Electrical systems can be complex and confusing. As a result, many homeowners don’t see the signs of potential damage before problems occur. Having your house inspected by a professional is the only way to be sure that your house is wired properly and safely.
It may not be easy to find the best electrical inspector if you don’t know a lot about wiring, but with a little bit of know-how, you can know what to look for. Finding these tell-tale signs of faulty or worn out wiring is critical in preventing possible electrical fires in your home.
If you are unsure of which electrical inspection company to hire, consider the inspectors reviews and asking the inspector about their electrical knowlege before hiring them. This will help you to get an idea of how extensive a particular company will go when inspecting your home and how much they may charge for their services. Be sure to compare each company in terms of how complete their services are and not just by how much they charge. This increases your chances of getting the most qualified company providing the most professional inspection services.
Electrical inspectors have a solid understanding of the electrical requirements for the area that they work in. By utilizing a company that is licensed and fully trained, you can be confident that you are receiving a high-quality inspection that will provide detailed information about the status of the electrical systems in your home.
Every home, no matter what the age or condition, can benefit from an electrical inspection. Whether you are looking for a full home inspection, or simply want to evaluate your wiring and lighting systems, having a knowledgeable electrical inspector on your side can make the difference between having a home that functions safely and effectively, and one that is not safe due to a potential for fire or electrical damage.
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All homes have Mold!
I know, pretty bold statement and could be alarming…until you know the facts!
As a certified mold inspector, I look for signs of mold as I am looking for issues with water or moisture and no, I do not charge extra since I am already looking for water issues.
Having a mold inspection performed is completely different than inspecting for mold. Mold Inspections requires taking samples of air in areas of the home and comparing it to samples of air taken on the exterior of the home. The air samples are compared to see if there are different molds in the home, the kind of mold, and the levels of mold. In order for the mold inspection to be done properly, the home should be shut and not entered for 48 hours in order to get proper readings. What I do is I pay close attention to places in the home where there is water.
Most Common Places You Find Mold
Places like the bathrooms, looking on the baseboards and looking in the cabinets underneath the areas of the pipes looking for any signs of leaking, water staining, or water damage, as well as looking for signs of mold growth.
Any place where there is a sink or a toilet are areas of concern but many people do not realize one of the most prominent places of mold growth is the air-conditioning system.
How the air handler of the air conditioning system works is that it removes the humidity from the air. When the hot air comes across the cold coils it creates condensation. The condensation travels down the coils into the drip pan and exits the home through the drain pipe. If there is a build up of dirt, hair, dust or other things on the coils of the air handler, mold will have the ability to grow on these things when the air conditioner is off and the temperature and humidity levels rise to a level that is conducive to mold growth.
This is why it is very important to make sure that you change your filters regularly and maintain your air conditioning systems in a clean, functional, manner.
Mold found in AC Closet
It is very common to find surface mold on the air-conditioning duct above the air handler especially if the air handler is in the garage or the attic. The garage and attic are typically very warm and humid which is perfect for mold growth. Any area where the duct leaks is an area susceptible to mold growth.
What I tell my clients to do, is to move the air filter to a hinged grate on the inside of the home where the air filter can be replaced and to remove the air filter from the return side of the air handler so that you can completely seal the air handler unit so that there is no air transfer from the cold interior of the unit and the hot humid air on the exterior of the unit which will greatly hinder and decrease the ability of having mold issues.
If I find any evidence that I believe warrants a mold inspection I inform my clients so that they may have a mold inspection done. If the clients just want peace of mind then they can do a mold test that you can get from any Home Depot or Lowe’s and perform them themselves instead of me charging them to do it for them which will save them a lot of money.
Finding evidence that warrants a Mold Inspection
If I find any evidence that I believe warrants a mold inspection I inform my clients so that they may have a mold inspection done. If the clients just want a peace of mind then they can do a mold test that you can get from any Home Depot or Lowe’s and perform them themselves instead of me charging them to do it for them which will save them a lot of money.
Another area of concern is around the windows. Caulking around the windows separates after a few years and allows moisture to seep into the walls causing water staining, damage and sometimes mold. I pay close attention to these areas as well as any areas on the exterior of the home that may have the ability to allow water to access the home. I tell my clients that a house is like a boat. You want to keep all the water on the outside.
As you can imagine, there are many different components that make up a house. From the foundation that was laid to the walls that were erected to the roof that covers everything in between like the electricity, doors, windows, and plumbing.
Below you will find a list of everything that, by law, a Home Inspector is legally obligated to check and report on.
Beside some of these components, I explain what exactly I’m looking for and why.
- Structural components including foundation and framing of the home – The first thing I check upon arrival of the home is the exterior features and structural components. As I go around the house I am looking for everything from possible drainage issues where water can flow back toward the house or areas of bad drainage, or water issues that may arise from rain coming off the roof. I am also looking for signs of wood destroying organisms; termites, mold, and wood decay.
- Exterior features including siding, soffit, porches, balconies, walkways, railings and driveways – If the exterior of the home is brick or stucco I am looking for any evidence of damage, cracking or settling. If the exterior is wood or siding of another kind, I am looking to make sure that it is not damaged, or decayed, and that the exterior of the home is properly caulked and sealed. I also inspect every outlet and plumbing fixture as well the air conditioning and parts of systems that are located on the building exterior.
- Roof system including shingles, flashing and skylights -The roof is inspected in different ways depending on the age and type of roofing. Shingle roofs are the only kind that the home inspection certification will allow us to walk on. Tile and metal roofs can be damaged from being walked on so if you have a roof that is not shingle, make sure only a roofer walks on it to keep it from being damaged. On roofs that I am not allowed to walk on, I inspect with high powered binoculars or by putting my ladder on the roof edge and inspect the roof from the top of the ladder. Shingles on lower roofs should not have a ladder put on them to get to the upper roof due to the damage the ladder causes on the shingles of the lower roof. The roof is inspected from the top side and also from the attic.
- Electrical system including service panels, breakers, and fuses
- Plumbing systems including pipes, drains, water heating equipment and sump pumps
- The heating system including equipment and venting
- Cooling system including energy sources and distribution equipment
- Interior features including walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, stairs, and railings – The interior of the home has an extensive amount of things and areas inspected. Every outlet and light switch is inspected, every plumbing fixture, every appliance, every door, window, and the built-in drawer is opened and closed. Close attention is paid on the baseboards and around windows for signs of water intrusion and termite activity. My flashlight uses a white light the makes any water staining very visible. When I am inspecting the interior, I am also looking for any signs of previous repairs which may be hiding an issue. While on the interior, I take off the electrical panel to make sure the wiring is right and that there is copper or aluminum wiring. I also take the cover off of the air handler or furnace to look at the inside of the unit and make sure that the cooling coils are clean and free of mold and blockage.
- Insulation and ventilation including those in the attic and other unfinished spaces – While in the attic, I am looking for any signs of roof damage or water staining on the roof decking but while I am in the attic I am also looking at the insulation, plumbing, electrical and air conditioning components as well. If there are openings in the exterior of the home to the attic, it is not uncommon to find field mice or other rodents have found their way into the attic.
- Fireplaces including chimneys and vents
Components NOT included in a Home Inspection
- Termite and Pest Control Report
- Well Systems
- Mold Inspection – Even though a specific Mold Inspection is not included you can find out what I look for as far as mold goes in this article, “Looking for Mold during the Home Inspection“
- Sprinkler systems – These systems continually require repairs and adjustments. I used to inspect sprinkler systems but the lawn maintenance people would run the sprinklers over after I inspected them and I would get a call asking me why I said that the sprinkler system was fine when sprinkler heads were damaged. I will turn a system on to make sure it comes on but while I am inspecting the exterior of the home, I am looking for areas and signs that the sprinkler system needs repairs or adjustments.
- Fire and smoke detection and suppression systems – If I check the smoke detectors and they all work fine, it might be a month or two before the client takes possession of the home and the batteries may have died since they were inspected. I put in every one of my reports that the smoke alarms should be tested when the property is taken possession of and then put on a maintenance schedule.
- Alarm systems are also not inspected because when you put the system on in your name, the company will come out and service the system and if you go with a different company, then there was no sense in inspecting the system that is getting replaced.