“Ants are among the most prevalent pests in households, restaurants, hospitals, offices, warehouses, and virtually all buildings where food and water can be found. While mostly harmless to humans, ants (especially carpenter ants) can cause considerable building damage. Inspectors can expand their knowledge base by being able to identify some of the telltale signs of ant infestation.”
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).
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.
Sylvania Zinsco electrical panels are known in the home inspection industry to be safety issues and replacement is typically advised by home inspectors. This particular Zinsco panel was discovered at a recent home inspection in Anacortes on Fidalgo Island. The issue concerns the connection between the breakers themselves and the aluminum fin bus bar which can become compromised and lead to arcs, faults and fires. Home Inspection 101 covers this for all licensed home inspectors to be called out as a safety issue for clients. Were this my home, the very first thing I’d do is replace the Zinsco electrical panel entirely.
New deck joists hangers were installed directly onto older wood siding, without the installation of a proper bolted 2x deck ledger at a recent home inspection in Anacortes. The most common point of failure for deck systems is at the interface between the deck and home. For this reason, a bolted deck ledger is advised and the deck joist hangers are attached to this instead of thin siding. I recommended further evaluation and repair by a qualified contractor who will likely install a new deck ledger underneath the existing deck joists to the whole deck doesn’t need to be dismantled.
Water intrusion and fungal growth were noted at a recent home inspection in Anacortes on Fidalgo Island. Fungal growth and water intrusion lead to structural deterioration and insect activity/damage. I recommended further evaluation and repair of the underlying cause of water intrusion and then repair and replacement of deteriorated structural elements, as necessary. Water is the enemy! Keep it away and your structure will be happy!
Inspecting a home in Lynden, Washington the other day, I happened upon a HUGE wasp nest just inside the crawl space access hatch. I’ve learned, from experience, that’s it’s very important to make sure the crawl space is safe to enter before diving in. In this case, the nest appeared inactive, but I recommended removal nonetheless. It would be very easy for someone to put their hand right into this huge nest, entering the crawl space, and have a serious problem.
How long do you think it took to piece this floor system insulation together? I don’t know the answer to that, but I can tell you it does very little from a thermal efficiency standpoint. Insulation efficiency is about thickness, but just as importantly, it’s about how well it’s installed. Did you know, for instance, that a 1/4″ gap in ceiling insulation between the ceiling joist and R30 insulation can reduce the insulation R-value to around R-11? That’s a huge breach in thermal efficiency. In this particular case, I don’t even know where to start, but I’d judge the insulation value as negligible.
Exposed fiberglass underlayment and granular loss were noted at a recent home inspection in Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island. This was likely caused by someone pressure washing moss off the roof system. The issue is that moss has rhizomes, or roots, that imbed into the roof coverings. When mechanically removed, they take with them the asphalt and granules from the roof coverings, exposing the underlying fiberglass mat, and rendering the roof system compromised. I strongly recommend against the practice of pressure washing as I’ve seen too many roofs destroyed by this practice. Treating your roof on a semi-annual basis with zinc granules is advised to help prevent moss growth. If the growth is pronounced, treatment more often will help speed the process, but it will take time. Personally, I like a perfect roof, so I treat my new roof four (4) times annually with zinc granules readily available at all hardware stores. Some homeowners prefer Tide with bleach, others say baking soda works. Treat, don’t pressure wash!
At a recent home inspection in Mount Vernon, Washington, I noted dangerous double-tapping or electrical wires in the old electrical panel. Double-tapping the main service entrance conductors (wires) at an older fuse panel is a definite safety issue that can lead to overheating of the undersized wires and at the lugs themselves. Double-tapping is where two (2) electrical wires are connected under one screw or terminal in an electrical panel. Further evaluation and repair by a qualified electrician was advised. It would also be prudent to update the old fuse panel for improved safety.