We systematically and carefully examine the property. Typically we begin with the exterior and go through a pre-formulated procedure that ensures every component of the property is carefully examined. Following the inspection (within 24 hours) you will receive a detailed and comprehensive report with pictures illustrating various items, repair/replace needs, and/or other defects observed.
Roof system, roof penetrations, chimney, wall cladding, windows, doors, eaves, trim, decks, porches, and entryways.
Foundation (exterior and interior), structural framing (beams, columns, girders and trusses), floor, wall, ceiling and roof framing.
Furnace systems, Boiler systems, HVAC systems, Ducts, vents, tanks, fuel supply systems, and Main fuel shutoff.
What We Inspect
Supply and waste piping, main supply shutoff, drains, traps and vent piping.
Service entrance cable, meter area, Main disconnect, main and sub panels, GFCI breakers and receptacles, AFCI breakers, receptacles, switches, and exposed branch wiring.
Walls, floors and ceilings, trim, windows and doors.
Dishwasher, oven, range, other miscellaneous permanently installed appliances and components. We do not test counter top microwaves, washing machines, dryers, in-window air conditioners and other temporary or non-permanent units
Specific Inspection Details For Each Category
We evaluate the following exterior features: driveways, walkways, decks and balconies, patio covers, handrails and guardrails, yard walls, and attached carports. We do not evaluate subterranean drainage systems or any mechanical or remotely controlled components, such as driveway gates. In addition, compliance with building codes and or manufacturer's specifications and recalls goes beyond the scope of this inspection.
We review the exterior portions of the home or building by walking around the outside and may describe the various foundation types, the floor, walls, siding, fascia and trim, balconies, doors, windows, roof structures, lights, and outlets in accordance with state and industry standards. It is important to properly maintain a property, including decks, porches, walkways, driveways, and other hard surfaces. It's particularly important to keep the exterior walls well painted and sealed with caulk, which provide the only barrier against deterioration of the underlying materials. Separation of caulk and or cracks of the caulk around windows, doors, and thresholds can permit unfiltered air and potential moisture intrusion, which is the principle cause of the deterioration of any surface and their components within. Evidence of such intrusion may only be obvious when it is raining or during adverse weather conditions and still may go undetected. We identify foundation types and look for any evidence of structural deficiencies. However, cracks or deteriorated surfaces in foundations are quite common. If double pane windows are present they can have broken seals, which can create staining and or condensation between the panes of glass. Depending on current conditions at the time of this inspection, such as lighting, temperature, humidity, etc., broken seals may not be observed and can appear at any given time.
Exterior siding / cladding is observed where viewable. We do not pull off siding to gain a better view, and continual maintenance is key to prolonging the life of your siding. Soils that contact wood siding are suspect to wood rot, and or pest (insect) infestation. Whenever possible, make sure your siding has approximately 4" of clearance from the ground
There are many different roof types, which we evaluate by walking on their surfaces if safe access is available. If we are unable or unwilling to do this for any reason, we will indicate the method that was used to evaluate the roof. Every roof will wear differently relative to its age, the number of its layers, the quality of its material, the method of its application, its exposure to direct sunlight or other prevalent weather conditions, and the regularity of its maintenance. Regardless of its design-life, every roof is only as good as the waterproof membrane beneath it, which is concealed and cannot be examined without removing the roof material, and this is equally true of almost all roofs. In fact, the material on the majority of pitched roofs is not designed to be waterproof only water-resistant. However, what remains true of all roofs is that, whereas their condition can be evaluated, it is virtually impossible for anyone to detect a leak except as it is occurring or by specific water tests, which go beyond the scope of our inspection service. Even water stains on ceilings, or on the framing within attics, could be old and will not necessarily confirm an active leak without some corroborative evidence. Roofs that have covering materials which are susceptible to cracking and or breaking of the protective layer (i.e. tile) or has an existing angled pitch or height restrictions, which makes the roof unsafe to walk on, or weather conditions may not allow, are evaluated from the ground with the use of binoculars or the roofs edge for safety reasons and may limited the viewable areas. Therefore an acceptable rating should take into account that not all areas may have been observed. It is not within the normal scope of a general home inspection to determine the remaining life of a roof. Damage can occur within short periods of time based on weather conditions including wind, humidity and temperature fluctuation that may not be viewed at this time.
In accordance with our standards, we do not attempt to enter attics that have less than thirty-six inches of headroom, are restricted by ducts, or in which the insulation obscures the joists and thereby makes mobility hazardous, in which case we would inspect them as best we can from the access point. In regard to evaluating the type and amount of insulation on the attic floor, we use only generic terms and approximate measurements, and do not sample or test the material for specific identification. Also, we do not disturb or move any portion of it, and it may well obscure water pipes, electrical conduits, junction boxes, exhaust fans, and other components. Some areas of an attic may be viewed from a distance due to limited access from roof rafters creating low clearances or heavy insulation and may hide unknown conditions that could not be viewed, although no obvious conditions may be noted. When entering attics with heavy insulation, damage to the insulation and ceiling below can occur, therefore access is limited. With this in mind, inspection of the attic areas can be limited from the access area only. Homes with framed vaulted ceilings typically do not have an attic access. Attics with heating ducts and skylight chases also limit our access. Please remember that entry of the attic area is not conducted when access is obstructed or restricted or entry can damage any property, or when dangerous or adverse conditions exist or are suspected, which fall under the Standards and Practices and Standards of Behavior, Division 8 of OAR Chapter 812
We do not report on anticipated remaining life for water heaters. Typical life span ranges between 10 to 15 years, but they generally last longer. Main water valves or branch and fixture shut-off valves are not turned on if they are in the off position due to potential safety concerns and or liability issues and can seize up over time due to a lack of operation. We test the operation of all accessible outdoor hose bibs for functionality and normal water pressure. (between 35-80 PSI) where applicable. Some factors may not allow us to test the hose bibs. The waste system is primarily buried in the ground and under the house. Our inspection process is limited and basically covers the testing of the system from interior components and looking for any leaks in the system. We do not evaluate septic tanks, sewage pumps, or sand filters.
We are not electricians and in compliance with our standards of practice we only test a representative number of switches and outlets and do not perform load-calculations to determine if the supply meets the demand. However, we typically recommend upgrading outlets to have ground fault protection within 6' of a water source, which is a relatively inexpensive but essential safety feature. These outlets are often referred to as GFCI's, or ground fault circuit interrupters. Similarly, AFCI's or arc fault circuit interrupters, have been required in all bedroom circuits since 2002. We remove the electrical panel cover if readily and safely accessible and check circuitry and sizing of wires to existing circuit breakers and or disconnects. Circuit breakers are designed to trip under faulted current condition but are no turned on or off as part of our inspection process.
We test and evaluate HVAC systems in accordance with the standards of practice. This means we use normal operating controls but we do not dismantle any of the following concealed components: evaporator and condensing coils, the heat exchanger, electronic air-cleaners, humidifiers, and in-line duct motors or dampers and we do not run cooling systems (if present) when outdoor temperatures drop below 60 degrees as this may harm the system. Although the heating and or cooling system(s) may work as designed at the time of our inspection, if we note that a system shows no recent evidence of annual maintenance it is recommended that service be provided as a precautionary measure.
We inspect and comment on flooring type, and wall and ceiling type. i.e. wood, tile, linoleum, carpet etc. Wall and ceilings would be sheetrock, lathe & plaster etc. We also comment on any significant deficiencies to any of the interior materials.
Only the readily and accessible smoke alarms are tested and inspected. Those that are located in spaces that are difficult or unsafe to access are therefore not addressed. We always suggest you confirm their operation and retest them on a regular basis. We recommend smoke detectors be present on each level and in each bedroom of the home as a safety preventative measure. If a smoke alarm starts to chirp this is an indication that the battery may need to be replaced. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. Every 5 years if it's a combination smoke / CO detector. As of April 1, 2011 Carbon monoxide detectors are now required in homes. Even fully electric homes if they have a door to an attached garage, or an opening for a heat duct through the wall or attic that enters the livable area of the home.
FIREPLACES & STOVES:
Wood burning and gas fireplaces are evaluated by viewing only and using normal controls. We do not light gas igniters or wood burning fireplaces or appliances and our inspection does not insure the safe operation or drafting of these units. These should be demonstrated by the seller if you have concerns or questions. There are a wide variety of chimneys, which represent an even wider variety of the interrelated components that comprise them. However, there are three basic types, single-walled metal, pre-fabricated metal ones that are commonly referred to as factory-built ones and masonry. Our inspection of chimneys and their components conforms to industry standards, and is that of a generalist and not a specialist. However, significant areas of chimney flues cannot be adequately viewed during a field inspection. The inner reaches of a flue are relatively inaccessible, and it should not be expected that the distant oblique view from the top or bottom is adequate to fully document damage even with a strong light. Chimney flues need to be periodically cleaned to prevent the possibility of chimney fires.
We test kitchen appliances for their functionality, and cannot evaluate them for their performance nor for the variety of their settings or cycles. We do not inspect the following items: free-standing refrigerators, built-in toasters, coffee-makers, can-openers, blenders, water-purifiers, barbecues, grills or rotisseries, timers, clocks, thermostats, and or the self-cleaning capability of ovens. It is also important to properly maintain tile grout joints and caulk joints at counter tops and floor coverings that may crack over time to reduce the potential of water intrusion as a preventative measure
In accordance with industry standards, we do not leak-test shower pans and or liners that are hidden, which is usually the responsibility of the original installer and typically verified through the city or county building officials at the time of construction. It is also important to properly maintain tile / grout joints and caulk joints at all sinks and floors that may crack over time to reduce the potential of water intrusion. We do test the functionality of the toilets, showers, tubs, and sinks.
Sinks, fans and electrical outlets are tested. Operation of the washer / dryer are not conducted. Viewing behind the washer / dryer may be limited. 220 volt receptacles are not tested.
Entry and the viewing of under floor crawlspaces, and basements can be limited or is not conducted when access is obstructed or restricted with less than 24" clearance or entry can damage any property, or if dangerous or adverse conditions exist or are suspected, which fall under the Standards and Practices and Standards of Behavior, Division 8 of OAR Chapter 812 as a guideline. Some areas may have limited viewing due to floor insulation that is not removed during the inspection process, heating ducts and plumbing pipes that also may be present.
Garages are typically used for parking and or storage and the viewing of walls, floors, ceilings, cold joints of the concrete slab at the perimeter may be limited. We review the operation of the man doors, windows, attic and garage doors and the automatic opener if present. Man doors that enter the home from the garage should either be 20 minute fire rating and should not have a pet door present, which reduces the effectiveness of the doors fire rating.
PESTS & DRY ROT:
Our inspection process covers areas of the structure that are susceptible to wood destroying insects, and wood damage caused by those insects, water, or other causes. This information is based only on the readily accessible and visible areas of the structure at the time of the inspection. No invasive inspection is conducted. We do not guarantee that any wood destroying insect infestation and or damage disclosed by a visual inspection of the premises, as noted, represents all of the wood destroying insect infestation or damage that may exist at the time of this inspection. We recommend you contact a company so licensed to perform this type of work for a more comprehensive report. This inspection did not include the removal of any objects including, but not limited to: moldings, floor coverings, wall coverings, siding, ceilings, insulation, floors, furniture, appliances, and or personal possessions, nor were areas inspected which were obstructed and or inaccessible for physical access. Due to the insidious habits of all wood destroying organisms, the possible infestation or damage by wood destroying organisms could become visible at any time subsequent to this inspection. This can lead to future potential problems if not addressed in the early stages. This report is not a guarantee or warranty as to the absence of wood destroying insects nor is it a report as to structural integrity.