Test Your Knowledge

Some people are pretty handy around the house and wonder why they need a professional home inspection when purchasing a new home.  Well, here’s your chance to test your knowledge.  See if you can identify the home inspection issue illustrated in each of the pictures.  Keep in mind that some of the issues shown here could possibly cause the home sale to fall through – all the more reason to get a pre-sale inspection done before you put your home on the market. For the answers, click on the picture numbers.

  • Knob-and-tube wiring was an early-standardized method of electrical wiring in buildings, in common use in North America from about 1880 to the 1930s. If found in a home today, it must be carefully inspected by a licensed electrician to determine if it is still “active” and, if so, to be sure it is safe.  However, most insurance companies will NOT insure homes with knob-and-tube wiring that is still active.

  • Improper Use of Extension Cord

    Automatic garage door openers must be plugged directly into a receptacle.  The use of extension cords is not permitted.

  • Blocked Soffits

    Good attic ventilation is important to prevent moisture buildup problems, which can cause mold formation or possibly even structural damage.  Well-ventilated soffits are a key part of that.  Here, the soffits are ventilated but are completely blocked by attic insulation that has been stuffed into the corners, rather than being cut back.

  • Chimney Crown Worn Away

    That mortar layer at the top of the chimney (the “crown”) is vital to make sure water drains away from the bricks below, helping to keep them (as well as the chimney flue) from being damaged by freeze/thaw cycles.  This crown needs to be rebuilt.

  • Rubber Washing Machine Supply Hoses

    Over time, rubber hoses dry out and can burst far more easily than braided-metal hoses.  A burst hose can cause extensive water damage to the home if not immediately detected.  Throw them away and replace them with the braided-metal type.

  • Door Not Fire-Rated

    The door between the garage and the living quarters of the home must be “fire-rated” to slow the spread of fire from the garage to the rest of the home.  The panels in this door look good but they reduce the thickness of the door to the point that it is no longer fire-rated (a safety hazard!).

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  • Horizontal Foundation Crack

    Foundation cracks come in several flavors, but horizontal is the worst.  Horizontal cracks are a result of outside pressure on the foundation causing it to bow and crack.  Water pressure is most often the culprit, but tree roots, shifting soil, or accidental mechanical damage can also cause them.

  • Shrubs Encroaching on Air Conditioner

    Overgrown shrubs can interfere with the needed flow of air around your air conditioner, reducing its efficiency.  Keep them cut back.

 
  • Illegally Piped Sump Pump

    Sump pumps are strictly prohibited from discharging into the home’s drain line.  Rather, they must discharge onto the ground around the home (preferably at least 10 feet away from the foundation).  Most communities do NOT allow the water to be discharged into the street!

  • Bathroom Vent Fan Discharging Into Attic

    Bathroom ventilator fans must discharge their moisture-laden air through a roof-mounted or sidewall-mounted vent.  Otherwise, the moisture flowing into the attic can lead to mold and mildew problems.