Will My Knoxville Home Inspection Disclose All Code Violations?

February 27, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

The short answer to this question is no.  Most Knoxville home inspectors specifically exclude building code violations in their pre-inspection agreements, unless the inspection being conducted is a new construction “phase”  inspection.  And national professional associations (ASHI & NACHI) and state standards list building code compliance as not within the scope of a general home inspection.   This is because it would be an impossible task for an inspector to determine the exact age of each home inspected,  and apply all the codes in force at time of construction for that particular jurisdiction.  Not to mention the fact that home inspectors have no authority to enforce any code in any jurisdiction.  They are only employed by their clients to give a professional, unbiased opinion about the home’s condition, and make suggestions or recommendations regarding problem areas.  The home inspection client then decides how they prefer to procede with that information.

Additionally, there are literally volumes of codes in publication, including the building code, mechanical code, plumbing code, electrical code and residential code.  No person could possibly master the entirety of these publications, and apply them to all the varied conditions and circumstances encountered by a general home inspector. 

However, Knoxville home inspectors often report on hazardous household conditions or inappropriate use of building materials, and these notations may be based on one or more commonly accepted codes.  Sound confusing?  It is!  No one can definitely define the boundary whereby the codes are or are not applied to a home inspection.  So, home inspectors generally do not perform code compliance inspections, but they may base some of their report comments on sections of a given code.

In summary, home inspectors are not code enforcement officials, and do not represent any particular jurisdiction.  Instead, they are “generalists” who report on the condition of the home, and alert their clients about any components or systems not functioning as intended.  The client can then make an informed homebuying decision.

You can count on The House Scout to protect you and your family from dangerous household conditions and unexpected expenses after closing. 

                 *****  Schedule Your Knoxville Home Inspection Now Online or Call (865) 591-1121!  *****

                              Dan Endsley - The House Scout, 132 W. Jackson Ave., Knoxville, TN 37902

Farragut TN Home Inspection Reveals HVAC Discrepancy

February 26, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Last week, I was contacted by a potential home buyer from out of state to conduct an inspection on a Farragut home.  She stated that the sellers disclosed it had a newer dimensional shingle roof and a recently replaced Trane heat and air system.  I expected to find both of these high ticket items in excellent condition.  Here’s what I found:

The roof indeed appeared to be newer, definitely in its first half of life.  The HVAC system installed was a split system (A/C condenser unit outside, A/C coils & furnace inside).  The condenser unit had been replaced in 2000, making it about 11 years old.  I would hesitate to refer to this as a “newer unit”.  And to make matters worse, the A/C coils and furnace both were apparently installed in 1988 … 22 years ago! Not newer, but nearly worn out!

I suspect the reason this had not been mentioned before is that the furnace was installed in a rather difficult crawlspace, and access was limited.  And perhaps the sellers were under the impression that at least the entire A/C system had been replaced, as many homeowners are not aware that there’s more to the system than the compressor.  In any case, my clients and their agent were surprised by this finding, and planned on doing some re-negotiation before closing in light of it.

As is so often the case, I’m quite certain that my clients will save thousands of dollars at the closing table because they hired The House Scout, a certified, state licensed Farragut home inspector.  They paid my home inspection fee $325 on this house, and will likely get that back many times over at closing.  You can trust The House Scout with your Farragut home inspection!

Call Today (865) 591-1121 or Click Above to Schedule Now!

Home Inspector Knoxville TN Finds Federal Pacific Panel

February 20, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

On a recent home inspection in north Knoxville, I came across a Federal Pacific (FPE) electrical breaker panel installed on the outside of a home.  These panels were popular from the mid-1950′s through the early 80′s.  There are several issues associated with these panels, and I’ll mention a few of them here.

The first problem obvious to a home inspector or electrician is the difficulty encountered in removing the panel cover (deadfront cover).  The FPE breakers are designed so that their handles extend out over the cover opening, making removal of the cover precarious at best.  It’s very likely that an unsuspecting inspector will trip some breakers while removing this cover, and FPE breakers will also tend to “jump off” the bus bar with a little encouragement! 

Secondly, the FPE breaker design often lacks good contact with the bus bars.  The FPE breaker “stab” only touches the bus bar with its edge, at right angles.  This minimal contact area and pressure allows for loose connections between the two pieces of metal, and commonly leads to arcing and overheating in the panel. 

Additionally, FPE breakers have a dismal history of failing to trip when overcurrent conditions exist.  And a breaker is, after all, generically referred to as an overcurrent protection device!  This failure allows conductors inside the home to overheat, and has been the cause of numerous house fires across the country.

In short, Federal Pacific electrical breaker panels may very well be a potential hazard to you and your family.  I’ve found several of these panels while conducting Knoxville home inspections, and they are usually replaced at the seller’s expense before closing. 

Interestingly, this house had a previous inspection conducted by another Knoxville home inspector prior to listing.  The seller showed me the previous report, which mentioned nothing about this dangerous electrical condition.  With a House Scout home inspection report in hand, you’ll be fully aware of dangerous conditions such as this.  You’ll also be in a better position to renegotiate your purchase contract before closing, if necessary.  There are plenty of Knoxville home inspectors around, but none work harder for their clients than The House Scout!

Make sure you don’t get stuck owning a money pit, and end up with a bunch of unexpected expenses after closing!  Send Out the Scout Today!  (865) 591-1121.

 

Why Should I Trust My Knoxville Home Inspection to The House Scout?

February 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

That’s easy.  Our inspections are so complete and thorough that when you send out The House Scout to inspect your Knoxville home, you can be sure you won’t get stuck owning a money pit!

Every home inspector is an individual, and is unique in the way they conduct an inspection.  Some come from a technical or engineering background, while others may have work experience in carpentry, plumbing or HVAC.  However, previous work experience or educational background matter little if an inspector is uncomfortable putting in the work required to properly inspect your home.  Don’t take a chance on a cheap, inexperienced, physically unfit or lazy inspector!

The House Scout comes from a well-rounded background – military service, 4-year college degree, municipal fire service and commercial fire inspection, and is no stranger to good, old-fashioned hard work.  You deserve a Knoxville home inspector that will work hard for you, and nobody works harder for their clients than The House Scout!

Get the peace of mind you deserve.   Get the assurance that the property you’re considering will be a safe, healthy and happy place for you and your family to live for years to come.  Don’t settle for less!  You can trust The House Scout with your Knoxville home inspection.  Call Today … (865) 591-1121.

How Much Will My Knoxville Home Inspection Cost?

February 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Schedule your home inspection on our website and the following fees will apply:

  • Less than 1000 sq ft  -  $275
  • 1000 – 1999 sq ft  –  $300
  • 2000 – 2999 sq ft  -  $325
  • 3000 – 3999 sq ft  –  $350
  • 4000 - 4999 sq ft  -  $400

Greater than 5000 sq ft  -  Please Call for Estimate ….. (865) 591-1121.

Our home inspection fees are determined by the square footage of the house, period, and are very competitive in the market.  Some Knoxville home inspectors add trip charges for travelling to surrounding counties, additional fees for homes with crawlspaces, and higher rates for houses more than 40 or 50 years old.  It’s true that these items can add to an inspector’s work load, but we decided long ago that it all averages out over time.  Some houses require more work and time than the average to properly inspect, while others require substantially less.  As in most other jobs, some days for a home inspector are just more difficult than others. 

Regardless the size or condition of your home, you can be sure the service provided by The House Scout is unrivaled by any Knoxville home inspector.  And don’t be tempted to shop around for the cheapest inspector…. you will truly get what you pay for!  The cheapest inspectors charge less because they know less and do less.  The harder we work for you, the less you pay at the closing table!

Home inspection fees are due at or before the inspection.  We accept cash, check, Visa and MasterCard.

Home Inspectors Knoxville TN Discovers Unsafe Chimney

February 13, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Recently, I conducted a home inspection on a 50 year old brick rancher.  This home was in generally good condition, and well-constructed throughout.  A fireplace insert was installed in the fireplace, and my clients advised me that they were looking forward to burning a lot of wood before spring.  The insert looked to be in good condition and lightly used.  I went up on the roof to inspect the masonry chimney, and was shocked to see the chimney pictured at left.  It appeared to be only a shell of a proper chimney!  I removed the pieces of slate that had been placed on top of the chimney to keep some of the rain out, and discovered that the chimney was totally empty!  No flue tile liner, no built-up masonry, no chimney crown!  Check out the picture at right.  You can see at the bottom of the chimney is the fireplace damper.  There was literally nothing between the damper and the great outdoors!   And only a single course of brick separated the hot flue gases from living spaces and combustible attic framing!  Obviously, the only reason this house was still standing is that the former owners used this fireplace very little.  I have responded with a local municipal fire department to many incidents involving chimney fires over the last 20 years.  This chimney could never withstand the extreme temperatures commonly found in a chimney fire.  I advised my clients that this chimney was unsafe to use in its present condition.  They may use this information to renegotiate their purchase contract, or even opt for another house altogether.  In any event, this is a good example of the importance of hiring a professional home inspector before closing on your next home.  You can trust The House Scout with your Knoxville home inspection.

Knoxville Home Inspector Finds Dangerous Water Heater Installation

February 13, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

On a recent home inspection, I found a direct vent water heater installed in the basement of a well-maintained home.  This type of water heater has special venting and installation requirements, which were not met in this case.  Usually, direct vent water heaters are installed against an exterior wall and vented directly (“direct vent”) to the exterior, using manufacturer’s recommended or supplied vent components.  This one was vented using single-wall metal vent, and was approximately 8 feet from the exterior wall.  Additionally, the single-wall vent pipe was in contact with combustible wall paneling as it passed through a nearby wall.  I recommended that my client have this installation evaluated and corrected by a licensed plumber before closing.  This could be an expensive correction!  Don’t get stuck with unexpected expenses after closing!  You can trust The House Scout with your Knoxville home inspection!

When Will I Get My Knoxville Home Inspection Report?

February 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

When you schedule your home inspection with The House Scout, either here on the website or over the phone, your information will be entered into my online system.  This information is then pre-loaded into my inspection report software, which saves precious time when it comes to generating your report.  You will receive your report as an email attachment (PDF file) shortly after the inspection is complete, and always the day of the inspection. 

Some inspectors offer printed reports on-site.  I choose not to offer this “benefit” to my clients.  Instead, I offer my clients another hour or two of my time, which is blocked off specifically for report writing.  This allows me to deliver a well-prepared, timely report to every client, without rushing to make it to the next appointment.  Additionally, I always present a short, verbal summary of my findings to my clients and their realtors in case they are trying to meet a strict contractual deadline. 

You’ll find my inspection reports to be clear, concise and easy to read.  No unnecessary wording or confusing technical jargon.  Plenty of color pictures are always included to pinpoint noteworthy conditions.  You can trust The House Scout to deliver an inspection report that is among the best in the business!

Do I Need to Attend My Knoxville Home Inspection?

February 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

That’s entirely up to you.  I certainly enjoy meeting my clients, and prefer that they spend a few minutes with me at the house if possible.  I also realize that most people have busy lives, some clients live hundreds of miles away, and a few just have no interest in attending …. and that’s fine.  The choice is yours.

Most clients tell me that attending the inspection, at least for awhile, increased their understanding of noteworthy conditions in the home, and reduced the number of questions they had after reading through the home inspection report.  Some real estate agents suggest their clients attend the second half of the inspection, which gives the inspector a running start on his work and keeps the client from having to endure the entire 3-4 hours if they’d rather not …. makes good sense to me. 

In short, you’re welcome to answer this question for yourself, and do what makes you feel comfortable.

Oak Ridge client reviews Knoxville home inspector

February 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Dan,

I am writing to thank you for the work you performed for us during the inspection of our recently purchased home. Your friendly demeanor and professionalism made it very easy to work with you.

The service you provided was extremely thorough and clear, which was quite evident in the report. I enjoyed the fact that the report was very comprehensive, to the point and NOT wordy, just for the sake of filling pages.

Once again, thank you for the great service you provided us. We love our new home.

Aaron C. – Oak Ridge homebuyer, inspected May 2010

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