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Home Inspection Eyesores

    Electrical Exposed
Most of a home's electrical system is concealed, but one place where non-professional work may often be visible is in the basement. Here we find unsafe installations such as exposed wire nut connections and even bare, live wires. As part of a home inspection, we always observe visible wiring in the basement and remove the cover of the electric panel to inspect its interior condition. We test ground fault interrupt outlets and at least one electrical receptacle in every room.
©2004 J. May

    Main Beam Cut
The main beam usually runs the entire length or width of a home and supports much of the load of all the floors and walls. Notching out most of the beam is definitely not the way to get more headroom. The joists, which support the floor and which rest on top of the beam, are often the victim of a contractor who may feel that a particular joist is nothing more than wood in the way of a pipe or cable. We look at the visible structure in a home, but we are not engineers and most of the structure is concealed. If we have concerns, we may recommend further investigation by a structural engineer.
©2004 J. May

    Covered Chimney
Occupants in this home were concerned about rain water dripping into the fireplace, so they asked a handyman to correct the problem. He went onto the roof and covered both chimney flues with a sheet of plastic, held down by two pairs of bricks. Unfortunately, one of the flues was in use for the gas-fired water heater in the basement. Combustion products and moisture from the back-drafting water heater filled the basement. On a home inspection, JMHI looks for visible, dangerous combustion conditions but we do not test for the "air quality."
©2004 J. May

    Discolorations in Home Siding
We often see reddish-brown stains on the siding of homes, as depicted in this photograph. This discoloration, in the shape of drips, is always the sign of some type of moisture problem. Often in New England, the stains are a remnant of ice dam, but occasionally, they are the exterior sign of serious, concealed wood decay. This is why we always looks very carefully for stains on siding. A home inspection cannot determine for certain the presence or extent of the decay, but should alert you to the potential problem and what steps you can take to investigate further.
©2004 J. May

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  We report on visible conditions in systems and areas of the home, including:
  • structure
  • basement
  • heating and cooling systems
  • plumbing
  • electrical system
  • kitchen (excluding appliances)
  • interior ceilings, walls and floors
  • roofing
  • gutters
  • exterior siding, windows and doors
  • grading