Home Inspection Hazards

By
Home Inspector with Thornton Safety and Inspection, LLC

 

Thornton Safety and Inspection - Home Inspection Specialist 601-214-6569
Home Inspectors Brandon MS; Jackson MS and all of Central MS
www.thorntoninspection.com
Sean@thorntoninspection.com
 
 
As a home inspector, there are some hazards that I encounter on a regular basis.  Any home owner, especially a do-it-yourselfer, should also be aware of these and follow some simple steps to avoid a bad day. 
 
The #1 for me that I expect to find at every inspection is biting and stinging insects.  Wasps are everywhere this time of year and when you're on a ladder it's hard to keep your composure and get away safely when they are already after you.
 
The picture below shows one of many wasp nests I have had a close encounter with.  This one was particularly tricky because it was inside the electrical panel. 
 Wasps in panel
Homeowners should check any outside covers carefully before opening them.  Wasps only need a very small entrance hole to take up residence.  Check the top, sides and bottom of panel boxes for openings.  If there are openings, there is a good chance that there are wasps and also a good chance that moisture is getting into the panel.  This would be a good time to leave the panel alone and call an electrician to check the panel and let him deal with any pests. 
 
Dome covers on LP butane and propane tanks is another place that you can expect to find a nest.  It is a good idea to have wasp spray in hand for these and bang on them with a long stick to check before trying to open.
 
Another hazard at almost every inspection is exposed electrical wiring.  The danger for homeowners is higher in tight spaces such as attics and crawlspaces. 
 
The first step to staying safe is having a reliable, bright flashlight.  I use mine to check in every direction as I enter a space.  I use a voltage ticker to check anything that might be energized.  A voltage ticker is cheap and simple to use; you need only to touch the tip of the ticker to the exterior surface of whatever you want to check.  I check everything in sight including both insulated and un-insulated wiring, metal pipes, metal framing and anything that will conduct electricity.  Here is a picture of a voltage ticker in use:

Voltage Ticker
  
My job is to stay safe, make it back to my family every day and to help the homeowner do the same.
 
 
We also service the areas of Vicksburg MS, Meridian MS, Hattiesburg MS, Madison MS and all points in between.  Call us today for your home inspection. 601-214-6569
www.thorntoninspection.com
Sean@thorntoninspection.com

 

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Comments (11)

Team Honeycutt
Allen Tate - Concord, NC

I really don't envy you your job. You are to be admired for doing such an important job while dealing with biting and stinging insects.

Betty

Jun 26, 2013 06:15 AM
Jimmy Faulkner
Florida. Homes Realty & Mortgage - Wantagh, NY
The Best Of St. Augustine

Great blog that tells me to be very careful in any backyard or front yard.  Wasps are everywhere but I did not realize that they can live anywhere.

Jun 26, 2013 06:17 AM
Trisha Bush-LeFore
Preferred Properties Land & Homes - Walla Walla, WA
Providing Realtor Services in the Walla Walla Area

I love your "motto" or "mission" you could call it. Of course keep your own safety first, but keeping the safety of the homeowner and their loved ones in mind as well is so honorable.

Jun 26, 2013 07:18 AM
Roger Stensland
Keller Williams Realty Puget Sound - Maple Valley, WA
Let's Move!

I deal with wasps on a regular basis at my house in the summer months, but never even stopped to think how much more frequently you would have to keep an eye out for them. 

Jun 26, 2013 09:56 AM
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

I once got stung by a whole nest of wasps that had built their nest on the backside of a handrail. I climbed up the steps, could not see the nest and put my hand right on top of them!

Jun 26, 2013 12:41 PM
Ralph Gorgoglione
Maui Life Homes / Metro Life Homes - Kihei, HI
Hawaii and California Real Estate (310) 497-9407

Yikes! Yes, homeowners should definitely be careful before attempting to evaluate such things--thanks for the post!

Jun 26, 2013 03:30 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Sean

There are definitely not fun critters to have around. That could be a doulbe whammy - getting stung AND getting ashock.

We don't seem to have an issue with wasps here in SoCal but it was a big problem back in New England. Knowing a good bee person is useful too when you get those large nests that need to be relocated.

Jeff

Jun 26, 2013 04:07 PM
Jane Chaulklin-Schott
TEAMCONNECT REALTY - (407) 394-9766 - Orlando, FL
TeamConnect Luxury Homes - Orlando, Florida, 32836

Sean, after reading your post, I have a greater appreciation for the work you do. Stay safe.

Jun 26, 2013 05:00 PM
David Popoff
DMK Real Estate - Darien, CT
Realtor®,SRS, Green ~ Fairfield County, Ct

Better safe than sorry, I am going to get one of those voltage checkers.

Jun 26, 2013 09:04 PM
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Eighteen Years Experience in Brevard County

Never thought about all that exposure to potential hazards - especially shock hazards. But with so many DIY jobs out there I bet the opportunities are numerous. Stay safe!

Jun 26, 2013 09:15 PM
Sean Thornton
Thornton Safety and Inspection, LLC - Jackson, MS
CSP

Thanks for all the comments.  Every home inspector should be identifying hazards and positioning them at the top of the concerns in their reports.  The most common hazards are simple, inexpensive fixes, but that does not lessen the danger they can pose.  I balance this out by explaining and pointing out the hazard to the client before I leave the property.  If it's an easy repair, I will say so and let them know it will still be at the top of the report due to the danger it presents. 

Jun 27, 2013 02:29 AM