April, 2017

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Why some inspectors charge more for older homes.

You get into one of the older homes and it is very occupied by a current resident.  They have stuff everywhere and it tends to be exactly where you need to be inspecting:

  • Large cabinets against wall that have moisture issues.
  • Area rugs on wooden floors that are very bouncy, cabinets full of cleaning supplies.

Very Occupied Room

Then there is just the fact that it is an older home. The codes were not the same back then or they were non-existent. Additions that were not done up to code back then, let alone now. Pre 1978 and there is a good bet you’re dealing with asbestos containing construction products (use a mask in the attic).  Some of the older products just are not up to today’s standards:

  • Federal Pacific electric panels.
  • Single strand aluminum wiring.
  • Awning (crank) windows that won’t seal, so they’ve been screwed shut with sheet metal screws.
  • Jalousie windows – don’t open them, the only thing that holds the glass in is a small tab of sheet metal.  Once it has corroded away, opening the window lets the glass slide out and break.
  • Central Air Conditioning was added at some point.
  • Old drip oil heaters with underground tanks (hopefully removed a long time ago).

Electric panel behind plumbing


Jalousie Window


Leaking skylight blacked out


Skylight blacked out with a rubber pad


i-Inspect is now carrying an e-Key.  Thank you to all the realtors that met us at the home to let us in.  Hopefully, you won’t have to do that anymore, freeing up your time, our client’s time and my time, making us all more productive. (You are still welcome anytime you want to show up.)



Using All the Tools in Our Basket

As a home inspector, we have access to several tools that the average person just will not have in their garage.  We have moisture meters to detect moisture in walls and wood.  We have infrared cameras to “see” moisture.

The moisture meter can send a signal into the wall and detect the amount of moisture in a surface or it can use electrical resistance between two probes to detect the amount of moisture.


The infrared camera does not actually see moisture, but wet areas will cool down or heat up at a different rate than a dry area. This creates a temperature difference that is visible in infrared.

FLIR i-7

On this home, I found an infrared area that was suspicious under one of the bedroom windows.



There was a cool spot below the window. Being the vigilant home inspector, I double checked this area with my moisture meter and discovered high levels of moisture.  The wall read 65% saturated where normal levels are 11 to 12% for drywall in our area.DSC08619

Further examination revealed an exterior roof gutter that was not properly sealed to the wall, allowing moisture to enter the wall cavity.DSC08708

The gutter had to be repaired and the drywall removed in this area to replace the soaked insulation and to check for structural deterioration and for mold.

Just one of the reasons to hire a competent home inspector prior to your next home purchase.


Showing off the i-Bot

The i-Bot is designed to go into places at a home inspection that the inspector cannot get into or should not get into.

Inspecting confined spaces such as crawl spaces under homes can be dangerous. Anything from mold to wild animals can be encountered while the inspector is in a place of very limited mobility.

On this inspection, the i-Bot shows off.  It has located an open electrical splice:


And later, he finds water damage around the toilet:


Temperature Pressure Relief (TPR) Valves

Code says:

UPC 608.5 Relief valves located inside a building shall be provided with a drain, not smaller than the relief valve outlet, of galvanized steel, hard drawn copper piping and fittings, CPVC, or listed relief valve drain tube with fittings which will not reduce the internal bore of the pipe or tubing (straight lengths as opposed to coils) and shall extend from the valve to the outside of the building with the end of the pipe not more than two (2) feet (610 mm) nor less than six (6) inches (152 mm) above the ground or the flood level of the area receiving the discharge and pointing downward. Such drains may terminate at other approved locations. No part of such drain pipe shall be trapped or subject to freezing. The terminal end of the drain pipe shall not be threaded.

“P2803.6.1 Requirements for discharge pipe. The discharge
piping serving a pressure-relief valve, temperature relief
valve or combination valve shall:

1. Not be directly connected to the drainage system.
2. Discharge through an air gap located in the same
room as the water heater.
3. Not be smaller than the diameter of the outlet of the
valve served and shall discharge full size to the air
4. Serve a single relief device and shall not connect to
piping serving any other relief device or equipment.
5. Discharge to the floor, to the pan serving the
water heater or storage tank, to a waste receptor
or to the outdoors.

6. Discharge in a manner that does not cause personal
injury or structural damage.
7. Discharge to a termination point that is readily
observable by the building occupants.
8. Not be trapped.
9. Be installed to flow by gravity.
10. Not terminate more than 6 inches (152 mm) above
the floor or waste receptor.
11. Not have a threaded connection at the end of the piping.
12. Not have valves or tee fittings.
13. Be constructed of those materials listed in Section
P2904.5 or materials tested, rated and approved for
such use in accordance with ASME A112.4.1. 438″

Long story short:

Don’t reduce the valve.  They are generally 3/4″.

Don’t make the drain line out of materials that cannot handle heat (PVC is rated for hot water).


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