times than normal, this may be a sign that
the lint screen or the exhaust duct is blocked.
• Clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct periodically. Check
the outside dryer vent while the dryer is operating to make sure exhaust
is escaping. If it is not, the vent or exhaust duct may be blocked.
To remove a blockage in the exhaust path, it may be necessary to disconnect
the exhaust duct from the dryer. Remember to reconnect the ducting
to the dryer and outside vent before using the dryer again.
• Clean behind the dryer, where lint can build up. Have
a qualified service person clean the interior of the dryer chassis
periodically to minimize the amount of lint accumulation. Keep the
area around the dryer clean and free of clutter.
plastic or foil, accordion-type ducting material with rigid or corrugated
semi-rigid metal duct. Most manufactures specify the use of a rigid
or corrugated semi-rigid metal duct, which provides maximum airflow.
The flexible plastic or foil type duct can more easily trap lint and
is more susceptible to kinks or crushing, which can greatly reduce
• Take special care when drying clothes that have been
soiled with volatile chemicals such as gasoline, cooking oils, cleaning
agents, or finishing oils and stains. If possible, wash the clothing
more than once to minimize the amount of volatile chemicals on the
clothes and preferably, hang the clothes to dry. If using a dryer,
use the lowest heat setting and a drying cycle that has a cool-down
period at the end of the cycle. To prevent clothes from igniting after
drying, do not leave the dried clothes in the dryer or piled in a
you would like to reply or have a comment, e-mail me Tom
Kollias Property Inspections, Inc