||Tuesday, April 24, 2012
This report published on Friday, June 29, 2018 9:13:21 AM PDT
Important: This summary page is not the complete report. Clients should refer to the complete report for evaluating the subject property.
- Structures built prior to the mid 1980s may contain lead and/or asbestos. Lead is commonly found in paint and in some plumbing components. The EPA does not recognize newer coats of paint as encapsulating older coats of lead-based paint. Asbestos is commonly found in various building materials such as insulation, siding, and/or floor and ceiling tiles. Laws were passed in 1978 to prohibit usage of lead and asbestos, but stocks of materials containing these substances remained in use for a number of years thereafter. Both lead and asbestos are known health hazards. Evaluating for the presence of lead and/or asbestos is beyond the scope of this inspection. Any mention of these materials in this report is made as a courtesy only, and meant to refer the client to a specialist. Consult with specialists as necessary, such as industrial hygienists, professional labs and/or abatement specialists for this type of evaluation. For information on lead, asbestos and other hazardous materials in homes, visit:http://www.epa.govhttp://www.cpsc.govhttp://www.cdc.gov
- Based on substandard and non-standard construction observed, additions to this property may have been made without the owner having attained permits or inspections from the municipality. Work may have been performed by someone other than a qualified contractor or person. Consult with the property owner about this, and if necessary research permits.
At worst case, if substantial work was performed without permits, this knowledge must be disclosed when the building is sold in the future. This can adversely affect future sales. Also, the local municipality could require costly alterations to bring the building into legal compliance or even require that the additions or modifications be removed.
- Handrails at one or more flights of stairs were missing. This is a potential fall hazard. Handrails should be installed at stairs with four or more risers or where stairs are greater than 30 inches high. Recommend that a qualified contractor install handrails where missing and per standard building practices.
- Handrails at one or more flights of stairs were not graspable and posed a fall hazard. Handrails should be 1 1/4 to 2 inches in diameter if round, or 2 5/8 inches or less in width if flat. Recommend that a qualified person install graspable handrails or modify existing handrails per standard building practices.
- One or more treads at exterior stairs were loose and damaged. This is a potential fall hazard. Recommend that a qualified person repair as necessary.
- Fungal rot was found in stringers, treads at one or more sets of exterior stairs. Fungal rot in some stair components may pose a safety hazard. Recommend that a qualified person evaluate and repair as necessary. All rotten wood should be replaced.
- Soil was in contact with or close to wooden stairs at one or more locations. This is a conducive condition for wood-destroying organisms. Soil should be graded and/or removed so no wood-soil contact is present, if possible. Otherwise, installing products such as borate-based Impel rods may help to prevent infestation and damage. For more information, visit:http://www.google.com/search?q=impel+rods
- Some nails securing decking boards were loose and were not flush with the surfaces of boards. Boards are more likely to loosen and warp. This may pose a safety hazard to those with bare feet. Recommend that a qualified person repair as necessary. For example, by replacing nails or installing screws. Note that existing nails that are simply pounded back in will be likely to loosen again.
Exterior and Foundation
- Some sections of siding and/or trim were missing and/or deteriorated. Recommend that a qualified person repair, replace or install siding or trim as necessary.
- Gaps were found between the bottom of one or more support posts and the footing or pier below. Such support posts don't transfer loads to the footing below. Floors and/or the structure can deflect, resulting in non-level floors or damage to the structure. Recommend that a qualified contractor repair as necessary.
- Vegetation such as trees, shrubs and/or vines 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 exterior finish in some areas was failing (e.g. peeling, faded, worn, thinning). Siding and trim are can be damaged by moisture with a failing finish. This is a conducive condition for wood-destroying organisms. Recommend that a qualified person prep (e.g. clean, scrape, sand, prime, caulk) and repaint the building exterior where necessary. Any repairs needed to the siding or trim should be made prior to repainting.
- Caulk was missing, deteriorated in some areas. For example, at trim and siding junctions. 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. For more information, visit:http://www.reporthost.com/_docs/FPL_Caulking_Ins_Outs.pdf
- No vapor barrier was installed in the east crawl space. This is a conducive condition for wood-destroying organisms due to the likelihood of water evaporating from the soil below up into the structure. A 6 mil black plastic sheet should be placed over all exposed soil with seams overlapped to 24 inches, and not in contact with any wood structural components. The sheeting should be held in place with bricks or stones, not wood. Recommend that a qualified contractor install a vapor barrier per standard building practices.
- Ventilation for the crawl spaces was substandard. There were too few vents or no vents in various crawl space areas. This can result in high levels of moisture in the crawl space and is a conducive condition for wood-destroying organisms. One square foot of vent area should be installed for 150 square feet of crawl space. Vents should be evenly distributed and within a few feet of corners to promote air circulation. Recommend that a qualified contractor install or improve venting per standard building practices.
- One or more crawl space vents were blocked by insulation. This restricts ventilation in the crawl space and can result in increased levels of moisture inside. This is a conducive condition for wood-destroying organisms. Materials or items blocking vents should be removed as necessary.
- Some areas of the crawl space had less than 18 inches of vertical clearance (under front porch). This limits access for periodic evaluation, and for repairs or modifications when needed. Recommend that a qualified contractor make modifications as necessary, such as excavating soil, so at least 18 inches of vertical clearance is maintained throughout the crawl space.
- One or more support posts were not positively secured to the beam above. While this is common in older homes, current standards require positive connections between support posts and beams above for earthquake reinforcement. Recommend that a qualified contractor repair per standard building practices. For example, by installing metal plates, plywood gussets or dimensional lumber connecting posts and beams.
- No insulation was installed under the floor above the east and south crawl spaces. Recommend that a qualified person install insulation for better energy efficiency and per standard building practices. Typically this is R-19 rated fiberglass batt with the attached facing installed against the warm (floor) side.
- The vapor barrier in some areas of the crawl spaces was loose or askew. Soil was exposed as a result and will allow water from the soil to evaporate up into the structure. This is a conducive condition for wood-destroying organisms. A 6 mil black plastic sheet should be placed over all exposed soil with seams overlapped to 24 inches, and not in contact with any wood structural components. The sheeting should be held in place with bricks or stones, not wood. Recommend that a qualified person replace or repair the vapor barrier where necessary and per standard building practices.
- One or more outdoor crawl space access hatches or doors were damaged, deteriorated or substandard. Water and/or vermin can enter the crawl space. Recommend that a qualified person replace, install or repair hatches or doors where necessary.
- Many sections of under-floor insulation above the north crawl space have fallen down and/or had substandard support. This may result in reduced energy efficiency. Recommend that a qualified person install or replace insulation per standard building practices.
- Cellulose material such as cardboard forms was found in the crawl space. This is a conducive condition for wood-destroying organisms. Recommend removing all cellulose-based debris or stored items.
- OSB roof sheathing was rotten and/or water-damaged in several areas. Recommend that a qualified contractor evaluate and replace sheathing where necessary.
- The shingled roof surface and related flashings were substandard in numerous ways. For example:
- Shingles didn't overlap gable end trim
- OSB sheathing edges were exposed at gable ends
- Shingles were installed in random or uneven patterns
- Nail heads were visible between shingle tabs
- A single long piece of flashing was used instead of step flashing
- Sealant rather than step flashing was used where exterior walls met shingled surfaces
- Pipe flashings were substandard
- Sealant was used over or instead of flashings.
Leaks are likely to occur as a result. Recommend that a qualified roofing contractor evaluate and repair per standard building practices. Note that this may require re-roofing the entire roof.
- The siding on one or more exterior walls was in contact with or too close to roof surfaces below. This is a conducive condition for wood-destroying organisms. There should be a gap of 1 1/2 to 2 inches between a roof surface and siding above. The gap is meant to prevent water from wicking up into the bottom edge of the siding and causing fugal rot, or damaging the siding. There may also be inadequate space for additional layers of roofing materials in the future. Recommend that a qualified contractor repair per standard building practices. For example, by trimming the siding.
- One or more downspouts were loose. Some plastic gutter junctions were stained and may leak during rainfall. Rainwater can come in contact with the building exterior or accumulate around the building foundation as a result. This is a conducive condition for wood-destroying organisms. Recommend that a qualified person repair as necessary.
- Significant amounts of debris have accumulated in one or more gutters. Gutters can overflow and cause water to come in contact with the building exterior or water can accumulate around the foundation. This is a conducive condition for wood-destroying organisms. Recommend cleaning gutters now and as necessary in the future.
- Moss was growing on the roof. As a result, shingles can lift or be damaged. Leaks can result and/or the roof surface can fail prematurely. Efforts should be made to kill the moss during its growing season (wet months). Typically, zinc or phosphate-based chemicals are used for this and must be applied periodically. For information on various moss treatment products and their pros and cons, visit:http://www.google.com/search?q=moss+on+roof
Attic and Roof Structure
- The ceiling insulation installed in the attic was substandard in many areas and appeared to have an R rating that's significantly less than current standards (R-38). Heating and cooling costs will likely be higher due to poor energy efficiency. Recommend that a qualified contractor install insulation for better energy efficiency and per standard building practices.
- One or more attic access hatches or doors were missing, not insulated, or had substandard insulation. Weatherstripping was also missing or substandard. Recommend installing hatches, weatherstripping and insulation per current standards at hatches or doors for better energy efficiency. For more information, visit:http://www.reporthost.com/_docs/atticaccess.pdf
- Energized "knob and tube" wiring was found at one or more locations. This type of wiring was commonly installed prior to 1950. It is ungrounded and considered unsafe by today's standards. Over time, the wire's insulation can become brittle and fall apart or wear thin, resulting in exposed conductors and a risk of shock and/or fire. This wiring is also easily damaged by covering it with insulation (a common practice), and incorrectly tapping new wiring into it.
It is not within the scope of this inspection to determine what percentage of this property's wiring is of the knob-and-tube type, or to determine what percentage of the knob and tube wiring is energized versus abandoned. Recommend that a qualified electrician evaluate this wiring and make repairs or replace wiring as necessary.
Note that some insurance companies may be unwilling to offer homeowner's insurance for properties with knob and tube wiring. Consult with your insurance carrier regarding this. For more information, visit:http://www.google.com/search?q=knob+tube+wiring
- One or more electric receptacles (outlets) at the kitchen had no visible ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection, or the inspector was unable to determine if GFCI protection was present. If not GFCI-protected, receptacles in wet areas pose a shock hazard. Recommend that a qualified electrician evaluate and install GFCI protection if necessary and per standard building practices. General guidelines for GFCI-protected receptacles include the following locations:
- Outdoors (since 1973)
- Bathrooms (since 1975)
- Garages (since 1978)
- Kitchens (since 1987)
- Crawl spaces and unfinished basements (since 1990)
- Wet bar sinks (since 1993)
- Laundry and utility sinks (since 2005)
For more information, visit:http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/099.pdf
- One or more modern, 3-slot electric receptacles (outlets) were found with an open ground. Three-slot receptacles should have a hot, a neutral and a ground wire connected. Homeowners often install new 3-slot receptacles on older, 2-wire circuits that only have hot and neutral wires. This is a shock hazard when appliances that require a ground are used with these receptacles. Examples of such appliances include computers and related hardware, refrigerators, freezers, portable air conditioners, clothes washers, aquarium pumps, and electrically operated gardening tools. Where the electric system was installed prior to when grounded circuits were required (1960s), it is permissible to replace 3-slot receptacles with 2-slot receptacles to prevent appliances that require a ground from being plugged in to an ungrounded circuit. However, the client should be aware of this limitation when planning use for various rooms, such as an office. For newer electric systems, circuits should be repaired so grounded, 3-wire cables provide power to 3-slot receptacles. Recommend that a qualified electrician repair per standard building practices.
- Light fixtures with fully or partially exposed incandescent bulbs were installed in one or more closets. This is a fire hazard. Flammable stored items can come into contact with hot bulbs, or hot fragments from broken bulbs can fall on combustible materials. Closet lighting should use fluorescent light fixtures or fully enclosed incandescent fixtures. Installing a compact fluorescent lamp in a lamp holder is not an acceptable practice. If globes or covers are missing, they should be replaced. Otherwise recommend that a qualified electrician replace closet lights per standard building practices.
- Smoke alarms were missing from bedrooms and on one or more levels. Additional smoke alarms should be installed as necessary so a functioning detector exists in each hallway leading to bedrooms, in each bedroom, on each level and in any attached garage. For more information, visit:http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/5077.html
- One or more bushings were missing from where wires enter holes in panel(s) #A. This is a potential safety hazard because the wiring insulation can be cut or abraded on the metal edge of the hole(s). Recommend that a qualified electrician install bushings where missing.
- One or more wall-mounted exterior light fixtures had no caulk installed above the back plate. Water can enter the space behind the back plate and contact wiring. This is a potential shock hazard. Recommend that a qualified person apply caulk above and around the back plate per standard building practices. A gap should be left at the bottom of the plate so that condensation can drain out.
- 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. According to National Fire Protection Association
, aging smoke alarms don't operate as efficiently and often are the source for nuisance alarms. Older smoke alarms are estimated to have a 30% probability of failure within the first 10 years. Newer smoke alarms do better, but should be replaced after 10 years. Unless you know that the smoke alarms are new, replacing them when moving into a new residence is also recommended by NFPA. For more information, visit:http://www.google.com/search?q=old+smoke+alarms
- No carbon monoxide alarms were visible. This is a potential safety hazard. Some states and/or municipalities require CO alarms to be installed for new construction and/or for homes being sold. Recommend installing approved CO alarms outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms on each level and in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations. For more information, visit:http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PREREL/prhtml05/05017.html
- Screws used to secure the cover to the laundry room sub panel were the wrong size and could be pushed in by hand rather than needing to be turned with a screwdriver. Recommend that qualified person install the correct screws to secure the cover.
- One or more electric receptacles (outlets) appeared to have no power. Recommend asking the property owner about this. Switches may need to be operated to make some receptacles energized. If necessary, recommend that a qualified electrician evaluate and repair.
- The legend for circuit breakers or fuses in panel(s) #A was missing, incomplete, illegible or confusing. This is a potential shock or fire hazard in the event of an emergency when power needs to be turned off. Recommend correcting the legend so it's accurate, complete and legible. Evaluation by a qualified electrician may be necessary.
- One or more light fixtures were inoperable (didn't turn on when nearby switches were operated). Recommend further evaluation by replacing bulbs and/or consulting with the property owner. If replacing bulbs doesn't work and/or no other switch(es) can be found, then recommend that a qualified electrician evaluate and repair or replace light fixtures as necessary.
- Bulbs in one or more light fixtures were missing, inoperable or broken. These light fixtures couldn't be fully evaluated. If replacement bulbs are inoperable, then recommend that a qualified electrician evaluate and repair or replace light fixtures as necessary.
Plumbing / Fuel Systems
- One or more plumbing cross-connections were found. This occurs when a direct link between potable and gray or waste water lines exists. If the supply pressure drops suddenly, siphoning can occur and pull sewage water from drain lines into supply lines, contaminating drinking water. This can occur when the water supply system is turned off, or when the municipality flushes water mains. Some examples include: a garden hose resting on the ground or in a container of water while connected to a spigot, a faucet outlet or spout below the rim or upper-most level of a sink or tub, when a sink or bathtub with a sprayer or shower head has a hose that falls below the rim and could allow contaminated water to be drawn into the supply piping, or a toilet where the water supply line becomes detached and falls below the water level or drain overflow tube. The water in the tank may be drawn into the supply line if the pressure goes off. Conditions have to be just right for these problems to occur, but they are possible. Recommend consulting with a qualified plumber, and having repairs made if necessary. For more information, visit:http://www.google.com/search?q=cross+connection+plumbing+hazard
- Copper water supply pipes were installed. 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. Note that the inspector does not test for toxic materials such as lead. The client should consider having a qualified lab test for lead, and if necessary take steps to reduce or remove lead from the water supply. Various solutions include:
- Flush water taps or faucets. Do not drink water that has been sitting in the plumbing lines for more than 6 hours
- Install appropriate filters at points of use
- Use only cold water for cooking and drinking, as hot water dissolves lead more quickly than cold water
- Use bottled or distilled water
- Treat well water to make it less corrosive
- Have a qualified plumber replace supply pipes and/or plumbing components as necessary
For more information visit:http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PUBS/5056.htmlhttp://www.epa.gov/safewater/lead
- One or more drain pipes or fittings were substandard. Recommend that a qualified plumber evaluate and repair as necessary and per standard building practices.
- Evidence of one or more possible abandoned underground oil storage tanks was found (e.g. vent pipe, metal supply lines). Recommend attempting to determine if underground tank(s) exist on this property, and/or if tank(s) have been removed or legally decommissioned. If the tank(s) haven't been decommissioned or removed, then the client may be liable for decommission and/or cleanup of contaminated soil in the future. Recommend the following:
- That any non-decommissioned, abandoned underground tanks be legally decommissioned or removed as necessary
- That the soil be tested for oil contamination
- That contaminated soil be removed as necessary
Also recommend remove the abandoned above-ground oil tank.
- Water supply pipes in the crawl space were not insulated. Recommend insulating pipes per standard building practices to prevent them from freezing during cold weather, and for better energy efficiency with hot water supply pipes.
- One or more hose bibs (outside faucets) weren't anchored securely to the structure's exterior. Water supply pipes can be stressed when hose bibs are turned on and off and when hoses are pulled. Leaks may occur as a result. Recommend that a qualified person install fasteners per standard building practices.
- Based on visible components or information provided to the inspector, this property appeared to have a private sewage disposal (septic) system. 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. Generally, septic tanks should be pumped and inspected every 3 years. Depending on the type of system and municipal regulations, inspection and maintenance may be required more frequently, often annually. Recommend the following:
- Consult with the property owner about this system's maintenance and repair history
- Review any documentation available for this system
- Review inspection and maintenance requirements for this system
- That a qualified specialist evaluate, perform maintenance and make repairs if necessary
For more information, visit:http://www.google.com/search?q=private+septic+systems
- Based on information provided to the inspector, the water supply to this property is from a shared or community well. 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. Recommend that the client review the recorded agreements regarding the well, the deeds of the property owners involved, and easements permitting access to, use of, and maintenance of the water system. If no shared well agreement exists, access to the well water supply will be uncertain. Also recommend the following:
- That a qualified well contractor fully evaluate the well, including a conducting a pump/flow test
- That the well water be tested per the client's concerns (e.g. coliforms, pH, contaminants)
- Research the well's history (e.g. how/when constructed, how/when maintained or repaired)
- If the well is not on the client's property, verify that the well's property owner does not harm the well water's quality through land use practices
- Document the current well capacity and water quality for future reference
- 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, gas lines breaking if it's gas-fired, or electric wiring being damaged if powered by electricity. 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.
- No drain line was installed for the temperature-pressure relief valve. This is a potential safety hazard due to the risk of scalding if someone is standing next to the water heater when the valve opens. Recommend that a qualified plumber install a drain line per standard building practices.
- The temperature-pressure relief valve was leaking. Recommend that a qualified plumber repair as necessary. For example, by replacing the valve.
- No water shut-off valve was visible for the water heater. A shut-off valve allows the water supply to be turned off when the water heater needs repair or replacement, while allowing the remainder of the plumbing system to be operable (e.g. toilets, sinks). Recommend that a qualified plumber install a local shut-off valve per standard building practices.
- 3/4 inch and 1/2 inch supply lines were installed for the water heater. Normally 3/4 inch lines are installed for an adequate flow. Recommend that a qualified plumber upgrade the 1/2 inch line and make other changes if necessary per standard building practices.
- The water heater's electricity supply was off. The water heater and hot water supply system (e.g. faucets, controls) were not fully evaluated because of this. Recommend that a full evaluation be made by a qualified person when conditions have been corrected so the water heater is operable. Note that per the standards of practice for NACHI (http://www.nachi.org
) and ASHI (www.ashi.org
), the inspector is not required to operate shut-off valves, pilot lights or over-current protection devices, or any controls other than "normal controls."
Also, a permanently installed insulated jacket was installed on the water heater. It obscured the manufacturer's information label and/or most of the water heater. This further limited the inspector's ability to evaluate the water heater.
- The estimated useful life for most water heaters is 8-12 years. The inspector was unable to determine the age of the water heater due to the manufacturer's label being obscured, no serial number being visible, or the serial number not clearly indicating the age. The client should be aware that this water heater may be near, at or beyond its useful life and may need replacing at any time. Recommend attempting to determine the water heater's age.
If found to be near, at or beyond its useful lifespan, recommend budgeting for a replacement in the near future, or considering replacement now before any leaks occur. The client should be aware that significant flooding can occur if the water heater does fail. If not replaced now, consider having a qualified person install a catch pan and drain or a water alarm to help prevent damage if water does leak.
Heating, Ventilation and Air Condition (HVAC)
- What appeared to be asbestos wrap was found on some ducts. However, it appeared to be intact and not significantly deteriorated. Asbestos may pose a health hazard when airborne. If this is asbestos, in some cases, no action is needed except to leave this material undisturbed. The client may wish to have this material tested by a qualified specialist to determine if it is asbestos, and if it should be removed or encapsulated. For information on asbestos hazards in the home, visit:http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PUBS/453.html
Note that evaluating for the presence of asbestos is beyond the scope of this inspection. Any mention of these materials in this report is made as a courtesy only, and meant to refer the client to a specialist.
- One or more heating or cooling ducts in an unconditioned space (e.g. crawl space, attic or basement) were not insulated, or the insulation was substandard. This can result in reduced energy efficiency, moisture inside heating ducts, and/or "sweating" on cooling ducts". Recommend that a qualified person repair as per standard building practices. For example, by wrapping ducts in insulation with an R-value of R-8.
- Insulation for the outside condensing unit's refrigerant lines was deteriorated in some areas. This may result in reduced efficiency and increased energy costs. A qualified person should replace insulation as necessary.
- The last service date of the forced air heating/cooling system appeared to be more than one year ago, or the inspector was unable to determine the last service date. The client should ask the property owner when it was last serviced. If unable to determine the last service date, or if this system was serviced more than one year ago, a qualified contractor should service this system and make repairs if necessary. Because this system has a compressor and refrigerant system, this servicing should be performed annually in the future. Any needed repairs noted in this report should be brought to the attention of the HVAC contractor when it's serviced.
- The air handler's primary condensate drain line was routed so it drains close the the foundation. Significant amounts of water can be produced by this system and can cause water infiltration. In extreme cases, the wet soil may not adequately support the foundation. Recommend repairing as necessary so condensate water drains well away from the foundation. For example, by installing a splash block.
- Recommend replacing or washing HVAC filters upon taking occupancy depending on the type of filters installed. Regardless of the type, recommend checking filters monthly in the future and replacing or washing them as necessary. How frequently they need replacing or washing depends on the type and quality of the filter, how the system is configured (e.g. always on vs. "Auto"), and on environmental factors (e.g. pets, smoking, frequency of cleaning, number of occupants, the season).
- The thermostat for the electric radiant floor heat in the master bathroom was inoperable (no info displayed). This system was not operated or evaluated. If concerned about this being operational, the client should have a qualified electrician evaluate and repair if necessary. Note that the tile floor was very uneven. It's likely that the installation of this system is substandard, if it even works.
Fireplaces, Stoves, Chimneys and Flues
- No spark screen or rain cap was installed at one or more chimney flue terminations. Spark screens reduce the chance of embers exiting the flue and causing fires. They also prevent wildlife (e.g. birds, rodents, raccoons) from entering flues. Rain caps prevent water from entering flues, mixing with combustion deposits and creating caustic chemicals which can corrode flues. They also prevent damage to masonry from freeze-thaw cycles and prevent metal components (e.g. dampers, metal firebox liners) from rusting. Recommend that a qualified person install rain caps with spark screens per standard building practices where missing.
- One or more wood-burning fireplaces or stoves were found at the property. When such devices are used, they should be professionally inspected and cleaned annually to prevent creosote build-up and to determine if repairs are needed. The National Fire Protection Association states that a "Level 2" chimney inspection should be performed with every sale or transfer of property with a wood-burning device. Recommend consulting with the property owner about recent and past servicing and repairs to all wood-burning devices and chimneys or flues at this property. Recommend that a qualified specialist evaluate all wood-burning devices and chimneys, and clean and repair as necessary. Note that if a wood stove insert is installed, it may need to be removed for such an evaluation. For more information, search for "chimney inspection" at:http://www.csia.org/
Various repairs were needed for the stove insert. For example, the metal bracket securing the gasket was broken and loose. The gasket was deteriorated. There was a hole in the flue pipe. These conditions should be brought to the attention of the contractor who services the wood burning devices.
Note that the metal liner for the fireplace has been cut (damaged) when the insert was installed.
- One or more masonry chimney crowns were deteriorated. Crowns are meant to keep water off of the chimney structure and prevent damage from freeze-thaw cycles. Chimney crowns are commonly constructed by mounding concrete or mortar on the top chimney surface, however this is substandard. A properly constructed chimney crown should:
- Be constructed using either precast concrete slabs, cast-in-place steel reinforced concrete, solid stone, or metal
- Be sloped down from the flue a minimum of 3 inches of fall per foot of run
- Extend a minimum of 2 1/2 inches beyond the face of the chimney on all sides
- Not directly contact the flue liner (if installed), with the gap filled with flexible caulk
- Have flashing installed between the bottom of the crown and the top of the brick chimney
Recommend that a qualified contractor repair or replace crowns as necessary, and per standard building practices.
- Mortar at the east brick chimney was deteriorated (e.g. loose, missing, cracked) and had caulk applied for a "repair". As a result, water is likely to infiltrate the chimney structure and cause further damage. Recommend that a qualified contractor repair as necessary. For example, by repointing the mortar.
- 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. For more information, visit:http://www.google.com/search?q=range+anti-tip+bracket
- The dishwasher was inoperable (no water flowed). Recommend that a qualified specialist evaluate and repair or replace as necessary.
- An exhaust hood was installed over the cook top or range, but the fan recirculated the exhaust air back into the kitchen. This may be due to no duct being installed, baffles at the front of the hood not being installed, or a problem with the duct. This can be a nuisance for odor and grease accumulation. Where a gas-fired range or cook top is installed, carbon monoxide and excessive levels of moisture can accumulate in living spaces. Recommend that a qualified contractor evaluate and repair as necessary so exhaust air is ducted outdoors.
- Countertops and/or backsplashes were damaged or deteriorated. Recommend repairing or replacing as necessary.
- Standoffs (metal supports) for the oven's bake element were missing and/or damaged so that the bake element was inadequately supported. Recommend that a qualified person repair as necessary.
- The microwave oven handle was broken/loose.
- Gaps, no caulk, or substandard caulking were found between countertops and backsplashes. Water may penetrate these areas and cause damage. Recommend that a qualified person repair as necessary. For example, by installing caulk.
Bathrooms, Laundry and Sinks
- A waterproof cover should be installed over the shower light in the master bathroom.
- One or more sink faucet handles at location(s) #A were loose. Recommend that a qualified person repair or replace as necessary.
- One or more bathtub faucet handles at location(s) #B were loose. Recommend that a qualified person repair or replace handles as necessary.
- A significant amount of water came out of the bathtub spout when the shower at location(s) #A was turned on. The diverter valve is likely defective, or may be encrusted with mineral deposits. Water will be wasted as a result. Recommend that a qualified plumber repair or replace components as necessary.
- Tile, stone and/or grout in the flooring at location(s) #A was deteriorated (e.g. loose or cracked tiles, missing grout) or substandard. Water can damage the the subfloor as a result. Recommend that a qualified contractor repair as necessary.
- The sink at location(s) #C was loose, or not securely attached to the wall or floor. Leaks can occur if plumbing supply or drain lines are moved. Recommend that a qualified person repair as necessary.
- Ribbed, flexible drain pipe was used at the sink at location(s) #A. This type of drain pipe accumulates debris more easily than smooth wall pipe and is likely to clog. Recommend that a qualified plumber replace flexible piping with standard plumbing components (smooth wall pipe) to prevent clogged drains.
- The shower door at location(s) #B wouldn't latch or close fully. Water can leak out of the enclosure during showers. Recommend that a qualified person repair as necessary.
- The sink drain stopper mechanism at location(s) #A was missing. Recommend that a qualified person repair or replace as necessary.
Interior, Doors and Windows
- One or more bedroom windows had substandard egress by today's standard building practices. Adequate egress is important in the event of a fire or emergency to allow escape or to allow access by emergency personnel. Bedroom windows had an opening size that was too small. This is a potential safety hazard. Standard building practices require that every bedroom have at least one window as follows:
- Minimum width of opening: 20 inches
- Minimum height of opening: 24 inches
- Minimum net clear opening on ground floor: 5 square feet
- Minimum net clear opening other than ground floor: 5.7 square feet
- Maximum sill height above floor: 44 inches
- Windows should open easily without the use of keys or tools
And for window wells below grade:
- Minimum net clear area of 9 square feet
- Minimum horizontal projection and width of 36 inches
- Wells with a vertical depth greater than 44 inches require a permanent ladder or steps usable with the window in the fully open position
Where windows are too high, at a minimum, the client should keep something that serves as a ladder below the window at all times. Recommend that a qualified contractor repair or make modifications per standard building practices. For more information, visit:http://www.google.com/search?q=bedroom+window+egress+for+fire
- Treads for stairs at one or more locations were less than 10 inches deep and pose a fall or trip hazard. Stair treads should be at least 10 inches deep. At a minimum, the client should be aware of this hazard, especially when guests who are not familiar with the stairs are present. Recommend that a qualified contractor repair per standard building practices.
- A door swung outward over one or more sets of stairs, and either no landing was installed, or the landing didn't extend at least 20 inches beyond the outermost swing area of the door. This a safety hazard since someone standing on the stairs can fall or be pushed backwards if the door is opened. Recommend that a qualified contractor repair per standard building practices.
- Handrails at one or more flights of stairs were missing. This is a potential fall hazard. Handrails should be installed at stairs with four or more risers or where stairs are greater than 30 inches high. Recommend that a qualified contractor install handrails where missing and per standard building practices.
- Guardrails at one or more locations with drop-offs higher than 30 inches were missing. This poses a fall hazard. Guardrails should be installed where walking surfaces are more than 30 inches above the surrounding grade or surfaces below. Recommend that a qualified contractor install guardrails where missing and per standard building practices.
- Floors in one or more areas were not level. This can be caused by foundation settlement or movement of the foundation, posts and/or beams. Significant repairs may be needed to make floors level. Recommend that a qualified contractor and/or engineer evaluate further. Repairs should be performed by a qualified contractor.
- Glass in one or more windows was cracked, broken and/or missing. Recommend that a qualified contractor replace glass where necessary.
- Vinyl, linoleum or marmoleum flooring in one or more areas was damaged. If in a wet area, water can damage the the sub-floor as a result. Recommend that a qualified contractor replace or repair flooring as necessary.
- Daylight was visible around the front door. Weatherstrip was deteriorated and/or missing. The door dragged on the floor when opened. Recommend that a qualified contractor repair as necessary.
- Tile, stone and/or grout in the flooring in one or more areas was deteriorated (e.g. loose or cracked tiles, missing grout) or substandard. If in a wet area, water can damage the the sub-floor. Recommend that a qualified contractor repair as necessary.
- Stains were found in one or more ceiling areas. However, no elevated levels of moisture were found. The stain(s) may be due to past roof and/or plumbing leaks.Consult with the property owner and monitor the stained area(s) in the future, especially after heavy or prolonged rain. If elevated moisture is found in the future, then recommend that a qualified contractor evaluate and repair as necessary.