Home inspectors have to be extra cautious when inspecting certain areas of the home. One of these areas is the crawlspace underneath the home. The reasons for this are obvious as they are dark places and usually remain unchecked for long periods of time. This means that there is the potential for all kinds of hazards to be found there. So, what are some of these dangers that a homeowner should be aware of?
One of these potential dangers are animals and pests. A crawlspace might be home to all kinds of creatures, some of which could be dangerous if they come in contact with a human. The risk is increased because crawlspaces are tough areas to move around in, so you could find yourself face to face with one of these critters and have no easy means of retreat.
Some other issues you might encounter with crawlspaces are standing water or even sewage. Most of us are aware that this can create a variety of health problems and can damage any belongings you have there. Mold and fungus are another cause for concern with crawlspaces as they thrive in this type of dark, damp environment.
If you are uncertain whether the home has any structural problems, make sure you are extra careful when going into a crawlspace. As home inspectors, we are very vigilant when it comes to this. If you need to go into a under house crawlspace, always make sure someone knows where you are and what you are doing. You could easily encounter problems or get trapped so it’s important to have someone else aware of what you are doing. There are many other dangers associated with under house crawlspaces, so remember, if you need to go into one make sure you are wearing the appropriate protective clothing and equipment.
Its hard to forget the terrible smell of sewer gas, especially if it has leaked into your home. While the smell may seem bad enough, should we be worried about any other dangers that could come from sewer gas leaking into your home? There are some serious health risks associated with sewer gas leaks, among them are: risk of explosion or fire, possibility of hydrogen sulfide poisoning which has the potential to be extremely dangerous and, risk of asphyxiation from sewer gases displacing the oxygen in the home.
Its clear to see from this list that if you smell sewer gas in your home, it should be checked out by a professional. There are a few reasons for sewer gas to leak. A very common reason is plumbing fixtures drying out which causes the plumbing traps to also dry out. From a lack of water barrier, sewer gas can then back up into the home. If bathrooms, sinks and toilets are not used very often this can also happen, especially during dryer weather. Some other reasons for sewer gas to leak in the home are cracking in plumbing drains and ventilation pipes, cracks in the home’s foundations, wind and air flowing around the home and plumbing vents that are positioned too close to air intakes.
So, we can see that leaking sewer gas can become dangerous to the home’s occupants. We have also seen that there are differing reasons for this. The important thing, though, is not to ignore this but have the problem looked at by a skilled professional.
We all know that purchasing a home is one of the biggest expenses you can have. Sometimes, though, we don’t expect all the fees and extra costs that go along with buying a house such as closing costs etc. Perhaps you feel that you can cut down on some of these costs and save a bit of money. While this might be good reasoning, there is one thing that you should never skimp on and that’s the home inspection. Why is this such an important part of buying a home?
Because, as we mentioned, buying a home is a massive expense so it’s vital that you know everything about your potential new home before you make the final decision. Wouldn’t it be terrible if, after moving in to your new place, you find out that it needs thousands of dollars of work? The home inspection reveals these kinds of issues before you buy helping you to decide whether the property is for you or not.
Something else to think about is that not all home inspection companies are the same. You may want to go for the cheaper quote but, for the same reasons as before, this might not be the best option. Make sure you choose an InterNACHI certified home inspector for your home inspection. Although it might cost you a few dollars extra, you can feel more confident that you will be getting a thorough, detailed inspection. So, when it comes to cutting costs with your home buying process, think about the long-term consequences. While it might cost you that bit extra now, it could end up saving you a fortune later on.
The exterior look of a home is very important so choosing the right type of exterior cladding is crucial. With so many different kinds available nowadays its hard to know what is right for your home. Let’s consider one cladding type, wooden siding, this has been around for decades, and with good reason. Even among this category of cladding, there are many different kinds of wooden siding. Let’s look at a few of them;
One siding type you will come across is solid wood or lumber siding. This is one of the more common kinds of wood siding. It is durable and attractive in appearance (as long as it’s maintained well) and can be placed horizontally, vertically or diagonally.
Then we have hardboard siding which is a less expensive option. This will generally be comprised of wooden fiberboard, compressed and made using synthetic adhesive. Then it is treated with an EPA approved preservative which helps to prevent decay and insect damage.
Plywood can be another good wooden siding choice. Woods commonly used for this are: Douglas fir, red cedar and yellow pine. Plywood siding can be placed horizontally or vertically and can add support to a home’s structure.
Weatherboard or clapboard usually comprised of overlapping boards installed in a horizontal position are another option. Redwood and cedar are often used for this siding due to their being less prone to decay and strength.
As we can see, there are a variety of choices when it comes to wooden siding and this has just been some of them.
Many of us have to work hard to make our yards into the beautiful landscaped piece of paradise we’re looking for. How frustrating it is, then, to have it attacked by some type of wildlife. Though we have nothing against the extensive range of beautiful animals and wildlife in our area, it can be another matter when they are messing up our property. So, what are some ways that we can control wildlife from entering and causing damage to our yards or homes? While it seems like the obvious choice to spray the area with chemical to get rid of the pest, there are other ways of controlling wildlife on your property without the need for this. What are a few, simple things that can be done?
In order to discourage a rodent, animal or insect, it’s necessary to first identify what type of creature is causing the damage. This way, you can research what types of things repel it. Think, also, about what is drawing it to your property. Most of the time, it is because there is a good source of food or shelter. Identify what food source might be attracting this particular sort of species and try to eliminate the source. This may mean that you cannot use certain types of plants and shrubs for your landscaping that appeal to the pest.
Another option to try is to place some type of barrier that keeps wildlife out. If a barrier doesn’t work, what about some type of repellent around the area? These don’t always have to be of a chemical nature but can also be a visual type of repellent or even a noise that frightens them.
If all these approaches fail, there may be no other option but to capture the animals and relocate them to another area. It’s good to consult with your local wildlife or animal control agent first though, depending on the type of wildlife problem you have. Although there are ways to control unwanted wildlife on your property, it might be good to ask yourself how much damage are they really doing? then determine if it’s even worth the effort.
Over the years we have found out more about the harmful effects of lead, especially for those most at risk, unborn babies, babies and small children. So, if you live in an older home, 40 years or more, or are about to purchase an older home, what are some things you should be aware of regarding lead?
Where might lead be found in an older home? Lead can be found in piping which could possibly affect your households drinking water. Lead is also found in old paint which, in an older home, would have been used both outside and inside, you might even find it in the soil surrounding the home from paint that has chipped.
When it becomes a cause for concern. As lead paint deteriorates it will start to chip or turn to dust, this then covers the home with lead dust. This is when it becomes a problem especially for small children who are much more likely touch and inhale this dust as they play and climb. Even if you do not have an older home but enjoy antique furniture, you could still have problems with lead paint which was used on the furniture. This is something we might not always think about.
So, as we can see, there are times when lead in a home becomes a big problem and that’s when it is starting to deteriorate. It is best, in this case, to have the problem taken care of professionally. It is important that you choose someone qualified and experienced in lead removal.
Have you ever had a home inspection performed and the inspector damages something on your property? You would logically conclude that it’s the home inspectors’ fault and require some kind of compensation, however, this might not always be the case. Why do we say that?
While some unfortunate accidents do occur such as smashing a decorative item etc. we are talking about the kind of damage to a home that would result from the inspection itself. For example, if the inspector is going about a routine inspection and finds that a switch breaks after simply turning it on, then this is a defect with the switch and not a result of the home inspector’s carelessness. This would have broken whoever used it. Remember, the home inspector might be accessing areas that haven’t been used in years, this means that due to deterioration of the property, just touching something could cause it to break or fall apart. Its good to ask yourself “would this have happened to anyone performing the same, normal task?” If it would, then this is not the fault of the inspector.
To think of it another way, by finding issues like this, the home inspector is doing you a favor. This is because if they didn’t find it, someone in the household would, and perhaps cause themselves harm. It could also save you a lot of money. So, before assuming the home inspector was just being careless, if some damage occurs, its good to analyze the situation first and think about whether it would’ve happened anyway.
We mention safety in the home a lot, this is because it is the place we raise our families and spend a great deal of our time. One area of the home that should be checked periodically is the staircase. Why do we say that? Sadly, because many accidents in the home happen on or around a staircase. Special attention should be given if there are small children, elderly or handicapped people living in the home. Here are a few areas that require periodic maintenance:
Firstly, any stairs in the home should be up to code. Bannister's should not be situated so far apart that a child could get their heads stuck. Also, to prevent them from being a tripping hazard, stairs should be of equal height. Although whomever constructed the home should have followed proper building codes, it is still a good idea to check.
Check the handrail and carpeting, if any, for signs that they may have become loose.
If you have wooden stairs, do not over polish them as this could become treacherous for anyone going up or down them in socks.
Good lighting on or around a staircase is very important, especially if there are elderly or others in the home with failing eyesight.
Have a check of exterior stairs as well as interior. Its important for exterior stairs to have the correct amount of slope so that any water does not pool on them. This could be lethal in the winter time.
While these checks might not take too much of your time, they will help to ensure fewer accidents on or around the staircase.
No one wants to deal with damp issues in their basement and yet, due to its location, this is an area of the home that will be most prone to damp conditions. Of course, the best way to deal with a damp prone basement is by taking as many preventative steps as you can. However, what if you are looking to buy a home and are concerned that the basement will be damp, are there areas of the house that you can look to which would indicate this type of problem?
Of course, the basement itself will tell you a lot but there are other places to check as well. For example, find out if the house has the correct amount of grade, if it doesn’t, you could find that water will pool around the foundation which will contribute to damp problems in the basement.
Another area that can cause water issues in the basement is along the roof line, gutters and downspouts should be well maintained and directed away from the house, far enough (at least 10 feet) away so that this does not cause pooling around the foundation also.
As you can see, when looking for a new home, there are some ways to tell if you will have a potentially damp basement. If you are concerned about this or have any other home inspection question, please feel free to contact us, we will be happy to help.
Purchasing a home is a massive decision to make and, especially if you are a first-time buyer, can be quite an intimidating prospect. However, choosing the right people to work for you during this process is vital and can help relieve some of the stress that will unquestionably come along with moving. Choosing the right home inspector is also a key element when it comes to making sure the property you are buying will be a good investment.
The brief video that follows will help you to see what to look for in a great home inspector. We are here to assist you with any information you need about home inspections and are happy to answer any questions you may have, so please don’t hesitate to contact us. We know how important buying the right property is.
Dave Graham, Tempest Home Inspection. Calgary Alberta