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Green Home Inspections


Inspector's email: greenhomeinspections@outlook.com
Inspector's phone: (360) 969-3711
323 SE Quaker St 
Oak Harbor WA 98277-5046
Inspector: Ryan Green
Washington State Licensed Home Inspector #1978

 

Property Inspection Report

Client(s):  Terry & Shelly DuBois
Property address:  5600 Aldrich Rd.
Bellingham, WA 98225
Inspection date:  Friday, May 26, 2017

This report published on Friday, August 04, 2017 10:21:54 AM PDT

This report is the exclusive property of this inspection company and the client(s) listed in the report title. Use of this report by any unauthorized persons is prohibited.
How to Read this Report
This report is organized by the property's functional areas.  Within each functional area, descriptive information is listed first and is shown in bold type.  Items of concern follow descriptive information. Concerns are shown and sorted according to these types:
Concern typeExcludedSystem or area that would normally be inspected is excluded from this report
Concern typeHealth/SafetyPoses a health risk or safety hazard
Concern typeMajor DefectCorrection likely involves a significant expense
Concern typeCautionClient should be aware of potential problems
Concern typeContractorRecommend evaluation and/or work be completed by a specialist
Concern typeRepair/ReplaceRecommend repairing or replacing
Concern typeMinor/MaintainRecommend minor repairs and/or regular maintenance
Concern typeMonitorRecommend monitoring now and in the future
Concern typeCommentFor your information

Click here for a glossary of building construction terms.Contact your inspector If there are terms that you do not understand, or visit the glossary of construction terms at http://www.reporthost.com/glossary.asp

Table of Contents
General Information
Grounds
Exterior and Foundation
Roof
Attic and Roof Structure
Electric
Plumbing / Fuel Systems
Water Heater
Heating, Ventilation and Air Condition (HVAC)
Fireplaces, Stoves, Chimneys and Flues
Kitchen
Bathrooms, Laundry and Sinks
Interior, Doors and Windows


General Information
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Time started: 9:00am
Time finished: 1:00pm
Present during inspection: Property owner
Weather conditions during inspection: Dry (no rain)
Temperature during inspection: Warm
Type of building: Single family
Buildings inspected: One house
Number of residential units inspected: 1
Age of main building: 1964
Source for main building age: Whatcom County Assessor's Office; client believes house is early 1970s
Front of building faces: West
Occupied: Yes, Furniture or stored items were present

1) Access to the attic was substandard, and obstructed by a tanning bed. The inspector was not able to observe any portion of the attic, and as such, it is excluded from this report.

Recommend stored belongings be moved to allow access, a qualified contractor repair the entrance to the attic, and a qualified individual conduct a full evaluation of the attic space.
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Photo 1-1
 

2) Some areas and items at this property were obscured by furniture and stored belongings. This includes but is not limited to walls, floors, windows, inside and under cabinets, under sinks, on counter tops, in closets, behind window coverings, under rugs or carpets, and under or behind furniture. Areas around the exterior, under the structure, in the garage and in the attic may also be obscured by stored items and vegetation. The inspector in general does not move personal belongings, furnishings, carpets or appliances. When furnishings, stored items or debris are present, all areas or items that are obscured, concealed or not readily accessible are excluded from the inspection. The client should be aware that when furnishings, stored items or debris are eventually moved, damage or problems that were not noted during the inspection may be found.

3) Evidence of rodent infestation was found in the form of urine stains in the insulation, visible in the bathroom closet. A qualified person should make repairs to seal openings in the structure, set traps, and clean rodent waste as necessary.

The client should be aware that the lack of proper access to the attic prevents further investigation.
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Photo 3-1
 

Grounds
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Limitations: Unless specifically included in the inspection, the following items and any related equipment, controls, electric systems and/or plumbing systems are excluded from this inspection: detached buildings or structures; fences and gates; retaining walls; underground drainage systems, catch basins or concealed sump pumps; swimming pools and related safety equipment, spas, hot tubs or saunas; whether deck, balcony and/or stair membranes are watertight; trees, landscaping, properties of soil, soil stability, erosion and erosion control; ponds, water features, irrigation or yard sprinkler systems; sport courts, playground, recreation or leisure equipment; areas below the exterior structures with less than 3 feet of vertical clearance; invisible fencing; sea walls, docks and boathouses; retractable awnings. Any comments made regarding these items are as a courtesy only.
Site profile: Moderate slope
Condition of driveway: Appeared serviceable
Driveway material: Gravel
Condition of sidewalks and/or patios: Obscured, but appeared serviceable
Sidewalk material: Poured in place concrete
Condition of deck, patio and/or porch covers: Excluded
Condition of stairs, handrails and guardrails: Required repairs, replacement and/or evaluation (see comments below)
Exterior stair material: Wood

4) The risers for stairs east of the patio varied in height and pose a trip hazard. Risers within the same flight of stairs should vary by no more than 3/8 inch. Bin block (concrete block) protrusions at the top of the stairs also present a trip hazard. Stairs with four or more risers should have graspable handrails installed.

Recommend that a qualified individual repair per standard building practices.
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Photo 4-1
 

5) There was an unguarded drop-off on the east side of the structure. This poses a fall hazard, especially due to protrusions from the bin blocks (concrete blocks). Recommend a qualified individual install a guardrail or plant shrubberies that will grow to at least 36" tall to reduce the risk of falls.
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6) The soil or grading sloped down towards building perimeters on the north side. This can result in water accumulating around building foundations and walls. At a minimum, monitor these areas in the future for accumulated water. If water does accumulate, recommend grading soil so it slopes down and away from buildings with a slope of at least 1 inch per horizontal foot for at least 6 feet out from buildings.
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7) This property was accessed by a private road shared with nearby properties. Shared driveways or private roads are excluded from this inspection. Comments in this report related to them are made as a courtesy only and are not meant to be a substitute for a evaluation by a specialist if repairs are needed. Recommend that the client review the recorded agreements regarding the driveway, the deeds of the property owners involved, and easements permitting access to, use of, and maintenance of the driveway.
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Exterior and Foundation
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Limitations: The inspector performs a visual inspection of accessible components or systems at the exterior. Items excluded from this inspection include below-grade foundation walls and footings; foundations, exterior surfaces or components obscured by vegetation, stored items or debris; wall structures obscured by coverings such as siding or trim. Some items such as siding, trim, soffits, vents and windows are often high off the ground, and may be viewed using binoculars from the ground or from a ladder. This may limit a full evaluation. Regarding foundations, some amount of cracking is normal in concrete slabs and foundation walls due to shrinkage and drying. Note that the inspector does not determine the adequacy of seismic reinforcement.
Wall inspection method: Viewed from ground
Condition of wall exterior covering: Required repairs, replacement and/or evaluation (see comments below)
Apparent wall structure: Wood frame
Wall covering: Vinyl, Brick veneer
Condition of foundation and footings: Obscured
Apparent foundation type: Concrete slab on grade
Foundation/stem wall material: Poured in place concrete

8) Detached structures are excluded from this inspection report, but the shed by the primary entrance on the west side of the house poses problems to the residence. It is unknown where the downspout from the home's roof terminates; whether the downspout empties behind the shed or diverts water away could not be determined, and as such this downspout is excluded from this inspection report.

Rainwater runoff from the structure is diverted into a gully and held directly against the home. This is a conducive condition for fungal rot and wood destroying organisms. At a minimum, gutter and downspout attachments to the shed should be completed to properly divert water away from the house, and soil against the home should be removed and graded away. However, the client should be aware that damage to the wall structure may have already occurred. Optimally, an invasive inspection of the wall structure behind the siding would be conducted. All rotten wood should be completely replaced.
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Photo 8-1
Detached structures are excluded from this inspection report.
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Photo 8-2
Water is being channeled directly against the house.
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Photo 8-3
Downspout from the house; whether this continues to underground drainage or drains behind the shed was not determined.
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Photo 8-4

9) Caulk was deteriorated and/or substandard in some areas, most notably around windows and at wall penetrations. Recommend that a qualified person renew or install caulk as necessary. Where gaps are wider than 1/4 inch, an appropriate material other than caulk should be used.

The client should be aware that temperature fluctuations between day and night cause materials to expand and contract, and even moderate winds cause siding to move and flex. All of these conditions can lead to rapid failure of caulk seams, especially on larger gaps. Vent outlets such as the one pictured below should pass through a mounting block, which should have proper flashing installed to prevent moisture penetration.

The pictures below are representative examples, and do not illustrate every instance of the condition discovered during the inspection.
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An example of a vent with a mounting block, and flashing on top of the block.
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Photo 9-6
Gaps sealed by caulk have reopened; caulk is inappropriate for gaps larger than 1/4"

10) Soil was in contact with or less than 6 inches from siding and trim. Regardless of what material is used for siding, it should not be in contact with the soil. Ground or surface water can infiltrate building materials and cause damage to the wall structure. Wood-destroying insects are likely to infest and damage the wall structure, as well. This is a conducive condition for wood-destroying organisms. Recommend grading or removing soil as necessary to maintain a 6-inch clearance.

The client should be aware that as soil is pulled away from the structure, damage from fungal rot and/or insects may be found and repairs may be necessary. All rotten lumber should be replaced.

The pictures below are representative examples, and do not illustrate every instance of the condition discovered during the inspection.
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Photo 10-1
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Photo 10-2

11) The brick masonry veneer extended below the soil on the south wall. Masonry veneers should be installed so the bottom edge is at least a few inches above the soil so that any water accumulated inside the wall structure can drain from weep holes, and so termites don't enter the structure through mortar joints or cracks in the veneer. If soil, decorative bark, or other material has been back-filled against the veneer, it should be graded or removed as necessary to expose weep holes and to maintain a few inches of clearance between the veneer and the soil below. Otherwise, the client should at least be aware of this potential for water and insect intrusion, and monitor these walls inside and out for any signs of accumulated moisture in the future. If damage occurs, recommend that a qualified contractor repair as necessary.
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Photo 11-1
Weep holes should be unobstructed.
 

12) Two vents on the north wall were taped over to prevent cold air from being channeled back into the home. Blocking vents in this manner also prevents them from properly expelling moist air. Recommend a qualified individual repair/replace vents as necessary.
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Photo 12-1
 

13) Firewood and stored belongings in the shed serve as a haven for vermin and insects, and wood to soil contact was noted in the detached shed itself. Due to the proximity to the home, this is a conducive condition for wood-destroying organisms. Recommend storing firewood outdoors in an open area, and as far away from buildings as practical to keep insects away, and elimination of wood to soil contact points.
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Photo 13-2
Wood to soil contact is a conducive condition for wood destroying organisms.

14) Vinyl siding showed multiple instances of mechanical damage. These penetrations allow water and insects into the wall structure. Recommend a qualified contractor repair/replace sections of damaged siding, as required.

The client should be aware that as siding is removed for replacement, damage to the wall behind it may be found and repairs may be necessary. All rotten lumber should be replaced.

The pictures below are representative examples, and do not illustrate every instance of the condition discovered during the inspection.
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15) Fungal rot was found in all barge boards at gable ends, as well as in trim, window frames, sofits, and fascia. Regarding rot in the barge boards, the inspector could neither determine what may be causing this rot, nor when it occurred. As the roof is new, it may have occurred prior to the new roof's installation.

Reclaimed tongue and groove lumber was installed under the sofit in the patio area, and what appeared to be exposed wood between this lumber and the sofit was observed via photography.

Recommend consulting with a qualified contractor to evaluate and repair as necessary, and correct any conducive conditions. All rotten lumber should be replaced.

Regarding rot in window frames, exposed wood was observed. Wood should be properly coated/sealed to prevent moisture intrusion. Recommend a qualified individual replace all rotten wood, and all wood be properly covered and coated/sealed.
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16) A fence on the south side, partially enclosing the patio, was attached to or in contact with the building exterior. Such attachments can serve as a pathway for wood-destroying insects and can retain moisture against the exterior after it rains. This is a conducive condition for wood-destroying organisms. Recommend that a qualified person repair as necessary so there is at least a 2-inch gap between fences and building exteriors.
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17) Minor cracks (1/8 inch or less) were found in the daylight basement foundation wall. These didn't appear to be a structural concern, but recommend sealing them to prevent water infiltration and monitor them in the future. Numerous products exist to seal such cracks including hydraulic cement, non-shrinking grout, resilient caulks and epoxy sealants.

The picture below is a representative example, and does not constitute an exhaustive list of the issues described above.
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Photo 17-1
 

18) Vegetation was in contact with or close to the building exterior. Vegetation can serve as a pathway for wood-destroying insects and can retain moisture against the exterior after it rains. This is a conducive condition for wood-destroying organisms. Recommend pruning, moving or removing vegetation as necessary to maintain at least 6 inches of space between it and the building exterior. A 1-foot clearance is better.

The pictures below are representative examples, and do not illustrate every instance of the condition discovered during the inspection.
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Photo 18-1
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Photo 18-2

19) Gaps were found in trim, most notable in the open sofit. Vermin or insects may enter the structure. Recommend that a qualified person repair as necessary.

The picture below is a representative example, and does not illustrate every instance of the condition discovered during the inspection.
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Photo 19-1
 

20) Several wasp and hornet nests were observed attached to the structure. Unless allergic, these insects only pose a nuisance. If the client is concerned, recommend the use of a long-range wasp and hornet spray, available and most home and garden retailers. Application of such poisons is most successful later in the evening, when the insects are normally dormant in the nests.

The pictures below are representative examples, and do not constitute an exhaustive list of the issues described above.
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Photo 20-1
Bald-faced hornet nest
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Photo 20-2
Paper wasp nest

Roof
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Limitations: The following items or areas are not included in this inspection: areas that could not be traversed or viewed clearly due to lack of access; solar roofing components. Any comments made regarding these items are made as a courtesy only. Note that the inspector does not provide an estimate of remaining life on the roof surface material, nor guarantee that leaks have not occurred in the roof surface, skylights or roof penetrations in the past. Regarding roof leaks, only active leaks, visible evidence of possible sources of leaks, and evidence of past leaks observed during the inspection are reported on as part of this inspection. The inspector does not guarantee or warrant that leaks will not occur in the future. Complete access to all roof and attic spaces during all seasons and during prolonged periods of all types of weather conditions (e.g. high wind and rain, melting snow) would be needed to do so. Occupants should monitor the condition of roofing materials in the future. For older roofs, recommend that a professional inspect the roof surface, flashings, appurtenances, etc. annually and maintain/repair as might be required. If needed, the roofer should enter attic space(s). Regarding the roof drainage system, unless the inspection was conducted during and after prolonged periods of heavy rain, the inspector was unable to determine if gutters, downspouts and extensions perform adequately or are leak-free.
Roof inspection method: Viewed from ground
Condition of roof surface material: Appeared serviceable
Roof surface material: Metal panel
Roof type: Gable
Performance of gutters, downspouts and extensions: Limited evaluation due to little or no rainfall during and prior to the inspection

21) The downspout at the southeast corner and the extension from the northeast corner terminated on or immediately next to the patio and the structure's foundation. Rainwater can accumulate around the building foundation as a result and can undermine the concrete slab. Recommend that a qualified person extend drainage as necessary to route water away from the structure.
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Photo 21-1
 

22) One rubber or neoprene pipe flashing was installed on a plumbing vent that exited the roof through a ridge in the metal sheeting, and then heavily caulked. Leaks can occur when the caulking fails. Also, these pipe flashings do not last as long as the roof will, and will need to be replaced eventually. Recommend monitoring now and in the future for deterioration in the rubber/neoprene boot, deterioration in the caulk, and evidence of water intrusion in the attic.

Note: The inspector did not traverse the roof due to limitations imposed by the roofing material, and the attic has been excluded from this report due to inability to access the attic hatch. Again, recommend stored belongings be moved to allow access to the attic, and a qualified individual conduct a full evaluation of the attic space.
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Photo 22-1
 

23) Some fasteners for the metal roof were improperly tightened. Recommend monitoring, and if required, that a qualified person make repairs as necessary.
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Photo 23-1
 

Attic and Roof Structure
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Limitations: The entire attic is excluded from this inspection due to inability to access the attic entrance.

Recommend stored belongings be moved to allow access to the attic, and a qualified individual conduct a full evaluation of the attic space.
Attic inspection method: Not inspected because access was blocked
Condition of roof structure: Not determined (inaccessible or obscured), Unable to observe; excluded
Ceiling structure: Unable to observe; excluded
Condition of insulation in attic (ceiling, skylight chase, etc.): Unable to observe; excluded
Condition of roof ventilation: Unable to observe; excluded
Roof ventilation type: Gable end vents

24) Access to the attic was substandard and appeared to lack structural support. Access was also obstructed by a tanning bed. The inspector was not able to observe any portion of the attic, and as such, it is excluded from this report.

Recommend stored belongings be moved to allow access, a qualified contractor repair the entrance to the attic, and a qualified individual conduct a full evaluation of the attic space.
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Photo 24-1
 

25) Ventilation for the attic was only observable from the ground outside the dwelling. The structure lacked sofit venting and only 3 gable vents were observed, one of which was shuttered. Even if functional, the 3 gable vents likely do not provide adequate ventilation to the attic space.

Current guidelines recommend approximately 60% of the attic's ventilation be comprised of low intake points, such as sofit vents, and approximately 40% be high exhaust points, such as in-roof (box) vents, ridge vents, or gable vents.

Inadequate airflow can result in high attic and roof surface temperatures, reduce the life of the roofing materials, and/or increase cooling costs. High levels of moisture are also likely to accumulate in the roof structure or attic, and can be a conducive condition for wood-destroying organisms. Recommend that a qualified roofing contractor evaluate current ventilation and possible upgrades, and repair per standard building practices.
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Photo 25-2

Electric
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Limitations: The following items are not included in this inspection: generator systems, transfer switches, surge suppressors, inaccessible or concealed wiring; underground utilities and systems; low-voltage lighting or lighting on timers or sensors. Any comments made regarding these items are as a courtesy only. Note that the inspector does not determine the adequacy of grounding or bonding, if this system has an adequate capacity for the client's specific or anticipated needs, or if this system has any reserve capacity for additions or expansion. The inspector does not operate circuit breakers as part of the inspection, and does not install or change light bulbs. The inspector does not evaluate every wall switch or receptacle, but instead tests a representative number of them per various standards of practice. When furnishings, stored items or child-protective caps are present some receptacles are usually inaccessible and are not tested; these are excluded from this inspection. Receptacles that are not of standard 110 volt configuration, including 240-volt dryer receptacles, are not tested and are excluded. The functionality of, power source for and placement of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms is not determined as part of this inspection. Upon taking occupancy, proper operating and placement of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms should be verified and batteries should be changed. These devices have a limited lifespan and should be replaced every 10 years. The inspector attempts to locate and evaluate all main and sub-panels. However, panels are often concealed. If panels are found after the inspection, a qualified electrician should evaluate and repair if necessary. The inspector attempts to determine the overall electrical service size, but such estimates are not guaranteed because the overall capacity may be diminished by lesser-rated components in the system. Any repairs recommended should be made by a licensed electrician.
Electric service condition: Required repair, replacement and/or evaluation (see comments below)
Primary service type: Underground
Service voltage (volts): 120-240
Estimated service amperage: 200
Primary service overload protection type: Circuit breakers
Service entrance conductor material: Stranded aluminum
Main disconnect rating (amps): 200
System ground: Ground rod(s) in soil
Condition of service panel: Required repair, replacement and/or evaluation (see comments below)
Location of main service panel #A: Outside
Location of sub-panel #C: Behind front door
Location of main disconnect: Breaker at top of main service panel
Condition of branch circuit wiring: Required repair, replacement and/or evaluation (see comments below)
Branch circuit wiring type: copper
Solid strand aluminum branch circuit wiring present: None visible
Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection present: No
Arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) protection present: No
Smoke alarms installed: Yes, but not tested
Carbon monoxide alarms installed: Yes, but not tested

26) The subpanel behind the front door was crowded. This can make working in the panel dangerous and time consuming. Recommend consulting with a qualified electrician regarding upgrading to a larger panel, installing a second subpanel, or discussing other solutions to this issue.

A loose "hot" wire with no measurable current running through it was observed in the panel and capped. It is beyond the scope of this inspection to determine if this is an abandoned wire, or was intentionally or accidentally detached from a breaker.
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Photo 26-1
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Photo 26-2
Loose wire in the service panel.

27) The main service panel was located outside, between the house and the detached shop. This effectively makes the service panel located behind the front door in the home a subpanel.

Neutral and equipment ground wires were bonded (connected) at this sub-panel. This should only occur in the main service panel, not sub-panels, and is a shock hazard. Neutral wires should be attached to a "floating" neutral bar not bonded to the panel, and grounding wires should be attached to a separate grounding bar bonded to the sub-panel. Recommend that a qualified electrician repair per standard building practices.
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Photo 27-1
Main service panel, located outside the residence.
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Photo 27-2
Neutral and Ground are bonded together in the subpanel by this crossover bar (red arrows) that runs behind the conductors. In post-1991 panels, the grounding screw is green; here, the screw is marked with a green arrow
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Photo 27-3
One of these bars should be floating, and not connected to the panel in order to isolate it, so that neutral wires can be properly terminated. Note that ground and neutral wires are improperly terminated in both bars.
 

28) Substandard wiring was found at the building exterior. For example, a junction box near the front door was missing a cover plate, and a set of lights was wrapped in an unidentified covering, which may conceal less than professional wiring, and appeared to have a bird nest being constructed on it. Substandard wiring is a safety hazard. Recommend that a qualified electrician evaluate and repair as necessary and per standard building practices.
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29) With the exception of one receptacle in the hall bathroom, several receptacles throughout the home, notably in the kitchen and bathrooms, lacked ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection. This is a potential shock hazard. Recommend that a qualified electrician evaluate and repair as necessary.

No visible arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) protection was noted in the service panel or receptacles. This is a potential safety hazard. Recommend that a qualified electrician evaluate and install AFCI protection if necessary and per standard building practices.

30) At least one receptacle cover plate was missing; this was observed under the kitchen sink, though others throughout the home may also be missing but obscured from view. These plates are intended to contain fire and prevent electric shock from exposed wires. Recommend that a qualified person install cover plates where necessary.
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31) Based on the age of this structure and the appearance of existing smoke alarms, the alarms may have been installed more than 10 years ago. Aging smoke alarms don't operate as efficiently and are estimated to have a 30% probability of failure within the first 10 years. Newer smoke alarms offer superior performance, but should be replaced after 10 years.

Smoke alarms were located outside the bedrooms. Smoke alarms should be installed as necessary so a functioning alarm exists in each hallway leading to bedrooms and in each bedroom, and tested weekly.

32) One conduit in the patio area was loose; the bracket intended to secure the conduit was not fastened to the structure. This is a potential shock and/or fire hazard. Recommend that a qualified individual repair as necessary.
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Photo 32-1
 

33) A globe or cover for a bedroom light fixture was missing. Recommend replacing as necessary to avoid exposed bulbs.

Plumbing / Fuel Systems
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Limitations: The following items are not included in this inspection: private/shared wells and related equipment; private sewage disposal systems; hot tubs or spas; main, side and lateral sewer lines; gray water systems; pressure boosting systems; trap primers; incinerating or composting toilets; fire suppression systems; water softeners, conditioners or filtering systems; plumbing components concealed within the foundation or building structure, or in inaccessible areas such as below tubs; underground utilities and systems; overflow drains for tubs and sinks; backflow prevention devices. Any comments made regarding these items are as a courtesy only. Note that the inspector does not operate water supply or shut-off valves due to the possibility of valves leaking or breaking when operated. The inspector does not test for lead in the water supply, the water pipes or solder, does not determine if plumbing and fuel lines are adequately sized, and does not determine the existence or condition of underground or above-ground fuel tanks.
Water service: Deer Creek; Member owned organization
Water pressure (psi): ~70
Location of main water shut-off: Laundry room
Condition of supply lines: Required repair, replacement and/or evaluation (see comments below)
Supply pipe material: Galvanized steel
Condition of drain pipes: Could not observe; slab foundation
Condition of waste lines: Could not observe; slab foundation
Vent pipe material: ABS
Sewage system:: Private septic tank (excluded)
Sewage ejector pump installed: None visible
Condition of fuel system: Propane tank owned by propane company
Visible fuel storage systems: Above ground propane, abandoned underground oil tank
Location of main fuel shut-off valve: At propane tank

34) Copper water supply pipes were installed, and mixed with galvanized piping; determining when this occurred and whether the junction between dissimilar metals was done correctly is beyond the scope of this inspection.

Copper pipes installed prior to the late 1980s may be joined with solder that contains lead, which is a known health hazard especially for children. Laws were passed in 1985 prohibiting the use of lead in solder, but prior to that solder normally contained approximately 50% lead. The client should be aware of this, especially if children will be using this water supply system. Contact between copper and galvanized steel results in galvanic corrosion and premature failure of copper piping.

Galvanized steel water supply pipes have an approximate lifespan of 40-60 years. Based on the age of this structure and observed conditions, it will likely need replacing in the future. Leaks can develop, flooding and/or water damage may occur, flow can be restricted due to scale accumulating inside the piping, and water may be rusty.

Significant corrosion was found in water supply pipes and fittings.

Note that it is beyond the scope of this inspection to determine what percentage of the piping is older, galvanized steel, as much of it is concealed beneath the slab and in structural cavities. Recommend the following:
  • That a qualified plumber evaluate to better understand or estimate the remaining life
  • Consulting with a qualified plumber about replacement options and costs
  • Budget for replacement in the future
  • Monitor these pipes for leaks and decreased flow in the future
  • Consider replacing old, galvanized steel piping proactively


Note that the inspector does not test for toxic materials such as lead, and does not assess whether damage has already taken place due to improper installation. The client should consider having a qualified lab test for lead, and have a qualified plumber replace supply pipes and/or plumbing components as necessary.
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Mixed copper (green arrow) and galvanized (red arrow).
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Photo 34-3
Significant corrosion has taken place.
 

35) The propane tank may be located too close to the building. While requirements for clearances between propane tanks and buildings vary depending on the municipality, general guidelines require the following clearances:
  • Tanks 125-500 gallons: minimum 10 feet from buildings
  • Tanks 501-2000 gallons: minimum 25 feet from buildings
  • Underground tanks 1000 gallons or more: minimum of 10 feet from buildings
Recommend the client consult with the propane supplier and municipality, and have the tank moved as necessary.
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36) Evidence of an underground oil storage tank exists in the form of ventilation and fill pipes along the north wall, adjacent to the propane tank. The estimated lifespan for most buried tanks is 10-15 years, and older tanks are at risk of leaking. When leaks occur, the surrounding ground can become contaminated and require expensive mitigation.

The EPA has recently altered rules governing residential underground storage tanks, and the client may be liable for removal and decontamination of the surrounding soil. Recommend the following:
  • Budgeting for removal in the future
  • That the abandoned underground tank(s) be legally removed
  • That the soil be tested for oil contamination
  • That contaminated soil be removed as necessary
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Photo 36-1
 

37) Plumbing under the utility sink in the laundry room was corroded. This can lead to leaks. Recommend a qualified individual repair/replace as necessary.
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Photo 37-1
 

38) Only one hose bibs was observed, to the right of the front door. The hose bib lacked an integrated backflow prevention device, and was not properly attached to the structure. Anti-siphon devices prevent water in the hose from reentering the potable water supply of the house. Recommend a qualified individual properly secure the hose bib to the wall, and at a minimum, recommend the use of anti-siphon attachments, available at most home and garden retailers.
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Photo 38-1
 

39) A water filtration system was installed on the premises. These are specialty systems and are excluded from this inspection. Comments in this report related to this system are made as a courtesy only and are not meant to be a substitute for a full evaluation by a qualified specialist. Filter cartridges typically need replacing periodically. Cleaning and other maintenance may also be needed. Recommend consulting with the property owner about this system to determine its condition, required maintenance, age, expected remaining life, etc.
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Photo 39-1
 

Water Heater
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Limitations: Evaluation of and determining the adequacy or completeness of the following items are not included in this inspection: water recirculation pumps; solar water heating systems; Energy Smart or energy saver controls; catch pan drains. Any comments made regarding these items are as a courtesy only. Note that the inspector does not provide an estimate of remaining life on water heaters, does not determine if water heaters are appropriately sized, or perform any evaluations that require a pilot light to be lit or a shut-off valve to be operated.
Condition of water heater: Appeared serviceable, TPR valve requires corrective action (see comments below)
Type: Tank
Energy source: Electricity
Capacity (in gallons): 40
Location of water heater: Laundry room
Hot water temperature tested: Yes
Water temperature (degrees Fahrenheit): ~116

40) The temperature-pressure relief (TPR) drain was installed less than professionally and in a potentially dangerous configuration.

The temperature-pressure relief valve drain line had more than 4 elbows. This is a potential safety hazard due to the risk of explosion from restricted flow.

In the event the TPR valve opens to release excess pressure and hot water, water may exceed 212°F and will be projected horizontally out over the utility sink. This is a safety hazard due to the risk of scalding. A qualified plumber should repair/replace the drain line in accordance with standard building practices.
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Photo 40-1
 

41) Flex connector for electrical supply to the water heater was loose. This can lead to abrasions of the electrical cords contained, and poses a shock hazard. Recommend a qualified electrician evaluate to ensure no concealed damage has occurred, and repair/replace as necessary.
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Photo 41-1
 

42) No bonding wires or clamps were observed on any piping. This is a potential safety hazard for shock. Normally, metallic non-current carrying systems such as water and gas piping are connected electrically (bonded) to reduce potential energy differences between such systems, and the risk of shock. Recommend that a qualified electrician or contractor evaluate and repair per standard building practices.

43) The water heater did not have earthquake straps or struts installed. This is a potential safety hazard in the event of an earthquake due to the risk of the water heater tipping over and electric wiring being damaged. Leaks can also occur in water-supply pipes. Recommend that a qualified person install earthquake straps or struts as necessary and per standard building practices.

44) The water heater lacked a thermal expansion tank. Such tanks are designed to manage thermal expansion of water to prevent pressure from building up too high. Recommend installation by a qualified plumber.

Heating, Ventilation and Air Condition (HVAC)
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Limitations: The following items are not included in this inspection: humidifiers, dehumidifiers, electronic air filters; wood-fired heat systems; thermostat or temperature control accuracy and timed functions; heating components concealed within the building structure or in inaccessible areas; underground utilities and systems; safety devices and controls (due to automatic operation). Any comments made regarding these items are as a courtesy only. Note that the inspector does not provide an estimate of remaining life on heating or cooling system components, does not determine if heating or cooling systems are appropriately sized, does not test coolant pressure, or perform any evaluations that require a pilot light to be lit, a shut-off valve to be operated, a circuit breaker to be turned "on" or a serviceman's or oil emergency switch to be operated. Condensation pans and drain lines may clog or leak at any time and should be monitored while in operation. Where buildings contain furnishings or stored items, the inspector may not be able to verify that a heat source is present in all "liveable" rooms (e.g. bedrooms, kitchens and living/dining rooms).
Condition of furnace filters: Not evaluated; electronic air filters excluded
Location for forced air filter(s): At top of air handler
Condition of forced air ducts and registers: Excluded due to lack of attic access
Condition of cooling system and/or heat pump: Not tested; Outdoor unit manufactured 2014; indoor unit appears to be manufactured 2015
Cooling system and/or heat pump fuel type: Electric
Location of heat pump or air conditioning unit: north
Type: Heat pump

45) The client requested that adjustments not be made to the thermostat for inspection purposes; the system was in use at the time of the inspection. Because of this, the inspector was unable to operate and fully evaluate the cooling system, and it is excluded from this report.

46) Insulation on the condensate line was missing. This could allow the condensate line to freeze in cold weather, resulting in a blocked line and condensate leaking inside the home. The condensate line also terminates vertically, and too close to the house, allowing the condensate to become vacuum locked in the tube, or potentially pool against the house. Recommend that a qualified person replace or install insulation and extend the condensate line as necessary.
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Photo 46-1
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Photo 46-2

47) The last service date of the forced air heating/cooling system appeared to be within the last year based on information provided to the inspector and labeling on the equipment. Based on this information, routine servicing is probably not needed at this point. Client should continue to have a qualified HVAC contractor inspect, clean, and service this system, and make repairs if necessary annually in the future.
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Photo 47-1
 

48) An electronic air filter was installed. Recommend checking filters monthly. Guidelines vary depending on the manufacturer, but when the filters are dirty, consult manufacturer's instructions for cleaning procedures.

Note that how often filters need cleaning depends on how the system is configured (e.g. always on versus "auto"), and on environmental factors (e.g. pets, smoking, frequency of house cleaning, number of occupants, the season).

Fireplaces, Stoves, Chimneys and Flues
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Limitations: The following items are not included in this inspection: coal stoves, gas logs, chimney flues (except where visible). Any comments made regarding these items are as a courtesy only. Note that the inspector does not determine the adequacy of drafting or sizing in fireplace and stove flues, and also does not determine if prefabricated or zero-clearance fireplaces are installed in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications. The inspector does not perform any evaluations that require a pilot light to be lit, and does not light fires. The inspector provides a basic visual examination of a chimney and any associated wood burning device. The National Fire Protection Association has stated that an in-depth Level 2 chimney inspection should be part of every sale or transfer of property with a wood-burning device. Such an inspection may reveal defects that are not apparent to the home inspector who is a generalist.
Gas fireplace or stove type: Propane
Condition of gas-fired fireplaces or stoves: Excluded at client's request
Condition of chimneys and flues: Excluded due to lack of attic access
Gas-fired flue type: B-vent

Kitchen
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Limitations: The following items are not included in this inspection: household appliances such as stoves, ovens, cook tops, ranges, warming ovens, griddles, broilers, dishwashers, trash compactors, refrigerators, freezers, ice makers, hot water dispensers and water filters; appliance timers, clocks, cook functions, self and/or continuous cleaning operations, thermostat or temperature control accuracy, and lights. Any comments made regarding these items are as a courtesy only. Note that the inspector does not provide an estimate of the remaining life of appliances, and does not determine the adequacy of operation of appliances. The inspector does not note appliance manufacturers, models or serial numbers and does not determine if appliances are subject to recalls. Areas and components behind and obscured by appliances are inaccessible and excluded from this inspection.
Condition of counters: Appeared serviceable
Condition of cabinets: Required repair, replacement and/or evaluation (see comments below)
Condition of sinks and related plumbing: Appeared serviceable
Range, cooktop, oven type: Electric
Type of ventilation: Hood or built into microwave over range or cooktop, ducted to exterior, ducting was loose

49) The upper cabinet to the right of the sink was loose. The inspector did not determine whether this was due to an inadequate number of appropriate fasteners, or failure of the existing fasteners. For wall-hung cabinets, this poses a safety hazard if cabinets fall. Recommend that a qualified person repair as necessary.
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Photo 49-1
 

50) The range could tip forward. An anti-tip bracket may not be installed. This is a potential safety hazard since the range can tip forward when weight is applied to the open door, such as when a small child climbs on it or if heavy objects are dropped on it. Anti-tip brackets have been sold with all free-standing ranges since 1985. Recommend installing an anti-tip bracket to eliminate this safety hazard.

51) The kitchen lacked ground fault circuit interrupt (GFCI) protection. For more information, see the Electric section.

52) No air gap or high loop was observed on the dishwasher's drain line. A high loop is created by routing the drain line up to the bottom surface of the counter top above and securely fastening it to that surface. An air gap is a device that makes the drain line non-continuous. Both of these prevent waste-water backflow from entering the dishwasher, and possibly flooding out of the dishwasher if/when a siphon occurs. Some newer dishwashers have these devices built in. Recommend reviewing the dishwasher's installation instructions or having a qualified individual evaluate further to determine if a high loop or air gap needs to be installed. If not installed, and none is built into the dishwasher, then recommend that a qualified individual install a high loop or air gap per standard building practices.

53) The floor covering in the kitchen was carpet. Carpet readily absorbs and retains moisture, oils, and odors. If the carpet gets wet, absorption and capillary action will carry the liquid in all directions out from the spill, potentially holding moisture against the wood cabinets, creating a conducive condition for wood destroying organisms. Carpet and especially the underlying padding are difficult to keep clean and dry, especially in kitchens and bathrooms where humidity is generally higher than the rest of the house. If the client is concerned, recommend removing the carpet and padding, and replacing with a water-resistant, non-absorbent floor covering. If the carpet is removed, concealed damage to the cabinets may be revealed, requiring further repairs.

Bathrooms, Laundry and Sinks
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Limitations: The following items are not included in this inspection: overflow drains for tubs and sinks; heated towel racks, saunas, steam generators, clothes washers, clothes dryers. Any comments made regarding these items are as a courtesy only. Note that the inspector does not determine the adequacy of washing machine drain lines, washing machine catch pan drain lines, or clothes dryer exhaust ducts. The inspector does not operate water supply or shut-off valves for sinks, toilets, bidets, clothes washers, etc. due to the possibility of valves leaking or breaking when operated. The inspector does not determine if shower pans or tub and shower enclosures are water tight, or determine the completeness or operability of any gas piping to laundry appliances.
Location #A: Full bath
Location #B: Half bath
Condition of counters: Appeared serviceable
Condition of cabinets: Appeared serviceable
Condition of bathtubs and related plumbing: Required repair, replacement and/or evaluation (see comments below)
Bathroom and laundry ventilation type: None visible

54) The primary bathroom displayed the following issues:
  • Flex-drain from the tub overflow drain under the tub (54-1)
  • Lack of proper ventilating fan (not shown)
  • Widespread water damage to the walls and wall structure around the tub
  • Established fungal growth in the access panels beneath the tub
  • Ant infestation and traps/poison were present beneath the tub

Moisture and existing rot are conducive conditions for wood destroying organisms. Mold and fungal growth is a symptom of a larger issue, and indicates high humidity/moisture problems are present. In operating the tub controls, the inspector could not determine where moisture was coming from, but this appeared to be an active leak. Damage to the home will continue to worsen unless this issue is addressed, and mold growth presents a health concern for the occupants.

Lack of proper ventilation in a high humidity environment like the bathroom can result in conducive conditions for wood destroying organisms, as moisture is trapped in the room. The specific species of ant was not identified; these may be simply a pest, or may be a species of wood-destroying insect.

Recommend the following:
  • A qualified plumber fully evaluate the tub, shower, and all associated plumbing and fixtures, and repair/replace components as necessary to correct corrosion, leaks, and eliminate the source of water intrusion
  • A qualified plumber eliminate the flex-drain in favor of permanent drain piping in accordance with standard building practices
  • A qualified contractor remove and replace all rotten and water-damaged wood
  • A qualified electrician install a proper ventilation fan in accordance with standard building practices
  • A qualified structural pest inspector conduct a full inspection
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Photo 54-1
Improper flex-drain
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Photo 54-2
Water damage against the closet wall...
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Photo 54-3
... that has spread through the wall into the bathroom closet
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Photo 54-4
Water damage (left) and likely mold/fungal growth
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Photo 54-5
Rotting wood due to excessive moisture
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Photo 54-6
Yellow: Possible cast iron waste pipe, showing signs of corrosion
Red: Ants and trap/poison

55) The clothes dryer was equipped with a mylar, accordion-type, flexible exhaust duct, which penetrated the ceiling above the dryer. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission considers these types of ducts to be unsafe, and a fire hazard. They can trap lint and are susceptible to kinks or crushing, which can greatly reduce the air flow and cause overheating. Recommend that such ducts be replaced with a rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal duct, and by a qualified contractor if necessary.

The vent on the exterior wall would not fully close, likely due to obstruction by lint or other debris.

Water damage to the acoustic tile was also observed; the inspector could not determine where the water was coming from, but suspects the inoperable vent on the exterior wall.
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Photo 55-1
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Photo 55-2

56) The power cord from the jetted tub motor in the hall bathroom was routed through the wall to an outlet in another room, and lacked proper GFCI protection. Lack of proper GFCI protection is a shock hazard, and routing power cords through walls is poor building practice, as the protective sheathing on cords are not designed to withstand abrasion from wall openings. Recommend a qualified electrician correct GFCI deficiencies and install a proper receptacle for the jetted tub motor in accordance with standard building practices.
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Photo 56-1
Jetted tub motor
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Photo 56-2
Cord to the jetted-tub motor improperly routed through the wall into the adjacent bedroom.

57) The half bath displayed the following issues:
  • Damaged vinyl or linoleum flooring
  • The hot and cold water supplies appeared to be reversed at the sink, and the hot water service line was corroded
  • Lack of proper GFCI protection for receptacles
  • Caulk around the base of the toilet appeared to be missing
  • Door lacked a locking mechanism

When floor coverings are damaged, water can spread under the floor covering to the wall structure, resulting in damage.

Normally, cold water is controlled by the right faucet handle and hot by the left. At a minimum this is an inconvenience, but it can also result in accidental scalding. Also, corroded water service lines can leak.

Lack of proper GFCI protection is a shock hazard.

Modern standards require caulk to be installed around the entire toilet base where it meets the floor for sanitary reasons. Without it, soiled water can soak into flooring or sub-floor materials if the toilet overflows. Condensation from the toilet can also soak into the flooring.

Standard building practices call for bathroom doors to be lockable. At a minimum this is an inconvenience.

Recommend the following:
  • A qualified contractor replace or repair flooring material as necessary
  • A qualified individual correct the reversed hot/cold service lines and repair/replace corroded components, as necessary
  • A qualified electrician install GFCI protection per standard building practices
  • A qualified individual caulk around toilet bases per standard building practices
  • A qualified individual install a locking doorknob, as desired
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Photo 57-1
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Photo 57-2
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Photo 57-3
No caulk around the base of the toilet
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Photo 57-4
Visible corrosion on service lines

58) The hallway bathroom also suffered from inadequate sealant around the tub drain, failing caulk between the shower insert and fixtures, as well as isolated corrosion on some fixtures. Recommend a qualified plumber fully evaluate the tub, shower, and all associated plumbing and fixtures, and repair/replace components as necessary to correct corrosion, leaks, and eliminate the source of water intrusion noted above. A qualified individual should replace and/or properly maintain tub/shower caulking in the future
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Photo 58-1
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Photo 58-2
Insufficient sealant around drain
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Photo 58-3
Corrosion on the water controls (red), showing a leak (blue)
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Photo 58-4
Absent and deteriorating caulking around the faucet in the tub.

59) Black rubber hoses were noted for water service to the washing machine. These are in standard use, but have been known to fail easily. Recommend upgrading to braided stainless steel tubing.
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Photo 59-1
 

Interior, Doors and Windows
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Limitations: The following items are not included in this inspection: security, intercom and sound systems; communications wiring; central vacuum systems; elevators and stair lifts; cosmetic deficiencies such as nail-pops, scuff marks, dents, dings, blemishes or issues due to normal wear and tear in wall, floor and ceiling surfaces and coverings, or in equipment; deficiencies relating to interior decorating; low voltage and gas lighting systems. Any comments made regarding these items are as a courtesy only. Note that the inspector does not evaluate any areas or items which require moving stored items, furnishings, debris, equipment, floor coverings, insulation or similar materials. The inspector does not test for asbestos, lead, radon, mold, hazardous waste, urea formaldehyde urethane, or any other toxic substance. Some items such as window, drawer, cabinet door or closet door operability are tested on a sampled basis. The client should be aware that paint may obscure wall and ceiling defects, floor coverings may obscure floor defects, and furnishings may obscure wall, floor and floor covering defects. If furnishings were present during the inspection, recommend a full evaluation of walls, floors and ceilings that were previously obscured when possible. Determining the cause and/or source of odors is not within the scope of this inspection.
Condition of exterior entry doors: Required repair, replacement and/or evaluation (see comments below)
Exterior door material: Wood, Metal, Sliding glass
Condition of interior doors: Appeared serviceable
Condition of windows and skylights: Skylights appeared serviceable, Window covers in bedrooms prevented evaluation
Type(s) of windows: Vinyl, Metal
Condition of walls and ceilings: Required repairs, replacement and/or evaluation (see comments below)
Wall type or covering: Drywall, Paneling
Ceiling type or covering: Tiles, drywall, and absent in places
Condition of flooring: Required repairs, replacement and/or evaluation (see comments below)
Condition of concrete slab floor(s): Excluded; covered by vinyl/linoleum or carpet
Flooring type or covering: Carpet, Vinyl, linoleum or marmoleum

60) Bedroom windows were covered with immobilized inserts that prevented easy access to windows, and in some cases were blocked by furniture or stored belongings, and are excluded from this inspection report.

Adequate egress is important in the event of a fire or emergency to allow escape or to allow access by emergency personnel. This is a potential safety hazard. Standard building practices require that every bedroom have at least one egress window or an exterior entry door. Egress windows must comply with these requirements:
  • Minimum width of opening: 20 inches
  • Minimum height of opening: 24 inches
  • Minimum net clear opening at a grade floor egress windows: 5 square feet
  • Minimum net clear opening of other egress windows: 5.7 square feet
  • Maximum height of base of opening above grade or landing of grade floor egress windows: 44 inches
  • Maximum height of base of opening above interior side floor: 44 inches
  • Windows should open easily without the use of keys or tools

Recommend immobilized inserts be removed, or at a minimum, disengaged to allow for easy removal in case of emergency, and inspected by a qualified individual for proper function and clearances, as described above.

The pictures below are representative examples, and do not constitute an exhaustive list of the issues described above.
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Photo 60-1
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Photo 60-2

61) Some of the ceiling tiles showed damage or had become dislodged.

Based on the appearance of the ceiling tiles and the age of this structure, the client should be aware that some of these tiles may contain asbestos. When considering repairing or replacing these tiles, this will . At that time or before if the client has concerns, consult with a qualified abatement specialist and/or testing lab.

The pictures below are representative examples, and do not constitute an exhaustive list of the issues described above.
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Photo 61-1
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Photo 61-2

62) The deadlock and doorknob on the exterior door of the addition did operate smoothly and easily. The sliding door on the east wall provides egress in case of emergency. Recommend that a qualified person repair as necessary.

63) The ceiling in the primary bathroom closet was unfinished, and had exposed wood and insulation. Insulation should not be exposed in this fashion. Recommend that a qualified person repair as necessary.
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Photo 63-1
 

64) Minor cracks or blemishes were found in walls and ceilings in various areas. These are usually caused by minor settlement or seasonal expansion of the building materials, and can be more or less noticeable depending on changes in humidity. They did not appear to be a structural concern, but the client may wish to repair these for aesthetic reasons.

Deformation in the corner between the wall and the ceiling of the addition appeared to be the result of an installation deficiency, and not a structural concern.

The pictures below are representative examples, and do not constitute an exhaustive list of the issues described above.
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Photo 64-1
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Photo 64-2