Frequently Asked Questions
Browse our frequently asked questions categories and topics related to Home Maintenance Tips, Energy Efficiency Tips, and questions about our Inspection Services of Scheduling an inspection. Find helpful links to related blog posts, articles and webpages for more information. And if you can’t find what you are looking for, fill out our Ask-Your-Inspector contact form on this page and ask us – we’ll be happy to help answer your questions.
So you are buying a house and you think you found the perfect one. Well to start, Congratulations! Although your realtor will be guiding you through the process as well, we want to give you a quick rundown on when you should schedule your home inspection.
Ever wonder what home inspections look for and what are the normal things home inspectors discover? We have compiled all our inspection stats from 2017, and have a list of the 10 most common home inspection problems.
Sometimes roof leaks are obvious…
Other times they are subtle. If water is not pouring down into your living room currently, then you might be ok… This “alien looking” roof leak was found by our inspector, Joe, while performing a rental home inspection. This is definitely an extreme example, but even subtle warping and rippling of ceiling drywall can be a tell-tale sign of a roof leak. Even worse, drywall is the last layer before entering the home, so there is a good chance your roof sheathing and insulation have water damage as well. Check out some pictures and tips in this article to help you discover signs your roof may be leaking.
An unpleasant, but necessary spring task is cleaning out your gutters and downspouts. Over time, the gutters on your home will collect leaves, dirt, roofing material and a lot more. It is also important to ensure that all downspouts are pushing water away from the home. Read our article and check out some pictures showing exactly what it means when we say time to clean your gutters.
Steps to prepare a house for a Home Inspection
As the seller of the home, or a listing agent helping a seller, properly preparing for a home inspection is important, to help things go smoothly with the inspection process. Check out our full checklist to prepare for a home inspection.
Scott Home Inspection offers fast and easy online scheduling for you and your clients!
This convenient, user-friendly tool makes it easy for you and your clients to get your home inspections scheduled as quickly as possible. Check our availability and schedule online anytime of the day, even after business hours! A member of our customer service team will contact you afterwards to finalize the inspection details and answer any questions you or your client may have. Read the full article on online scheduling a home inspection.
Prescriptive vs Performance Path – IECC Energy Code Compliance:
Let’s face it, compliance with the ever-changing IECC Energy Codes is like tracking a moving target. Each municipality has its own code requirements and amendments, and understanding these is tough. There are typically two main pathways for compliance – Prescriptive Path or Performance Path. Read our full article explaining the differences between prescriptive and performance path compliance.
Over the last 10 years, Scott Home Inspection has grown to a multi-inspector firm that covers a broad area from south Denver to north Fort Collins. Thousands of Colorado families have used our home inspection, radon testing, sewer scope, and energy rating services to ensure the safety, health, and comfort of their current or future home. As local Colorado home inspectors, we have years of experience working specifically with different types and ages of homes. Hopefully the video above will help you get a better understanding of our company, and aid in your decision making when looking for a Colorado home inspector. Check out our article and video on Getting to know your local Colorado home inspector.
One of the most common questions we get from our customers is: What exactly is included in a home inspection.
That is a tricky question to answer because it varies from home to home, and by the type of inspection. However, when we provide a general home inspection, we usually do just that. Give you a general, but thorough overview of a home. We have recently created this informational video that gives you a brief summary of the different sections included in a home inspection, in the most basic scenario. We have a great video and overview you can check out in this article on What’s Included in a Home Inspection.
Buying a house is a big investment and because of that, we need to make sure we get your home inspection right. But a house has many different facets, so we break down our inspections into an organized home inspection checklist. No matter what type of house, how old it is, or where it is built, our inspectors follow a specific procedure in order to be extremely thorough and maximize the time spent at the inspection.
At Scott Home Inspection, we use a mobile inspection software on site that contains this checklist and we add our findings under each category. As you can see in the graphic above, the sum of all these categories should cover every piece of an average home. There are a few less common sections that are not part of the graphic, but we wanted to be as general as possible. Let’s take a deeper look into each piece. Check out our Infographic on the Home Inspection Checklist.
Deck safety and deck inspections are an area foremost on the mind of all the home inspectors at Scott Home Inspection. Often the problems are more subtle, and more difficult to inspect. But, with many decks being elevated and coming off a second floor, an inspection for these type of items is critical to ensure the safety of the occupants. During a home inspection, we will inspect the deck joists, deck material condition, handrail integrity and safety, stair condition and integrity, support post condition, how the deck is secured to the home, and a general review of the deck finish condition. Read the full article to see examples of Deck Safety Concerns noted during our home inspections.
We love good plumbers! Running pipes through a home is not an easy job, and if done correctly, it usually goes unnoticed. In some cases, however, plumbing is done incorrectly, and it can have serious repercussions on a home. Recently we found floor joist damaged by a plumber. Check out this article with examples of floor joist damage we have discovered.
The structural support beams and posts in a home are critical to the integrity of the home’s flooring system. It may seem obvious that these should go untouched and unmodified, but they are often in crawlspaces and harder to reach places that can be hidden from view. During our home inspections, a visual evaluation of the foundation and structural integrity is an important part of what we do. We know the tell-tale signs of structural problems, can call out these problems, and recommend a structural engineer where appropriate, who will help outline needed repairs and associated costs. This information will give you the knowledge to make informed decisions. Read the full article to see examples of Structural Support Post Damage.
Every now and then during a home inspection, we come across some eyebrow raising items, in this case birds in the attic. These guys were hard at work, likely attempting to build a nest under the very edge of the roof vent which seemed like a good idea at the time. Unfortunately, this roof vent was missing a screen to keep birds and animals out, so their efforts to build a nest up at the roof around the vent resulted in all the nest material dropping into the attic space. Check out the full article on Birds in the Attic.
Seriously…how much time do you spend thinking about your sewer line? We think about it a lot… As part of our independent inspection services, Scott Home Inspection offers video inspection of a home’s sewer line also known as a sewer scope. Understanding the condition of the underground sewer drain line and knowing the extent and location of a particular problem will be a key part of a decision in purchasing a home. Read our full article and watch our video on What is a Sewer Scope.
The HERS rating measures a home’s energy efficiency and can tell you how efficiently it is operating and where you can make modifications for greater energy savings. When you are selling a home, a low HERS Index Score can command a higher resale price. And when buying a home you can anticipate the costs of energy bills and efficiency upgrades. The video included in this post was published by RESNET to give an overview of the HERS Rating process. Check out the full article on What is a HERS Rating.
During a recent pre-purchase home inspection, one of our inspectors, Brett, found a furry friend trapped in the depths of a window well. This unfortunate skunk must have fallen in at this property due to a missing window well cover. We quickly sprang into action and notified the Realtors, who called animal control, and got him back to safety. Luckily, the little guy was unharmed, and everyone at the inspection stayed clear of the skunk’s smell. Read the full article on Window Well Surprise Guests.
During a general home inspection of a house, we typically rely on what we can visually see and observe. And while we can often see signs of moisture damage or mold, we can’t know what amount of mold may be present in the air when no visual indication of concerns are present. Performing mold air sample testing is a very effective method of determining the mold spore counts present in the air, providing valuable information about potential hidden moisture damage present in a home. We’ve got a great article that reviews all the details on Mold Air Sample Testing.
PVC or ABS plastic piping is often used on high-efficiency heating and water heating systems as vent piping for the exhaust gases, since the exhaust temperatures are relatively low. This piping is often vented out the side of the home. There are different types of piping used, and one style commonly used is called ‘Cellular-Core” PVC. Concerns have developed with use of this piping on high-efficiency heating systems. Check out our article on The Concerns of Cellular Core Piping on Exhaust Systems.
The days are getting shorter and shorter and the colors on the leaves are changing. Most importantly, your house is starting to get colder and you may be thinking about kicking that furnace back on. If so, now is the perfect time to do some routine maintenance to make sure you and your family are warming up in the best way possible. So… when is the last time you checked your furnace filter? Read our full article on Furnace Filter Replacement.
Inspecting a fireplace is not one of the most fun things to do during a home inspection. Will the damper open? Will a bunch of soot dump down on your head as you are leaning into the unit with your flashlight? Or…will someone be staring back at you? Check out our article on Chimney Guests.
Older homes with brick chimneys are a subject of concern during a home inspection. These days, if a home has a true brick chimney, then you can be sure it is likely a pretty old home. Brick chimneys have almost entirely been replaced with metal flue piping. However, old brick chimneys have a certain charm to them. If you have one on your home, or you are planning to purchase a home with one, it is important to give it a thorough periodic inspection. Read our article on Brick Chimney Common Problems.
Sometimes the simplest things can cause the biggest problems. Most people forget to replace their filter through the summer months. Change your filter monthly, to prevent costly service calls and to keep your system running smoothly. And if your AC is not cooling well, consider a service call from an HVAC technician to clean the coil and evaluate the system performance. Read our article on AC Unit Frozen Coil.
Something that we come across very often during a home inspection are wasps or hornet nests. These nests usually come as quite the surprise when you are crawling in the attic or when you pull off an electrical panel cover! These are some of wasps’ favorite places to colonize as you can see in the pictures above. Wasps like to build their nests in areas that are protected from rainfall so these locations make perfect homes. Read our full article – Hornets and Wasps – what to do.
An interesting defect was found in an older 1940’s home this week by our Inspection Manager Luke. Down in the crawlspace of the home, a deteriorated piece of wood was spotted. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between wood rot and termite damage. Read what Luke had to say about it in this article, Wood Rot or Termite Damage?
Concerns have been recently reported in Colorado with new construction homes, where a certain type of floor joist, manufactured by a specific company, are defective. The reported Weyerhaeuser TJI Joist problems relate to only the Flak Jacket Protection product. Several builders in the Colorado area have been notified of the concerns, and in some cases, the completion of homes and closing of sales is being affected. For more details read our Weyerhaeuser TJI Joist Problems article.
A blower door is a device used to measure the exact air-tightness of a home. In the 2015 and 2012-IECC, a maximum air leakage rate is defined and each home must meet this tightness level verified with a blower door test. A blower door is a powerful fan that mounts into the frame of an exterior door. The fan pulls air out of the house, lowering the air pressure inside. The higher outside air pressure then flows in through all unsealed cracks and openings. These tests determine the air infiltration rate of a building. Read our two informative articles, Blower Door Testing and Blower Door Testing for IECC-2012 & 2015.
Understanding where to locate and seal blower door test common air leaks is important to ensure that a new construction home will meet the stringent requirements of the IECC and IRC code for maximum air leakage rates. Scott Home Inspection has performed hundreds of blower door tests on new residential homes, remodel-addition projects, and as a component of our energy audit services. We have a solid understanding of where the common leaks occur. Read our full article Blower Door Test Common Air Leaks.
In the last few years, we have seen a large increase in the amount of homes that have a Photovoltaic (PV) or solar system installed. This is great for the environment and your energy bill, but it begs the question: How do solar panels work? Read our full article providing details on How PV Solar Panels work.
It has happened to the best of us. The fateful day where you finally have to change out that old dinosaur of a water heater living in your basement – hopefully because you knew it was nearing the end rather than waking up to a basement full of water. Whatever the cause, water heater replacement isn’t ever a fun thing to do. However, there are a few different options that must be considered before you make a major investment in your home. Here are a few things to consider: Read our Water Heater Replacement article.
Saving energy, improving comfort, and reducing energy bills are all things any homeowner should want to do. Home Energy Efficiency improvements shouldn’t be hard. There are steps you can take to improve the systems and features of your home that will incrementally result in energy efficiency gains. At Scott Home Inspection, we know homes and we know what steps you can take to meet your home energy efficiency goals. Evaluate your home using the following 10 step outline, or ask us for help and we can come in and help you identify the top priority improvement items. Read our Ten Steps to Home Energy Efficiency article.
Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas emitted from uranium, a naturally occurring mineral in rocks and soil. Normally, radon rises up through the soil and dissipates in the air outside. Radon becomes a concern, however, when it seeps through openings such as cracks, loose fitting pipes, sump pits, dirt floors, slab joints or block walls and accumulates in the home. Testing for radon is the only method to know your exposure. Read our article The Importance of Radon Testing.
Radon is an invisible, radioactive gas created from natural deposits of uranium and radium in the soil. Radon gas can be drawn into a building and accumulate to concentrations that can increase the potential for contracting lung cancer. Although there are rare cases where the source of the radon has come from building materials created from spent uranium processing plants, the major source of radon in Colorado homes comes from the natural deposits of uranium commonly found in Colorado. To learn more, read our article The 6 Most Frequently Asked Questions about Radon.
If a radon mitigation system is installed in your home, for the most part the system should take care of itself and require little maintenance or action. There are a few checks you can do to verify that the system is operating and is venting radon gas from the home properly. The following components of a system should be checked and visually verified: read our Radon Mitigation System Maintenance article
A “Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter” outlet is a special receptacle that provides a safety mechanism to prevent any of us from electric shock. A GFCI receptacle will sense the current flow into the outlet and the current flow out of the outlet. These 2 should match each other – if they do not, there is a “leak” in current, which will most likely run through the person as a shock. In this case, the GFCI outlet will immediately trip to eliminate this shock hazard. For more information read the article GFCI Outlet Explained.