Category Archives: Interior

DOES IT MAKE SENSE TO DIY?

Should you DIY plumbing vents to the exterior of your home?  I recommend leaving this up to a qualified plumbing contractor, as venting is important and getting it wrong can lead to unpleasant sensory experiences and/or improper drainage function. 

OH BUGGER: INSECT DAMAGE AT SUPPORT COLUMN

As a home inspector, my job is to find problems that need to be addressed. 

Bugs, unfortunately, sometimes make this task a little too easy.

When I see wood that’s been gnawed on by carpenter ants or anobiid beetles, I’m not so much a detective as simply the bearer of bad news. Fortunately, most insect damage isn’t the end of the world (or wooden beam).  

During a recent inspection in Oak Harbor, I saw insect damage at the base of a 6×6 support column in a home’s crawl space. In my report, I recommended the replacement of deterioration and the insect-damaged structure.

If you have questions or comments about insect damage or home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).

KNOB AND TUBE?!

Knob-and-tube (K&T) wiring was at its peak in popularity between the years 1880 and 1930/40, serving buildings the best way available at the time (it is now obsolete).  K&T wiring is not inherently dangerous in itself, but hazards can arise from handyman modifications and insulation enveloping these wires over time.  

K&T wiring is not grounded, so it cannot serve 3-pronged appliances/outlets.  This type of wiring is not available for new construction, but is not required to be removed in older construction either.  This being said, I personally recommend you remove K&T wiring and have it further inspected by a qualified electrician to be on the safe side.  

YOU COMPLETE ME: ELECTRICAL WORKS NEEDS TO BE FINISHED

Homeowners often get sidetracked when it comes to “to-do” lists, especially in older homes and homes that have not been well-maintained. There is always something to do!

When one task seems to be priority No. 1, another one creeps up and takes its place (sometimes after the first job has already started). Evidence of incomplete work is a common observation in my reports.

Case in point: on a recent job in Langley, I noted unfinished electrical wiring practices in the bathroom. I also called out handyman extension cord wiring practices at multiple outlets in my report. 

I recommended the completion of this unfinished electrical work in a timely fashion.

If you have questions or comments about electrical issues or home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).

A PERMANENT SOLUTION TO COLD FEET!

Ever wake up in the morning and immediately have cold feet? Heated flooring is a luxurious addition that can bring about a sense of increased homeliness to your house.

 The video below depicts a walkthrough of a radiant in-floor electric heating system in a recent home that I inspected.  Heated floors are awesome for bathrooms and entryways alike. If you have the time and the funds, consider looking into getting a heated flooring system!

DOWN THE DRAIN: NEW TECH HELPS SAVE MONEY, TIME

Today’s home improvement technology is pretty impressive. 

Consider the toolbox in your garage. More than likely, at least some of the tools it holds are light years ahead (technologically speaking) of the devices in your grandparents’ or great grandparents’ garages.

This reality is doubly true for contractors. If properly deployed, technology isn’t just “cool,” it’s also a potentially huge time and money saver. 

One example of this is videoscoping sewer lines to gauge pipe conditions. For readers who may not be familiar, videoscoping is the use of a snake-like camera to inspect places you can’t usually see, like the inside of pipes. 

I typically encourage the practice when I encounter older iron sewer lines (as I did during a recent inspection in Bellingham). Iron sewer lines have an expected life of 55-65 years and rust from the inside-out, so deterioration can be difficult to detect.

When paired with home improvement strategies, new technology such as videoscoping can make a significant difference, as the video showcased in this post shows.

If you have questions or comments about plumbing or home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).

WATER INTRUSION CAN REQUIRE EXTRA DETECTIVE WORK

Evidence of historic water intrusion is something I come across regularly. In reality, it can be tricky (and often impossible) to determine when intrusion first occurred or when it last occurred. Luckily, I have a few tools in my detective handbag to help.

During a recent inspection in San Juan County, I noted evidence of historic water intrusion—presenting as visible water stains and prior patching repairs—at a downstairs bedroom ceiling. 

When I see these kinds of scenarios, one of my most effective tools is the moisture meter. I’ve written about the value of moisture meters in the past, and encourage you to become familiar with them if you are not already.

I’ve experienced a reasonable degree of success after asking previous owners or tenants for historical information related to the issue.

In this case, my meter did not indicate elevated moisture at the time of inspection. Therefore, I recommended that my clients monitor the area for recurrence into the future and to make repairs if noted.

If you have questions or comments about interior issues or home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).

IT’S A CUTE LITTLE WATERFALL!

What does it mean when your dishwasher air gap dispenses a little stream of water, not unlike a teeny tiny waterfall? Although somewhat sensorily pleasing, this could be caused by blockage in the dishwasher drain line.  

This is most commonly caused by food and grease backed up over time, or possible areas of slack in the drain line where waste can accumulate.  If you’re comfortable disconnecting the hose between the disposal and air gap, you can give that a shot and see if it flushes out.  If that doesn’t work, I would recommend having a qualified plumbing contractor or handyman come in and take a look at other possible causes/fixes. 

A DISPOSAL THAT SHOULD BE DISPOSED OF

try to poke my head in all sorts of places during an inspection, including under the kitchen sink. Poking around is what I get paid to do!

On a recent occasion, during an inspection in Ferndale, I discovered a crack in the garbage disposal appliance casing within the kitchen sink base cabinet. Upon closer look, I could see this was an older disposal and was not repairable, so I advised the replacement of the appliance.

If you have questions or comments about heating issues or home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).