shoreline wa home inspector: The Roof with 60 chimneys! - 12/08/10 01:01 AM
How many vent caps can you count on this roof top?

The vent cap, front and center, in the picture, is the vent cap for a bathroom exhaust fan.  This picture captures perhaps 70% of the total number of such caps on this condo building roof.  Since I don’t inspect from a helicopter I could not get a picture of all of them.  I also was only really interested in the 6 involved with my unit of this condo building.  When I climbed over the edge of this roof and into this forest of vent caps, I marveled at how … (26 comments)

shoreline wa home inspector: Who helps you write the posts for YOUR blog? - 11/18/10 01:13 AM
I need help!  (Well this is not “actually” true----but for the sake of this post let’s pretend.)
Yes, I freely admit it.
I am doing my best to maintain my blog here on activerain, but find I can no longer keep up with both my blog here, and my new blog on my own WordPress website.  I am doing different content on my WordPress blog than on my blog here at activerain. (So please visit and sign up---to get more of what you are used to getting from me here in the rain.)

I have always found it interesting … (103 comments)

shoreline wa home inspector: Thinking too much or not thinking at all? - 11/14/10 01:51 AM
Sometimes as a Seattle home inspector I come across things that are just too hard on my brain.  Sometimes I worry that the things I find are going to cause irreversible damage.  Laughter is supposed to be the best medicine, so perhaps that is the antidote to when I come across something where someone was clearly either thinking too much-----or not thinking at all.

The sum of the parts is not always equal to the sum of the parts.
Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector

shoreline wa home inspector: The house smokes like a chimney! - 11/02/10 03:55 AM
     The roof was flat----really nice for walking around on. 
     The first thing I noticed was the strong smell of cigarette smoke.  I figured someone must be in the yard smoking----perhaps a neighbor.  I walked around the perimeter of the roof performing the inspection, while at the same time keeping an eye out for the smoker.     Alas, there was no one in sight. 
     As I moved to the center of the roof, to where the chimney was, I noticed that the odor was getting stronger.  The odor was actually coming out of the chimney----and nobody was home!  I have … (61 comments)

shoreline wa home inspector: Neighbors are only too happy to help. - 10/26/10 09:34 AM
     “Hey Milly----your gutters are overflowing,” said Fred, Milly’s next door neighbor.
     “Yes I know----and it is ruining my Daffys," answered Milly.
      “Would you be a sweet heart and figure out why,” she pleaded with him?
      “OK---but it will cost you,” he winked.
      Fred went to his garage and got out his ladder and set it up against the gutter.  When he got to the top of the ladder, Milly called up to him, “What do you see?”
     “Rabbits,” answered Fred.
     “What the heck are rabbits doing in my gutter,” asked Milly in disbelief?

shoreline wa home inspector: What is your ape index? - 10/18/10 03:12 AM
     Do you have a positive or negative ape index?  I guess before you answer that question it might be a good idea to know what an ape index is-----otherwise who knows where your mind might go.
     If you are or were a sport climber you most likely would know what one is.  Stretch your arms out away from each other as far as you can.  If the length from finger tip to finger tip is “greater” than your height----you have a positive ape index.  If it is shorter than your height you have a negative ape index.  Most people’s … (37 comments)

shoreline wa home inspector: Sink or Swim - 10/05/10 02:39 AM
     Everywhere we look there are the signs telling us what we must do.
     While there are the arm-chair media experts and real industry experts that would have me believe this, or that----the truth is that the message can be found even under my kitchen sink.  Can it be any clearer than, ”S.O.S?”  It even says right on the box, “Cuts Through Tough Messes!” (In two languages yet.)
     Surely it means “Sink or Swim.” 
     Meaning the choice is ours.  The key is, have we done what it takes along the way to have the “strength” to … (25 comments)

shoreline wa home inspector: Awesome Refrigerator Art! - 09/25/10 08:13 AM
     Everyone has heard of “refrigerator art,” whether it is drawings by the grand kids, magnet pictures you can dress or undress----or post cards from Spain. 
     But how many of you have ever seen art actually made by a refrigerator? 
     While perhaps not quite as advanced as art made by elephants, this art is nonetheless impressive.
     Years of opening and closing the refrigerator and freezer doors has created this work of “art” on the wall.
Charles Buell, … (10 comments)

shoreline wa home inspector: Eye see YOU----that is far enough mister! - 09/23/10 02:16 AM
     The other day at an inspection I saw a use of a laser beam that I had never seen before.
     Picture a laser pointer like your Home Inspector might use to point out things around the home or take temperatures with-----or the one a lecturer might use to point to things on a power point presentation.  Now mount the thing on the ceiling of your garage pointing straight down.  Sounds pretty strange doesn't it?

     Well, if you point the laser in the right place, when you drive your car into the garage and the laser beam hits … (36 comments)

shoreline wa home inspector: Does your inspector fit in the "luggage-check" box? - 09/18/10 06:33 AM
     The qualifications necessary to be a home inspector has been discussed many times by me and others on this forum.  These discussions usually revolve around home inspector training, certifications, licenses and even personality.
     Today, however, I want to talk about what it "physically" takes to do the job and perhaps create another set of questions one might consider in determining if one's choice of a home inspector is the right one.
     It used to be, in the early days of home inspections, that if the inspector had a screw driver, a flash light and could walk around the … (23 comments)

shoreline wa home inspector: Why does my garage have a beard? - 09/06/10 03:46 AM
     I was probably in my late 20’s before I could grow a descent looking beard.  I tried one for awhile-----and it fit in with my “back to the land counter-culture” lifestyle at the time.  I finally decided it was just not “me,” and have not had one since.  Now about as close to a beard that I get is“day-old” stubble my sweetie probably things is some sort of exfoliating device.
     While I was perhaps “designed” to grow a beard, the structures we build are not.

     This beard-like vegetation that grew out of the header above this garage … (17 comments)

shoreline wa home inspector: Can you create the "context"-----that will allow you to see the whole picture? - 09/05/10 04:04 AM
          The “Devil is in the Details” as they say.  I am not really sure what that means----but for this Seattle Home Inspector it sure helps to be able to understand “details.”  It can make the difference between whether a problem “jumps out at me” at the inspection, or whether it occurs to me on the ride home.  Sometimes the details don’t become apparent until I see it in a different way looking at the photos of the inspection later in the comfort of my office----with KEXP playing in the background. 
     I started thinking about this while I was looking … (19 comments)

shoreline wa home inspector: Stay grounded----NEVER compromise! - 08/29/10 06:40 AM
     The Standards of Practice for Home Inspectors in Seattle and all of Washington State are what one would describe as “Minimum Standards.”  They provide a “guideline” for basic performance.  This is true of all Standards of Practice for our profession----whether these Standards are State mandated or derived from one of the Home Inspector Associations like ASHI, InterNACHI, NAHI or CREIA.
     Some inspectors use these SOP’s as a way to define “only” what they will do.  In other words the “minimum” becomes the “maximum.”  While this business model may meet the requirements of their License or membership in an Association, … (22 comments)

shoreline wa home inspector: A little more to the left----AHHH that’s it!!! - 08/17/10 02:57 AM
     Everyone knows that the most important difference between rats and humans is that eventually rats will stop going down the same tunnel looking for the cheese.  Apparently man’s best friend is also only as bright at humans.  With enough scratching (and I would imagine quite a bunch of barking as well) Cujo may have gotten all the way through this wall and into the house----bypassing the door all together.
     The appearance of all of this damage to the garage wall is quite dramatic.  One can see where the dog has clawed its way through the drywall and exposed … (30 comments)

shoreline wa home inspector: Zen and the Art of “House Painting.” - 08/06/10 02:06 AM
     We are each blessed with a "house" to paint.
     Most of us have no clue how to go about it.
     We are not even aware that how the paint job “ends up” has more to do with the "preparation" for painting, and the "process" of painting, than it does about the colors we choose or how it looks when we think we are finished.
     We are rarely aware, that if we do not prepare properly, the paint will fail prematurely, not stick at all or just plain look like crap.
     We are rarely aware of how … (30 comments)

shoreline wa home inspector: Have you ever been lunch? - 07/25/10 05:11 AM
     Sometimes it just comes down to dumb luck.
     While the best laid plans of mice and men can result in disaster, sometimes those plans can result in greatness and incredible accomplishment. 
     The other day, while vacationing on beautiful Whidbey Island, as I walked along the beach at what must have been a minus tide, I found this stranded sea star.

     If you have never explored the beach at a minus-tide (tides that fall well below normal seasonally) you don't know all the amazing things that can be found----things that you would usually only get … (32 comments)

shoreline wa home inspector: Cut the cheese----I am coming home! - 07/09/10 03:13 AM
     I REALLY was hoping to stay away from rodent stories for a while, but like that other stuff that “happens” sometimes “rats happen.”  While it may seem like I actually like to write about rats, it is merely their presence in so many homes that they are able to force themselves and their stories onto my blog. 
     Plus they are just so dang cute----how can I say no to them?
     Just the other day I read the following story:
Cut the cheese----I am coming home!
     Ratso and Ratsue Ratus lived in the ceiling of a very … (20 comments)

shoreline wa home inspector: Where only the dead dare to tread! - 07/05/10 04:56 AM
     Well, the dead and a few home inspectors anyway.

     I am talking about crawl spaces again. 
     If crawl spaces were not homes for the dead, they would not be made the height of a coffin-----or as cozy as a coffin----or as dark as a coffin.
     On a recent coffin inspection, I was greeted by a swarm of blue bottle flies -----a good indication that “something” had recently died.  Judging by the number of flies present, it was not likely that it was a mouse or a rat either.

     The smell was not as … (23 comments)

shoreline wa home inspector: This can't be the bog----can it? - 06/23/10 03:27 AM


shoreline wa home inspector: Open invitations will be answered-----I promise. - 06/22/10 09:41 AM
     As a Licensed Structural Pest Inspector, or even as a Licensed Home Inspector, in Washington State, I am always reporting on what is called “conducive conditions.”  Conducive conditions are anything that will tend to attract or lead to damage to wood structures by wood destroying organisms including decay/rot and wood destroying insects.
     The list of conducive conditions is almost endless.  One really common one is maintaining proper clearances to siding and trim-----6 inches in most cases.  This can be very difficult to achieve with older properties and sometimes if I see any amount of clearance at all I am … (21 comments)

Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) Ambassador large

Charles Buell

Seattle Home Inspector

Seattle, WA

More about me…

Charles Buell Inspections Inc.

Address: Shoreline, 17123 22nd Ave NE, Shoreline (Seattle), WA, 98155

Office: (206) 478-7371

Mobile: (206) 478-7371

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My blog is intended to provide information related to home inspections in Seattle, surrounding communities and anyone else interested. Sometimes I will provide information that has nothing to do with home inspections. Enjoy! Google+
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