Knoxville Home Inspection Reveals HVAC Deficiency

April 6, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

On a recent Knoxville home inspection, I came across a package heat pump unit that did not have a condensate drain or trap installed.  This omission allows condensate to accumulate inside the unit, and prevents proper drainage.  If the air handler is installed inside the house or in an attic space, moisture can fill the primary catch pan and spill over into the secondary pan under the HVAC unit.  Standing water can present a health hazard and corrosion issues.  To ensure proper operation, the condensate drain should be complete with a manufacturer-recommended drain trap.

To discuss your Knoxville home inspection, please call Dan Endsley at (865) 591-1121, or schedule on this website 24/7.

Knoxville Home Inspection Reports: A Tool For Buyers

January 7, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Every Knoxville home inspection I have completed through the years revealed at least a handful of items that I considered noteworthy.  These noted items are always carefully described in my inspection reports, which are sent to my clients (usually homebuyers) to be used in further contract negotiation or otherwise as they see fit.

In my dealings with some Realtors and several homebuyers, I have come to realize that there is some confusion about how the home inspection report should be used in a real estate transaction.  Last year, I was called to re-inspect a Knoxville home for a young first-time homebuyer after the sellers had supposedly made the recommended repairs.  One item that was not repaired was a roofing condition that I considered fairly important.  The young buyer told me that the sellers refused to repair the condition because my inspection report recommended that the condition be “evaluated by a roofing contractor”.  He argued that because I hadn’t recommended “evaluation and repair”, he had no responsibility to fix it.  Ridiculous!

Home inspection reports should be used by homebuyers as a tool to re-negotiate their purchase contract, if necessary.  Rather than allowing the seller to interpret the home inspection report to his benefit, homebuyers should interpret the report for themselves, then request repairs they deem necessary.  My clients have used my Knoxville home inspection reports to help them save hundreds of thousands of dollars through the years – new HVAC units, new windows, new roofs, etc.  This has always driven me to give my best effort for every client.

Knoxville Home Inspection Reveals Troubled Crawlspace

June 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

A few weeks ago, I was called by a Knoxville area realtor to do a home inspection for one of her clients, a first-time homebuyer.  The house was a small one, less than 800 square feet.  The buyer was getting “a deal” on the place and felt he had looked it over pretty closely, and fortunately he decided to take his real estate agent’s recommendation and hire a professional Knoxville home inspector before closing.

The home had many of the problems commonly found in foreclosed properties:  damaged floorcoverings and drywall, minor electrical wiring concerns, and questionable plumbing system condition due to no water service at time of inspection.  These were all items the buyer considered acceptable in light of the attractive purchase price.  However, when I emerged from the tiny crawlspace access hatch, I knew his purchase decision would require more thought and consideration.

The crawlspace under this house was moisture-laden, the ground was saturated, there was evidence of past standing water, floor framing was significantly moisture-damaged, and I was a muddy mess.  Because of the difficult access to this area, I assume the previous owners may not have realized what the conditions were beneath them, or how they might have deteriorated over the years.

Knoxville home inspectors come across surprises like this every week.  For me, it’s very satisfying to know I have protected my client from making an uninformed purchase.  Don’t take a chance on your next home purchase!  You can trust The House Scout with your Knoxville home inspection.

Knoxville Home Inspection 101: Do I Really Need an Inspection?

April 8, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

So you’ve found a house you love, and your real estate agent recommends that you have the home inspected. She even provides you with a few names of home inspectors she knows and trusts. But you can’t help but wonder, “Do I really need to have this done?” and “Will it really be worth the money?”

These are very common questions for homebuyers, especially first-time or relatively inexperienced homebuyers, who may not realize that they could potentially end up owning a “money pit”. Imagine the disappointment and frustration you would feel if you closed the deal on your new home, then quickly realized it had a laundry list of problems no one had ever mentioned! Shouldn’t the sellers have told you everything? Maybe, but that doesn’t always happen, and now you’re left with a bunch of unexpected expenses.

A professional home inspection is your safeguard against closing on a house that may not be as it appears on the surface. Although home inspectors conduct only visual inspections (they don’t cut access holes in drywall or pull up carpet), they are usually so thorough that the potential homeowner gets an accurate description of the condition of the home. With this information they can make a well-informed home-buying decision.

Knoxville home inspection fees vary by geographical area, house size, house age and other factors, but a good starting estimate would be $300 to $400 for a medium sized home. Sounds like a lot of money, but let’s see what you get. Most reputable Knoxville home inspectors would spend 3+ hours on site doing the physical work of the inspection, and then another hour or two putting together a comprehensive inspection report. This report would describe systems and components present in the home. It would also specify areas of concern, which could include such things as heating and cooling systems not functioning as intended, hazardous conditions inside electrical breaker panels, and damaged or rotted floor framing seen in the crawl space. Items like these would most likely go unnoticed during a casual “walk through” of the property, which is the extent of inspection most buyers do before making a decision.

Because a professional home inspector is viewed as an unbiased third party, his opinions and notations carry a lot of weight in the home buying process. With a comprehensive inspection report in hand, homebuyers are well-equipped to renegotiate their purchase contracts, if they decide to do so. And as a result, they commonly get the home inspection fee back many times over at the closing table. Spending a few hundred dollars on a professional home inspection before a home purchase can save the buyer thousands in the end.

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

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.

 

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!

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.

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