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bellingham wa property inspection: Ferndale WA Home Inspections (King of the House): Disconnected Heat Ducts - 02/14/08 02:40 PM
The photo below gives an example of a problem detected upstairs, that would be hard to impossible to troubleshoot without going into the crawl space. I was at an older home and had my laser thermometer out testing the accessible heat supply registers -- while the furnace was running of course. They all worked except two in the living room. Odd and suspicious! They never got above the temperature of the nearby carpet. When I went into the crawl space, I navigated over to that area right away. The problem was apparent. The ducts had come apart. And, from the look of (6 comments)
bellingham wa property inspection: This One Curled My Hair And Gave Me A Charge! - 02/14/08 01:43 PM
I found something at an inspection the other day that was not only dangerous, but pretty illogical too. This was another house where a "builder" had been doing his own projects. He might have been a builder, but an electrician he was not. The photo to the left is an AC plug, two prongs and ground, hanging out of a Bryant electric panel. It gets a person's attention right away, however, fact is it was live. That plug had 120 volts across it. To know why, one just had to look over to the right. That female receptacle, to accommodate the (8 comments)
bellingham wa property inspection: Bellingham Home Inspector (King of the House): New Home Inspection Issues - 02/11/08 11:17 AM
This is probably a surprise to most people, it was to me the first few times I saw it. I am referring to the number of times in new houses, where the heat ducts have not been hooked together or, if they have, they have come loose. Sometimes I think it is the result of subcontractors forgetting to complete the job, other times the ducts were not properly secured or someone working under the home managed to contact them in such a way that they came apart. I have also found ducts that were crushed, so no heat would pass through (5 comments)
bellingham wa property inspection: Homeowners Doing Crazy Things With Trees - 02/10/08 04:10 PM
Earlier today I posted a photo of a nice tree house. In thinking about that, I started reflecting on any other unorthodox uses for trees, that are nuts, insane or crazy that I have seen on real, honest to goodness home inspections. Unfortunately, back when I did this inspection, I was not keeping all my photos, so I cannot provide a good view of the size and expanse of this deck. However, this was a back deck at a home, and it was large and heavy. In fact, the guardrail alone was made from thick safety glass, so not light. Anyway, the whole (4 comments)
bellingham wa property inspection: Everson WA Home Inspection (King of the House): Crawl Space Debris - 02/07/08 12:12 PM
Earlier today I wrote about old roof debris and the huge mess it creates in an attic. At that time I eluded to a different, but similar, scenario in the crawl space. In the crawl space the builders will often leave the old wood forms around the poured footings or piers. Sometimes, instead of wood, they will leave cardboard forms. An inspector knows, probably better than anyone, why this is such a bad idea. When you see home after home, older homes, and these forms have been in place for years, the old forms are almost always rotten and might have (4 comments)
bellingham wa property inspection: Bellingham WA home Inspector (King of the House): Attic Debris - 02/07/08 12:02 PM
So the owner of the home is really proud of the new roof that replaced the old wood shake or shingle roof. The owner says it was a major improvement and, in fact, it probably was. Then the home inspector goes into the attic. This is another of those things an inspector sees over and over again. The roofer might have gone to lots of trouble -- even removing old skip-sheathing or decayed sheathing, and putting on new sheathing, flashings and shingles. The problem is, more than half the time, much of the old debris was dumped into the attic. The photo (2 comments)
bellingham wa property inspection: Sumas WA Home Inspector (King of the House): Crawl Space Water - 02/05/08 03:29 PM
Here in the Pacific Northwest, from about September through March or April, the home inspector is likely to see a number of crawl spaces, or even basements, with the affliction shown below. Water in the crawl space or basement is a conducive condition and, need I say more, very bad for the home. It leads to rot in the structural lumber, such as the post here. Also, the evaporating water ultimately ends up as humidity in the home. High humidity levels are key to the formation of mold. Solving problems as extreme as those shown here, range from controlling downspouts and all (8 comments)
bellingham wa property inspection: Monty Python Trees - 02/05/08 02:28 PM
I remember in one of the old Monty Python movies, there were trees that would reach out and grab people. I kind of felt like that when I saw this tree. This is one of the best examples I have seen of a tree, at a main public street, that has turned itself into being a trip hazard. Trees that are planted too close to foundations can cause damage but, personally, this is more typical of what I see. At many inspections I find tree roots that have damaged driveways, stepping stones, pavers, sidewalks and especially asphalt surfaces. I wonder how (5 comments)
bellingham wa property inspection: Romans Knew Thy Wood - 02/05/08 09:44 AM
I was pondering Charlie Buell's blog called "What Would Impress The Romans" and thought I would pull out a couple photos of Roman work that impressed me. This is the bottom of an ancient Roman-built building in Bologna Italy. Bologna, like much of Italy, was run, or overrun, by Romans (or Greeks) at one time or another. The thing I think interesting about this is the age of the wood and the fact it is still supporting a monster-sized building. This wood is somewhere between 750 and 1000 years old and it is holding up in this location because it is sheltered and dry. (2 comments)
bellingham wa property inspection: Antique Modern - 02/05/08 09:15 AM
I ran across this photo this morning. It is one that came from my trip to Italy last fall. We were standing on top of a hill, looking down on the city of Verona, and I saw this power pole. It had the old glass insulators. I have seen a number of these insulators in antique stores around here, along with old glass fishing floats, but I do not think I have seen them in use. If I have, it goes back many years and the memories have faded. I guess, when you think about it, the old insulators are still one of (3 comments)
I have toted the photo out again because of a recent happening. I now realize how well this photo illustrates a point. The point is one that needs to be reiterated: A home inspector (2 comments)
bellingham wa property inspection: Whatcom County Home Inspector (King of the House) -- Oriented Strand Board - 01/30/08 11:08 PM
I have written about oriented strand board (OSB) a number of times before. The topic most often comes up when talking about L-P innerseal siding. However, OSB is available in sheets as well and is used for other applications such as sheathing that is covered by other material. This photo below is one of the most unsuitable applications I have seen forOSB. The key to longevity, for this product, is keeping it dry. It is a shredded/chopped/glued back together wood product and, when moisture can get into the edges, ends, soak down into the top, it does not weather a whole lot better (8 comments)
bellingham wa property inspection: Bellingham WA Home Inspection (King of the House): Failed Caulking At The Tub - 01/29/08 10:38 PM
This is a simple blog, but I had this pretty good photo of a common problem and thought I would post it. When a home inspector checks a tub and/or shower, he or she should take a look where the floor and the tub meet. At the floor, especially if it is vinyl as is so often the case, there should be caulking or water-proof trim of some sort to keep water from getting inside the gap. With vinyl, if water gets underneath, it will become dark in those spots. And, of course, water continually getting under the vinyl is not good (7 comments)
bellingham wa property inspection: Safety and Seller Ethics -- Don't Know? Or Just Not Telling? - 01/29/08 12:20 PM
Normally, when performing an inspection, I find that sellers really do not know the various problems at their home. That includes outlets that are not properly polarized or grounded (they do not know the difference if appliances work when they are plugged in); subtle flashing problems or issues at roofs, windows and decks; improper sink traps, even small plumbing leaks. However, sometimes I see something blatant and have to wonder " does the seller have no clue about this?" The photos below would be an example. I was told, after asking, that no furnace problems were listed on the property disclosure form. This (4 comments)
bellingham wa property inspection: Positive Spin On Home Inspection Issues - 01/28/08 05:46 PM
I have run into people who think that we home inspectors are too negative -- glass half empty types. To counteract that belief, I thought I would do something to the contrary. I have posted here a photo of a roof. Now, there are inspectors who would think that this was a photo with only negatives. It seems to me that, if you look at it another way, there are some real positives here. Feel free to add anything you think I missed as we try to put a positive spin on this matter. 1. The moss is really healthy and a (5 comments)
bellingham wa property inspection: Bellingham Home Inspector (King of the House): Analysis Of An Invasion -- Carpenter Ants - 01/27/08 03:23 PM
A pest that we see often in the wooded Pacific Northwest is the carpenter ant. Carpenter ants are not all exactly the same size or color. In fact there are many different species but they get their name, as a group, because of the way the ants categorized as carpenter ants chew the wood and build galleries. I have said it before but, to say it again, carpenter ants are not eating the wood, they are building in it. They spit it out again as "frass" which is like fine sawdust. They will work in sound wood but, much more often than not, they (3 comments)
bellingham wa property inspection: Whatcom County Home Inspector (King of the House): Improper Flashings - 01/27/08 03:02 PM
It is always kind of sad, sometimes amusing, when a homeowner knows that some component is required at the home but does not know the correct way to install it. Here is a photo of a metal flashing, above the eave on a sloped roof. The fellow who installed it figured it would be a good flashing to protect the sheathing below. The problem is, the top of the metal flashing needs to go under all of the shingles not just some of them. I lifted a shingle, for a better view, but you can see how water would get down (4 comments)
bellingham wa property inspection: Bellingham WA Property Inspector (King of the House): Electric Panel Safety - 09/01/07 02:08 AM
This is the photo of the inside of an electric panel. Granted, the big bent nail off to the side is not so impressive, but at least it is staying in one place. The thing that you need to see is in the lower left hand corner. That is oh so simple, but a problem. There should be no non-essential things floating around in the electric panel. And, when that non-essential is metal, double the warning. An inspector, or an electrician, does not want to see low voltage transformers, speaker wires, or screws inside the panel. Think about it. If something (7 comments)
bellingham wa property inspection: Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House): Open Ended Gutters - 08/29/07 09:45 AM
In the Pacific Northwest, where we have so much rain, gutters are a pretty important part of a home. They control the rain and runoff water. Around here, when you see a house without gutters and downspouts there is almost always a big pile of mud under the eaves, caused by the falling water. Missing gutters is what we call a conducive condition. One construction method that has become common is to install gutters on dormers but to install gutters that have open ends. The gutters have a slight slope back and from there they drain onto the roof below. From a home (2 comments)
bellingham wa property inspection: Home Inspections Bellingham WA (King of the House): Fallen Insulation - 08/25/07 10:40 AM
When a home inspector sees crawl space insulation that has fallen, such as this, it usually means one of a couple things. In this case, the crawl space is wet and the moisture has evaporated up into the insulation and it is heavy and no longer supported. The little metal rods that hold it in place cannot support the weight. Another time one might see insulation that looks like this is when rodents have been working it. In that case, often you will also see straw, sunflower seeds and things like that worked up into it. Obvious remedies are drying the (5 comments)
Steven L. Smith, King of the House Home Inspection, provides information for real estate buyers, sellers and real estate industry professionals.
Blog posts emphasize issues commonly found in Bellingham, WA and Whatcom County. Smith is Washington State Licensed Home inspector #207, a state licensed structural pest inspector and one of the most experienced inspectors in the northwest corner of the Pacific Northwest.
Steven L. Smith is lead instructor of home inspection at Bellingham Technical College and teaches classes for Washington State University and the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Steve was a two-term member of the state licensing board.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.