What You Should Know

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The Inspector Chris home inspection team has walked through a lot of residential homes and condos, plus apartment buildings over the years. We've seen plenty of DIY patches that make us shake our heads. We hope to provide bits of advice in this blog that you find practical and helpful.

Plumbing Inspection Cincinnati

Don't Buy a Home without a Plumbing Inspection:

A Second Look at Galvanized Water Pipes, Copper Drain Pipes, and Other Potential Problems. You're looking at the house of your dreams, and you make an offer. Your offer is accepted by the seller, and you order your inspection. The inspection is done and all is well.

Or is it?

There are several items on a normal home inspection that can not be determined by the naked eye, here is a list of a few items I would consider having inspected during your home plumbing problems inspection.

Replacing Sewer Lines is expensive.

Sewer Lines Inspection Main sewer lines are one of those things that can not be inspected by the naked eye, it is impossible to inspect the drain lines without ordering a sewer scope of them. Many home buyers are on a budget when buying a home and don't have the funds to complete all the necessary inspections, but sewer drain pipe scopes can save you thousands of dollars in major repairs that go unseen during the normal inspection.

  • Costing roughly $200-$350 depending on the area, it is well worth the cost of a sewer inspection during your home inspection.
    That little bit of money can save you thousands in repairs if you have a cracked drainpipe, large belly or roots in the pipe, or any other damages.

Hot Water Heater

Though the average water heater lasts about 8-12 years, it's a good idea to have it inspected. The life span depends on the water quality, how the water heater is being used, maintenance and installation. Consider the location of the tank, will it ruin your carpet or hardwood floor if it leaks? Will it cause drywall damage? If it's in a location where property damage could occur, what will help prevent that? It's common to find water heaters placed in areas where they're out of sight, yet could cause a lot of damage if they leak; such as utility closets, mobile home water heater closets or a garage that abuts a finished living space.

  • Even if it is sitting in a pan with a drain, who would ever see it to know to fix the problem before it causes damage? Water heater pans can only hold so much water before they overflow.
    Typically water heater leaks in these installations are noticed because of evidence of water or the damage already caused. When a water heater is installed where it's likely to cause property damage due to a leak, it should be replaced as a preventative measure before it's too late.

Leaky Toilet

Another issue that homeowners often overlook and neglect to have fixed is a leak at the base of a toilet. The leak typically appears small or insignificant, but over time the water will begin to rot the subfloor and even get between the subfloor and finished floor.

Lead Water Pipe

Here are some signs that you have a toilet problem:

  • Discoloration and/or warping around the base of the toilet and around the floor.
  • If the floor moves or feels soft around the base of the toilet by applying weight with your foot.
  • If the toilet bowl has any movement. It should feel solid, and when grasped on either side, the toilet should not rock or slide.

The Bottom Line of the Health of Plumbing Systems

Buying a home is a big investment, but knowing if you have any plumbing issues such as galvanized water pipes, copper drain pipes, lead closet bends, or an inferior piping system can be handy when negotiating the sale of a home. There are so many types of piping systems and conditions that it's a good idea to get a whole-house plumbing inspection in addition to a water heater and sewer camera inspection. Plan to be there with the plumber and ask plenty of questions such as, "What would you do if you were buying this house?" Spending that little bit of extra time on an inspection and minor maintenance can go a long way towards knowing what you're about to purchase, or whether it's even worth buying at all.

Prevent Home Fires by Knowing if Your Dryer Vent is Operating Properly

A congested/clogged dryer vent can lead to devastating results. A clogged dryer vent can threaten your home or business. It's crucial that dryer vents are maintained and cleaned on a regular basis, for safety reasons and economic reasons. A house fire is bad enough, but when a fire happens in a large apartment complex or worse can be deadly.

Dryer Vent

A few years ago the residents of UC's Calhoun Hall were evacuated when a fire started in the laundry area of the basement. The fire was caused by an overheated (clogged dryer vent) dryer. The dryer vent was so backed up with lint the dryer got to hot and the clothes inside the dryer caught on fire.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has warned several years in a row that a clogged dryer vent are the most common source of all household fires.There are several warning signs to a clogged dryer vent.

  • The clothes take longer to completely dry.
  • Clothes are hotter than normal upon removing them.
  • The exterior flaps on the dryer vent do not operate properly ( open and close).
  • The exterior vent has lint hanging off the cover.

 Airflow is the most important element in a clothes dryer's ability to function and operate safely and efficiently. When a dryer is given the appropriate air flow, the clothes dry faster and results in less gas and electric usage for the dryer, in which saves you money on the gas and electric bill and adds longevity to the dryer's life.

Weep Holes are Specific to "Brick Veneer" Homes

Weep holes are normal and can typically be found in every 3rd, 4th or 5th mortar joint. They are also found above/below windows and other openings in the brick.

Weep Hole

Weep holes are designed to let air flow in and equalize pressure while allowing water to drain out. They are needed because brick and mortar do hold moisture, since they are porous materials.

  • Brick veneer homes have a gap between the brick veneer and the underlying structure. The underlying structure is covered with a sheathing paper known as “Tyvek” which protects it from moisture.
  • Many homeowners do not understand the reasoning for weep holes and fill the holes thinking the bricklayer forgot to mortar those areas. When, in reality, they're there for a good reason.
  • When a homeowner fills the weep holes with mortar or any other type of material it blocks that air flow and drainage between the brick and the structure. This moisture will build up and eventually get into the foundation. Causing serious damage to the structure of the building.

Water damage can cause the most expensive damage to a home. Water damage affects the home worse than fire does. Water will sit in the residence and then form a microbial (mold) growth and slowly deteriorate the wood structure.

Bottom Line: If you have a brick veneer home do not block the weep holes. If you have blocked the weep holes, remove the block. This allows proper breathing of the brick and will prevent moisture buildup and further damages to the structure. 

Most Homeowners are Not Aware of Certain Requirements and Stipulations When Having a Roof Installed on Your Home

Most roofing companies do not install shingles properly as required by the manufacture's application requirements. Most roofing companies install shingles the fastest way possible which is considered and what is called "racked shingles". Rack shingles are shingles that are installed improperly and not to manufacturer specifications and requirements of application.

Roof5059 300

  • On 3 tab shingles the correct application procedure is to begin with a shingle turned upside down with 6 inches cut off the shingle edge are starting shingle, then the shingles are applied to the roof beginning with a full-size shingle as your 1st visible course of shingles.
  • The 2nd course the shingles is a shingle with 6 inches cut off to offset the bond lines 6 inches.
  • The 3rd course of shingles is a shingle with 12 inches cut off to offset the bond lines 6 inches.
  • The 4th course of shingles is a shingle cut 18 inches off to offset the bond lines 6 inches.
  • The 5th course is a shingle cut 24 inches to offset the bond lines 6 inches.
  • The 6 course is a shingle cut 30 inches to offset the bond lines 6 inches.
  • The 7th course is a full-size shingle and repeated as stated prior to the remaining courses.

Most roofing companies install a full-size shingle then cut 6 inches off for the 2nd course, the 3rd course is then started with a full-size shingle.

Most homeowner's if not every homeowner is not aware of this, the manufacturer will void all warranties on the shingle if the shingles are not installed per manufactures application recommendations. So if you're roofer is installing the shingles in this manner when they leave the job and you think you have a nice looking roof and warranty. You're wrong. This application does not affect the performance of the roof, it affects the warranty from the manufacturer. If there is ever a manufactured default on the shingle such as blistering of the shingles this will void the warranty due to improper installation per manufactures application recommendation.

It is recommended when having a roof installed to have it inspected during installation to ensure proper installation from manufacturing from a qualified certified ASHI home inspector who is knowledgeable on manufactures installation application on roofing.

Knowing Your Contractor and His Experience is Key to a Successful Home Improvement Project

I have been on a few inspections this past week, one, specifically for a roofing inspection. My clients were having a new roof installed and wanted to make sure the installation was being done correctly.

Cincinnati Roof InspectorUpon my arrival, there were several items that were issues and the roof was already halfway installed. This raised an immediate red flag for me. I informed the owner of the roofing company about my findings, of the defects I noticed before I even got on the roof. That owner argued with me, then got mad and left the job site stating he was not going to argue with me about it. I, then, informed my client of the items that needed correcting and showed him the manufactures installation instructions.

I left the inspection site and was gone approximately 10 minutes. The client called me and stated the roofing contractor was now going to make the corrections. He then was going to make the job complete as per manufactures requirements.

There are a lot of homeowners that are not aware of rules, regulations, codes, and understandably so! The manufactures installation requirements will always trump all codes. If your specific project materials are not installed as per the manufacturer's recommendation then the manufacturer has the right to void all warranties regarding their product.

Getting the work done on your house inspected will provide you with the assurance that the work performed was done professionally, following codes, and provides you and your family with a safe enviornment.

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Local home inspection company at 2769 Leota Lane, Cincinnati, OH 45251
Call 513-939-4036 to schedule a home inspection appointment today!
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