Category Archives: Industry News

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.

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.

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.

Video: Handyman Support Posts in Crawl Space

Handyman support columns and bases were discovered under a masonry fireplace in the crawl space at a recent home inspection in Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island. Upside down CMU masonry blocks (holes should face upwards!) and aggressive shimming, together with the lack of a positive connection between the post base and above floor structure, warranted further evaluation and repair by a qualified contractor.

Roof membrane failure

Why isn’t there snow on the deck in that spot?  Looking closer, you see that the deck membrane has failed, together with the underlying structure.  If you note any seams or openings in your flat roof membrane, it’s important to seal them right away.  Water is unforgiving and leads to structural and insect damage if left unchecked.  This was discovered at a home inspection in Anacortes on Fidalgo Island.

Video: Completely Disconnected Ducting in Crawl Space

I discovered completely disconnected ducting in the crawl space at a recent home inspection in Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island. In this particular instance, this ducting was for mechanically ventilating the crawl space area, and had no bearing on the heating system for the home. That said, because it was disconnected, clearly the ventilation system wasn’t functioning as intended or designed and required repair. I frequently discover completely disconnected ducting in crawl space areas for furnaces which significantly compromises the heating efficiency within homes and nicely heats the crawl space areas. Most often, homeowners have no idea because they rarely traverse their crawl space areas.