9 reasons to get a home inspection

Cool video by RGC Home Inspections –

Source: Youtube

It outlines the 9 reasons to get a home inspection.

1 – It provides a way out

Usually the last point of exit in the home buying process is once you get the inspection report, then you can use this to either bargain for a better deal or decide that what was found was too much.

2 – It ensures the safety of the home

They check all the systems of the home to make sure that the home is structurally sound. You wouldn’t want to move your family into a house held up by a cracking foundation, or a leaking roof, or one that has mis-installed electrical components.

3 – It can reveal illegal additions

If you decide to get a home inspection that covers additions, and assesses permits, then the inspection can reveal illegal additions that were built without city permission.

4 – Protection from the Unexpected

You wouldn’t want to move into a new home without first knowing that everything in the home is going to last you for years to come. How would you feel if the roof needed to be replaced after 3 months, or the foundation leaked?

5 – It can be used as a negotiating tool

As I mentioned earlier, you can use what is found in the inspection to bargain with the home-owner. Often times getting a better deal than expected.

6 – Gives you an idea of upgrades needed in the future.

Good inspectors often give you an idea of the life left in a component of the home if it is needing to be replaced soon. They have trained eyes that catch the small points of interest better than you or I

7 – Identifies any deal-breakers that you may want to use as your way out

If there is a big repair such as a foundation crack, or mould, you may want to back out of the deal.

8 – You can utilize the inspectors expertise to ask any questions

Inspectors are hired to be your own personal consultants, and you should always ask questions if you don’t know about something, or if you see something that worries you.

9 – It reveals the overall state of the house

The inspection will reveal the overall health of the home, and will be outlined over the course of a few pages for you to review and use upon future times.

 

Hope you enjoyed this valuable video, I know I did.

10 easy ways to save Energy in your home

10 Easy Ways to Save Money & Energy in Your Home

by Nick Gromicko, Ben Gromicko, and Kenton Shepard 

Most people don’t know how easy it is to make their homes run on less energy, and here at InterNACHI, we want to change that.

Drastic reductions in heating, cooling and electricity costs can be accomplished through very simple changes, most of which homeowners can do themselves. Of course, for homeowners who want to take advantage of the most up-to-date knowledge and systems in home energy efficiency, InterNACHI energy auditors can perform in-depth testing to find the best energy solutions for your particular home.

Why make your home more energy efficient? Here are a few good reasons:

  • Federal, state, utility and local jurisdictions’ financial incentives, such as tax breaks, are very advantageous for homeowners in most parts of the U.S.
  • It saves money. It costs less to power a home that has been converted to be more energy-efficient.
  • It increases the comfort level indoors.
  • It reduces our impact on climate change. Many scientists now believe that excessive energy consumption contributes significantly to global warming.
  • It reduces pollution. Conventional power production introduces pollutants that find their way into the air, soil and water supplies.

1. Find better ways to heat and cool your house.

As much as half of the energy used in homes goes toward heating and cooling. The following are a few ways that energy bills can be reduced through adjustments to the heating and cooling systems:

  • Install a ceiling fan. Ceiling fans can be used in place of air conditioners, which require a large amount of energy.
  • Periodically replace air filters in air conditioners and heaters.
  • Set thermostats to an appropriate temperature. Specifically, they should be turned down at night and when no one is home. In most homes, about 2% of the heating bill will be saved for each degree that the thermostat is lowered for at least eight hours each day. Turning down the thermostat from 75° F to 70° F, for example, saves about 10% on heating costs.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat saves money by allowing heating and cooling appliances to be automatically turned down during times that no one is home and at night. Programmable thermostats contain no mercury and, in some climate zones, can save up to $150 per year in energy costs.
  • Install a wood stove or a pellet stove. These are more efficient sources of heat than furnaces.
  • At night, curtains drawn over windows will better insulate the room.

2. Install a tankless water heater.

Demand-type water heaters (tankless or instantaneous) provide hot water only as it is needed. They don’t produce the standby energy losses associated with traditional storage water heaters, which will save on energy costs. Tankless water heaters heat water directly without the use of a storage tank. When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit. A gas burner or an electric element heats the water. As a result, demand water heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water. You don’t need to wait for a storage tank to fill up with enough hot water.

3. Replace incandescent lights.

The average household dedicates 11% of its energy budget to lighting. Traditional incandescent lights convert approximately only 10% of the energy they consume into light, while the rest becomes heat. The use of new lighting technologies, such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), can reduce the energy use required by lighting by 50% to 75%. Advances in lighting controls offer further energy savings by reducing the amount of time that lights are on but not being used. Here are some facts about CFLs and LEDs:

  • CFLs use 75% less energy and last about 10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
  • LEDs last even longer than CFLs and consume less energy.
  • LEDs have no moving parts and, unlike CFLs, they contain no mercury.

4. Seal and insulate your home.

Sealing and insulating your home is one of the most cost-effective ways to make a home more comfortable and energy-efficient, and you can do it yourself. A tightly sealed home can improve comfort and indoor air quality while reducing utility bills. An InterNACHI energy auditor can assess  leakage in the building envelope and recommend fixes that will dramatically increase comfort and energy savings.

The following are some common places where leakage may occur:

  • electrical receptacles/outlets;
  • mail slots;
  • around pipes and wires;
  • wall- or window-mounted air conditioners;
  • attic hatches;
  • fireplace dampers;
  • inadequate weatherstripping around doors;
  • baseboards;
  • window frames; and
  • switch plates.

Because hot air rises, air leaks are most likely to occur in the attic. Homeowners can perform a variety of repairs and maintenance to their attics that save them money on cooling and heating, such as:

  • Plug the large holes. Locations in the attic where leakage is most likely to be the greatest are where walls meet the attic floor, behind and under attic knee walls, and in dropped-ceiling areas.
  • Seal the small holes. You can easily do this by looking for areas where the insulation is darkened. Darkened insulation is a result of dusty interior air being filtered by insulation before leaking through small holes in the building envelope. In cold weather, you may see frosty areas in the insulation caused by warm, moist air condensing and then freezing as it hits the cold attic air. In warmer weather, you’ll find water staining in these same areas. Use expanding foam or caulk to seal the openings around plumbing vent pipes and electrical wires. Cover the areas with insulation after the caulk is dry.
  • Seal up the attic access panel with weatherstripping. You can cut a piece of fiberglass or rigid foamboard insulation in the same size as the attic hatch and glue it to the back of the attic access panel. If you have pull-down attic stairs or an attic door, these should be sealed in a similar manner.

5. Install efficient showerheads and toilets.

The following systems can be installed to conserve water usage in homes:

  • low-flow showerheads. They are available in different flow rates, and some have a pause button which shuts off the water while the bather lathers up;
  • low-flow toilets. Toilets consume 30% to 40% of the total water used in homes, making them the biggest water users. Replacing an older 3.5-gallon toilet with a modern, low-flow 1.6-gallon toilet can reduce usage an average of 2 gallons-per-flush (GPF), saving 12,000 gallons of water per year. Low-flow toilets usually have “1.6 GPF” marked on the bowl behind the seat or inside the tank;
  • vacuum-assist toilets. This type of toilet has a vacuum chamber that uses a siphon action to suck air from the trap beneath the bowl, allowing it to quickly fill with water to clear waste. Vacuum-assist toilets are relatively quiet; and
  • dual-flush toilets. Dual-flush toilets have been used in Europe and Australia for years and are now gaining in popularity in the U.S. Dual-flush toilets let you choose between a 1-gallon (or less) flush for liquid waste, and a 1.6-gallon flush for solid waste. Dual-flush 1.6-GPF toilets reduce water consumption by an additional 30%.

6. Use appliances and electronics responsibly.

Appliances and electronics account for about 20% of household energy bills in a typical U.S. home. The following are tips that will reduce the required energy of electronics and appliances:

  • Refrigerators and freezers should not be located near the stove, dishwasher or heat vents, or exposed to direct sunlight. Exposure to warm areas will force them to use more energy to remain cool.
  • Computers should be shut off when not in use. If unattended computers must be left on, their monitors should be shut off. According to some studies, computers account for approximately 3% of all energy consumption in the United States.
  • Use efficient ENERGY STAR-rated appliances and electronics. These devices, approved by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Program, include TVs, home theater systems, DVD players, CD players, receivers, speakers, and more. According to the EPA, if just 10% of homes used energy-efficient appliances, it would reduce carbon emissions by the equivalent of 1.7 million acres of trees.
  • Chargers, such as those used for laptops and cell phones, consume energy when they are plugged in. When they are not connected to electronics, chargers should be unplugged.
  • Laptop computers consume considerably less electricity than desktop computers.

7. Install daylighting as an alternative to electrical lighting.

Daylighting is the practice of using natural light to illuminate the home’s interior. It can be achieved using the following approaches:

  • skylights. It’s important that they be double-pane or they may not be cost-effective. Flashing skylights correctly is key to avoiding leaks;
  • light shelves. Light shelves are passive devices designed to bounce light deep into a building. They may be interior or exterior. Light shelves can introduce light into a space up to 2½ times the distance from the floor to the top of the window, and advanced light shelves may introduce four times that amount;
  • clerestory windows.  Clerestory windows are short, wide windows set high on the wall. Protected from the summer sun by the roof overhang, they allow winter sun to shine through for natural lighting and warmth; and
  • light tubes.  Light tubes use a special lens designed to amplify low-level light and reduce light intensity from the midday sun. Sunlight is channeled through a tube coated with a highly reflective material and then enters the living space through a diffuser designed to distribute light evenly.

8. Insulate windows and doors.

About one-third of the home’s total heat loss usually occurs through windows and doors. The following are ways to reduce energy lost through windows and doors:

  • Seal all window edges and cracks with rope caulk. This is the cheapest and simplest option.
  • Windows can be weather stripped with a special lining that is inserted between the window and the frame. For doors, apply weatherstripping around the whole perimeter to ensure a tight seal when they’re closed. Install quality door sweeps on the bottom of the doors, if they aren’t already in place.
  • Install storm windows at windows with only single panes. A removable glass frame can be installed over an existing window.
  • If existing windows have rotted or damaged wood, cracked glass, missing putty, poorly fitting sashes, or locks that don’t work, they should be repaired or replaced.

9. Cook smart.

An enormous amount of energy is wasted while cooking. The following recommendations and statistics illustrate less wasteful ways of cooking:

  • Convection ovens are more efficient that conventional ovens. They use fans to force hot air to circulate more evenly, thereby allowing food to be cooked at a lower temperature. Convection ovens use approximately 20% less electricity than conventional ovens.
  • Microwave ovens consume approximately 80% less energy than conventional ovens.
  • Pans should be placed on the matching size heating element or flame.
  • Using lids on pots and pans will heat food more quickly than cooking in uncovered pots and pans.
  • Pressure cookers reduce cooking time dramatically.
  • When using conventional ovens, food should be placed on the top rack. The top rack is hotter and will cook food faster.

10. Change the way you do laundry.

  • Do not use the medium setting on your washer. Wait until you have a full load of clothes, as the medium setting saves less than half of the water and energy used for a full load.
  • Avoid using high-temperature settings when clothes are not very soiled. Water that is 140° F uses far more energy than 103° F for the warm-water setting, but 140° F isn’t that much more effective for getting clothes clean.
  • Clean the lint trap every time before you use the dryer. Not only is excess lint a fire hazard, but it will prolong the amount of time required for your clothes to dry.
  • If possible, air-dry your clothes on lines and racks.
  • Spin-dry or wring clothes out before putting them into a dryer.
Homeowners who take the initiative to make these changes usually discover that the energy savings are more than worth the effort. InterNACHI home inspectors can make this process much easier because they can perform a more comprehensive assessment of energy-savings potential than the average homeowner can.

What to expect from home inspection reports.

What to expect from home inspection reportsHome Inspection Reports: What to Expect

Submitted By Nick Klassen, CMI  Over the past 30 years there have been many changes to the legal and economic landscape in the home inspection industry. With the addition of computers and software it has become easier and more affordable to create longer, more detailed inspection reports. I run a home inspection company in Edmonton and one of the most common questions we get asked is: What can I expect from the Home Inspection Reports? Here is what I would say to expect, as well as some background about the inspection industry.

Development of Standards

Prior to the mid-1970s, inspection reports followed no standard guidelines and, for the most part, there was little or no oversight or licensure. As might be imagined, without minimum standards to follow, the quality of inspection reports varied widely, and the home inspection industry was viewed with some suspicion.
With the founding of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) in 1976, home inspection guidelines governing inspection report content became available in the form of a Standards of Practice. Over time, a second, larger trade association, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), came into existence, and developed its own standards.
InterNACHI has grown to dominate the inspection industry and, in addition to its Residential Standards of Practice, it has developed a comprehensive Standards of Practice for the Inspection of Commercial Properties.  Today, most types of inspections from mold to fire door inspections are performed in accordance with one of InterNACHI’s Standards of Practice.
As a consumer, you should take the time to examine the Standards of Practice followed by your inspector. If he is unaffiliated with any professional inspection organization, and his reports follow no particular standards, find another inspector.
Generally speaking, reports should describe the major home systems, their crucial components, and their operability, especially the ones in which failure can result in dangerous or expensive-to-correct conditions. Defects should be adequately described, and the report should include recommendations.
Reports should also disclaim portions of the home not inspected. Since home inspections are visual inspections, the parts of the home hidden behind floor, wall and ceiling coverings should be disclaimed.
Home inspectors are not experts in every system of the home, but are trained to recognize conditions that require a specialist inspection.
Home inspections are not technically exhaustive, so the inspector will not disassemble a furnace to examine the heat exchanger closely, for example.
Standards of Practice are designed to identify both the requirements of a home inspection and the limitations of an inspection.

Checklist and Narrative Reports

In the early years of the home inspection industry, home inspection reports consisted of a simple checklist, or a one- or two-page narrative report.
Checklist reports are just that; very little is actually written. The report is a series of boxes with short descriptions after them. Descriptions are often abbreviated, and might consist of only two or three words, such as “peeling paint.” The entire checklist might only be four or five pages long. Today, some inspection legal agreements are almost that long!
Because of the lack of detailed information, checklist reports leave a lot open to interpretation, so that buyers, sellers, agents, contractors, attorneys and judges may each interpret the information differently, depending on their motives.
In the inspection business, phrases that describe conditions found during an inspection are called “narratives.”  Narrative reports use reporting language that more completely describes each condition. Descriptions are not abbreviated.
Both checklist and narrative reports are still in use today, although many jurisdictions are now beginning to ban checklist reports because the limited information they offer has resulted in legal problems.
From the standpoint of liability, narrative reports are widely considered safer, since they provide more information and state it more clearly.
Many liability issues and problems with the inspection process are due to misunderstandings about what was to be included in the report, or about what the report says.
For example, in 2002, an investor bought a 14-unit hotel in California.  The six-page narrative report mentioned that flashing where the second-story concrete walkway met the building was improperly installed, and the condition could result in wood decay. Four years later, the investor paid out almost $100,000 to demolish and replace the entire upper walkway. In some places, it was possible to push a pencil through support beams.
Although the inspector’s report had mentioned the problem, it hadn’t made clear the seriousness of the condition, or the possible consequences of ignoring it. Today, a six-page report would be considered short for a small house.

 

Development of Reporting Software

Years ago, when computers were expensive to buy and difficult to operate, inspection reports were written by hand. As computers became simpler to operate and more affordable, inspection software began to appear on the market.

Today, using this software, an inspector can chose from a large number of organized boilerplate narratives that s/he can edit or add to in order to accommodate local conditions, since inspectors in a hot, humid city like Tampa Bay, Florida, are likely to find types of problems different from those found by inspectors in a cold, dry climate, like Salt Lake City, Utah.

Using narrative software and checking boxes in categories that represent the home systems, an inspector can produce a very detailed report in a relatively short time.

For example, using a checklist report, an inspector finding a number of inoperable lights in a home would check a box in the “INTERIOR” section labeled something like “some lights inoperable,” and that would be the limit of the information passed on to the client.

Using inspection software, in the “INTERIOR” section of the program, an inspector might check a box labeled “some lights inoperable.”  This would cause the following narrative to appear in the “INTERIOR” section of the inspection report:

“Some light fixtures in the home appeared to be inoperable. The bulbs may be burned out, or a problem may exist with the fixtures, wiring or switches.
If after the bulbs are replaced, these lights still fail to respond to the switch, this condition may represent a potential fire hazard, and the Inspector recommends that an evaluation and any necessary repairs be performed by a qualified electrical contractor.”

Standard disclaimers and other information can be pre-checked to automatically appear in each report.

Narrative Content

Narratives typically consists of three parts:

  1. a description of a condition of concern;
  2. a sentence or paragraph describing how serious the condition is, and the potential ramifications, answering questions such as, “Is it now stable, or will the problem continue?” or “Will it burn down the house?” and “When?”; and
  3. a recommendation. Recommendations may be for specific actions to be taken, or for further evaluation, but they should address problems in such a way that the reader of the report will understand how to proceed.

“Typically” is a key word here. Some narratives may simply give the ampacity of the main electrical disconnect. There is no need for more than one sentence. Different inspectors would include what they think is necessary.

Report Content

Inspection reports often begin with an informational section which gives general information about the home, such as the client’s name, the square footage, and the year the home was built.

Other information often listed outside the main body of the report, either near the beginning or near the end, are disclaimers, and sometimes a copy of the inspection agreement, and sometimes a copy of the Standards of Practice.  A page showing the inspector’s professional credentials, designations, affiliations and memberships is also often included.  And it is a good idea to include InterNACHI’s Now That You’ve Had a Home Inspection book.

Inspection reports often include a summary report listing major problems to ensure that important issues are not missed by the reader. It’s important that the reader be aware of safety issues or conditions which will be expensive to correct. With this in mind, some inspectors color-code report narratives, although many feel that color-coding exposes them to increased liability and don’t do this.

Software often gives inspectors the choice of including photographs in the main body of the report, near the narrative that describes them, or photographs may be grouped together toward the beginning or end of the report.

A table of contents is usually provided.

The main body of the report may be broken down into sections according to home systems, such as “ELECTRICAL,” “PLUMBING,” “HEATING,” etc., or it may be broken down by area of the home:  “EXTERIOR,” “INTERIOR,” “KITCHEN,” “BEDROOMS,” etc.

It often depends on how the inspector likes to work.

Sample Reports

Many inspectors have websites which include sample inspection reports for prospective clients to view. Take the time to look at them. Also often included is a page explaining the scope of the inspection. The inspection contract is usually included on the website, and it should give you a good idea of what will be included in the report.

In conclusion, for consumers to have realistic expectations about what information will be included in the home inspection report, follow these tips:

  • read the Standards of Practice;
  • read the Contract;
  • view a sample Inspection Report; and
  • talk with the inspector.

 

What do Home Inspectors Do?

What do home inspectors do?

Home Inspections Picture

Have you ever wondered what a home inspector in Calgary does? Most people probably rarely think of home inspectors. In fact, most people probably do not think of hiring a property inspector until it is too late. This is particularly true when it comes to buying a new home or if you are a first time home buyer.

They help you know what you are getting into.

When buying a home, you want to know what you are getting into. A home inspector is a person that can give you an in-depth, objective opinion. What a home inspector focuses on is the structural integrity of a property, not the cosmetic details. For instance, surface grade, landscaping, and drainage within six feet of the inspected building or main parking structure would be included. This is why everyone and their brother will tell you to pay for a home inspection before closing. In fact, you want to make the real estate deal contingent upon it being done.

Check the major components of the home.

As far as the actual home, an inspector should be looking at exterior portions of a representative sampling of doors and windows, to make sure there are no major leaks or cracks in the framing or under the door. Some homes shift over time and doors can lean on an angle, creating a gap where heated or cooled air can escape and ramp up electric bills.

Wall cladding, veneers, flashing, trim, eaves, soffits and fascias will also be inspected. Wall cladding is the siding or external covering of a house. This should serve as a form of weatherproofing to keep the elements away from the home. Veneers, including stone veneers, are a decorative element for a home and are often found in upscale homes. Flashing is what keeps water from entering joints between different building materials as well as locations that are vulnerable to water penetration. Improperly installed flashing can result in wall or roof leaks. Eaves and trim will be checked for cracks and for efficiency. Soffits refer to the undersides of a construction element, such as an arch, stairs or overhanging section of a roof eave. Fascia is a band that runs horizontally under the roof edge and comprises the visible edge of the cornice. Inspecting each of these small details can reveal potential problems in a home or structure.

Inspect the outside components of a house.

Outside of the home, decks, patios, balconies, stairways, columns, pathways, guardrails and handrails are all on the list of what needs to be inspected. Cracks in cement can deteriorate the concrete. As well, water damage from sprinkler systems can eat away at concrete over time and make it unstable. Patios and balconies need to be structurally sound in order to hold weight. Wood decks and balconies can experience rotting or warping that creates hazards.

As previously mentioned, landscaping, pools, hot tubs, water features such as outdoor fountains or koi ponds will not be covered in a home inspection. The philosophy is that damage to these does not affect the safety of the home. A home inspector’s job is to ensure the structural integrity of the property, not the aesthetic.

It’s also important to note that home buyers are welcome to have a landscaper evaluate the aesthetic outdoor portions of a property before they make an offer. Be sure to hire a trained and licensed home inspector, check their reviews on-line and feel free to ask questions before, during and after the inspection so your expectations can be met.

Conclusion

A home inspection should always be done when buying a home. There are many things that should be looked at and closely so. You can learn them or just hire a certified home inspector to handle the matter.

How to find a home inspector

If you are in the process of buying a home or thinking about buying a home, one of the most important aspects of the buying process is the Home Inspection. Once you decide on the budget, area and type of house you want to buy you need to hire a home inspector who will help you buy a home that is up to the mark. There are many things that need to be considered while buying a home so that you don’t have to spend extra money after buying the house on repairs and other expenses. A Qualified Home Inspector will undergo a thorough home inspection and provide you with a detailed report of the findings both verbally and in a written format.

Home inspection services have always helped us in choosing the perfect house where we plan to build our family’s future. But have we ever paused for a while and reflected if they indeed provide quality home services? If so what are the characteristics that one should find in home inspection services so as to qualify as efficient?

Quality Home services should have the appropriate tools and equipment. You can easily judge if the service which they provide is excellent based on the materials that they use. They should at least have the following tools: electrical testers, a fuel gas and carbon monoxide detector, inspection mirror, flashlight and moisture meter. If ever you notice that they don’t have these tools then you better think twice before signing any agreement with them.

Secondly, take a time to look at their credentials. Quality home inspectors should have a Licensed Professional Engineer (LPE) who conducts the inspection. LPE often leaves an LPE seal on the report which they provide their clients as proof of its credibility. If the home inspection service which you hired does not care much to leave their name on the report then there is something fishy with their service. Only professional engineers who are confident with their findings can easily place their LPE seal on a report.

Thirdly, try asking for their affiliations. Professionals always have affiliations which protect the integrity of each registered member. One of these professional affiliations is InterNachi. This professional trade society requires a strict code of ethics which ensures that any accepted member is indeed qualified to perform quality home inspection services.

Lastly, quality home inspection services always provide a written report to their clients. Most of the time, these reports is made up of around 25 – 30 pages of detailed observations which they notice while inspecting the house. These include the roof, the flooring, the walls, the ceiling, the heating and cooling mechanisms, the plumbing, leakages and even the strength of its foundation. If your home inspection service provided you with a couple of pages of the checklist, then you have been robbed of valuable time and dollars. Finding a home inspector or appraiser will help to avoid any conflict of interest with your agent and will almost guarantee that you will have someone working in your own best interest.