On Saturdays throughout the year, I hope to give you a peek of what I see as a home inspector traveling around San Juan, Island, Whatcom, and Skagit counties through photos and videos I’ve taken along the way.
I’m sure if you know or live in Northwest Washington, you probably feel the same about how special it is here. That’s why I invite you to share your Northwest Washington imagery! Simply take your picture or video showing why you appreciate the region, and tag it with #AllIslandsLife on Twitteror Facebook.
If you have questions or comments about home inspections in general, tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).
Something is mesmerizing about watching a crawl space go through an encapsulation process. What do I mean by “encapsulation?” Basically, it means sealing a crawl space so that a house can avoid indoor moisture issues.
Typically, a heavy-duty polyethylene barrier is added to completely cover the crawl space—usually the floors, and sometimes the foundation walls and even the ceiling.
The process is especially impressive when you start with a dirty, damp area and end with a bright, clean space (like the one featured in the video below).
While I don’t think every house needs or should be entirely encapsulated, I always recommend that homes in our area layer the crawl space ground with a plastic vapor barrier.
This was especially evident during a recent home inspection on Lopez Island, where I noticed apparent mold growth underneath the home in the crawl space at floor joists and pressboard floor sheathing elements. I recommended the installation of a vapor barrier, covering all exposed ground in the crawl space, to help prevent recurrence.
Oh, and I should probably answer the question posed in the headline. The answer/punchline? They should all have good coverage! My wife is currently shaking her head as I write this. Regardless, feel free to use this material at your next cocktail party. You have my permission.
Do you have questions or comments about home inspections in general? Go “All” in and tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).
Vapor barriers are ideal for reducing/limiting moisture in the ground from evaporating and migrating up into the crawl space. This helps to prevent problems that arise when moisture condenses on cold surfaces, such as ductwork and wood.
Unless you enjoy hearing phrases such as wood rot, mold and mildew, you’d be well-advised to use a vapor barrier. The takeaway? A vapor barrier is a good idea.
But what about vapor barriers? As in multiple barriers being used at the same time? Do you get extra credit if you use more?
In fact, I recently came across a crawl space in which two vapor barriers were installed in the crawl space. In my report, I wrote that the use of two vapor barriers actually causes problems because water can become entrapped between vapor barrier layers, prolonging evaporation time which can lead to stagnant water conditions.
In other words, one barrier is more than enough.
Do you have questions or comments about vapor barriers, crawl spaces or home inspections in general? Go “All” in and tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).
So, you’ve done the right thing in your crawl space and insulated water supply pipes. All is good, right?
Not so fast.
During a recent visit to a home on Lopez Island, I came across this unfortunate issue: copper water pipes showing substantial corrosion—such as calcification deposits—despite the fact they were tucked into insulation.
However, insulation is useless and even harmful when it displays signs of moisture intrusion. In this case, that’s the precise scenario I encountered.
The prognosis wasn’t good because the majority of the water supply piping was concealed behind pipe insulation. Therefore, much to my dismay, I had to recommend that all the water supply piping underneath the home be further evaluated by a qualified plumbing contractor to make repairs as deemed necessary. The only way to do that is to remove the insulation and take a look.
To learn more about protecting your pipes, Home Depot recently created a “how-to” video on the topic. Hope it helps you!
Questions or comments about plumbing or home inspections in general? Go “All” in and tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).
Testing an electrical outlet is simple with an outlet tester. This device is economical, typically costs under $20, and every homeowner should have one. I recommend you purchase the outlet tester with the GFCI button so you can also test bathroom, kitchen, garage and exterior outlets for GFCI protection.
To test any outlet, plug the outlet tester into the outlet and note the light pattern. A legend on the outlet tester will show you what the pattern indicates (e.g., whether the outlet is wired properly or not).
You’d be surprised how many incorrectly wired outlets I discover inspecting homes, even brand-new homes! If you discover an electrical issue, you shouldn’t use that outlet until it is repaired.
To test for GFCI protection, plug in the outlet tester, see if the light pattern is correct and then push the top button. If it trips (e.g., if the power goes off), then the outlet is indeed GFCI protected and working properly (you’ll need to find the tripped GFCI breaker or outlet elsewhere in the home and reset it to restore power after tripping).
I encourage you to go out, purchase an outlet tester, test your outlets and repair any noted defective.
Questions or comments about electrical issues or home inspections in general? Go “All” in and let us know at @AIHomeInspect
Tim Hance with All Islands Home Inspections discovers a faulty AFCI breaker in need of replacement. It’s important to test these breakers monthly to verify proper operation for safety reasons. Thanks for watching!
When inspecting homes, I’ll always check exterior ground rod clamps like the one pictured here. In this case, and quite frequently truth be told, they are loose. If you can move the clamp, it needs to be re-secured. This was discovered at a recent home inspection on Lopez Island in the San Juan Islands.
Well, it’s time for another of those seemingly unending tasks of home ownership. Most of us live in areas where summer has begun, and many of us have begun the belated yearly quest to save on our home energy costs. Here is an easy-to-use, intuitive guide from www.energysavers.gov to help you conduct an easy do-it-yourself home energy assessment (also known as a home energy audit). With a simple but diligent walk-through, you can spot many problems in any type of house. When assessing your home, keep a checklist of areas you have inspected and problems you’ve found. This list will help you prioritize your energy efficiency upgrades.
I hope you find this useful and timely informative! If you’re looking for a top notch home inspection in Anacortes, Washington or the San Juan Islands (including Orcas Island, Friday Harbor, Lopez Island, and Shaw Island) to keep you from buying “The Money Pit,” then you need Tim Hance of All Islands Home Inspections working for you! Over the past 8 years, we’ve protected over 3,200 buyers from unexpected post-closing expenses. Call (360) 298-1163 to schedule your Anacortes or San Juan Islands Home Inspection today!