Author Archives: Tim Hance

Knob-and-tube electrical

Old, active knob-and-tube electrical wiring was discovered in this attic that had been unprofessionally spliced with modern electrical wiring and was in direct contact with framing elements in the attic, clear safety issues.  My client was under the impression that all wiring in this home had been updated; truth be told, it simply was not.  I recommended further evaluation and repair by a qualified electrician.  If you have knob-and-tube wiring, consider upgrading to modern wiring.  At a minimum, don’t splice into it and keep it clear and free from contacting anything as it can overheat.  Do not insulate attics or crawl spaces that have knob-and-tube wiring.  This was discovered at a recent home inspection in Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island.

Roof leak and water damage

When you see water stains on the ceiling, together with plastic Tupperware, you know there’s likely an active roof leak!  Of course, I use very expensive equipment to confirm (e.g., moisture meter and infrared thermography camera), but this one was obvious.  With water intrusion, there’s always the possibility of underlying damage not visible without invasive inspection; it wouldn’t hurt to open the ceiling and look for possible mold growth.  This was discovered at a recent home inspection on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands.

Fun Fact Friday!

Cats sleep 16 to 18 hours per day.

The most money ever paid for a cow in an auction was $1.3 million.

The Neanderthal’s brain was bigger than yours is.

Mario, of Super Mario Bros. fame, appeared in the 1981 arcade game, Donkey Kong. His original name was Jumpman, but was changed to Mario to honor the Nintendo of America’s landlord, Mario Segali.

Electrical cover plates on junction boxes

Why do we home inspectors call out missing cover plates at electrical junction boxes?  Well, it’s really quite simple.  A cover plate protects people from inadvertently touching live electrical wires and components in the junction box.  Additionally, cover plates help encapsulate an electrical event if it ever happens.  Yes, it’s a simple fix, but highly recommended.  This was discovered at a home inspection in Anacortes on Fidalgo Island, but is called out on almost every home inspection.

VIDEO: Insulate Exposed Garage Water Pipes!

It’s important to insulate any and all exposed water supply piping- whether it be in the crawl space, attic, or garage- as freezing weather conditions can lead to breakage in unconditioned (unheated) spaces of the home. Water pipe insulation is readily available at hardware stores and is easily installed. This video was taken at a recent home inspection in Anacortes on Fidalgo Island.

VIDEO: OLD Oil Lines in Attic, Possible Old Underground Oil Tank Too?

I discovered what appear to be abandoned oil supply and return lines in the attic of a recent home inspection in Anacortes on Fidalgo Island. This suggests there was an oil fired appliance in the home, historically, likely an oil furnace, subsequently removed. Typically, when oil tanks and appliances are removed, so too are the oil supply and return lines. In this case, while I didn’t see any visible evidence of an underground historic oil tank on the property- originally constructed in 1957- I recommended verifying that the previous oil tank had been properly removed and/or decommissioned. Decommissioning oil tanks, especially if underground storage tanks, can be costly, so it was important to follow up on this detail for my clients.

Unsecure deck joists

It’s all too common to find metal deck joist hardware that isn’t fully fastened or nailed.  How much extra effort does it take to pound in a few more nails and allow the hardware to serve its intended purpose?  This is a simple, but necessary, fix.  This was discovered at a home inspection in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.

Video: Handyman Furnace Filter Cover

Typically, furnace filters have a sheet metal cover with latches for ease-of-removal and replacement. In this case, tape was used which, while effective, isn’t really a professionally installed filter compartment cover. This was discovered at a recent home inspection in Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island.

Signs of water intrusion

So, you see a black spot on your sheetrock ceiling, what to do?  Well, you may very well have a water intrusion issue.  Pictured here is apparent mold growth on a sheetrock ceiling which, when probed with my moisture meter, revealed underlying saturation within the ceiling cavity above.  The likely contributing factor was a roof leak for which I recommended further evaluation, remediation and repair by a qualified contractor.  There is the possibility of underlying damage and mold growth not visible until the sheetrock is removed.  This was discovered at an Orcas Island home inspection in the San Juan Islands.