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Darrell's Home Inspections

Phone: (937) 477-6917
Inspector: Darrell Freshour


Whole House Inspection

Client(s):  Courtney Client
Property address:  1213 Donald Duck Ave., Dayton, OH 4542–2221
Inspection date:  Thursday, March 26, 2015

This report published on Thursday, November 19, 2015 7:50:59 PM EST

This report is the exclusive property of Darrells Home Inspections and the client(s) listed in the report title. Use of this report by any unauthorized persons is prohibited.

General Information and Disclaimers

A. General Property Information

1. We appreciate you selecting Darrells Home Inspections. If you have any questions regarding this report or any questions relating to the general condition of the property, please call me (Darrell) at 937-477-6917. If you believe that there is an error in your home inspection report, please call me immediately at 937-477-6917. I understand the time frames and time contingencies of a real estate transaction, and a corrected report will be done for you immediately following the notification and agreement of an error being present in your report.
2. Many materials normally used in construction may contain potentially hazardous substances such as asbestos, lead, and formaldehyde. The home inspection report does not identify such materials since laboratory testing and/or experts with appropriate licensing in the State of Ohio may be necessary to detect the presence of such substances. If you have any concerns about whether such materials might exist in your home, please consult with an appropriate industrial hygienist, hazardous materials specialist, or other qualified expert.
3. The home inspection report is not a substitute for, nor is it intended as a substitute for, any disclosures required by Ohio Real Estate Law, and it is not intended to relieve any person or entity from providing any Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statements as may be required by law.
4. Occasional typographical errors will occur, and I apologize for those in advance. Both plural and singular nouns are used interchangeably throughout the report and should not be taken to specifically indicate only one or the presence of more than one. When items are grouped together in this way (e.g., lights and switches), please note this is NOT an indication that all items in the group were present/observed, functioning/not functioning, or did/did not exhibit problems or concerns.
5. I participate in continued education, discussions, and activities of home inspector trade associations, other related associations, and businesses related to the real estate industry, the foremost of which is the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (interNACHI)
My Nachi Certification ID # is NACHI05062590.
NOTE: If questions arise after you have moved into your new home please call me AFTER you have reviewed the standards of practice that guides the inspection industry at

B. Conditions
Virtually all real estate has problems, regardless of age or usage. It is not our purpose to compile a complete, definitive, or exhaustive list of items that need repair, but to document the general condition of the residence and to note any visible major defects. This is not a comprehensive document about the structure and should not be relied upon as such. Cosmetic considerations (paint, wall covering, carpeting, window coverings, etc.) and minor flaws are not within the scope of the inspection. Although some minor and cosmetic flaws might be noted in this report as a courtesy to you, a list of the minor and cosmetic flaws noted here should not be considered a complete, definitive, or exhaustive list and should not be relied upon as such. Routine maintenance and safety items are not within the scope of this inspection unless they otherwise constitute visible major defects as defined in the Home Inspection Agreement. This report does not include all maintenance items and should not be relied upon for such items.

All conditions are reported as they existed at the time of the inspection. The information contained in this report may be unreliable beyond the date of the inspection due to changing conditions.

C. Home Inspectors, Licensed Specialists, and Experts
Inspectors are generalists, are not acting as experts in any craft or trade, and are conducting what is essentially a visual inspection. Home inspectors generally know something about everything and everything about nothing. Some state and local laws, therefore, require that inspectors defer to qualified and licensed experts (e.g., plumber, electrician, et al.) in certain instances. If inspectors recommend consulting specialists or experts, Client agrees to do so at Client's expense. Because such qualified personnel are experts, it is possible that they will discover additional problems that a home inspector generalist cannot. Any listed items in this report concerning areas reserved by Ohio law to such licensed experts should not be construed as a detailed, comprehensive, and/or exhaustive list of problems or areas of concern.

Darrells Home Inspections highly recommends that any additional recommended inspections, evaluations, consultation, repair, and/or replacement, be performed by qualified experts or licensed specialists before close of escrow. For repairs which might require a licensed specialist, Client should request repair and remediation by such licensed specialists in lieu of seller, and Client should request receipts for such work since seller, home owner, and other unlicensed individuals cannot guarantee or warranty their work.

Due to the nature of the real estate and service industry, it is recommend that Client obtain at least three written quotes concerning any work to be done. It is also recommended that the Client consider consulting local hardware, lumber, and home improvement stores for references of qualified experts or licensed specialists. Most store owners or managers will know the good from the bad in doing daily business with this type of clientele. Many will be happy to give several references. Your inspector also has a good list of qualified independent contractors to choose from.

For common area properties, homeowner associations sometimes have qualified maintenance personnel available to help resolve problems, typically free or at a lower cost than independent qualified service personnel. Inquiry of homeowner associations should be made before hiring independent qualified service personnel.

If we don't make a specific recommendation concerning a specific item or area of concern, Client should examine the item in question to determine Client's own needs relative to the item.

D. Confidentiality
This is a confidential document prepared for Client. Information is not transferable to third parties by any person or entity, including Client and/or real estate brokers and agents, without authorization from Darrells Home Inspections, and Darrells Home Inspections will not disclose any information to anyone who is not a party to the Home Inspection Agreement which is included in the home inspection report without prior authorization from Client. Duplication by any means is prohibited without prior written permission and authorization from Darrells Home Inspections. Duplication of, use of, or reliance on the home inspection report in any way for any purpose whatsoever has the effect of agreeing to the terms and conditions as set forth in the Home Inspection Agreement, of which a signed copy has been provided for the users review. Unauthorized duplication of, use of, or reliance on this report has the effect of all parties agreeing to hold harmless, individually, jointly, and/or otherwise, Darrells Home Inspections, its directors, officers, employees, and agents, and their successors and assigns.

Darrells Home Inspections cannot control the interpretation and use of its reports by third parties and shall not assume any legal responsibility or liability for third party interpretations of any part of this report beyond the date of the inspection. Since real estate conditions change on a daily basis in response to occupants use, deferred upkeep, and environmental conditions, third parties may read this report but shall not rely upon its contents for any purpose. Future buyers who enter into a purchase contract for this property should call Darrells Home Inspections for a personal on-site review and update of the conditions described in this report. A discounted fee for the update is available as long as the update request is scheduled for a date within 30 days of the date of this report. Failure to comply with this request shall relieve and hold harmless individually, jointly, and/or otherwise, Darrells Home Inspections, its directors, officers, employees, and agents, and their successors and assigns, of any responsibility or liability, moral or legal, to the eventual buyers in contract for any property condition, any lack of understanding, and/or any possible misinterpretation of disclosed conditions contained within this report.

E. Reporting Methods
This is a site-specific document. Items that were not present or were not inspected typically are not listed in this report. Lack of discussion about something means that it was not present or was not inspected for this property, or appeared serviceable at the time of inspection. If you have any questions about something that appears to be "missing", please call us at 937-477-6917 or send us an email.

F. Common components and common areas
Inspectors do not test, analyze, inspect, or offer an opinion on the condition or function of areas or structural components common to more than one unit, systems serving more than one unit, or areas which typically are under the jurisdiction of a homeowners association, including, but not limited to, structure exterior (including decks, balconies, porches, patios, and parking structures), roof, chimney foundation, fences, and utility service entries. Some areas or systems may or may not be under the jurisdiction of the association (garage, water heater, laundry, etc.).

Homeowners associations sometimes have qualified personnel who can assist Client with many areas of concern, sometimes at little or no cost. Recommend always consulting with homeowners' association prior to commencing any work whatsoever. BEFORE CLOSE OF ESCROW, RECOMMEND: (1) Walking property to determine if homeowners' association is maintaining structures and property in a condition satisfactory to Client; (2) Having qualified homeowners' association personnel inspect all common area structural systems and mechanical components servicing this condominium, particularly, but not limited to, foundation, structure exterior, roof, and chimney; (3) Acquiring homeowners' association public records, minutes, bylaws, budget, etc., to help determine any consistent problems with common area grounds or components; (4) Checking with homeowners' association concerning Client's responsibility and any non-recurring fees, dues, or assessments which might be forthcoming.

G. Home Permit History
A home permit history is NOT performed as part of the home inspection process. The home inspection report is not a substitute for, or to be interpreted as a home permit history. Darrells Home Inspections recommends that Client obtain a permit history on a home they want to purchase. Homeowners often do work without permits to save money. If discovered, it may be necessary to apply for permits after the fact, which may involve paying penalties in addition to the permit application fees. If Client is buying a home that has been remodeled over time, there's a good chance that some of the work was done without permits. Recommend Client ask sellers if all work was done with permits. Searching the permit record during the inspection contingency time period may create opportunity to negotiate a satisfactory resolution to permit issues before closing. Client may have to visit the municipal building or planning department to search the permit record of the home, and should be included in the due diligence investigations of the property.

H. Exterior Grounds
Grading and drainage problems cannot adequately be determined during dry weather. Recommend monitoring grading and drainage during rainfall and having any problems evaluated by a qualified landscaping service. Topography and landscaping, and, if present, retaining walls, fences and gates, driveways and walkways, exterior stairs, porches and patios, decks and balconies, and guardrails and handrails appeared functional at the time of the inspection unless noted in the home inspection report.

I. Roof
Roof problems cannot be adequately determined during dry weather or when covered by layers of snow. Roofs are prone to leaking after extended dry periods due to weathering, drying, and shrinkage of wood components of the roof. Roofs are also prone to leaking after ice thaws and snowmelts due to extreme forces exerted on roofing structures by ice, snow, cold, and wind (otherwise known as the winter season). The roof was observed by walking on it, or from ground locations using ladders and binoculars, or any combination thereof. Darrells Home Inspections may choose to not walk on a roof because of danger to inspector and possibility of damaging roof. Recommend monitoring roof function during and after rainfall and further evaluation by qualified roofing contractor if any problems are detected. The roof drainage system helps to keep water away from the siding and foundation, thereby minimizing structural damage and helping to prevent undermining of the foundation and subsequent settling damage (ceiling, wall, and floor cracks). Recommend cleaning and checking gutters and downspouts regularly.

J. Attic and Crawl Space
Attics are very complicated and dangerous environments and can become extremely hot during certain periods of the day. Extremely hot temperatures can cause heat stroke or other health problems if a person is in the attic too long. The same can be true for crawl spaces which are also dangerous environments with exposure to rodent poisons; insects, animals, and reptiles that may bite, sting, or cause harm; rusty nails; debris; molds and dust; etc. Recommend always using caution when in an attic or crawl space. Under such conditions, individuals should never enter the attic or crawl space alone or when other people are not present in the house. Very rarely is the attic, crawl space, and their systems and components fully accessible or visible due to insulation; loose wires; storage; blockage by framing components, equipment, gas and water supply lines; heating and ventilation ducts; or dangerous or unsafe conditions. There is always the possibility that problems or defects were present but not visible in areas not accessed; concealed problems or defects are not within the scope of the home inspection. Recommend regular monitoring and maintenance to help detect roofing or drainage problems.

K. Foundation
Many conditions inhibit the observation of the foundation, including, but not limited to, vegetation, snow, soil, and storage around the exterior; parked vehicles, furnishings, and storage in the garage; and furnishings, storage, and floor coverings (carpets, vinyl, tile, etc.) in the structure interior. Inspectors do not move furnishings and storage in the garage or the structure interior, and floor coverings are not lifted or removed to inspect the subfloor or foundation in the interior. The foundation was observed to the greatest extent possible at the exterior sides of the structure, from inside the structure, from the garage interior (if present), from the crawl space opening and from inside the crawl space (if present).

L. Structure Exterior
Many conditions inhibit the visual observation of the exterior walls, siding, trim, doors, windows, and utilities, including, but not limited to, vegetation, exterior storage, and parked vehicles. Inspectors do not remove vegetation or move exterior storage or vehicles. Some exterior lights might have been operated by interior switches, might have been motion detector lights, or might have been on timers. Some utilities, particularly faucets, water shutoff valves, and electric outlets might not have been visible due to vegetation or exterior storage. Please note that under Ohio law, home inspectors perform a visual inspection only for evidence or presence of wood-destroying pests and organisms and must refer to them as such. Destructive testing to determine the presence of such pests and organisms and their positive identification is reserved to licensed pest control companies and is not within the scope of the home inspection. This home inspection report is not intended as a substitute, nor does it serve as a substitute, for an inspection by a licensed pest control service. Please review your pest control report for greater detail concerning presence or absence of wood-destroying pests and organisms.

M. Utilities
The condition of utility lines (drainage, water, gas, electric, cable) that might run in, under, or through walls and slab-on-grade foundations cannot be determined due to construction.

1. Appliances are not unplugged to test outlets, electric circuit breakers and water and gas shutoff valves are not operated, and gas pilots are not lit.
2. Waste Pipes
I attempt to evaluate drain pipes by flushing every drain that has an active fixture while observing its draw and watching for blockages or slow drains, but this is not a conclusive test and only a video-scan of the main line would confirm its actual condition. However, you can be sure that blockages will occur, usually relative in severity to the age of the system, and will range from minor clogs in the branch lines, or at the traps beneath sinks, tubs and showers to major blockages in the main line. The minor clogs are easily cleared, either by chemical means or by removing and cleaning out the traps. However, if tree roots grow into the main drain that connects the house to the public sewer, repairs could become expensive and might include replacing the entire main line.
For these reasons, I recommend that you ask the sellers if they have ever experienced any drainage problems, or you may wish to have the main waste line video-scanned before the close of escrow. Failing this, you should obtain an insurance policy that covers blockages and damage to the main line. However, most policies only cover plumbing repairs within the house or the cost of rooter service, which are usually relatively inexpensive
No attempt was made to locate drainage cleanout caps.
3. Functional drainage was determined to the greatest extent possible by filling a sink and bathtub and then draining the two systems simultaneously while flushing the toilet; using all systems or appliances might not have been possible.
4. Water Service- Although some authorities having jurisdiction consider normal water pressure to be 40-80 psi, Darrells Home Inspections recommends 40-60 psi. Higher water pressures may cause advanced deterioration of supply system and components, premature failure of faucets and connections, and leaks. Water leaks can develop at any time when water pressure is too high. Lower water pressures might result in poor water flow at shower heads, water faucets, and water-using appliances. Recommend keeping water pressure closer to 40 psi to help prolong life expectancy of water-using appliances and water supply pipes, valves, and faucets, which, in turn, help prevent leaks, water damage, and mold.
5. Water shutoff valves are not tested. A visual inspection of the water service systems and components did not reveal any major defects at the time of the inspection unless noted in the home inspection report.
6. Gas Service- Recommend safety check of all gas-using appliances by public utility before close of escrow. Gas and electric companies typically, but not always, conduct this service free of charge. Gas shutoff valves are not tested, but all visible lines are inspected with a Tif 8800A gas leak detector.
7. Propane storage tanks typically are owned and maintained by private companies. Recommend consulting with seller concerning servicing company and maintenance. Throughout this report, the words "natural gas" and "gas" shall be understood to mean "propane" if propane is being used for the structure. Recommend having Propane Company inspect its propane tank and system before close of escrow.
8. Electric Service- Overuse of extension cords and outlet multipliers is a major cause of home fires and sometimes indicates a lack of an adequate number of electric outlets and/or inadequate service capacity. If Client notices overuse of extension cords or outlet multipliers, additional outlets should be installed by a qualified electrician. Electric panels should always be readily accessible for easy access to circuit breakers in the event of an emergency.

N. Recreational Equipment
Permanent, semi-permanent, and mobile recreational equipment including but not limited to swing sets, gymnasiums, trampolines, sand boxes, pools, hot tubs, and saunas, are not included in the inspection process. Although Darrells Home Inspections may choose to comment on the general condition of recreational equipment, no effort has been made to inspect the safety and/or usefulness of this equipment. As a concern to safety and welfare, we suggest you consult with the owner about the condition and maintenance of the equipment that stays with the transaction. We also advise that you attempt to ascertain the manufacturer of said equipment in order to complete a search with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for any recalls or alerts that may exist. See section on CPSC in Understanding Your Report which follows the report body. We recommend that a regular monthly maintenance schedule be implemented on playground equipment (especially those constructed of wood) to include re-tightening of fasteners, general safety inspections, and re-sealing of wood components.

O. Home Inspection Is Not A Warranty.
This is a general home inspection and not a warranty or to be interpreted as a warranty against existing or future conditions or defects of systems, sub-systems, structures, sub-structures, equipment, appliances, or acts of nature or man. In other words, when we say the roof is in good shape and should last another ten years, we by no means imply a warranty that the roof will in fact last that long. An act of nature such as a hailstorm may render the roof system useless six days after the inspection, requiring immediate replacement. No one can foresee these things happening, so when we comment on conditions in the report or at the inspection, that information is for the exact day and time of the inspection.

P. Not insurance
A home inspection is designed to better your odds. It is not designed to eliminate all risk. For that reason, a home inspection should not be considered an insurance policy. The premium that an insurance company would have to charge for a policy with no deductible, no limit, and an indefinite policy period would be considerably more than the fee we charge for a home inspection.

Q. Recommendations
We make recommendations throughout the report to help you be safe in your new home and to help you maintain your new home. If you disregard our recommendations, you could risk your health and safety, or risk damage to your home and, perhaps, valuable possessions. We understand that buying a home is expensive, but we cannot condone ignoring our recommendations to save a few dollars. Even if you are very capable of doing the repair or replacement work, it should be done now, before you move in and forget about it because other things take up your valuable time. Ignoring our recommendations, however, is a risk that only you can evaluate.

All conditions are reported, as they existed at the time of the inspection. The information contained in this report may be unreliable beyond the date of the inspection due to changing conditions.

Review your Inspection Report in conjunction with this video series (click the link):

Please read "Understanding Your Inspection" that follows this report.

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 typeSafetyPoses a risk of injury or death
Concern typeRepair/ReplaceRecommend repairing or replacing
Concern typeRepair/MaintainRecommend repair and/or maintenance
Concern typeMaintainRecommend ongoing maintenance
Concern typeEvaluateRecommend evaluation by a specialist
Concern typeMonitorRecommend monitoring 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

Table of Contents
General Information
Exterior / Foundation
Attic and Roof Structure
Roof / Attic
Garage / Carport
Plumbing / Fuel Systems
Water Heater
Cooling / Heat Pump
Fireplaces / Stoves / Chimneys
Bathrooms / Laundry / Sinks
Interior Rooms / Areas

General Information
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Time started: 2:50
Time finished: 5:45
Present during inspection: Client
Client present for discussion at end of inspection: Yes
Weather conditions during inspection: Rain
Temperature during inspection: 45 degrees
Ground condition: Damp
Recent weather: Rain
Inspection fee: $360.00
Payment method: Cash, Paid
Type of building: Single family
Buildings inspected: One house
Number of residential units inspected: 1
Age of main building: 71 yrs
Occupied: No

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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: Level
Condition of driveway: Required repair, replacement and/or evaluation (see comments below)
Driveway material: Poured in place concrete
Condition of sidewalks and/or patios: Required repairs, replacement and/or evaluation (see comments below)
Sidewalk material: Poured in place concrete
Condition of stairs, handrails and guardrails: Appeared serviceable

1) Sidewalk(s) and/or patios were undermined or cracked in one or more areas. Significant damage has occurred, where one or more sidewalk and/or patio sections need replacing. Recommend that a qualified contractor replace or repair sections as necessary.
Photo 1-1
Photo 1-2
Photo 1-3
Photo 1-4
Photo 1-5

2) The soil or grading sloped down towards building perimeters on west side area. This can result in water accumulating around building foundations or underneath buildings. It is a conducive condition for wood-destroying organisms. 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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Limitations: Structural components such as joists and beams, and other components such as piping, wiring and/or ducting that are obscured by under-floor insulation are also excluded from this inspection. Note that the inspector does not determine if support posts, columns, beams, joists, studs, trusses, etc. are of adequate size, spanning or spacing.

The inspector does not guarantee or warrant that water will not accumulate in the basement in the future. Access to the basement during all seasons and during prolonged periods of all types of weather conditions (e.g. heavy rain, melting snow) would be needed to do so. The inspector does not determine the adequacy of basement floor or stairwell drains, or determine if such drains are clear or clogged.

Note that all basement areas should be checked periodically for water intrusion, plumbing leaks and pest activity.
Condition of exterior entry doors: Appeared serviceable
Exterior door material: Metal
Condition of floor substructure above crawl space: Appeared serviceable
Pier or support post material:
Beam material: Steel

Exterior / 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.
Condition of wall exterior covering: Appeared serviceable
Apparent wall structure: Wood frame, Brick
Wall covering: Solid brick (not veneer)
Condition of foundation and footings: Appeared serviceable
Apparent foundation type: Unfinished basement
Foundation/stem wall material: Poured in place concrete

Attic and Roof Structure
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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; areas and components obscured by insulation. Any comments made regarding these items are made as a courtesy only. The inspector does not determine the adequacy of the attic ventilation system. Complete access to all roof and attic spaces during all seasons and during prolonged periods of all types of weather conditions (e.g. high/low temperatures, high/low humidity, high wind and rain, melting snow) would be needed to do so. The inspector is not a licensed engineer and does not determine the adequacy of roof structure components such as trusses, rafters or ceiling beams, or their spacing or sizing.
Attic inspection method: Viewed from hatch(es)
Condition of roof structure: Appeared serviceable, Required repair, replacement and/or evaluation (see comments below)
Ceiling structure: Ceiling joists
Condition of insulation in attic (ceiling, skylight chase, etc.): Required repair, replacement and/or evaluation (see comments below)
Ceiling insulation material: Fiberglass loose fill
Approximate attic insulation R value (may vary in areas): R-19

3) The ceiling insulation installed in the attic was substandard 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.
Photo 3-1

Roof / Attic
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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. 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 performed adequately or were leak-free.
Roof inspection method: Partially traversed
Condition of roof surface material: Appeared serviceable
Roof surface material: Asphalt or fiberglass composition shingles
Condition of exposed flashings: Appeared serviceable
Condition of gutters, downspouts and extensions: Required repair, replacement and/or evaluation (see comments below)

4) One or more gutters had a substandard slope so that significant amounts of water accumulate in them rather than draining through the downspouts. This can cause gutters to overflow, especially when debris such as leaves or needles hs accumulated in them. Rainwater can come in contact with the building exterior or accumulate around the foundation as a result. This is a conducive condition for wood-destroying organisms. Recommend that a qualified person repair as necessary. For example, by correcting the slope in gutters or installing additional downspouts and extensions.
Photo 4-1
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5) Extensions such as splash blocks or drain pipes for one or more downspouts were substandard. Water can accumulate around the building foundation or inside crawl spaces or basements as a result. Recommend that a qualified person install, replace or repair extensions as necessary so rainwater drains away from the structure.

Garage / Carport
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Limitations: The inspector does not determine the adequacy of firewall ratings. Requirements for ventilation in garages varies between municipalities.
Type: Attached, Detached
Condition of garage vehicle door(s): Appeared serviceable
Garage vehicle door type: Sectional
Number of vehicle doors: 1
Condition of automatic opener(s): None
Condition of garage floor: Appeared serviceable

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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 detectors is not determined as part of this inspection. Upon taking occupancy, proper operating and placement of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors 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: Appeared serviceable
Primary service type: Overhead
Number of service conductors: 2
Service voltage (volts): 120-240
Estimated service amperage: 100
Primary service overload protection type: Circuit breakers
System ground: Cold water supply pipes, Copper
Condition of main service panel: Appeared serviceable
Location of main disconnect: Breaker at bottom of main service panel
Condition of branch circuit wiring: Required repair, replacement and/or evaluation (see comments below)
Branch circuit wiring type: Non-metallic sheathed, Copper
Smoke alarms installed: Yes, but not tested
Carbon monoxide alarms installed: No, recommend install

6) Wire splices in basement were exposed and were not contained in a covered junction box. This is a potential shock or fire hazard. Recommend that a qualified electrician repair per standard building practices. For example, by installing permanently mounted junction boxes with cover plates where needed to contain wiring splices.
Photo 6-1

7) One or more modern, 3-slot electric receptacles (outlets) were found with an open ground. 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. Recommend that a qualified electrician repair as necessary so all receptacles are grounded per standard building practices.

8) Smoke alarms were missing . 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 and at laundry
. For more information, visit:

9) 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:

10) 2-slot receptacles (outlets) rather than 3-slot, grounded receptacles were installed in one or more areas. These do not have an equipment ground and are considered unsafe by today's standards. Appliances that require a ground should not be used with 2-slot receptacles. Examples of such appliances include computers and related hardware, refrigerators, freezers, portable air conditioners, clothes washers, aquarium pumps, and electrically operated gardening tools. The client should be aware of this limitation when planning use for various rooms, such as an office. Upgrading to grounded receptacles typically requires installing new wiring from the main service panel or sub-panel to the receptacle(s), in addition to replacing the receptacle(s). Consult with a qualified electrician about upgrading to 3-wire, grounded circuits.
Photo 10-1

11) One or more electric receptacles (outlets) in garage 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.
Photo 11-1

12) The legend for circuit breakers in panel was missing. 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.

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.
Condition of service and main line: Near, at or beyond service life
Location of main water shut-off: Basement
Water service: Public
Condition of supply lines: Required repair, replacement and/or evaluation (see comments below)
Supply pipe material: Copper, Galvanized steel
Condition of drain pipes: Appeared serviceable
Drain pipe material: Plastic
Condition of waste lines: Appeared serviceable, Near, at or beyond service life
Waste pipe material: Cast iron
Vent pipe condition: Appeared serviceable
Vent pipe material: Plastic, Galvanized steel
Sump pump installed: No
Condition of fuel system: Appeared serviceable

13) The main water service pipe material (from the street) was made of galvanized steel. Based on the age of the building, the apparent age of the pipe and/or the low-flow condition of the water supply system, this service pipe may have significant corrosion or rust on the inside and need replacing. Replacing the service pipe can significantly increase flow to the water supply pipes. Recommend consulting with a qualified plumber about replacing the main service pipe. Note that this can be an expensive repair since excavation is typically required.
Photo 13-1

14) One or more leaks were found in water supply pipes or fittings above washer and under kitchen sink.
. A qualified plumber should evaluate and repair as necessary.
Call Randy Shinlever at Master's Touch 397-1843
Photo 14-1
Photo 14-2

15) Significant corrosion was found in some remaining galvanized water supply pipes or fittings. Leaks can occur as a result. Recommend that a qualified plumber evaluate and replace components as necessary.

16) Low flow was found at one or more sinks, bathtubs and/or showers when multiple fixtures were operated at the same time. Water supply pipes may be clogged or corroded, filters may be clogged or need new cartridges, or fixtures may be clogged. Recommend that a qualified plumber evaluate and repair as necessary.
Photo 16-1

17) Significant corrosion was found in some waste pipes or fittings. This can indicate past leaks, or that leaks are likely to occur in the future. Recommend that a qualified plumber evaluate and repair as necessary.
Photo 17-1
Photo 17-2

18) Copper water supply pipes to washer had substandard support or were loose. Leaks can occur as a result. Copper supply pipes should have approved hangers every 6-8 feet. If hangers are in contact with the copper pipe, they should be made of a material that doesn't cause the pipes or hangers to corrode due to contact of dissimilar metals. Recommend that a qualified person install hangers or secure pipes per standard building practices.
Photo 18-1

19) This property was unoccupied and the plumbing system has not been in continuous operation recently. It's possible for plumbing leaks to exist but not be apparent. Leaks can be small and take time to become visible. The inspector normally operates all accessible and operable plumbing fixtures, but this limited inspection may not reveal small leaks that only become visible after constant use of the plumbing system. After taking occupancy, monitor the plumbing system for leaks that may become apparent. Areas below the house should be evaluated after plumbing has been operated to check for leaks. Any problems that are found should be repaired by a qualified plumber.

20) Some of the water supply and drain or vent pipes were made of galvanized steel. Based on the age of this structure and the 40-60 year useful life of this piping, 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. 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 in wall, floor and/or ceiling 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
For more information, visit:
Photo 20-1
Photo 20-2
Photo 20-3

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: Required repair, replacement and/or evaluation (see comments below)
Type: Tank
Energy source: Natural gas
Capacity (in gallons): 40
Temperature-pressure relief valve installed: Yes
Location of water heater: Basement
Hot water temperature tested: Yes
Condition of burners: Appeared serviceable
Condition of venting system: Required repair, replacement and/or evaluation (see comments below)

21) Exhaust gases were "back drafting" out of the water heater's flue and draft hood was missing. The flue pipe may be configured incorrectly or blocked. This is a safety hazard due to the risk of exhaust gases entering living spaces. A qualified contractor should evaluate and repair as necessary.
Photo 21-1
Photo 21-2

22) 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.
Photo 22-1

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Limitations: The following items are not included in this inspection: humidifiers, dehumidifiers, electronic air filters; solar, coal or 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. It is beyond the scope of this inspection to determine if furnace heat exchangers are intact and free of leaks. Condensation pans and drain lines may clog or leak at any time and should be monitored while in operation in the future. 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).
General heating system type(s): Forced air, Furnace
Condition of forced air heating/(cooling) system: Appeared serviceable
Forced air heating system fuel type: Natural gas
Estimated age of forced air furnace: 1999
Location of forced air furnace: Basement
Forced air system capacity in BTUs or kilowatts: 75K
Condition of furnace filters: Appeared serviceable
Location for forced air filter(s): At base of air handler
Condition of forced air ducts and registers: Appeared serviceable
Condition of burners: Appeared serviceable
Condition of venting system: Appeared serviceable
Condition of controls: Appeared serviceable

Cooling / Heat Pump
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Limitations: The following items are not included in this inspection: humidifiers, dehumidifiers, electronic air filters; thermostat or temperature control accuracy and timed functions; cooling 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 cooling system components, does not determine if cooling systems are appropriately sized, and does not test coolant pressure. Condensation pans and drain lines may clog or leak at any time and should be monitored while in operation in the future.
Type: Split system
Estimated age: 15 yrs
Approximate tonnage: 2
Manufacturer: Ducane
Condition of distribution system: Appeared serviceable

23) The outdoor air temperature was below 60 degrees Fahrenheit during the inspection. Because of this, the inspector was unable to operate and fully evaluate the cooling system.

Fireplaces / Stoves / Chimneys
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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.
Condition of wood-burning fireplaces, stoves: Required repair, replacement and/or evaluation (see comments below)
Wood-burning fireplace type: Masonry
Wood-burning stove type: Freestanding
Condition of chimneys and flues: Required repair, replacement and/or evaluation (see comments below)
Wood-burning chimney type: Masonry
Gas-fired flue type: B-vent

24) The fireplace's firebox was deteriorated. For example, loose, cracked, pitted or broken firebricks, gaps between bricks and/or missing mortar. Heat from the fireplace may penetrate the firebox. This is a potential fire hazard. Recommend that a qualified contractor repair as necessary.
Photo 24-1

25) One or more gaps were found between the fireplace face and the firebox. Heat from the firebox may penetrate these gaps to combustible materials in the wall structure. This is a potential fire hazard. Recommend that a qualified contractor repair as necessary.

26) Fireplace damper or damper frame were damaged. Recommend that a qualified contractor repair or replace dampers as necessary.
Photo 26-1

27) Mortar at the brick chimney was deteriorated (e.g. loose, missing, cracked). 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.
Photo 27-1

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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: Appeared serviceable
Condition of sinks and related plumbing: Required repair, replacement and/or evaluation (see comments below)
Condition of under-sink food disposal: N/A (none installed)
Condition of dishwasher: Appeared serviceable
Condition of range, cooktop: Appeared serviceable
Range, cooktop type: Electric
Condition of refrigerator: Appeared serviceable

28) Leaks with severe corrosion was found at water supply line for the sink (old galvanized pipe) A qualified plumber should repair as necessary.

Bathrooms / Laundry / 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.
Condition of counters: Appeared serviceable
Condition of cabinets: Appeared serviceable
Condition of flooring: Appeared serviceable
Condition of sinks and related plumbing: Appeared serviceable
Condition of toilets: Appeared serviceable
Condition of bathtubs and related plumbing: Required repair, replacement and/or evaluation (see comments below)
Condition of ventilation systems: Appeared serviceable
Bathroom ventilation type: Spot fans
240 volt receptacle for laundry equipment present: Yes

29) The hot and/or cold water supply flow for the bathtub/shower was low. Recommend that a qualified plumber evaluate and repair as necessary.
Photo 29-1
Photo 29-2

Interior Rooms / Areas
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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: Appeared serviceable
Exterior door material: Metal
Condition of interior doors: Appeared serviceable
Condition of windows and skylights: Appeared serviceable
Type(s) of windows: Vinyl, Multi-pane, Double-hung
Condition of walls and ceilings: Appeared serviceable
Wall type or covering: Drywall or plaster
Ceiling type or covering: Drywall or plaster
Condition of flooring: Appeared serviceable
Flooring type or covering: Wood or wood products
Condition of stairs, handrails and guardrails: Appeared serviceable

Understanding Your Inspection

Home inspectors- Buying and selling real estate is a complicated process. We highly recommend that you use a Realtor to help you with your transaction. Realtors are like home inspectors. They come from various backgrounds but have had to go through a significant amount of training to enter their chosen profession. Realtors understand buying and selling real estate, including home inspection reports. We believe their knowledge and expertise is invaluable to you in your real estate transaction. However, while Realtors know a lot about home inspections and home inspection reports, they are not home inspectors. And while home inspectors know a lot about real estate, they are not Realtors. Seek help from the appropriate source when you need it. If there is any question about the information in your home inspection report, please call your home inspector first, and then call your Realtor. We usually also touch base with your Realtor whenever you call us with a question.

Home inspection standards- The home inspection industry is relatively young. The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI) is a premier home inspection association consisting of master inspectors who have all successfully passed NACHI's Inspector Examination, adhere to Standards of Practice, abide by a Code of Ethics, attend required continuing education courses, and are NACHI Certified.

The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI) has inspection standards which list the items to be inspected, and the exclusions there from. The quality of any inspection, however, is the knowledge, skill, and effort the inspector puts into the inspection. Darrells Home Inspections documents findings in an easy-to-understand report, which is site-specific to each home and may include areas you can't see or items, which you might not be familiar with. Some of our recommendations will relate to homeowner safety and regular home maintenance, and some will concern improvements or upgrades (without stating them as such). All are intended to give you a better understanding of the condition of your home and how to be safe in it. Please visit for a complete list of standards and our Code of Ethics.

Sometimes Darrells Home Inspections must recommend further evaluation by licensed specialists or experts, the most common of which are electricians, plumbers, roofing contractors, pest control service, and civil or professional engineers (structure, soils, or geotechnical). Home inspection standards of practice typically allow inspectors to offer opinions or evaluations on any subject with which they are sufficiently familiar and experienced, so we recommend specialists when we deem it necessary and in the best interest of our Clients. If you have any questions, please call us at 937-477-6917.

Building codes- A home inspection is not a substitute for a building inspection or a code compliance inspection, nor do home inspectors interpret or cite building codes. Inspecting for code compliance and interpreting building codes is the sole and legal responsibility of municipal authorities. A home inspector inspects the visible and accessible areas of a home in accordance with generally accepted national home inspection standards (see Home Inspection Standards).

Municipalities use a combination of the International Residential Code, the Uniform Building Code, the International Plumbing Code, the Uniform Plumbing Code, and the National Electrical Code (Ohio also has its own codes). General guidelines typically state that building codes are not retroactive. In most situations, buildings are required to be maintained under the code that was in effect at the time of original construction, and that such requirements remain true as long as the building is used for its original intended purpose. General guidelines also state that alterations or repairs must conform to that required for a new structure without requiring the existing structure to comply with all of the requirements of the codes, and that additions, alterations, or repairs must not cause an existing structure to become unsafe or adversely affect the performance of the building.

If you or your Realtor's response to an area of concern or a recommendation in our report is, "Well, they didn't have that (or they didn't do that) when the house was built," we know that. However, during the ensuing years, our knowledge has increased considerably concerning safety in the home, and we believe that you should be safe in your home or that taking care of your home should be as easy as possible. So we will recommend things that they didn't have or do years ago simply to keep you safe or help you take care of your home. A good example of a safety item is the installation of GFCI safety outlets (those electric outlets typically with the red and black buttons on them; see GFCI outlets later in this section). They are inexpensive, life-saving devices that have only been around for about twenty years. If you have any questions about why we recommend something, please call us at 937-477-6917.

Your home inspection report- The primary objective of a home inspection is to provide you with information about the home and any major defects before you buy it. All homes have defects; the perfect home does not exist. Potential home buyers often incorrectly view an inspection report as a mandatory repair list for the seller. The fact is that sellers are not required to produce a flawless house. They have no such obligation by law or by contract; therefore, most repairs are subject to negotiation between the buyer and seller. Typically, buyers will request that various conditions be repaired before the close of escrow, and sellers will usually agree to some of those demands. But with most building defects, sellers make repairs as a matter of choice, not obligation, in order to foster good will or to help accomplish the sale. Sellers can refuse any repair demands except where requirements are set forth by state law, local ordinance, or the real estate purchase contract. Purchase contracts usually stipulate that fixtures be working, that windows not be broken, and that there be no leaks in the roof or plumbing.

Before you make any demands of the seller, try to evaluate the inspection report with an eye toward problems of greatest significance (see "What Really Matters"). Look for conditions that compromise health and safety or involve potential or active leaks in the plumbing or the roof. Most sellers will address problems affecting crucial areas or items- such as the roof, electrical, and plumbing problems- and big-ticket items such as the furnace and water heater. Please consult with your Realtor to help you work through an appropriate repair request list to present to the seller. And if you have any questions about any item in your home inspection report, please call us at 937-477-6917.

Why we're not specific- When we're not specific about where a problem is, it is not because we're trying to be obstinate or that we didn't make specific notes about your home. There really is some logic about the method to our madness. When we are specific about a problem, it is because the problem is not common and is not expected to re-occur once it has been resolved. An example of being specific would be when we state that the hot water faucet in bathroom three did not work. When that is corrected, it is not expected to re-occur in the near future, and such an abnormal condition is not common and is not to be expected to exist at the same time in the other bathrooms.

An example of not being specific would be when we state that corrosion was present on the water and drainage pipes and valves in sink cabinets. We may not note what specific sink because corrosion is so common that it could be present at the water and drainage pipes and valves in all sink cabinets by the time you move in. Additionally, especially in a furnished residence, we usually can't see many of the common problems because they are obscured by furnishings, storage, etc. (read the following section concerning "Home inspectors as movers"). When we are not specific, it is our goal to force you to examine all similar areas when you move in (or as soon as all furnishings have been removed) and then take appropriate action for the conditions described generally in the report and which you might see upon your inspection of similar areas. We realize that at times this can be confusing or frustrating to you, so if you have any questions about our not being specific, please call us at 937-477-6917. It doesn't do you or us any good if you're sitting in your home confused, frustrated, wondering, or blaming the home inspector for missing something.

If you are requesting repairs of the seller for an item on which we were not specific, we believe your request should use the term "all." For example, instead of requesting that the screen window in bedroom three be replaced (screen windows are easily damaged during move-out), request that "all screen windows be present and undamaged after move-out," or something like that. Consult with your Realtor to help you prepare an appropriate list of requested repairs for the seller. And again, don't be afraid to call us at 937-477-6917 if you have any questions or need clarification.

Home inspectors as movers- We often get asked why we didn't move something during the course of our inspection. Insurance concerns are the main answer. We do not know how much an item might have cost its owner, or the special history of any item, so our insurance precludes us from moving something and possibly damaging it. Even the unlikely-looking item could be a priceless heirloom, or a priceless heirloom could be in that common cardboard box. Additionally, if we were to move only one item, case law would require us to move every item. Obviously, time constraints preclude us from taking on that role. Home inspectors are not movers, and we do not know of any movers who are home inspectors. They are two different professions.

Blame the home inspector- Home inspectors get blamed for a lot of stuff, especially when the residence is occupied and fully furnished or when the residence is vacant and unfurnished; in other words, all the time.

A home inspection is a visual inspection of the structural and mechanical components. A furnished home presents problems for inspectors because many areas typically are not visible due to floor coverings (carpet, tile, area rugs, etc.), furnishings, storage, packed moving boxes, wall hangings and mirrors, etc. Use of electric outlets typically prevents the testing of every electric outlet because we're not going to unplug equipment that belongs to someone else to test an outlet. Interior furnishings and storage typically prevent access to, inspection of, or opening every window, cabinet, closet, or door.

Here's what typically happens with occupied and fully furnished residences. Since the residence is being lived in and systems are being used on a daily basis, it is possible that something will be damaged or fails during the escrow period and during the move-out/move-in process, especially when children are present. Homeowners rarely damage something during escrow and file a claim against their homeowner's insurance policy because, hey, they think it's not even their home anymore. They think you own it. Why should they fix something that belongs to you? Some sellers actually do not understand (or do not care) that they still own the home during the escrow period and should continue to take care of it.

Selling a home and leaving is a stressful event. To help relieve that stress, sellers and buyers typically have "moving parties," "last parties," "first parties," or "housewarming parties." Or they move hurriedly so they don't have to take too much time off from work or use up vacation days or sick leave. The actual days of moving are when most post-inspection damage occurs, and usually it is by the guests (or movers) helping the owner (seller or buyer) move, so the owner may not even know anything about the damage that has occurred. In both these instances, sellers like to say, "Your home inspector must not have seen that." Buyers like to say, "Our home inspector missed that."

Here's what we know, though: Windows and window screens, and doors and door screens, are easily damaged during the escrow period and during the move-out/move-in process. Lights, switches, outlets, etc., can be damaged or fail. Because of the location of water supply and drainage pipes in our sink cabinets, where we start cramming things immediately upon move-in, plumbing pipes are easily damaged during the escrow period and during the move-out/move-in process, possibly causing loose pipes and leaks. Lights, wall switches, and outlets (electrical, telephone, and cable) get a lot of use during the escrow period, during the move-out/move-in process, and for those various parties, and thus are easily damaged.

In other words, by the time the buyer is completely moved in, there could be anything that just isn't right or isn't the same as it was on the day of the inspection. That, of course, is the nature of real estate.

So how do you remedy all this post-inspection damage? There are a couple of ways. First, we believe the purpose of your final walk-through is not only to make sure that any requested items have been repaired, but also to make sure that additional damage, deterioration, and destruction beyond normal wear and tear has not occurred. We recommend a careful, slow, and thorough observation with your Realtor at your final walk-through to ensure your satisfaction. Second, after you have had your own moving parties, walk around your home and check for damage caused by your guests. You're very likely to find some; in many instances, your guests may not even know that they caused damage.

If you have any questions about anything, please feel free to call us at 937-477-6917.

Unplugging equipment, testing outlets, or dismantling equipment- We do not unplug any item to test an outlet. We have a choice of unplugging every item or unplugging no items. Making decisions on a case-by-case, site-specific, or equipment-specific basis on what to unplug would not be fair to all Clients, and unplugging every item presents problems when there is programmable equipment, sensitive equipment that could be damaged by power surges when plugging the equipment back in or turning it on, lost data from programs running on computers, and safety concerns. In many cases, looking at the equipment's switches and lights tells us whether the outlet is functioning, although looking at equipment will not tell us if the outlets are wired or grounded properly. If you have any concerns about any specific outlet, particularly if it is going to be used for sensitive equipment, have the outlet tested by a qualified electrician. We also do not disassemble or dismantle items, such as furnaces, cooling condensers, water heaters, etc. We will remove the outer and inner covers of electric panels that are safely accessible to look at the wiring inside; we will not remove any circuit breakers to look for bad contact points, rust, or corrosion since doing so would require disconnecting electric service to the structure. Our methods are consistent with generally accepted home inspection standards. If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 937-477-6917.

Shutoff valves, circuit breakers, electric outlets, and gas pilots- Only a visual inspection of shutoff valves and circuit breakers is done. We not only want you to be safe in your new home, we want to be safe while we are inspecting your new home. Therefore, we do not turn any water or gas shutoff valves on, move any electric circuit breakers to the "on" position, plug in anything that has been unplugged, or light any gas pilots, simply because we do not know why the valves or breakers were off, why the equipment was unplugged, or why the gas pilots were turned off. Turning valves and breakers on, plugging in equipment, or trying to light gas pilots without such knowledge can cause property damage, personal injury, and, in a worst case scenario, loss of life. We also do not do any of the opposite functions, i.e., turning water or gas shutoff valves off, moving electric circuit breakers to the "off" position, unplug anything that is plugged in, or extinguish any gas pilots. The function of the water heater TPR discharge pipe cannot be determined since it is connected to a valve; it is given a visual inspection only. Any circuit breakers that were in the "off" position are noted as such and are not switched to the "on" position. If breaker-tripping problems are detected, you should seek the guidance of a qualified electrician; circuits might be overloaded or a short might have been caused at an outlet or switch during the move-out/move-in process.

Due to the constant pressure in the water supply lines and the lack of daily use of shutoff valves at the toilets, sinks, and water heater, the valves can fail at any time. Many sellers try to be helpful by turning off all the water shutoff valves at the toilets, sinks, and water heater as the last thing they do when they move out. This typically is exactly the wrong thing to do. In many cases the valves are very difficult to turn due to rust, corrosion, and/or mineral build-up from hard water, and when they are forced, they break and leak when they are turned back on. We recommend that you have qualified personnel inspect water shutoff valves at the toilets, sinks, and water heater before close of escrow to ensure proper operation. If you choose not to have the water shutoff valves at the toilets, sinks, and water heater inspected and tested before close of escrow, we recommend that you instruct the sellers to leave the water on at all water-using appliances, particularly if you are going to be moving in within a couple of days or so. If you intend to leave the residence vacant for any period longer than a weekend, please read the section titled "Vacant Residence."

Vacant residence- A vacant residence presents its own types of problems. Although vacant residences typically are unfurnished, meaning that we can see virtually everything, residences that are vacant for any period of time can be expected to present problems upon move-in. Some structural and mechanical components and systems that have not been used on a daily basis can be expected to fail upon first use. A home is meant to be used, meaning that a fully functioning home requires proper use, care, and maintenance. When a residence is vacant, there is no one to do regular monitoring and maintenance. Think about the "haunted house" in your neighborhood or city when you were growing up. It was vacant and dilapidated, and deterioration was continuing on a daily basis because no one was around to take care of it. This is the same with any vacant residence, new or used. Deterioration is an ongoing process; it does not quit simply because a residence is vacant. We recommend that, during the escrow period, you compile a list of qualified service personnel (plumber, electrician, appliance repair, etc.) and telephone numbers to assist you in the event of any emergency during the move-in process.

If the residence has been vacant for more than a few days prior to the home inspection, there is a possibility that the testing we did during the home inspection might have caused some problems. For example, the most common problem caused by home inspections in vacant residences has to do with plumbing leaks. When water faucets and drainpipes are not used on a regular basis, their components can dry out and harden. The first time they are used, then, might result in damage to interior components, such as o-rings at the water faucet. The damage might not be apparent until you turn the water faucet on when you move in. Our testing might have damaged the dried out, hardened o-ring while your first operation of the same faucet after our testing actually dislodged the o-ring fragments and caused the faucet or handles to start leaking. It's no one's "fault," really; it's just a consequence of what happens with vacant homes, when homes are not lived in, used, and maintained on a daily basis.

Hydrogen gas can accumulate in hot water systems that have not been operated for a period of time, such as in vacant residences. Under adverse conditions, this hydrogen gas can cause fires at faucets and explosions at water-using appliances. If your new home has been vacant for more than a few days, flush the hot water system by turning on all hot water faucets and letting them run for several minutes. Do not use the hot water faucets near any open flames (cigarettes, candles, etc.) and do not use any hot-water-using appliances (dishwasher) or nearby heat-producing appliances (dishwasher, cook top, etc.) until the hot water system has been flushed. If you have a multi-story residence, start turning on hot water faucets in the highest floor first and work your way down to the lower floors.

If you have any questions about anything, please call us at 937-477-6917.

Newer home or older home?- The main advantage to a newer home is that there is less damage, both from Mother and Father Nature and from previous occupants. You typically get to create your own damage or watch it happen naturally. The main disadvantage to a newer home is that you do not know what kind of damage Mother and Father Nature are going to inflict upon your house. What you see may not be what you get years down the road.

The main advantage to an older home is that Mother and Father Nature have already inflicted the majority of their damage upon your house, and additional damage probably won't occur unless major rainfall or seismic activity occurs, or unless you alter the landscaping or remodel the structure itself. What you see is what you get. Unfortunately, you typically don't get to create your own damage or watch it happen naturally, and there are no fond memories associated with the damage that is there.

We typically define a newer home as one that is less than ten years old. An older home, of course, is defined as one that is more than ten years old.

When a house is being built, the ground is graded and tentatively landscaped. Regular rainfall throughout the year would help our houses settle gradually. This means that if you move into your house in December, you may not see any settlement activity (typically known as common wall and ceiling cracks) until the first major rainfall comes the following spring, or even later after prolonged periods of drought. Then, all of a sudden, boom! Settlement damage occurs after the first rains. You might even consider it major settlement damage, even when it is common settlement damage, simply because it happened to your house. Your beautiful new home is now a wreck and collapsing around you as you sleep. This is not necessarily so.

If the house is a newer home, less than ten years old, you might notice hairline cracks develop at both interior and exterior locations, particularly at door and window corners, and typically in a diagonal manner. Usually these are common stucco and drywall cracks. Sometimes these cracks will follow the drywall seams, forming perfectly straight lines and 90 degree corners. When they follow drywall seams, they can appear anywhere, depending on the quality of the workmanship, how well the drywall sections were fitted together, whether or not seam tape was used, the quality of the seam tape, the type of nails or screws used to secure the drywall, the number of screws or nails used to secure the drywall, and the quality and thickness of the ceiling or wall texture. Ceiling and wall texturing, and painting, prevent home inspectors from inspecting workmanship to determine why drywall seam cracks appear. Now refer to the index and read the section on "Cracks."

If the house is more than ten years old, most settlement activity probably, but not necessarily, has already occurred simply because it probably has been through a few years of good rainfall. This presumes many things in the older home, though, such as the house having been well-maintained by previous homeowners; fully functional gutters and downspouts in place; grading and drainage directing water away from the foundation; vegetation which has not been allowed to grow on the roof or siding, or too close to the foundation; and any leaks in the roof, plumbing, or drainage systems, as well as any damage from those leaks, having been repaired immediately to prevent additional damage, which sometimes might be concealed in the walls or ceiling. Those are a lot of presumptions, and typically not all of them are valid for any property. Any type of renovation or remodeling of any section of an older home is going to uncover problems or defects which are not noted in this report, typically because they could not be seen or detected, especially in a furnished structure. Knowing this, you should budget appropriately for unexpected and unforeseen circumstances during any remodeling.

Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)- For your reference, should recalls or safety concerns be announced (previously or in the future), we recommend you visit the CPSC web site ( concerning equipment, products, and appliances in your home.

The CPSC web site is very easy to use and has an on-line subscription service ( for notification of any recalls or safety concerns. There are many subscription choices, including subscribing to recalls involving only selected products, e.g., infant/child products, sports and recreation products, outdoor products, household products, and specialty products. There are literally thousands of recalls and safety concerns that have been released since the Consumer Product Safety Commission began operating in 1973, and they all are listed. Not all recalls and safety concerns make the headlines of your local newspaper. Darrells Home Inspections recommends that you subscribe to all CPSC press releases, including recalls. This will alert you to all recalls and safety concerns in all categories.

Cracks- It is the nature of many construction materials to crack as they expand and contract, particularly with exposure to moisture as they get wet and dry out, and as they age. The more common of these materials include concrete, asphalt, stucco, brick, mortar, concrete block, plaster, sheetrock (also known as Gypsum(TM) and drywall), and stone.

Common cracks are typically, but not always, defined as hairline cracks less than one-eighth inch wide or less than twelve inches in length. Almost by definition, concrete and stucco will crack, simply because the material shrinks and cracks as it dries, cures, and ages. Common cracks in concrete and stucco are also called shrinkage cracks. Common cracks can appear at any time in the life of a structure, typically running diagonally from door and window corners where they typically are of least concern.

Major cracks are typically defined as more than one-eighth inch wide, more than twelve inches in length, excessive in number, unusual (stair-step, V shaped, straight horizontal, or straight vertical), or in unusual locations (such as middle of a wall with no doors or windows nearby). If major cracks are present or appear, Client should seek additional evaluation from a qualified civil engineer specializing in foundations and structures. Some major cracks occur simply due to neglect and ignorance about how to take care of common cracks. In other words, a common crack can become a major crack if it is ignored.

If the affected structure is over ten years of age, cracks PROBABLY do not pose any threat of significant additional short-term damage with NORMAL CLIMATE, NORMAL RAINFALL, and NORMAL SEISMIC ACTIVITY. However, cracks and areas around all cracks should be repaired and monitored on a regular basis, especially during periods of high rainfall or immediately after seismic activity, and a qualified civil engineer should evaluate any additional damage. If Client is unfamiliar with common cracks, Client should seek the specialized services of a qualified civil engineer for further evaluation and information. Major settlement cracks, particularly in the foundation, walls, ceilings, and/or attached porches/patios, should be inspected BEFORE CLOSE OF ESCROW to help protect your investment in this piece of real estate. Major settlement cracks in driveways, walkways, and other areas typically are more cosmetic than of a critical failure nature but should still be evaluated by a qualified professional. Recommend repair and/or replacement of affected components and regular monitoring and maintenance to seal and weatherproof cracks to help prevent additional damage and accelerated deterioration.

Although you might be willing to accept a house with more than its fair share of common and major cracks in various areas, the person who seeks to purchase your house somewhere down the road may not be so accepting, thereby leaving you to make repairs then, at which time additional damage might have occurred due to ongoing neglect. It is in your best interest to take care of both common and major cracks now.

Taking care of your house- The easiest way to take care of your house is to keep unwanted moisture away from the exterior, particularly the foundation, and out of the interior, particularly the attic, closets, and cabinets. This typically means little or no watering next to your foundation. This typically translates into no high-water-use plants next to your foundation. What's a high water-use plant? Typically big plants, tropical plants, and plants that have large foliage or lots of flowers. This means regular monitoring and maintenance of the exterior roof, walls, and foundation, and the structural and mechanical components attached to them. This means regular monitoring and maintenance of the interior, including walls and floors under upper stories. What is regular monitoring and maintenance? Home ownership! It is not easy being a homeowner, and there will be many things that become problems while you own your home and which you will need to spend money to resolve. We recommend proactive preventive maintenance rather that after-the-fact reactive repair. To that end, throughout this report you will read the phrase "Recommend regular homeowner monitoring and maintenance." This phrase means that things will fall apart or become problems if you don't take care of them. Some items will need to be monitored and maintained daily (sink cabinets, etc.--see "Sink cabinets and chemical storage" for more information on how to easily and effectively monitor your sink cabinet plumbing on a daily basis), monthly (GFCI outlets, etc.), or annually (roof, water heater, fireplace, gas-using appliances, etc.). You're investing a substantial amount of money in a home. Please take care of it or hire professional service people to take care of it for you.

Your roof- Climate and seasons will play havoc with your roof. Here's what happens. When the lumber was ordered for your house, it was what we call "green lumber," having typical moisture content of 20% or higher. The natural drying process as the house was being built typically causes the moisture content to fall to between 7% and 10%. Now that construction is finished, the house suffers through beautiful sunshine, torrential rain, winter snow and ice, and several months of drought. During those seasons, the moisture content can fall to between 1% and 3%, and climb back to 10% or more, causing shrinkage and expansion gaps between wood components. At the same time, the flashing sealant on the roof is aging, drying out, becoming brittle, and cracking. Now the spring rains come. Leaks everywhere! Yes, the roof and flashing on your house in our climate can fail at any time.

Here's how to protect your investment without spending a lot of money and without waiting until thousands of dollars worth of damage occur to the interior because of a roof leak. Put in your annual home maintenance budget a couple of hundred dollars or so for a roofing contractor. Every October when you set your clocks back (or any other easily remembered day in the Fall, but definitely before the rainy season), pay a qualified roofing contractor to come out and examine your roof and give it the A-OK (some roofing contractors may also provide warranties against leaks for a year or two). Now you should make it through the rainy season with no problems. And come on, a couple of hundred dollars or so in preventive maintenance for the roof is much, much better than waiting until it leaks and going through the anguish of a major roof leak, damage to the structure interior and furniture, and possible damage to your books, pictures, photographs, and other priceless mementoes of you and your family (like your wedding album and your children's baby pictures).

Your roof covering will last a long time in our climate if you'll do three things: make sure your attic has (1) adequate ventilation (e.g., any combination of gable, soffit, static, turbine, and ridge vents; and attic fans), (2) adequate insulation, and (3) give a roofing contractor a couple of hundred bucks or so each year, or toward the end of whatever warranty period the roofing contractor provides you, to inspect your roof and flashing.

Corrosion- Corrosion build-up is often present on pipes and valves in sink cabinets, at toilets, and at the water heater. Although corrosion is common, it can indicate leaks, static electric charges on metal pipes, dissimilar material connections (typically between two different metals), and/or chemical storage nearby, particularly in sink cabinets; other causes also are possible. Such corrosion build-up in all visible areas might not be noted in this report because it is so common. However, a significant build-up of corrosion could be concealing an active leak, although the leak in such cases usually is minor. Remember, though, that neglecting a minor leak can result in a major leak. At that point, you could have major water damage and significant mold or mildew. What might have been considered light corrosion at the time of the inspection could have been the start of a problem and a more serious build-up of corrosion could be present by the time escrow closes. Any pipes that have corrosion should be cleaned and inspected. Check the pipes and valves in the sink cabinets before storing items in those cabinets. Regular homeowner monitoring and maintenance is easy to do, read the following paragraphs on sink cabinets, chemical storage, and caulking and grouting.

Sink cabinets and chemical storage- Think about what's typically located in your sink cabinets: the underside of stainless steel sinks, garbage disposal metal casing, copper water supply pipes, and plastic or metal drainage pipes.

Corrosive chemicals affect plastic and metal, and continued corrosion and rusting can eventually result in leaks. Most people, though, store everyday chemicals in the sink cabinets. This is the absolute wrong place to store such items because most cleaning chemicals by their very nature are corrosive. So, do not store chemicals in sink cabinets. Additionally, children won't gain access to harmful and dangerous chemicals. And no one ever takes all those chemicals out of the sink cabinets to inspect the cabinet floor and the water and drainage pipes unless they're moving, or a significant leak is noticed, or a child is injured after gaining access to the chemicals.

Water supply and drainage pipes should be monitored regularly, and here's how to do it virtually on a daily basis with no effort at all on your part: Store dry materials (towels, bathroom tissue, boxes, etc.) in sink cabinets (see Illustration 2). This type of storage allows one to check for leaks in sink cabinets each time something dry is removed. If normally dry materials are wet, check for leaks or deteriorated caulking/grouting around the sink and countertop, and have a qualified plumber repair or replace any plumbing components or have the deteriorated caulking/grouting repaired.

So where should you store such chemicals? A high cabinet in the garage or at an exterior location is great, but if you must keep them inside, an upper hallway closet, the cabinet above the microwave oven, or the cabinet above the refrigerator make great interior locations.

Caulking and grouting- Caulking and grouting is typically found in the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry area at connections between the toilet and floor; the bathtub, floor, and wall; the shower, floor, and wall; and sink and countertop. Deteriorated or cracked caulking or grouting can allow moisture to penetrate into structural framing, causing water damage or promoting the growth of mold. It is impossible to tell how long deteriorated grouting or caulking has existed, and moisture might have penetrated subject areas and caused damage, which is not visible and can only be determined by remodeling/renovation or destructive testing. Before deteriorated grouting or caulking is repaired, the substructure should be examined for evidence of structural damage or deterioration.

Recaulking and regrouting is common homeowner maintenance. While recaulking and regrouting normally is not a cause for concern, and homeowner maintenance typically is to be applauded, in today's world of mold disclosure and mold claims, Client should understand that the time of, and reason for, the recaulking/regrouting cannot be determined and that moisture penetration into the structural framing might have occurred, possibly causing structural damage or promoting mold growth. Remodeling or removal of shower and/or bathtub sections could indicate moisture damage or structural damage that was concealed at the time of the inspection; concealed defects are not within the scope of the home inspection.

GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) safety outlets- These are the outlets that typically have black and red test buttons on them. Safety outlets should be present near all sources of water and near metal-encased appliances that do not have electric motors (such as a cook top, oven, coffee maker, toaster, etc.). GFCI-protected outlets are outlets which are "downstream" of GFCI outlets, meaning that they are on the same circuit as a GFCI outlet. If there is no electricity to a protected outlet, the GFCI outlet at a separate location might have tripped and disconnected electricity to the circuit. Typical areas where you might find GFCI or GFCI-protected outlets include garage, laundry, kitchen, bathrooms, and exterior locations.

You should test the GFCI outlets as soon as you move in, noting at the same time any protected outlets that may be present and which GFCI outlets control those protected outlets; typically the protected outlets should be labeled as such. Although they are proven life-saving devices, they are known to fail on a regular basis and should be tested monthly to ensure that they are functioning properly. To test the GFCI outlet, first plug a nightlight or lamp into the outlet. Turn the light on, and then press the "TEST" button on the GFCI outlet. The GFCI outlet's "RESET"button should pop out, and the light should go out. If the GFCI outlet is functioning properly, meaning that the light does go out, press the "RESET" button to restore power to the outlet. If the "RESET" button pops out but the light does not go out, either the GFCI outlet is not working properly or it is incorrectly wired. Call a qualified electrician to evaluate the problem. Usually the kitchen GFCI outlet will control any other outlets in the kitchen (sometimes more than one GFCI outlet is present in the kitchen). Sometimes all the bathroom outlets are placed on the same circuit, with only one GFCI outlet protecting the outlets in all the bathrooms. Occasionally a GFCI outlet in the garage will protect outlets in various bathrooms. Such garage installations can be inconvenient, particularly in multi-story buildings.

If GFCI outlets trip regularly, consult a qualified electrician immediately to determine why the tripping is occurring. GFCI outlets trip quite often when hair dryers are used on the circuit due to the electricity surge typically needed to start the dryer. If you notice this happening, try starting the dryer on the lowest setting and then moving up to the higher setting after a few seconds. If your circuit continues to trip, consult a qualified electrician for further evaluation.

Carbon monoxide- Carbon monoxide can be a byproduct of the incomplete combustion of natural gas, wood, or any carbon-based fuel. It is a clear, odorless, and tasteless gas, and can cause death if gone undetected. Extended exposure to low levels (sometimes not detected by inexpensive carbon monoxide detectors) can cause long-term health problems. Carbon monoxide detectors with a minimum sensitivity of 30 ppm and with no time delay should be installed at locations where natural gas appliances or fireplaces are used. Darrells Home Inspections also recommends installing carbon monoxide detectors on each floor of multi-story structures and at the entrances to bedrooms.

Mold- Mold, mildew, and other toxic organisms commonly occur in areas that show evidence of, or have the potential for, moisture intrusion and/or inadequate ventilation. Any area or item exhibiting such conditions can be a health hazard to some people, particularly children, pregnant women, the elderly, and other people whose immune systems are compromised. Most of us know what mold looks like and smells like. The key to controlling mold is controlling moisture: reduce moisture (keep the interior of your house dry and the humidity level below 45%), remove visible signs of mold, and disinfect surfaces. If a water invasion occurs, eliminate the water source and dry, repair, and/or replace any wet areas and items as quickly as possible.

Thousands of different types of mold occur naturally throughout the world, but apparently only a few of them cause health problems. Mold spores move naturally through the air and can be found in every area of the home, and there's nothing you can do about it. You are breathing it as you are reading this. It grows on most building materials as long as the requisite moisture is present. Because mold requires a high moisture content in order to grow and thrive, homes with levels below grade/ground are more susceptible to mold growth than homes built on slabs and above grade/ground. However, since many homeowners do not regularly inspect their own homes for water and drainage leaks, mold problems do occur in all homes and buildings. You can prevent mold from growing and thriving in your home, and affecting your health, by inspecting your home on a regular basis (monthly at a minimum) for water and drainage leaks; see previous section on "Sink cabinets and chemical storage."

If you see mold or smell musty odors, chances are great that you have mold growing in your home, and you should first seek out and correct the problems that are providing the mold with the moisture that it needs to grow and thrive. Remove all the items stored under your sinks and inspect the water and drainage pipes, valves, and connections for leaks. Have any leaks repaired immediately by a qualified plumber. Inspect around sink basins, bathtubs, and shower stalls for deteriorated grouting or caulking. These are areas where water can penetrate into the structure's walls and framing, allowing mold to thrive in those spaces. After using your shower or bathtub, you should use your exhaust fans or open the windows located in the bathrooms to help prevent a build-up of moisture in those areas.

Darrells Home Inspections is not a mold-testing laboratory; therefore, the identification of specific types of mold is beyond the scope of the home inspection and we cannot state unequivocally whether any specific type of mold is or is not present. When we do smell musty odors or see mold-like substances growing, we, of course, note it in the report for you. If you want to know what specific type of mold is present, you should seek the services of a qualified industrial hygienist or a qualified mold-testing laboratory. Only they have the necessary knowledge and laboratories equipped to determine what types of mold are growing and thriving in your home.

Again, the identification of the organism(s) is beyond the scope of this home inspection. If, after reviewing the below information, you have additional questions or want further investigation, Darrells Home Inspections recommends that you contact a Certified Industrial Hygienist, usually listed in the yellow pages under "Industrial Hygiene Consultants" to determine if there exists an ongoing climate for incubation or microbial contamination and that steps be taken to eliminate this climate.

There is a lot of controversy over the issue of mold and mold testing. Neither the New York City Department of Health nor the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recommend measuring airborne fungal levels. The EPA publication "A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home" states "Is sampling for mold needed? In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling is unnecessary." Money spent on testing is not available for cleanup.
Darrells Home Inspections recommends that information from the following sources be reviewed prior to spending any money on mold testing. You may want to identify and review other sources of information.
United States Environmental Protection Agency information available on the EPA web site at provides a document titled "
"A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home"
Various articles on the Building Science Corporation web site at: Click on the link "Learn More about Mold".
The New York City Department of Health Web Site at:
Use the search function for mold.


There may come a time when you discover something wrong with the house, and you may be upset or disappointed with your home inspection. There are some things we'd like you to keep in mind.

Intermittent or concealed problems
Some problems can only be discovered by living in a house. They cannot be discovered during the few hours of a home inspection. For example, some shower stalls leak when people are in the shower, but do not leak when you simply turn on the water faucet or shower head. Some roofs only leak when specific conditions exist. Some problems will only be discovered when floor coverings are removed, when furniture is moved, or when finishes such as wallpaper are removed.

No clues
These problems may have existed at the time of the inspection but there were no clues as to their existence. Our inspections are based on the past performance of the house. If there are no clues of a past problem, it is unfair to assume we should foresee a future problem.

We always miss some minor things
Some say we are inconsistent because our reports identify some minor problems but not others. The minor problems that are identified were discovered while looking for more significant problems. We note them simply as a courtesy to you. The intent of the inspection is not to find the $100 problems; it is to find the $1,000 problems. These are the things that affect people's decisions to purchase.

Contractors' advice
A common source of dissatisfaction with home inspectors comes from comments made by contractors. Contractors' opinions often differ from ours. Don't be surprised when a qualified specialist says that something needed replacement when we said it needed repair or replacement.

Last man in theory
While our advice represents the most prudent thing to do, many contractors are reluctant to make repairs. This is because of the "Last man in theory." For example, a roofing contractor fears that if he is the last person to work on the roof, he will get blamed if the roof leaks, regardless of whether or not the roof leak is his fault. Consequently, he won't want to do a minor repair with high liability when he could re-roof the entire house for more money and reduce the likelihood of a callback. This is understandable.

Most recent advice is best
There is more to the "Last man in theory." It is human nature for homeowners to believe the last bit of "expert" advice they receive, even if it is contrary to previous advice. As home inspectors, we unfortunately find ourselves in the position of "First Man In" and consequently it is our advice that is often disbelieved when the next man comes along.

Why we didn't see it
Contractors may say, "I can't believe you had this house inspected and they didn't find this problem." There are several reasons for these apparent oversights:

Conditions during inspection-It is difficult for homeowners to remember the circumstances in the house at the time of the inspection. Homeowners seldom remember that there was storage everywhere, making things inaccessible, or that the air conditioning could not be turned on because it was 55 degrees outside. Contractors do not know what the circumstances were when the inspection was performed.
The wisdom of hindsight-When a problem manifests itself, it is very easy to have 20/20 hindsight. Anybody can say that the roof is leaking when it is raining outside and the roof is leaking. In the midst of a hot, dry, windy conditions, it is virtually impossible to determine if the roof will leak the next time it rains. Predicting problems is not an exact science and is not part of the home inspection process. We are only documenting the condition of the home at the time of the inspection.
A long look-If we spent half an hour under the kitchen sink or an hour disassembling the furnace, we'd find more problems, too. Unfortunately, the inspection would take several days and would cost considerably more than what you paid.
We are generalists-We are generalists and are not acting as specialists in any trade. The heating and cooling contractor may indeed have more heating expertise than we do. This is because that's all he is expected to know - heating and cooling. On the other hand, home inspectors are expected to know heating and cooling, plumbing, electricity, engineering, roofing, appliances, etc. It's virtually impossible. That's why we're generalists. We're looking at the forest, not the individual trees.
An invasive look-Problems often become apparent during renovation or remodeling. A home inspection is a visual examination. We don't perform any invasive or destructive tests.

What Really Matters

The process of buying a home can be stressful. A home inspection is supposed to give you peace of mind, but often has the opposite effect. You will be asked to absorb a lot of information in a short time. This often includes a written report, checklist, photographs, environmental reports, and what the inspector himself says during the inspection. All this combined with the seller's disclosure and what you notice yourself makes the experience even more overwhelming. What should you do?

Relax. Most of your inspection will be maintenance recommendations, life expectancies and minor imperfections. These are nice to know about. However, the issues that really matter will fall into four categories:

1. Major defects. An example of this would be a structural failure.
2. Things that lead to major defects. A small roof-flashing leak, for example.
3. Things that may hinder your ability to finance, legally occupy, or insure the home.
4. Safety hazards, such as an exposed, live buss bar at the electric panel.

Anything in these categories should be addressed. Often a serious problem can be corrected inexpensively to protect both life and property (especially in categories 2 and 4).
Most sellers are honest and are often surprised to learn of defects uncovered during an inspection. Realize that sellers are under no obligation to repair everything mentioned in the report. No home is perfect. Keep things in perspective. Don't kill your deal over things that don't matter. It is inappropriate to demand that a seller address deferred maintenance, conditions already listed on the seller's disclosure, or nit-picky items.
National Association of Certified Home Inspectors
Please call 937-477-6917 or send me an e mail at if you have any questions or concerns!

For a complete glossary of home inspection terms please visit the NACHI GLOSSARY web page at or click on the link.


Preserve your home's value and avoid major repairs by performing regular maintenance tasks each season. Keep a season-by-season schedule posted in the garage or basement for handy reference.

Spring is the time to get your landscape ready to bloom and ready yourself for outdoor home improvement projects.
Repair winter damage.
Look for sagging gutters, loose window frames or siding, deteriorating concrete or brickwork, missing roof shingles, or water damage under eaves or soffits. Schedule repairs promptly.
Yard work.
Clear away fallen branches and leaves. Use a mulching mower to spread clippings evenly over the lawn and fertilize naturally. Loosen the soil around perennials; plant annuals or a vegetable garden. Prune shrubs and trees.
Patch and paint.
Check exterior walls for holes or cracks; patch and paint as necessary.
Fans and air conditioners.
Clean fan blades using mild soapy water. Check the central air-conditioning unit for debris and obstructions; vacuum the main condenser coil on top of the unit. Check the operating condition of window air-conditioning units; remove and wash filters in mild soapy water.
Turn on outdoor water supply.
Hook up the garden hose and inspect it for cracks or leaks. Replace old washers.
Clean windows.
Wash windows, screens, and windowsills; repair any winter damage. Check exhaust fans and vents.
Make sure all exhaust fans and vents are clean and clear. Remove lint buildup from the clothes dryer vent.
Remove winter ashes.
Sweep ashes into your fireplace's ash pit or into a dustpan. Clean and lightly oil fireplace tools. Remove ashes from wood-burning stoves and inspect all moving parts and gaskets to make sure they seal tightly.
Condition your deck.
Hammer in any loose nails, or replace them with galvanized deck screws. Replace any broken boards or rails. Rent a power washer to clean dirt and mildew from the wood, and then apply an all-weather sealer or stain. Set up patio furniture.
Check fences and pool.
Repair any broken fence boards and paint or seal them as needed. Clean the pool if it has been covered all winter.
Spring cleaning.
Dust walls and ceilings to remove cobwebs and wash any grimy areas. Dust or wash registers. Wash window curtains or remove drapes for dry cleaning. Clean rugs and carpeting. Dust and polish wood or laminate floors. Polish woodwork. Clean the garage and bring out the garden tools and lawn mower.

This is the season for undertaking major home improvement projects and tending your ever-changing landscape.
Maintain lawn and garden tools.
Sharpen blades, change oil, and replace filters on the lawn mower. Make sure weed trimmers are in good condition. Oil garden tools and sharpen blades.
Inspect locks on doors and windows.
Make sure your home is safe and secure. Oil any testy locks and install a home security system if desired. Consider installing outdoor lighting to increase security.
Inspect for termites and other pests.
Inspect the basement or crawl space, eaves, and attic for termites, carpenter ants, and other wood pests. If you see signs of wood damage, call a professional exterminator. Look under the eaves for wasp or hornet nests. Handle wasp or hornet nests with care and call in a professional if necessary.
Primp patios and porches.
Clean the barbecue and hose down brick or concrete patio surfaces. Replace any broken bricks; patch concrete cracks. Wash outdoor or screened-in porch floors. Plant annuals in pots, or replant existing planters. Oil patio doors. Bring out patio or porch furniture.
Complete painting projects.
If you're painting your house yourself, rent a power washer and wash your house first. Scrape off crumbling paint, smooth rough areas with sandpaper, and fill in damaged areas with wood putty. Choose the best paint you can afford. Schedule interior painting projects, too; warm temperatures allow for ventilation and quick drying times.
Build or repair fences.
Repair any damaged areas of existing fencing and refinish as necessary. If you're building a new fence, get at least three bids and look carefully at the increasing variety of fencing materials. Make sure your fence abides by local codes and doesn't encroach on neighboring properties.
Inspect siding.
Check siding and trim around windows and doors for holes, dents, and gaps. Repair with wood filler or according to manufacturer's instructions. If your home's siding needs to be replaced entirely, summer is the best time for this one- to two-week project.
Replace your roof.
If you need a new roof, have it installed during summer's warm, dry weather. Consider fire-resistant roof material if you live in an area prone to wildfire and your current roof is not fireproof.
Repair and seal driveways.
Renew the surface of asphalt driveways with sealer. Repair damage to concrete driveways as soon as possible (this project may require a professional).

Especially in cold-winter areas of the country, fall is the time to prepare your house for extreme temperature changes and heavy precipitation.
Inspect the roof.
Hire a licensed roofer to replace missing or broken shingles, shake pieces, or tiles. Make sure the flashing around vent pipes, skylights, and the chimney is secure.
Clean the chimney and fireplace.
Hire a chimney sweep to remove build-up of combustible creosote from the chimney, hearth, and firebox. If you don't use your fireplace more than a few times a year, do this every couple of years instead of annually.
Unclog the gutters.
Clean the gutter channels, and clear downspouts of debris. Make sure that the downspouts funnel water away from the foundation. Replace broken or deteriorating gutters or downspouts.
Inspect the foundation.
Look for signs of water damage. Make sure that dirt around the house is graded to drain water away from the foundation. If you have an underground drainage system or sump pump, make sure it operates properly.
Check the heating system.
Change filters and check registers and ducts for blockages. Hire a professional to have your furnace inspected for leaks and burner efficiency. Regularly dust registers and intake grills using your vacuum's crevice tool.
Replace or add caulk or weather stripping around doors or windows, between the foundation and siding, and wherever bricks and wood make contact. Both of these flexible sealants degrade over time. Make sure you have sufficient attic insulation: Most areas require at least six inches of insulation material.
Shut off the outdoor water supply after the first freeze.
In areas where temperatures drop below freezing in the winter, shut off the outdoor water supply or sprinkler system. Store garden hoses indoors.
Winterize your windows.
If you have window units or doors with combination screen/storm windows, remove screens, wash and store, and install storm windows. Remove window air-conditioning units.
Prepare your yard.
Rake leaves and add them to the compost heap. Prune trees and shrubs. Mow and fertilize the lawn. Store patio furniture, summer sports equipment, and garden tools. Plant spring bulbs and divide and replant perennials.
Lubricate hinges.
Apply oil to door and window hinges. Don't forget garage doors.
Tidy the garage.
Move indoors anything that might freeze, such as paint, caulk, and adhesives. Discard hazardous materials (such as paints and solvents) according to local rules; call your local waste-disposal department for information.

Finish preparations for winter's extreme temperatures in cold-weather parts of the country, and tackle some indoor maintenance.
Install extra insulation.
Install plastic sheets on windows requiring extra protection from the wind (kits are widely available at hardware stores or home centers). Add weather stripping around doors if necessary.
Prepare for snow.
In snowy areas of the country, make sure your shovel or snow blower is in good condition. If necessary, use a rock salt-sand mixture to de-ice the driveway.
Patch and paint.
Inspect interior walls and ceilings for holes or cracks. Patch and paint as necessary. Watch for bubbling or cracking, which could indicate water damage.
Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Test each unit, and replace batteries if needed.
Repair indoor woodwork.
Fill any holes or damaged areas with wood putty, then sand and refinish the surface.
Maintain appliances.
Unplug the refrigerator and clean it thoroughly with soap and hot water. Vacuum the condenser coil in the back or bottom of the refrigerator for better energy efficiency. If the drain pan is removable, clean it in soapy water. Clean the inside of the dishwasher, the stove exhaust fan, the inside of the oven, and the microwave.
Inspect bathroom caulking.
Remove and replace crumbling caulk around the bathtub, sink, or toilet. Make sure no moisture is leaking under the bathtub or shower stall.
Protect pipes from freezing.
Insulate any water pipes that are exposed to extreme cold (check pipes on the north side of house particularly). Cover outdoor water faucets.
Plan home improvement projects.
Plan and budget major home improvement projects, such as painting the exterior of the house, building a patio, or making landscape changes. Check with your local building department to see if your projects require permits. In late winter, call contractors to submit bids.
Clean and organize the basement.
Sweep the floor and clear out cobwebs. Check stored items for moisture damage. Build or purchase storage shelves. Tidy up work areas. Start flower and vegetable seeds in seed trays under lights.

Thank you for your business and enjoy your new home !