We know water travels downhill. Consistently, homes have poor soil grading and this can lead to foundation issues, wet crawl spaces, and in turn, structural issues. Soils should pitch away from the home and be below the siding. This can be challenging given the many difficult site locations in the area. Corrections might include: grading corrections, french drains, back filling low areas, and gutters.
Common Defects / Links
No home is perfect, not even a brand new home. As home inspectors, we can never let our guard down as each home provides opportunities for new surprises. I inspected a home built in 2000 and scratched my head when I entered the attic and found no insulation. Imagine the heating bills for years on end. Schedule your inspection early to give yourself time to deal with issues which may arise. Some times, specialist are needed for further evaluation. Remember, a home inspector is a generalist and has to look at many home systems. Below are some common defects I find and some links for additional information.
Site Grading: We know water travels downhill. Consistently, homes have poor soil grading and this can lead to foundation issues, wet crawl spaces, and in turn, structural issues. Soils should pitch away from the home and be below the siding. This can be challenging given the many difficult site locations in the area. Corrections might include: grading corrections, french drains, backfilling low areas, and gutters.
Gutters: Gutters can be invaluable if installed correctly. When the down spout empties right back to the foundation, usually, wet crawl spaces are found. Consider the surface area of a roof and how much water can be collected there and drained. Down spouts need to extend 8' to 10' away from the foundation.
Wet Crawl spaces: Crawl spaces are rarely visited by homeowners. They’re not the most fun places to visit, but they give invaluable information about a home. Common issues include:
1. Inadequate ventilation and/or insulation.
2. Rotted wood components due to condensation or wet crawl spaces or moisture damage.
3. Lack of moisture barrier on ground.
4. Inadequate clearance between wood components and the ground or earth / wood contact.
5. Wood debris and trash which is a potential food source for mold.
Electrical Systems: Many home owners are do it your selfer’s. Reverse polarity outlets, double tapped circuit breakers, missing GFCI outlets at wet locations, and exposed wiring are common defects. Some unsafe, older panels are also commonly found and should be upgraded to today’s standards. Federal Pacific Panels are known for breakers which will not trip when overloaded. These panels are no longer in production and lost their UL listing in the 1980's. Visit: https://www.cpsc.gov/content/commission-closes-investigation-of-fpe-circuit-breakers-and-provides-safety-information-for
Incomplete Fire Walls in Garages: Homeowners store combustibles in garages, therefore garages should be fire walled to stop fires from spreading to the living space. Openings to the home are commonly found and should be corrected.
Polybutylene plumbing (PB or PolyB) is a flexible, easy-to-cut, gray, plastic pipe with joints secured with either epoxy or insert fittings and metal crimp rings. PB was introduced in the late 1970s for use in residential plumbing. Less expensive in material cost and easier to install than traditional copper plumbing, PB has been used to pipe approximately six million homes in the U.S. However, there is considerable concern surrounding PB's potential to leak. Though there is no specific data to indicate an inherent problem with the pipe itself, a number of homeowners have encountered minor to severe leaks, which has led to various lawsuits against PB manufacturers in the U.S.
Entran II (1989-1993) can cause various types of property damage including leaks at connections, corrosion, damage to the boiler or other parts, elements or components of the heating system. It can also cause serious or catastrophic failures of the heating system including major water damage and/or in-line breaks causing property damage. Visit: http://entransantafe.com/aboutEntran.shtml
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: http://www.epa.gov/
Federal Pacific Panel