Choosing the right home inspector can
be difficult. Unlike most professionals, you probably will not get
to meet me until after you hire me. Furthermore, different inspectors
have varying qualifications, equipment, experience, reporting methods,
and yes, different pricing.
One thing for sure is that a home inspection requires work, a lot
of work. Ultimately a thorough inspection depends heavily on the individual
inspectors own effort. If you honor me by permitting me to inspect
your new home, I guarantee that I will give you my very best effort.
This I promise you. Tom
At Kollias Property Inspections Inc, all the homes systems
and components that are readily accessible and visible are inspected with the
same Experience-Education-Comittment and Professionalism regardless
of which City or Village that the property is located in.
feel free to contact us at any time you have a question or concern about us or
the inspection process. We will be happy to give you an honest answer,
and if we don't know the answer we will get it for you as quick as possible.
a heavy rainstorm (without lightning), grab an umbrella and go outside.
Walk around your house and look around at the roof and property. A
rainstorm is the perfect time to look at how the roof, downspouts
and grading is performing. Observe the drainage patterns of your entire
property, as well as the property of your neighbor. The ground around
your house should slope away from all sides. Downspouts, surface gutters
and drains should be directing water away from the foundation.
drainage. Most problems with moisture in basements and crawlspaces
are caused by poor site drainage. The ground should slope away from
window wells, outside basement stairs, and other ways of egress. The
bottom of each of these areas should be sloped to a drain. Each drain
should have piping that connects it to a storm water drainage system
(if there is one) or that drains to either a discharge at a lower
grade or into a sump pit that collects and discharges the water away
from the building.
Valve. A homeowner should know where the curb valve is located.
It is the way for the main water supply to be turned off. It is typically
located at the junction of the public water main and the house service
main, usually at the street. The curb valve is usually the responsibility
of the municipal water department.
service main. The
house service main begins at the curb valve and ends at the inside
wall of the building at the master shutoff valve.
water shutoff valve. A
master shutoff valve should be located where the house service main
enters the building. If the water meter is not located inside the
building, the water meter will likely be outside in an underground
crock. Home inspectors typically do not test this main valve during
a visual-only inspection.
water meter is normally the property of the municipal water company
and may be located near the street, adjacent to the house, or within
the house. If the water meter is located inside the house, look for
two shutoff valves, one on the street side and one on the house side
of the meter.
A GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet is a device
that adds a greater level of safety by reducing the risk of electric
shock. Most building codes now require that GFCI protection be provided
in wet locations such as the following: all bathroom receptacles:
all exterior receptacles: receptacles in laundry and utility rooms:
receptacles next to wet bar sinks: all garage and unfurnished basement
receptacles, except receptacles that are not readily accessible or
single receptacles for appliances that are not easily moved; receptacles
near a pool, spa, or hot tub and; light fixtures near water.
A GFCI outlet may
be wired in a branch circuit, which means other outlets and electrical
devices may share the same circuit or breaker. When properly wired
GFCI trips, the other devices downstream from it will also lose power.
If you have an outlet that doesn't work, and the breaker is not tripped,
look for a GFCI outlet that may have tripped. The non-working outlet
may be downstream from the GFCI device. The "dead" outlets
may not be located near the GFCI outlet; they may be several rooms
away or even on a different floor.
GFCI outlets should be tested periodically-at least once a year. All
GFCI devices have test buttons.
air leaks. Along
the top of the basement wall where floor system meets the top of the
foundation wall is a good area to look for open holes and gaps. Since
the top of the wall is above ground, outside air can be drawn in through
cracks and gaps where the house framing sits on top of the foundation.
Sealant or caulk is best for sealing gaps or cracks that are 1/4 inch
or less. Use spray foam to fill gaps from 1/4 inch to about 3 inches.
We also recommend you seal penetrations that go through the basement
ceiling to the floor above. These are holes for wires, water supply
pipes, water drainpipes, the plumbing vent stack, and the furnace
Attic and basement air sealing will go a long way to improve your
comfort because your house will no longer act like an open
shingles. Asphalt or "composition" shingles have
a service life from 15 to 40 years depending upon shingle quality,
installation and maintenance. When they begin to lose their granular
covering and start to curl they should be replaced. No more than two
layers of asphalt shingles should normally be in place at any one
time. If the second layer of asphalt shingles has been applied, check
to see if all the flashing materials of the first layer were removed
and replaced with new flashing at the second layer.
And Clean Your Microwave
It is easy to take
your microwave for granted, since it is the appliance that most of
us use every day, and it typically does not require much maintenance.
However we suggest that you take a moment to inspect and clean your
microwave. In particular we suggest that you thoroughly inspect and
clean the door seal. If your microwave's door does not seal, then
it could be allowing dangerous level of microwave radiation to be
escaping during operation. If your door seal is damaged or the door
is not closing properly, then this should be immediately repaired
Ever wonder about your house number? Often, the previous owner installed
the number and the new owner never had to think about it, leaving
them clueless as to why it was placed where it is or why a particular
color or size was chosen. These numbers are more important than you
probably realize, and a lot of thought goes into making sure they
House numbers should be clear enough so that police, the fire department,
paramedics, etc., can quickly locate properties in an emergency. Numbers
are often the only way that first-responders can identify their intended
destinations. Your city might even have laws requiring your house
number to be of a certain size or color. Also, think of the poor pizza
delivery guy who runs late because he can't find your house, or frustrated
party guests who have to knock on neighbors' doors before they find
the following recommendations:
" The numbers should be large, within
reason. Try to make them at least 5 or 6 inches tall. Smaller numbers
may not be visible from the street if you have a large front yard.
Replacement house numbers can be purchased from hardware stores and
" The numbers should be of a color that contrasts with their
background. Reflective numbers are great because they are easier to
see at night. Brown on black or white on yellow may look swanky but
are bad choices for the purpose.
" Try not to put house numbers behind
any trees, shrubs, or anything else that may obscure their view from
" Make sure that the number faces the street that is listed
in the house's address. It does emergency workers no good if the house
number faces a different street than the one the workers are traveling
" Is your house not visible from the road? Then the number should
be placed at the driveway's entrance.
" The next time you hire an
InterNACHI inspector, ask him whether your numbers are adequate. Inspectors
should know the laws in your area and be able to offer you a professional
Keep in mind that you may need to make adjustments.
if your house number is currently adequate, InterNACHI believes that
it might need adjustment in the future. The following are common reasons
why you may need to adjust your number in the future:
• The addresses assigned to houses by the city occasionally
change, and you must adjust your numbers accordingly.
• The trees or shrubs in front of your house have grown so much
that the number is no longer visible.
the Exterior Condenser Unit and Components
The exterior condenser unit is the large box located on the side of
the building that is designed to push heat from the inside of the
building to the outdoors. Inside of the box are coils of pipe that
are surrounded by thousands of thin metal "fins" that allow
the coils more surface area to exchange heat. Follow these tips when
cleaning the exterior condenser unit and its inner components -- after
turning off the power to the unit.
• Remove any leaves, spider webs
and other debris from the unit's exterior. Trim foilage back several
feet from the unit to ensure proper flow.
• Remove the cover grille to clean
any debris from the unit's interior. A garden hose can be helpful for
this task.Clean the evaporator coil and condenser coil at least once
a year. When they collect dirt, they may not function properly.
• Straighten any bent fins with a
tool called a fin comb.
• Clean the evaporator coil
and condenser coil at least once a year.
When they collect dirt, they may not function properly.
WATER WISE AND HELP MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
• Check for leaks. Dripping faucets can waste as much
as 2,700 gallons of water per year. Leaky toilets can waste as much
as 200 gallons per day.
• You can check your toilets for leaks by placing a drop
of food coloring into your toilet's tank. Don't flush. Check the water
bowl in 15 minutes. If the color flows into your toilet bowl, there
is probably a leak.
• Run dishwashers and clothes washers, only when full. Use the load size selector.
• Install a water displacement device in your toilet's
tank. (A plastic bag/bottle filled with water to reduce the amount
of water and still provide enough flush.)
• Soak pans rather than scrubbing them while the water is running.
• Rinse your vegetables in a pan of cold water.
Up to 20 percent of exposure comes from drinking water tainted
by contaminated pipes. Ask your water authority to test your pipes
- and repair them if necessary. Sometimes you cando: Install a faucet
filter. Also older homes may contain lead paint and dust. A DIY test
can detect lead, but you'll need a pro to remove it.
monoxide: This invisible gas is a killer. Make sure
you have a CO alarm on each floor.
This colorless, odorless gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
Test every three years, especially if you've made energy efficient
improvements. A tightly sealed home increases your risk.
• Mold: Mold
is bad for the respiratory and immune system. Get a DIY kit or hire
a professional to detect it. Test every three to five years.
• Dust mites:
These microscopic critters, which are found in carpeting, and bedding,
can aggravate asthma and allergies. Get hypo-allergenic bedding and
wash it frequently in hot water. You can also place a pillow in a
plastic bag and putit in the freezer for 24 hours to kill mites.
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