Other Important Inspection Services
…and why we don’t offer them
During a Home Inspection, we will be on the lookout for many different issues in the house. But there are other inspections which can or should be performed, and they should be done by service providers who specialize in those areas. Here are a few examples.
A termite inspection is a vital part of any real estate transaction. Some home inspectors may offer a “termite inspection” as part of their services, but such an inspection is usually limited to what is seen or not seen on the day of the inspection. We always suggest that our clients get termite/pest inspections from a reputable, licensed pest company rather than a home inspector, and here’s why.
Training is the primary reason. A qualified pest inspector has years of training and experience in his or her specialized field, and is usually required to take continuing education credits. A home inspector might take a two-day training class, and that simply isn’t enough education to be fully qualified for such an important job.
The other issues are renewability and warranty. An inspection by a proper pest company usually includes a certificate covering the property for a year. If termites are found during the certificate period, the pest company may pay for treatment and necessary repairs. The coverage is usually renewable for a nominal fee each year.
This doesn’t mean that if we see something suspicious we won’t call it out, or even mark it for the pest inspector, but we know what we are good at and what should be left to people with more and better training.
We are often asked about mold inspections. If you walk into a house and can see or smell mold, you don’t need a “mold inspection,” as you know it is there; you need “mold remediation” which is totally different. There can be hidden mold, but if the house is kept reasonably dry (less than 40% humidity), most molds will remain dormant and will not continue to cause problems.
Moisture is the main issue; mold and other things are the symptoms. If your eyes, nose, sinuses or other things are irritated when you are in the house, there is some kind of allergen in the house, and it might not be mold. We suggest you contact an industrial hygienist as they are the only people who have a degree in air quality with standards and industry-recognized procedures for testing. There are also many, many labs and equipment manufacturers offering two-day to two-week classes on how to become an “air quality expert”. Air quality sampling is a money maker for many companies. It is important to know that the regulation of these inspections is still up in the air, and there is no certification standard for mold inspectors. The very best inspectors will use highly-trained mold-sniffing dogs, and their inspections can run in the hundreds of dollars.
Septic Systems should be inspected prior to purchasing a home. One reason why this is so important is that municipalities are not allowing for repairs to systems that have failed if the property is now within connection reach of the public sewer system. Some home inspectors may offer to do a “septic inspection” that is little more than a dye test to make sure the main line is not blocked. This is NOT an adequate test! A proper septic inspection involves removing the access hatch, pumping out the tank, and visually inspecting the interior of the tank to assess the condition of the baffles and other components. An inspection like this requires calling a septic pumping company.
If the home you are considering has a pool, we will look at the condition of the pumping equipment and electrical connections, as well as the fencing and the decking surrounding the pool. We will not test the pool equipment, nor advise as to the condition of the interior surface, drains or skimmers. Pool inspections should be done by professional pool maintenance companies.