There are many inspectors out there to choose from so how do you go about finding one right for you?
While all inspectors are required to perform certain tasks on every inspection, there are really no tools other than a pen and paper required. In fact, I would venture to say that a very large percentage of inspectors use just that, a pen and paper.
The inspectors purpose is to help the client identify issues that could be a concern for the health and safety of their family, as well as to identify any potential costly items that may be in disrepair.
As an inspector, I believe that I should have the tools available to help identify those hidden issues that can really cause great concern for your family’s life and health.
To help with this I also have the following tools available to assist in my work:
Thermal Image Scanner (New May 2015)
Scans can be done on walls, ceilings, electrical, plumbing, water pipes, heating systems, and more with this tool. It can quickly help to identify missing insulation, overheated circuits, inefficient air conditioners, or water leaks. Having this in my tool bag helps when issues are found that need a more in depth look than the human eye can see.
Below you can see a cathedral ceiling in a living room where the insulation has obviously fallen away.
If any moisture issues are observed, we will be able to identify if the moisture problem is active or not. The meter can identify moisture up to 4″ deep through surfaces like tile and concrete block.
Carbon Monoxide Detector
This device can aid in the detection of a cracked heat exchanger on the furnace. A crack in the heat exchanger allows carbon monoxide to flow into the home instead of outside. As levels increase in the home then the health and safety of you and your family become in jeopardy. Increased levels can cause headaches, severe sickness, or death.The device can also help to identify how efficiently a furnace or hot water heater is operating. The combustion analysis takes into account several factors to determine the efficiency of the furnace. As an example, my furnace is what is called an 80% efficient furnace, but tests out at an efficiency level of 87%.
Explosive Gas Detector
The explosive gas detector can do just as it says. I can check all visible joints and connections to ensure that there are no existing leaks.
I would guess to say that easily 90+ percent of inspectors use a $4 outlet tester to see if the wiring is connected correctly.
Electrical fires can start from a simple nick in a wire anywhere in the house, or a connection at an outlet that is connected but just not tightened down as it should be. While the testing with a $4 tester will show the outlet is working fine, my tester may indicate that there is an electrical issue that needs to be addressed by an electrician.
The tester will show the voltage from the source and indicate any unacceptable voltage drop from the electrical box to the outlet. Any significant drop in voltage could be for any number of reasons including a wire that was nicked during installation or a connection that is no longer secure.
This may occur on any outlet in the home, or it could be the main one you use for an extra heater in the winter. The loose connections can create electrical arcing, heat buildup, and are the cause of many fires.
While the odds of this may be slim, it is not a chance that I want to take on homes I inspect.
As you can see there are many areas of an inspection that can be overlooked by many inspectors. Most issues that could be found with these tools can easily go unnoticed, and can easily cause great harm to you and your family.
Inspections happen year round. During the winter months there are items that just cannot be looked at like a roof with snow covering or an air conditioner that cannot be run below 65 degrees. While this may not help you in your decision for a new purchase, it is important for you to have all issues identified at some point. So as your inspector, if you wish to have these items looked at when the weather permits, I will return to inspect the missed items. This will just be a courtesy follow-up visit with you and no formal report will be completed.
With any inspector you choose, I highly recommend you be there for the entire inspection so that you can see and understand what your inspector has found.
If you are not purchasing a new home, maybe you will want to consider having a safety inspection done. I will be doing safety inspections at a reduced rate off the full inspection. During these inspections I can check your furnace and water heater for potential carbon monoxide poisoning, check for explosive gas leaks, your electrical outlets for any wiring issues, or any additional areas of concern.
Please feel free to call me any evening to discuss any concerns or questions you may have about the inspection process at (815) 627-0707.
Thank-you, Tim Slocum