WHATS SO SPECIAL ABOUT MY ELECTRICAL PANEL ??
We never think about it. Yet it serves us every day. It is the largest safety device in your home but most do not appreciate what is does. It is your electrical service panel. It is the heart of the home electrical system and is in essence the heart of our modern lifestyle. Every year that goes by we require it to do more and more.
If you went to your main service panel and shut off the main breaker what would your life be in your home? No lights, no heat, no cooking, no TV so on… and so on. As a home inspector I had a curious thought. Why is it when I recommend a panel be replaced it becomes more of an issue than other components of the home?
As home inspectors we often cite that a roof need replacement or if an air conditioner or heat pump is old it is ready for replacement or your water heater needs replacement. Most people understand and are used to the thought that these types of components reach the end of a useful lifespan and should be replaced.
This brings me to my main point. Service panels and their associated components were built for the time they were installed. As such they were not designed in many ways for our modern lifestyles and demands. Americans use more electrical power per person than do people of any other country in the world, but that does not mean that we have a better understanding of electricity.
A study conducted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in the 1980s indicated that the frequency of fires in residential electrical systems was disproportionately high in homes more than 40 years old. The thought is that the aging of older electrical systems, combined with the fact that older homes were not built to the more rigid building codes of recent times
THINGS BUYERS SHOULD ASK ABOUT HOME INSPECTIONS
So you think you have found the home of your dreams. Open floor plan, big rooms, back yard, basement. Everything you have ever wanted. But what about the things you DON’T want? Electrical issues, heating and cooling? Or what about pest infestation? On the eve of the biggest purchase of your life there are many questions that loom large. Here are the top five questions regarding home inspections, that you, the buyer may have, or may have not even known you need to ask!
Are inspections “automatically” part of every home purchase?
No. As a buyer, you must include a home inspection clause in your purchase agreement, which will let you back out of the contract if the inspector discovers unexpected problems with the house. If you still want the house, an inspection clause allows you to renegotiate with the seller in light of any issues discovered—either requesting a price adjustment, or asking the seller to make necessary repairs prior to completing the sale.
What IS a home inspection?
A home inspection is a comprehensive review of the systems, structure and general “health” of a home, conducted by a qualified, objective inspector. If there are any issues that may degrade the value of the home, or require immediate/near-term repairs, they should be revealed by a professional home inspector. What is included will depend on the individual inspector, the local municipal codes, and the type of inspection(s) you request.
Basic home inspections should include visual inspections of the:
Foundation/framing (including wood rot)
HVAC (heating and cooling) systems
Interiors (doors, paint, floorings, ceilings, walls, windows, etc.)
Exteriors (siding, windows, doors, etc.)
Additional inspections may be done for:
The presence of radon, mold, or pests
At Inspection Tech we have a team of general home inspectors as well as a certified radon and mold specialist and a licensed structural engineer
How do I select an inspector?
You can ask your buyer’s agent to recommend a good, qualified, local inspector. You can also find one on your own. Either way, you should consider the inspector’s qualifications, confirm if they are bonded and insured, and if they meet the requirements to be licensed in your state. You may also want to ask how long they have been in the business and request references from past clients. There are a number of state/national/international professional home inspector organizations; ask your potential inspector if they are a member of any of these groups.
home inspection standard is good for home inspectors
will explain why and debunk some of the myths around the final Standard, which is dramatically different than the draft that was broadly circulated in 2014.
WHY THE STANDARD IS IMPORTANT:
It adds credibility to the home inspection profession.
a. The CSA is a recognized and trusted name to consumers.
A nationally recognized standard provides consistency coast to coast.
The Standard does not require home inspectors to re-invent themselves.
a. The Standard requires a minor shift in inspection procedures for most home inspectors.
The initial draft of the Standard is very different than the final version.
a. The draft drew significant criticism from the home inspection profession.
b. The Technical Committee listened and made extensive revisions.
The Standard is very similar to existing Standards of Practice.
a. The similarity acknowledges that the home inspection profession is built on a strong foundation.
The Standard was created using a professional, defendable process.
a. The Standard was created using the well-established CSA protocol, which has been in place for roughly 100 years.
b. The Standard was created with input from home inspectors, representatives from the real estate profession, the Electrical Safety Authority, Consumers Council, regulatory authorities, education bodies, insurers, the National Research Council, and First Nations National Building Officers Association.
The public can be comfortable that the Standard is fair and consumer focused.
COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE STANDARD
Home inspectors have to pay for it.
a. Not true. Inspectors and their clients can access it
Home inspectors have to include a summary in their report.
a. Not true.
b. A summary is recommended, but not required.
The Standard is unfair to inspectors.
a. Not true. The draft Standard was very different from current home inspection practices.
b. The final Standard is closely aligned with what home inspectors have been doing for years.
Roughly 95% of the inspection is what most professional inspectors do now.
A home inspection is non-invasive.
It is an evaluation of the condition and performance of the systems and components of a home.
The objective is to identify and report any items that are not performing their intended function.
The focus is on significant items that are readily visible to the inspector, rather than minor building deficiencies.
Inspection of cosmetic, maintenance and other non-critical items are excluded.
The inspection does not address compliance to codes and regulations.
Inspectors can provide services beyond the Standard.
The Standard applies to detached and semi-detached homes, townhouses, duplexes, triplexes and individual dwellings in multi-unit buildings. It includes site-built and factory-built (prefabricated) dwellings.
Readily accessible items are inspected. Inspectors don’t move furniture, carpet, stored items, etc.
The exclusions are consistent with those in most existing standards. For example, inspections do not include appliances, water supply or sewage systems, methods or costs for repair, identifying causes of failures or predicting service life.
Inspections include representative sampling where there are multiple similar components.
Written reports describe significant issues including health and safety, and their implications.
The components to be inspected are the same as other standards, with the exception of those noted below
What Happens During a Plumbing Inspection?
resident bought a 3-story home last year and it was old enough that a friend expressed concerns about plumbing and wiring. “If there’s anything wrong, the inspector will catch it,” said the home buyer airily. Months later, the kitchen ceiling crashed to the floor from the weight of water damage.
Home Inspections Often Superficial
For the purposes of buying/selling real estate, home inspectors do only 3 things to inspect the plumbing: They check if water runs from the taps, drains empty, and toilets flush. “Home inspectors do not have the technical knowledge to advise potential homeowners if the plumbing in the house is up to code or even if sewer gas is leaking back into the home,” says one professional plumber.
Professional Plumbing Inspection
There are many reasons why you may want a professional plumbing inspection. In addition to buying or selling property, you may want an inspection to prevent costly emergency plumbing services.
Here are some things to expect from your home plumbing inspection:
Check water filtration systems
Examine fixtures, supply lines, drains
In-depth investigation of all above-ground, exposed plumbing, including shut-off valves and traps under kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room sinks;
Inspect sinks, showers/bath, toilets
Inspection of bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room draining and venting systems
Inspection of the storage water tank or tankless water heater
Plumbing video camera inspection of underground sanitary drains and sewer pipes. Cracks and misalignments that can lead to future drain blockage or collapse.
Shut-off valve inspection
Sump pump and discharge inspection
Early Detection Key to Whole-House Wellness
Physicians often claim early detection can save lives, so they promote preventive care. Your home’s plumbing can benefit from early detection too.
HOME INSPECTION FAQS
Home inspections are a vital part of the home buying and selling process but do you know what home inspectors actually do or if a house can even fail a home inspection? Luckily, we’ve put together some of the most frequently asked questions about home inspections and asked real home inspectors to answer them. Here is everything you need to know about your home inspection.
WHAT IS A HOME INSPECTION?
A standard home inspection is a non-invasive, visual examination of the physical structure and major interior systems of a residential building. Without a comprehensive home inspection, you could end up paying thousands of dollars in repairs or possibly buy a house that is unsafe.
ere’s an overview of each element of a home that must be inspected.
Foundation: the inspector will take a look at the foundation to examine it for cracking and shifting, and to ensure that water is draining away properly from the foundation and basement
Lot: the lot will be examined for proper grading and drainage and the quality of walkways and the driveway will also be assessed.
Roof: the roof will be examined for faulty shingles, damaged flashing, signs of water damage, and overall integrity
Exterior: the exterior siding, windows, doors will be examined to assess their overall wear and condition
Attic: the attic will be inspected to ensure that it is properly ventilated and insulated
Interior: the interior of the home will be examined, including wall outlets, lighting fixtures, walls, doors, and all other such surfaces and areas
Basement: the basement is inspected to ensure that it is free from leaks and water damage. Issues like mold and water leaks are also quite common in basements
Electrical: your home inspector will make sure that all electrical outlets, switches, and lighting fixtures work
Plumbing: the functionality of the plumbing systems will be checked, including water pressure, hot and cold water, as well as functionality of all sinks, bathtubs, showers, and other systems
Appliances: major appliances will be tested and verified for proper functionality
HVAC: the furnace will be examined for integrity, and problems like cracks or wear and tear. Air ducts and air conditioning systems will also be examined and tested
The purchase of a home is one the largest single investments you will ever make. With that in mind, it is extremely important that you learn as much as you can about the condition of the property and the possible need for any major repairs before making the purchase. A home inspection helps minimize the possibility of unpleasant surprises, unexpected costs and post-purchase headaches. Throughout your inspection, your inspector will even give you maintenance tips that will be necessary to keep it in good shape. After the home inspection, you will have a much better understanding of the property you are about to purchase, giving you confidence and peace of mind.