Our experience. I have conducted over 7,000 home inspections over a 30 year period. I have inspected a variety of homes from new construction to historic homes built over 200 years ago, from estates to condominiums. There is very little that I have not seen. All of my experience enables me to evaluate the conditions found in a competent and accurate manner. After graduating college and prior to my career as a home inspector, I spent time renovating old residential buildings in New York City. I've had hands-on experience with all of the required repairs I see in homes I inspect for clients. This gives me the ability to discuss the in-depth details of home repairs, including realistic costs.
It is common to have friends and relatives offer their assistance when they hear you are buying a home. My general answer to this question is no. The inspection can be very stressful not only for the buyer, but also for the seller and the real estate agents. Too many people in the home giving advice (often poor or misleading advice) can create a very stressful situation. I've had it reach a point on some inspections where my client does not know what was said, or by whom. I also require time to get to know you and your comfort level with information related to a home and its systems. With fewer people at the site, it's much easier for me to relay information clearly to my client. The best outcome occurs when my clients and I can have uninterrupted discussions over the course of the entire inspection. When that happens, the client finds the written report to be an informative review of what they had learned during the inspection.
If you are a first time home buyer, you still may be more comfortable having a relative who's opinion you trust attend. If that is the case, feel free to bring them along. We will be more than happy to include them in the inspection process.
During a home inspection, we review the following:
- Roof & attic
- Plumbing system & fixtures
- Heating & cooling systems
- Basement, crawl spaces & foundation
- Electrical system
- Built in appliances
- Decks & porches
- Overall structure
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas found in soils, rock, and water throughout the U.S. Radon causes lung cancer, and is a threat to health because it tends to collect in homes, sometimes to very high concentrations.
How can radon affect people's health?
Almost all risk from radon comes from breathing air with radon and its decay products. Radon decay products cause lung cancer.
How do I know if there is radon in my home?
You cannot see, feel, smell, or taste radon. Testing your home is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon. EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing for radon in all rooms below the third floor. You can hire a trained professional to do the testing for you.
What can I do to protect myself and my family from radon?
The first step is to test your home for radon, and have it fixed if it is at or above EPA's Action Level of 4 picocuries per liter. You may want to take action if the levels are in the range of 2-4 picocuries per liter. Generally, levels can be brought below 2 pCi/l fairly simply.
The best method for reducing radon in your home will depend on how radon enters your home and the design of your home. For example, sealing cracks in floors and walls may help to reduce radon. There are also systems that remove radon from the crawl space or from beneath the concrete floor or basement slab that are effective at keeping radon from entering your home. These systems are simple and don't require major changes to your home. Other methods may be necessary.
People who have private wells should test their well water to ensure that radon levels meet EPA's newly proposed standard.
Lead is a highly toxic metal that was used for many years in products found in and around our homes. In general, the older a home, the more likely it has lead-based paint.
The most common sources of household lead are:
- Paint- The federal government banned lead-based paint from housing in 1978, but homes built before this time may have used lead paint. For many years, lead was added to paint to increase its durability.
- Dust- Household dust can be contaminated with lead from deteriorating paint, as can the soil around a house whose exterior was painted with lead paint. The paint removal process can cause contamination in and around the home.
- Drinking water- Your home might have plumbing with lead or lead solder. Especially in older homes, we will determine if you have a main water pipe made of lead.
Can lead cause health problems?
If not detected early, children with high levels of lead in their bodies can suffer from damage to the brain and nervous system, behavior and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems and headaches. Lead is also harmful to adults. Adults can suffer from difficulties during pregnancy, high blood pressure, digestive problems, nerve disorders, memory and concentration problems, and muscle and joint pain.