19 - Asphalt Shingles/Wood Shingles
Asphalt Shingles: Commonly called
composition shingles, this material has a typical life
expectancy of 12 to 25 years, depending on many factors. Roof
covering is checked for damage, aging, and qualify of
Wood Shake and Shingles: Wood roofs
will typically last 20 to 35 years depending upon the thickness
and quality. Annual maintenance is required on wood roofs which
consists of replacing the weather-damaged shakes. In some areas
the constant moisture can cause the wood to deteriorate. Care
against fire is advised.
20 - Clay and Concrete Tile/Slate/Metal and
Clay and Concrete Tile: These materials
are very durable and have anticipated life of 30 to 50 years.
The tiles, however, are brittle and can be damaged, so the roof
cannot be walked on. The inspection is very limited.
Slate: Considered one of the longest
lasting roofing materials, slate can endure 50 to more than 100
years. A very brittle and expensive roof, inspections are
Metal and Fibrous: Metal roofing comes
in many forms from shingles to panels. Fibrous roofing is a
mixture of various materials including cement and perlite.
21 - Built-Up Roofing / Single Ply / Foam
Built-Up Roofing: The surface covering
is the distinguishing feature of this roof cover. Maintenance
consisting of repairing any worn areas is required. Installed on
low slopes, these roofs should be inspected annually due to the
potential for poor drainage.
Single-Ply: A relatively new roofing
system, single-ply membranes are gaining in popularity. The roof
covering consists of large sheets of a rubber or PVC-based
Foam: Polyurethane foam with
elastomeric coating. This roof requires periodic re-coating to
extend its service life.
22 - Exposed Flashings
- Main Water Line
The main water supply pipe brings water from the street
to the home. Older pipe materials may be 1/2" or
3/4" galvanized steel. This type of pipe corrodes
internally and may not deliver the volume of water now
needed throughout the house. 3/4" copper or plastic
pipe is the minimum currently used in modern
construction. Normal water pressure is between 35 and 80
PSL. Excessive pressure can wear on valves, fittings,
fixtures and appliances.
24 - Water Supply Lines
Copper, galvanized, plastic and lead piping have all
been used at some time for water systems of residences.
Old galvanized piping typically requires replacement due
to internal restriction. Lead pipes present a possible
health hazard if the lead leaks into the drinking water.
A form o plastic piping called "polybutylene"
has shown defects from the manufacturing and
installation process that can cause leaks. Your
inspector is only able to tell you of the condition of
the visible piping. No water quality tests are performed
during this inspection.
25 - Waste Lines
These pipes carry the waste from the house to the sewer
system. It is impossible to predict waste line blockages
as these can occur at any time during use. Some plastic,
"ABS" pipes have shown defects from the
manufacturing process and can become weak and break.
26 - Fuel System
Natural gas is delivered to the house through
underground pipes and a meter. Some homes have on-site fuel storage
that consist of
oil or propane fuels and a storage tank.
27 - Water Heater
Water heaters are sealed systems which contain a great
deal of pressure. The TPR (Temperature & Pressure
Relief) valve is a device designed to release excessive
pressure from the system. There should be a drain pipe
attached to this valve which terminates at a safe
location away from body contact. Water heaters sometimes
make gurgling noises which are typically the result of
built up calcium inside the tank.
28 - Description
Our description of the heating system includes where the
unit is located and the fuel used to generate the heat.
Forced air furnaces and water boilers can operate on
gas, oil or electricity. Heat pumps utilize electricity
to drive the motors and compressors. Furnace size is
listed for reference only, if available, and no
calculations are performed during this inspection to
determine the adequacy or efficiency of the heating
29 - Condition
Systems are tested using normal homeowner operating
controls. If pilots or circuit breakers are off at the
time of the inspection, the inspector will not ignite or
activate the system. You can contact the utility
provider for evaluation of the heating system.
30 - Venting
Fuel burning appliances exhaust the products of
combustion to the exterior through vent pipes. Vent
pipes utilize caps to prevent moisture entry and to stop
back drafting. Back drafting means that the products of
combustion are escaping into the home instead of venting
to the exterior.
31 - Combustion Air
When fires burn, they consume oxygen. Fuel that burns
completely is harmless and creates only carbon dioxide.
Fuel burning appliances must be provided with a constant
source of fresh air for the fuels to burn properly. If
air is not provided to the fire, incomplete combustion
may occur which could produce carbon monoxide. Be sure
not to block any air vents around or near your heating
systems. Also be advised that maintaining clean air
filters is important not only to the air you breathe,
but to the operation of the unit as well.
32 - Burners
It is impossible to see an entire heat exchanger inside
most furnaces, so this inspection does not comment on
this component. If there is an uneven or unusual flame
pattern or there is rust, charring or deterioration in
the burner chamber, we recommend a further investigation
of the unit.
33 - Distribution
Most heaters utilize some method of moving the furnace
generated heat to the rooms which need the heat. Forced
air heaters use ducts and registers. Water heating
systems use pipes and radiators or convectors. Radiant
systems may use pipes or wires if electric. Much of the
distribution system will not be visible during this
inspection and cannot be judged. For instance, water
piping that is buried below or in the concrete floor
slab may have leaks that are not detectable without
- Normal Controls
Normal operating controls are
homeowner operated devices such as a thermostat, wall
switch or safety switch. Loose thermostats should be
secured and thermostats that are not centrally located
or on outside walls should be relocated for better
35 - Air
Regular cleaning or changing of air
filters is important for proper furnace performance.
Dirty filters can cause damage to the heater and waste
energy dollars. We do not evaluate the operation of
electronic air cleaners but will comment on cleanliness
Our evaluation of the heating system is
visual only and does not include dismantling the unit. A
service technician should be consulted for an in-depth
evaluation, cleaning and adjustment of the furnace for
optimum performance and safety. Most local gas companies
will perform a safety check and light gas pilots for
their customers prior to the heating season. We also do
not evaluate humidifiers built onto the heating unit.
Evaporative coolers (commonly called
swamp coolers) utilize air flowing across moving water
to humidify and cool the house air. Standing water that
is left in the unit for extended periods of time can
breed bacteria. Evaporative coolers should be drained at
the end of each cooling season and cleaned prior to use.
38 - Air
Air conditioning systems rely on a
constant flow of air through the system to properly
operate. Restricted air flow from dirty filters or
blocked coils can cause icing on the evaporator coil.
This may make the air from the unit appear to be colder
but is actually harmful for the system. Compressor units
located outside should also be kept clear of air
restriction. Trim back shrubs and grasses and don' place
anything over the tip of the unit that blocks air flow.
- Electric Service
The electrical service refers to the
wires that run from the street or main pole and enter
the house either underground or through the rooftop. The
number of wires that enter the panel determine the
voltage of the service: 2 wires = 120 volt, 3 wires =
240 volt. A home that has only a 120 volt service would
be considered out of date by today's standards because
larger appliances that operate at 240 volts cannot be
utilized. Electrical load and demand calculations are
not performed during this inspection.
The capacity of the system is
determined by the size of the service wires, the rating
of the panel and the size o the main fuse or breaker.
Some older panels will have fuses while newer systems
use breakers. The main disconnect is used to shut the
entire electrical system in the house off in case of
emergency. If no main shutoff is provided, no more than
six breakers are allowed to be installed.
Conductor is the term used for the
wires used for electrical installations. Copper and
aluminum are common materials used for electrical
wiring. The U.S. Product Consumer Safety Commission
issues a booklet on the hazards of aluminum wire
installations made in the early 1960's to the mid
1970's. Please obtain this information if aluminum is
Electrical panels that do not contain
the mail service wiring are called sub-panels.
Sub-panels are used for a variety of reasons ranging
from house size to ease of accessibility. During
inspections of homes that are occupied it is possible
that a sub-panel might be hidden by pictures or
furniture. Please check carefully during your final
walkthrough of the house after all belongings are
This section of the report notes
conditions found inside the electrical panels. Repairs
to wiring conditions should be performed by qualified
trades people due to the inherent hazards.
Our inspection of the electrical
wiring and fixtures throughout the house will include
random testing of outlets and lights. At least one
outlet per room, all accessible outlets in the garage
and on the exterior, and all outlets within six feet of
sinks will be tested for grounding and polarity.
- Entry Doors
Weather-stripping around the entry
door keeps cold air from entering the house. If no
weather-stripping is provided we recommend it be
Doors that stick, bind or won't close
properly can be adjusted or trimmed to fit. Sometimes
however, when doors are out of square and other related
conditions are present, it may be an indication of
movement in the structure or foundations. If these notes
are made, a qualified civil, structural or geo-technical
engineer should be consulted.
Non-safety glass has been used for
years in the sliding glass doors of older homes. You
should consider upgrading any non-tempered glass doors
throughout your home. At times, it is not possible to
determine if glass is tempered.
Windows are checked during out
inspection. The condition of winter storm windows and
doors are not part of this inspection. It is not
possible to evaluate the seal on thermo pane windows as
conditions change from morning to night and season to
In occupied homes, not all portions
of all walls will be exposed to view. After the
occupants remove all of their belongings, it is wise for
you to conduct a final walkthrough of the home. look
carefully at areas that were not visible during this
Moisture stains on ceilings can come
from a variety of sources: plumbing leaks, roof leaks
and condensation to name a few. At times it is not
possible to determine the cause of a stain. Some older
acoustic sprayed ceilings have contained asbestos in the
past. Only laboratory testing will accurately reveal
asbestos and this testing is not included in the
Our evaluation of the floors in the
home is to identify major defects where visible. Stains
or odors may be hidden and are not part of this
inspection. Once furniture and belongings are removed
you will be able to view the condition of floor
coverings. Do a careful check on your final walkthrough.
Our evaluation of the fireplace does
not include a smoke test. Some fireplaces emit smoke
into the house during use. If this occurs, a qualified
chimney sweep should be contacted for remedy.
A - Central vacuum
B - Ceiling fan
C - Interior stairs
D - Stair handrail
E - Wet bar faucet
F - Wet bar counter
G - Plumbing
Smoke detectors are most effective
when located on each floor, in bedrooms and in hallways
outside of bedrooms. These units are tested by pushing
the test button. Carbon monoxide detectors are new
devices that should be considered if fuel burning
appliances are installed in the house.
Washing machines and dryers are not
moved or operated during our inspection of the laundry
area. Areas behind and under the machines cannot be
A - Roof framing
B - Ceiling framing
C - Ventilation
D - Insulation
E - Plumbing vent pipe
F - Recesses ceiling light
G - Attic access
Garage floors should be constructed
of non-flammable materials. Carpeting or other floor
coverings should be removed. The floor should also be
sloped to drain out the overhead door.
A wall or ceiling that separates the
garage from the house is considered a fire separation.
The coverings of these areas should not have large
holes. It is typically not possible to determine the
rating of these coverings.
Ventilation for the garage becomes
critical when fuel burning appliances are installed in
the garage. These appliances require air for proper
Door to Living Space
The door that enters the house from
the garage is considered a fire separation door and
should be solid wood, solid core or rated for that
location. Pet doors are not allowed.
Sometimes hollow core doors are
installed in this location and moisture will delaminate
the door skin at the bottom.
Garage vehicle door types vary from
roll-up to tilt-up to sliding. Older door hardware
springs are considered unsafe if safety catches arm
wires are not provided. For safety, upgrading is
recommended for older hardware.
Garage door opener remote controls
are not tested. If a door hits an obstruction during
closing is should reverse automatically for safety.
Older openers were not equipped with this safety
The garage is a common area for
electrical wiring, lights and outlets to be added. All
added electrical requires a permit. One of the most
common mistakes is using extension cords to power lights
or garage door openers.
- Kitchen Sink
Our evaluation of the sink includes
turning on the faucet. We check functional flow and look
for obvious leaks at the handle and spout. We also run
water looking for functional drainage; however, drain
lines can become blocked at anytime, and this condition
cannot be predicted. Under the sink we check for leaks,
rust and corrosion of the sink, drain and supply piping.
General features include: condition
of counters, cabinets, flooring, windows, ceiling and
light fixtures. Many times dishes and belongings will
block view of counters and cabinets. These items are not
moved during this inspection and you should check these
areas during your final walkthrough, and after the
occupants have moved out.
Garbage disposals can rust and
corrode internally. It is difficult to verify the
condition of the interior of the unit. If the unit
vibrates excessively or makes unusual noises, matter may
be lodged inside or blades may be damaged. Sometimes
repair is simple, while other times replacement may be
The elements and burners of ovens,
ranges and cook tops are checked for functionality only.
Calibration of thermostats is beyond the scope of this
Our inspection of the dishwasher
includes the general condition of the unit, dish racks
and door seals. The condition of the pump and motor is
not determined since the dishwasher is not disassembled.
Racks that are rusted can usually be replaced.
Special features, if inspected, are
tested just as any homeowner would use the device or
appliance. No disassembly or special test equipment is
used. If there is no trash in a compactor we turn the
unit on; however, this does not verify compacting
ability. If we operated a microwave we will heat a glass
of water for one minute although heating ability varies
Toilets that are loose at the base or
at the tank connection pose the possibility of leaking.
Sometimes the wax seal at the floor must be replaced to
prevent leakage on the floor or below the house.
The water shutoff valves below the
sink are not tested during this inspection. Many times
these valves have not been used for some time and can
leak if turned. This is a common occurrence.
Bathrooms that contain a tub or
shower need ventilation either through a window or
mechanical exhaust vented through the roof or wall.
Our evaluation of the bathtub
consists of the visible and accessible areas only. Many
times the drain and supply piping are not accessible and
cannot be judged. Maintaining the caulk and grout in
good condition is important to avoid leakage. We do not
fill the tub to overflowing to check the overflow drain
connection. If a whirlpool is installed we test the
equipment using normal operating controls. Sometimes
access to the pump and jet piping is not possible and
they cannot be inspected.
Shower enclosures should be properly
caulked and maintained to avoid leakage. It is often
difficult to determine if glass enclosures are tempered
safety glass. All non-safety glass is considered a
potential hazard and upgrades should be considered.