Your vermiculite insulation could contain asbestos

If you have insulation in your attic that looks like this picture, it may be vermiculite insulation. This type of insulation could contain asbestos.  Testing for asbestos is outside the scope of the home inspection and requires laboratory sampling.  Here’s a link (click HERE) to the EPA brochure with more information about vermiculite insulation.  This was discovered at a recent home inspection in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.

Video: Waterbed in crawlspace?!

The crawl space looked great, new vapor barrier installed, nice and clean. However, when I got into the deeper recesses of the crawl space, I noted it was like I was walking on a water bed! 3-4 inches of standing water was under the black plastic vapor barrier in many areas. Standing water and water intrusion in crawl spaces puts the building at risk of water, insect and structural damage and is nothing to be dismissive about. In this case, at this Orcas Island home inspection, I recommended further evaluation by a qualified contractor to make necessary repairs and eliminate water intrusion into the crawl space area.

Has your Cadet heater been recalled?

If you have a Cadet electric wall heater, you should check this link (click HERE) to see if it has been recalled by the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission).  This Cadet FX model wall heater was discovered at a recent home inspection in Anacortes on Fidalgo Island.  Replacement by a qualified electrician was advised.

Video: Log home water intrusion

Evidence of water intrusion was discovered in the dining room, kitchen and bedrooms at a recent home inspection in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Log homes are tricky because they need to be meticulously well maintained at the exterior to prevent (potentially costly) water/insect damage. Logs exhibit characteristic cracks as they move over time, which is normal, but these cracks- known as “checks”- need to be well sealed to prevent water intrusion. Oftentimes, evidence of water intrusion isn’t visible until deterioration is substantial. Log homes are expensive to repair, so maintenance is everything. In this case, I recommended further evaluation by a qualified log home contractor to sound logs where water intrusion was presenting, make necessary repairs, and ensure that all exterior elements are properly sealed.

VIDEO: Blocked Vent Pipe Atop Roof at Orcas Island Home Inspection

If you note that some, or any, of your black ABS vent pipes on the roof are capped, there’s a good chance that the contractor forgot to remove the caps after construction. These caps are designed to pressure test the vent and drainage system to make sure they don’t leak as a condition of the building inspection. After the test, the contractor is supposed to remove these caps but this step is sometimes missed. So, if you see caps atop your roof, take them off unless the pipe itself has been abandoned (e.g., from a remodel).

Landscaping against building exterior

Why do we home inspectors care about landscaping elements that are in direct contact with the building exterior?  It’s really because, in our moist environment, with landscaping elements right up against the exterior, elevated moisture conditions don’t have time to dry out which can lead to insect damage.  In my reports, I typically recommend providing eighteen (18) inches clearance; however, recognizing this isn’t always practical, or desirable, at least ensure there’s space between landscaping elements and the building exterior.  This photograph was taken at a recent home inspection in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.

VIDEO: When to Service your Gas Fireplace!

At a recent home inspection in Anacortes on Fidalgo Island, I discovered a gas fireplace clearly due for servicing and cleaning. When you begin to see a white, brown or black film beginning to present on the glass front of the fireplace, that’s your first sign that the appliance is due for servicing. As the video explains, it is highly recommended that you hire a professional to do so because if it’s not done properly, you risk carbon monoxide entering the home and soot byproducts outlining the ceiling and wall studs in the home. Manufacturers typically advise servicing annually.

Deteriorated deck ledger

The deck ledger of this home was completely deteriorated.  Amazingly, the ledger installed wasn’t pressure treated or bolted to the home.  Because the most common point of failure for deck systems is at the ledger, e.g., where the deck abuts the home, this is a definite safety issue.  I recommended further evaluation and repair by a qualified contractor.  This was discovered at a home inspection in Anacortes on Fidalgo Island.

VIDEO: Slope Walks AWAY from Home! Orcas Island Home Inspection

It’s important to keep the area within 4-6 feet of the home sloped away from the home to shed water away from the exterior envelope. In this video, taken at a recent Orcas Island home inspection, I document a concrete walkway that has settled and is sloping towards the home. After I went into the crawl space at the conclusion of the inspection, I did indeed note water intrusion and the sloped concrete walkways are a likely contributing factor. Water is the enemy! Do everything you can to keep water away from your home.