Tag Archives: home inspection

Fun Facts Friday!

Boy and Girl raising hands in art class. Horizontally framed shot.

Boy and Girl raising hands in art class. Horizontally framed shot.

It’s Friday! Here are some fun facts that have nothing to do with home inspection:

  • The average four-year-old child asks more than 400 questions per day.
  • Routine traffic stops gone awry kill more bystanders each year than stray bullets.
  •  A baby in the womb develops fingerprints at 18 weeks.
  • The fear of vegetables is called lachanophobia.
  • The sun is 330,330 times larger than the earth.

COSTLY LOG DAMAGE REPAIRS

Is your log home showing signs of water intrusion to the interior, or are the logs showing signs of water staining (i.e., darkening)?  This is a definite potential problem and can lead to interior log core damage that isn’t visible without invasive inspection (i.e., log core drilling).  It may be time for a qualified log home contractor to take a look at whether or not there may be further log (core) damage.  Log damage and repairs can be costly, so it is best to be proactive with maintaining log elements throughout your home; the longer you wait, the worse the issue becomes.    

HANDYMAN SHIMMING AND SUPPORT COLUMNS IN CRAWLSPACE

In general, handyman construction practices are not recommended by home inspectors.  As is typical in historic homes, certain liberties with respect to common building practices have been undertaken over time.  While we can’t really bring historic homes per se “up to code,” significant handyman shimming practices are be logical to repair and improve.  What really drives pricing is access (i.e., how much space is there underneath the home for contractors to work?).  If it’s really tight, it will take more time; sometimes, excavation is required which drives the price up too.  If you do require excavation under an historic home, make sure the contractor doesn’t get too close to the foundation or footings, as this would be a potential structural problem too.  

3 QUESTIONS: SEWER LINES WITH ANACORTES PLUMBING

Every month, we seek to bring our readers insight from the worlds of home construction, home repair, and home maintenance straight from local Northwest Washington contractors in a segment we call “3 Questions.” Yep, you guessed it: we ask three questions, and the contractors answer them.

This month, we talk about sewer line issues with Bohannan T. McKenzie, owner at Anacortes Plumbing in Anacortes.

Q1: In older homes with original sewer lines, do you recommend video scoping to determine useful remaining life and replacement cost?

Let’s talk about the waste system of your home: in homes older than the mid-1970s to the early 1980s, the internal waste systems were most often assembled using either cast iron and galvanized piping or copper piping. During this era, both types were the best options available. In fact, in this current day, many commercial applications still use the cast iron piping. Since that time, however, we have discovered better ways to vent the plumbing systems. We’ve also uncovered issues with the types of fittings used in that era. Both systems have some characteristics that you should consider. With cast iron systems, the galvanized branches corrode from the inside, causing a “caking” effect on the walls of the pipe. This “caking” reduces the inside diameter, causing the pipe to be too small for waste to pass through as designed. The cast iron fittings are also prone to failure, causing leaks and root intrusion (if near or in the soil). Copper systems do not handle the caustic environment of waste, especially with the use of modern cleaning agents. This type of system is often degraded to the point that the lower-third of the horizontal piping is either paper-thin or completely rotted out. In both cases, I recommend camera-scoping the interior as well as an external visual inspection of the piping. 

Modern homes, built from the mid-1980s onward, were usually plumbed in ABS or PVC. With these systems, there have been a few cases of bad materials, but they are uncommon. Most issues with plumbing systems of this era are due to faulty install, or improper usage.

Q2: With older sewer lines, is annual maintenance necessary? 

Plumbing inspections may not need to be annual, but the frequency of inspection should increase as the piping degrades. As a professional, I would recommend you schedule an appointment with your plumber, who should inspect the piping and tell you of its condition. The piping may need replacement, but pipes throughout the home will be in varying points of the aging process. Your plumber should be able to tell you how often you need an inspection, as well as how you might plan for a future re-pipe of your home.

Q3: Im noticing low-functional flow with some plumbing fixtures. Is there an easy way to figure out if this is the fixture itself or something more ominous with the main sewer line?

If you’re already noticing slow drainage, the best solution would be to call your plumber today. You may only need a drain cleaning, but a trusted professional will be able to show you precisely what is required.

BONUS QIf the sewer line needs to be replaced, what are we looking at in terms of approximate cost?

I’m sure you are wondering how much a re-pipe would cost. Understand that this is mainly dependent on the design of your home, as well as how extensive the re-pipe will need to be—but it is certainly not cheap. Expect the replacement to be in the mid- to high-thousands, per bathroom. Also, expect that if the piping requiring replacement is under slab or upstairs, you will need other trades involved. Some plumbers, such as Anacortes Plumbing, can arrange this for you if you would prefer. 

About Anacortes Plumbing

Anacortes is a family-owned business and has been through the years—although it has changed families a few times. The McKenzie family has been involved with Anacortes Plumbing since 2007. The business has a sincere desire to take care of its neighbors and community. More information at https://www.anacortes.plumbing/A big “thanks” to Bohannan for his responses!

LINT ACCUMULATION AT EXTERIOR DRYER VENT

Have lint accumulation at exterior dryer vents cleaned/cleared away.  Not only is it unsightly, but it prevents proper ventilation of the dryer appliance within the home.  

It’s super easy to clean exterior dryer vents.  Here’s a link I found online with some great tips and advice.  Here’s how to clean your dryer vent in 5 easy steps – CNET

SATURDAY REVIEW: THANKS ALL ISLANDS HOME INSPECTIONS!

Google rating: *****

“I recently worked with Tim from All Islands Home Inspections as he conducted the inspection for a home we are in processing of purchasing. Tim was incredibly kind, efficient, thorough, precise, knowledgeable, and patient! I was not sure what to expect from an inspection, this being my first time buying a home, but I left feeling so excited and educated and left with a deep grasp of the strengths and weaknesses of the home in question, which of course takes so much of the mystery out of the homebuying experience, to truly feel like you know what you are getting. Tim took the time to explain the process and details to me, especially those that needed some consideration. He was gracious and energetic and it was very apparent that he is an expert in his field. The inspection was a delight and I learned a great deal. I would recommend All Island Home Inspections in a heartbeat!”

Nicole Boyle

SHOULD YOU PROVIDE CLEARANCE FOR YOUR ELECTRICAL PANEL(S)?

There are many times when homeowners, electricians, contractors and others (like me) will need to have access to and around the electrical panel for various reasons.  Because of this, it is typically advised to have a 36-inch clearance in front of the panel and a 30-inch clearance on each side.  

I recommend creating/providing clearance adhering to the above standards to allow easier access to electrical panels within your home.  

VULNERABLE CSST GAS PIPING AT EXTERIOR

Is the CSST gas piping to your fireplace vulnerable on the exterior of your home?  I recommend having a qualified contractor protect this piping from mechanical damage if vulnerable and exposed.  The last thing you want is to a gas line to get nicked, or damaged, causing a gas leak.   

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.