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House Whisperer Home Inspections, LLC

http://housewhispererhomeinspection.com
sven@housewhispererhomeinspection.com
(845) 705-7877
Inspector: Sven Balc
NYS License # 16000070824
CT License # HOI.0000852

Summary

Client(s):  Happy Home Buyer
Property address:  775 Your Town Way, Your Town, NY 55112
Inspection date:  Friday, May 15, 2015

This report published on Monday, October 22, 2018 9:21:04 PM EDT

This home is/ was constructed to what, in the Inspectors opinion, were/ are average levels of quality.

Lack of maintenance and/or some alterations have created safety concerns and repair issues. Overall, most of the safety conditions can be corrected at reasonable cost by a qualified professional. Many maintenance items can be performed by a skilled homeowner at minimal expense. Some conditions will require professional attention.

Concerns are shown and sorted according to these types:
Concern typeSafetyPoses a potential risk of personal injury or death without regard to cost of repair
Concern typeMajor Cost ConcernCorrection most likely involves a significant near term expense exceeding $1,000
Concern typeRepair or Replace - MajorInvolves major repairs or replacement cost
Concern typeRepair or Replace - ModerateRecommend repair and/or maintenance with potential significant expense
Concern typeRepair or Replace - Minor:Correction likely involves only a reasonable expense
Concern typeMaintainRecommend ongoing maintenance (Variable Cost)
Concern typeEvaluateRecommend evaluation by a specialist - Significant
Concern typeMonitorRecommend monitoring in the future
Concern typeCommentFor your information
Concern typeInfestationEvidence of infestation of wood destroying insects or organisms (Live or dead insect bodies, "Mushroom" / fungal growth, etc.)
Concern typeDamageVisible and/or possible hidden damage caused by wood destroying insects or organisms ("Mold", rot, carpenter ant galleries, etc.)
Concern typeConducive conditionsConditions conducive for wood destroying insects or organisms that, when not corrected will likely result in future problems (Wood-soil contact, shrubs in contact with siding, roof or plumbing leaks, etc.)


General Information
1) What appeared to be "mold" or microbial growths were found at one or more locations in interior rooms, the basement and/or the garage. It is beyond the scope of this inspection to identify what substance or organism this staining is. However such staining is normally caused by excessively moist conditions, which in turn can be caused by plumbing or building envelope leaks and/or substandard ventilation. These conducive conditions should be evaluated and corrected by a qualified contractor. Normally affected materials such as drywall are removed, enclosed affected spaces are allowed to dry thoroughly, a mildewcide may be applied, and only then is drywall reinstalled. For evaluation and possible mitigation, consult with a licensed NYS mold assessor. For more information, visit:
http://www.reporthost.com/?MOLDCDC
http://www.reporthost.com/?MOLDEPA
2) Evidence of past or present rodent activity was found in the form of holes in insulation, feces in the attic and/or basement. Consult with the property owner about this. A qualified person should make repairs to seal openings in the structure, set traps, and clean rodent waste as necessary. Recommend following guidelines in these Center for Disease Control articles:
http://www.reporthost.com/?SEALUP
http://www.reporthost.com/?TRAPUP
http://www.reporthost.com/?CLEANUP

Grounds
4) Conducive conditionsSafety concern: Non-standard deck construction, deterioration and or settling/movement or leaning noted.

Many footings and support posts appeared to have shifted significantly. Other potential safety hazards were also noted at the time of the inspection. Recommend that a qualified contractor evaluate, repair/replace as necessary, according to current building standards.
5) Conducive conditionsFlashing was missing from above one or more deck or porch ledger boards, or could not be verified. Missing flashing at this location can cause moisture to accumulate between the ledger boards and the building. Fungal rot may occur in this area and cause the ledger board fasteners to fail. The deck may separate from the building in this event. This is a potential safety hazard. Recommend that a qualified contractor install flashing above ledger boards per standard building practices. For more information, visit:
http://www.reporthost.com/?LB
http://www.reporthost.com/?SD
6) The self-closing and/or self-latching devices on one or more gates used with the pool fencing were missing. This is a safety hazard because these devices are intended to control access to areas with a drowning hazard. Recommend that a qualified person repair as necessary and per standard building practices.

The fence around the pool was damaged and/or deteriorated. This is a safety hazard because it is intended to control access to areas with a drowning hazard. Fences and gates for this purpose should:
  • Be a minimum of 5 feet (60 inches) in height
  • Not be climbable by children
  • Not have gaps or voids that allow passage of a sphere equal to or greater than 4 inches in diameter
Recommend that a qualified person repair per standard building practices.

The client may wish to contact the municipality for pool fence and additional safety device requirements.
7) Guardrails above retaining walls higher than 30 inches were missing. This is a safety hazard due to the risk of falling. At a minimum, the client should be aware of this hazard, especially when children are present. Recommend that a qualified contractor install or repair guardrails per standard building practices (e.g. minimum 3 feet high, no gaps wider than 4 inches, not climbable). Dense shrubbery or vegetation may be acceptable as a barrier, but only when mature enough to be effective.

Basement
28) DamageConducive conditionsSignificant past or present moisture damage was noted in the basement/laundry room.

Extensive damage that appeared to be caused by past or present WDO/WDI (Wood Destroying Organism/Insects) activity was noted, some of which appears to have compromised much of the wood framing/structure in the laundry room and basement. See Wood Destroying Organism section for photos and more details.

It appears that te laundry room was gutted inside and out (visible remnants of removed sheetrock and insulation noted).

The owner mentioned that she had a long-term slow leak in the kitchen/bathroom plumbing before she found out and got it fixed. Staining in the subfloor was visible at the time of the inspection but appeared dry when tested with a moisture meter.

Attic and Roof Structure
43) Conducive conditionsThe facing on fiberglass batt insulation in the attic was exposed. In most cases, the facing is flammable and poses a fire hazard. Also, the facing typically acts as a vapor barrier, and if located away from the interior surfaces can trap moisture from condensation in the cavity between the facing and the interior spaces. This can be a conducive condition for wood-destroying organisms. Recommend that a qualified person repair as necessary. For example, by reinstalling or replacing insulation per standard building practices and per the manufacturer's instructions.

Note that the inspector was unable to evaluate areas obscured by insulation to determine if any damage (e.g. rot, insect infestation) has already occurred due to moisture accumulation. When insulation repairs are made, recommend that the exposed structure be evaluated and repairs made if necessary.

Garage or Carport
50) Appliances such as the water heater and/or boiler were subject to damage from vehicles because no protective barrier was installed in front of them. This is a potential safety hazard for fire and/or shock. A qualified contractor should install a barrier per standard building practices. For example, a steel post or specially made wood partition anchored in the concrete slab floor.
51) The self-closing device on the door between the garage and the house was missing/not installed. These devices are installed to keep the door closed to prevent possible fire and fumes from the garage from spreading to the house. Recommend that a qualified person install a self-closing device in accordance wih current building standards.
52) One or more holes and/or areas with missing or substandard surface materials were found in the attached garage walls or ceilings. Current standard building practices call for wooden-framed ceilings and walls that divide the house and garage to provide limited fire-resistance rating to prevent the spread of fire from the garage to the house. Recommend that a qualified person repair per standard building practices. For example, by patching openings or holes, firestopping holes or gaps with fire-resistant caulking, and/or installing fire-resistant wall covering (e.g. Type X drywall). For more information, visit:
http://www.reporthost.com/?AGFR

Electric
56) The sheetrock and receptacle/switch/junction box cover plates had been removed from the basement laundry room. Exposed wiring and splices that were not in junction boxes pose a shock and/or fire hazard. Recommend that a qualified electrician repair/replace or safe off according to current building practices.
57) One or more receptacles appeared to be scorched. The wiring for these receptacles may be damaged due to overheating. Recommend that a qualified electrician replace such receptacles, evaluate related wiring and repair if necessary.
58) One or more ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) devices protecting receptacles at the kitchen, bathroom(s) and/or exterior wouldn't trip when tested, wouldn't trip with a test instrument and/or had an open ground or were miswired. This is a potential shock hazard. Recommend that a qualified electrician evaluate and repair as necessary.
59) One or more electric receptacles at the garage and/or exterior had no visible ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection, or the inspector was unable to determine if GFCI protection was present. If not GFCI-protected, receptacles in wet areas pose a shock hazard. Recommend that a qualified electrician evaluate and install GFCI protection if necessary and per standard building practices. General guidelines for GFCI-protected receptacles include the following locations:
  • Outdoors (since 1973)
  • Bathrooms (since 1975)
  • Garages (since 1978)
  • Kitchens (since 1987)
  • Crawl spaces and unfinished basements (since 1990)
  • Wet bar sinks (since 1993)
  • Laundry and utility sinks (since 2005)
For more information, visit:
http://www.reporthost.com/?GFCI
60) One or more cover plates for switches, receptacles or junction boxes were missing, loose, broken or had large gaps around cover plates. These plates are intended to contain fire and prevent electric shock from occurring due to exposed wires. Recommend that a qualified person install cover plates where necessary.
61) One or more receptacles were worn. Worn receptacles can work intermittently or when the plug is wiggled. They can overheat or arc and spark due to loose connections. This is a potential fire hazard. Recommend that a qualified electrician replace such receptacles as necessary.
62) Smoke alarms were missing from one or more bedrooms and/or in the attached garage. Smoke alarms should be installed as necessary so a functioning alarm exists in each hallway leading to bedrooms, in each bedroom, on each level and in any attached garage. For more information, visit:
http://www.reporthost.com/?SMKALRM
63) No permanently installed carbon monoxide alarms were found. This is a potential safety hazard. Some states and/or municipalities require CO alarms to be installed for new construction and/or for homes being sold. Recommend installing approved CO alarms outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms on each level and in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations. For more information, visit:
http://www.reporthost.com/?COALRM
64) One or more branch circuit wires in panel(s) #A appeared to be undersized for their circuit breaker or fuse. This is a potential fire hazard. Recommend that a qualified electrician repair as necessary.
65) Non-metallic sheathed wiring was loose, unsupported, or inadequately supported at one or more locations. Such wiring should be trimmed to length if necessary and attached to runners or to solid backing with fasteners at intervals of 4 1/2 feet or less. Fasteners should be installed within 12 inches of all enclosures. Recommend that a qualified electrician repair per standard building practices.
66) One or more smoke alarms were missing, damaged, or missing components. Smoke alarms should be replaced as necessary. For more information, visit:
http://www.reporthost.com/?SMKALRM
67) Loose bushing can pose potential electric shock or fire hazard. Recommend that a qualified electrician repair as necessary.
68) One or more slots where circuit breakers are normally installed were open in panel(s) #A. Energized equipment was exposed and is a shock hazard. Recommend that a qualified person install closure covers where missing.
69) Bare wire ends, or wires with a substandard termination, wire splices 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.
70) One or more missing bushings where wires enter junction boxes. This is a potential safety hazard because the wiring insulation can be cut or abraded on the metal edge of the hole(s). Recommend that a qualified electrician install or repair bushings where necessary.

Plumbing / Fuel Systems
77) Copper water supply pipes were installed. Copper pipes installed prior to the late 1980s may be joined with solder that contains lead, which is a known health hazard especially for children. Laws were passed in 1985 prohibiting the use of lead in solder, but prior to that solder normally contained approximately 50% lead. The client should be aware of this, especially if children will be using this water supply system. Note that the inspector does not test for toxic materials such as lead. The client should consider having a qualified lab test for lead, and if necessary take steps to reduce or remove lead from the water supply. Various solutions include:
  • Flush water taps or faucets. Do not drink water that has been sitting in the plumbing lines for more than 6 hours
  • Install appropriate filters at points of use
  • Use only cold water for cooking and drinking, as hot water dissolves lead more quickly than cold water
  • Use bottled or distilled water
  • Treat well water to make it less corrosive
  • Have a qualified plumber replace supply pipes and/or plumbing components as necessary
For more information visit:
http://www.reporthost.com/?LEADDW
http://www.reporthost.com/?LEAD

Heating, Ventilation and Air Condition (HVAC)
85) Black soot was noted inside garage, by boiler exhaust ducts. This is a potential carbon monoxide hazard. Recommend that a qualified person evaluate, repair/replace to current building standards.
86) The heat pump or air conditioner condensing unit was not fully evaluated because the return air and one or more distribution registers were sealed with plastic. Recommend that a full evaluation be made by a qualified person when conditions have been corrected so the system is operable. Note that the inspector does not operate or replace overcurrent protection devices, or operate any controls other than normal controls (thermostat).

Note: The air handler fan kicked in when the thermostat was tested. The owner informed us that the central air system stopped producing cold air and will only circulate non-conditioned air. Recommend that an HVAC specialist evaluate. repair or replace as necessary. This is a potential major cost concern.
87) The estimated useful life for most heat pumps and air conditioning condensing units is 10-15 years. This unit appeared to be beyond this age and/or its useful lifespan. The owner informed client and inspector that the AC unit does not produce cold air and may need repairs/replacement.

Kitchen
96) 1 cooktop element(s) were inoperable. Recommend that a qualified person repair as necessary.

Bathrooms, Laundry and Sinks
103) The clothes dryer was equipped with a vinyl or mylar, accordion-type, flexible exhaust duct. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission considers these types of ducts to be unsafe, and a fire hazard. They can trap lint and are susceptible to kinks or crushing, which can greatly reduce the air flow and cause overheating. Recommend that such ducts be replaced with a rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal duct, and by a qualified contractor if necessary. For more information, visit:
http://www.reporthost.com/?DRYER
104) The clothes dryer exhaust duct appeared to need cleaning. Significant amounts of lint build-up were visible and may reduce air flow. This is a fire hazard. Recommend that a qualified person clean this duct now and as necessary in the future. Some chimney sweeps or heating/cooling duct cleaners perform this service. For more information, visit:
http://www.reporthost.com/?DRYER

Interior, Doors and Windows
117) Guardrails at one or more locations with drop-offs higher than 30 inches had gaps that were too large. This poses a safety hazard for children (e.g. falling, getting stuck in railing). Guardrails should not have gaps or voids that allow passage of a sphere equal to or greater than 4 inches in diameter, or 6 inches in diameter at triangular spaces between stair edges and guardrails. At a minimum, the client should be aware of this hazard. Recommend that a qualified contractor repair or replace guardrails per standard building practices.
118) InfestationDamageConducive conditionsExtensive Wood Destroying Organism/Insect damage noted that may have undermined one or more structural components. One or more sagging/uneven floors noted. Recommend that a state licensed exterminator evaluate and treat as necessary. A qualified structural engineer should evaluate full extent of damage. A qualified contractor should carry out repairs per engineers instructions/recommendations.
119) Conducive conditionsCondensation or staining was visible between multi-pane glass in many windows. This usually indicates that the seal between the panes of glass has failed or that the desiccant material that absorbs moisture is saturated. As a result, the view through the window may be obscured, the window's R-value will be reduced, and accumulated condensation may leak into the wall structure below. Recommend that a qualified contractor evaluate and repair windows as necessary. Usually, this means replacing the glass in window frames.

Be aware that evidence of failed seals or desiccant may be more or less visible depending on the temperature, humidity, sunlight, etc. Windows or glass-paneled doors other than those that the inspector identified may also have failed seals and need glass replaced. It is beyond the scope of this inspection to identify every window with failed seals or desiccant.
120) Trim framing and/or jambs around one or more exterior doors was deteriorated and/or loose. Recommend that a qualified person repair or replace as necessary.

Wood Destroying Organism Findings
133) DamageBecause of apparent structural damage at location(s) #A, B, C and D, recommend that a qualified contractor evaluate and repair as necessary. All wood significantly damaged by wood-destroying insects or fungal rot should be replaced or removed.
134) InfestationEvidence of past infestation of unspecified wood-destroying insects was found at location(s) #A, B, C and D in the form of frass and/or galleries or holes in wood with visible wood damage. Recommend the following:
  • Correct any conducive conditions for wood-destroying organisms mentioned in this report.
  • Consult with the property owner about any history of infestation.
  • Have a state-licensed pest control operator evaluate further and treat as necessary.

Radon Test Results
135) Radon Test Results indicated an average level of 2.6 pCi/L over the test period.

Radon Test Results indicate that this property falls within the EPA's "Consider" action range of 2.0 pCi/L - 3.9 pCi/L (pico Curies per Liter).

The EPA recommends that you consider mitigation action but action is not "required".

Visit www.epa.gov/radon for complete information.