Leaks Around Skylights is not always about Water

Leaking Skylights is not always about water

Skylights represent a host of problems:  from installation issues, to energy efficiency issues.  Why someone would put something of so little resistance to heat loss at the warmest place in the room is confusing to me.  I know they meet energy codes and all that—-but should they?  It would seem that one would get a lot of “points” for avoiding skylights. Answering the “politics” of this question is not really the focus of this post however. Nor am I going to go into issues related to … [Read more...]

Don’t You Hate it When The Toilet Explodes?

Make sure your toilet is not on the recall list

Living in a modern society, it behooves all of us to subscribe to the Consumer Products Safety Commission email of recalled products and safety announcements. Yesterday I received a notice that peaked my interest.  It seems that most of these announcements have to do with some product made in China—and perhaps parts of this one were as well. When I read the release and I could envision shrapnel of broken ceramic headed toward possibly naked body parts in 2.3 million homes across the U.S., … [Read more...]

Have You Washed Your Attic Insulation Lately?

Have you washed your attic insulation lately?

You best hop to it then if you haven’t!  If you do not keep your insulation washed you may be wasting valuable money in extra heating and cooling costs! OK wait a minute. Brain-fart. This is silly---NOBODY washes insulation---what the heck am I talking about? What I really mean is “wind-washing.” I have not seen very many incidences of wind-washed insulation since I left the Great Lakes area---you know, where it always snows horizontally? Near the Great Lakes the wind can whip … [Read more...]

Call a Real Plumber, Don’t Try And Do it Yourself

Don't do it yourself, call a plumber

A simple kitchen sink drain can sure get complicated. As you can see from this installation everything seems to fit together nicely and looks all nice and crisp and white—-so what can be the problem? The distance from the bottom of the trap has been dropped way down to allow for installation of the tail piece for the dishwasher (the vertical section of pipe with the grey hose attached to it).  If you look closely at the middle left of the drain (in the shadow) you should be able to see … [Read more...]

Breaking The Mold, How to Address it in an Inspection Report

Mold, what a home inspector can find on his rounds

I know that MOLD is a four letter word, and only a few other things found during the course of a home inspection causes more angst for all parties involved. As inspectors, not only are we the ones that have to bring its presence to the attention of the buyers, but we also have to figure out some way to talk about it in the Inspection Report. In spite of the fact that if: it “looks” like mold, is “wet” like mold, conditions are “conducive” to mold, it “smells” like mold, it … [Read more...]

What is the “actual” water temperature in my home really?

How hot is the water in your home really?

The post previous to this was about water heater Deadband.  This post is related in that it shows us another way that deadband affects use of hot water and the safety concerns posed by deadband. How difficult can it be to figure out what the water temperature in a home is? In the State of Washington, Licensed Home Inspectors are required to report when the water temperature is above 120 degrees and then advise the client that the recommended high temperature is 120 degrees … [Read more...]

Siding too close to the ground—it’s vinyl—isn’t that “final?”

Make sure you have enough clearance between finish grade and siding

Siding materials need proper clearances between finish grade and the siding—regardless the type of siding. This requirement is not just to prevent damage to the siding—–it serves a couple of other functions as well.  Maintaining proper clearances reduces access to wood structures behind the siding by wood destroying insects or damage from water that might find its way behind the siding. It allows for inspection of the area.  In other words inspectors can see what type of foundation is … [Read more...]

Is Your Foundation Under a Crack Attack?

Is your Foundation Cracked?

One of the biggest concerns my clients have may be foundation cracks. If the foundation has problems, the entire structure may be adversely affected. But are all foundation cracks "deal breakers"? Not necessarily. Let's talk about some of these cracks and their potential cause:     Horizontal cracks in a slab foundation   "Cold joints" (horizontal cracks) are often seen in the exterior of slab foundations of homes built from the 60's to the 80's that have a two-pour … [Read more...]

The Importance Of A Home Inspection Before You Buy

Importance of Los Angeles Homes Inspection

Congratulations! You searched and searched and finally found your dream home! Do you realize the importance of a home inspection before you buy? This may be one of your largest purchases ever. Would you buy a car without giving it a test drive? Of course not! Doesn't it make sense to have a set of experienced eyes examine your new home before you invest your hard-earned dollars? Of course! You may think your handy uncle can look over your new home to see if everything is OK. Don't risk it! A … [Read more...]

“Four Tips For Garage Door Safety”- Home Inspector

4 Tips for Garage Door Safety

The business can be quite entertaining at times! I was inspecting the garage  door at an Encinitas, CA home. A new door opener had been recently installed. When I tested the photo sensors, the door did not reverse, so I traced the sensor wires and found they were not connected. I looked up at the garage door opener and almost broke out laughing. There were the new photo sensors installed on the ceiling! Did the installer even bother reading the installation instructions? I guess this is what … [Read more...]

Does Your Weep Screed Weep?- Home Inspector

Stucco Weep Screed

If you're having a new patio installed at your home, be sure your concrete contractor knows the required clearance to be maintained from the stucco weep screed. I consistently see improper patio installations while conducting throughout Riverside and San Diego Counties here in southern California. Let me explain what a weep screed is. The majority of homes in this part of the country have stucco siding. At the very bottom of a stucco wall you will see a piece of metal trim- that is the stucco … [Read more...]

My Home Inspector Said Aluminum Wiring Will Catch My House On Fire!

Aluminum Wiring Commonly Used in Modern Construction

Single-strand aluminum wiring was installed in many homes built in the mid 1960's to early 1970's. After a decade of use, inherent weaknesses were discovered with the wiring. Neglected aluminum wiring connections become increasingly dangerous over time and may overheat and create a fire hazard. A good home inspector will always recommend that single-strand aluminum wiring be evaluated by a qualified electrician who is experienced with aluminum wiring problems. Aluminum has certain qualities … [Read more...]

How to Protect your Los Angeles Home – Siding

Protect Siding Foundation on your Los Angeles Home, Home Tips

These home inspection tips show how to protect the siding and foundation of your Los Angeles home. Whether your home is built on a slab or a raised foundation, it comes in contact with the soil at some point. The foundation is obviously in contact with the ground, but all siding materials should have adequate clearance from the ground to preventmoisture penetration, insect access, and siding damage. Stucco siding should have a minimum 4" clearance above soil and 2" above hardscaping. Wood … [Read more...]

Ten Top Things Not Covered in a Los Angeles Home Inspection

Top Ten Things Not Covered in a Los Angeles Home Inspection

Potential home inspection clients ask me, "Do you cover this? Do you cover that?". There is much confusion as to what is and is not covered in a home inspection. Since there are "Top 10" lists for just about everything else, I've made a list of the top 10 things not covered in a home inspection: 1.   Low-voltage systems Computer, phone, built-in audio, intercom systems, landscape lighting, security, irrigation systems, etc. (I offer an inspection upgrade which includes evaluation of the … [Read more...]

Top 10 Ways to Repair Your Cracked Concrete Driveway

10 Ways to Repair a Cracked Driveway, How to Repair a Cracked Driveway

These are wonderful tips for repairing your cracked driveway, from Russel Ray. Invariably when I do an inspection in an older neighborhood, my Client will ask me about the cracked concrete in the driveway (and the garage, the patios and porches, and the walkways). Following are my Top 10 ways to repair your cracked concrete driveway. Number 1 is the least expensive while all the others can be quite involved and can get expensive, but they generally will look better, too. 1.   Patch the … [Read more...]

Common Electrical Problems in your Los Angeles Home

Common Electrical Probelms in your Los Angeles Home, How to Avoid Electrical Problems in your Los Angeles Home

Our trusty San Diego Home inspector, Russel Ray, has come up with a baker's dozen of his most common electrical recommendations His two most recent posts about electricity ("What's the #1 thing you would do?" and "What color are YOUR circuit breakers?"), several people are interested in common electrical problems around the home. Below are Russel's  recommendations concerning the most common problems he finds:   Create an emergency plan for shutting off electricity, gas, and … [Read more...]

What Your Los Angeles Homeowners Insurance Does Not Pay For

What your Los Angeles Homeowners Insurance May Not Cover

Russel Ray, San Diego home inspector, had a client in March 2010 who called him with an insurance problem related to his water heater. It had been many years since he worked in the insurance industry, but he learned all their secrets.  So he told his Clients at the home inspection that if they ever have a problem with their insurance company, such as a claim that is denied, to give him a call. Home insurance is not the catch-all for everything that is wrong, or could go wrong, with … [Read more...]

Your Windows Won’t Open – A Home Inspector’s Tips

Your Windows Won't Open, Russel Ray's Los Angeles Homeowners' Tips

You can't open your windows. A common complaint when the cool fall weather arrives.  As cool as Los Angeles fall weather can get! When the complaint arrives in an email or via a phone call, the homeowner is usually concerned about the home having settled, causing things to be out of plumb now. After pulling up the inspection report and looking at the type of windows, 100% of the time the problem is due to vinyl multipane windows. And example Russel quotes is a mountainside home … [Read more...]

Is Your Attic a Fire Hazard?

Pull Insulation Away and Install Fire Collar

The attic is not exactly one of the places people frequent often.  If they go up once or twice a year that is a lot. That's why you need someone like a your home inspector to get up there occasionally and really look around. In the picture, you can see some insulation and a metal flue: Wherever there is a metal flue in the attic, it's worth having an inspector look at it. In this case, you can see that there is a small brown area in the center of the picture. That brown spot indicates that … [Read more...]