New house… what could be wrong?

July 23, 2013
Looks great ... right?

Looks great … right?

A recent client was purchasing a completely furnished home from a builder. When I saw this beautiful shower enclosure with a steam unit/controller, I thought, “What an absolutely spectacular steam shower!”

I began to test it. The unit did not function, and I initially thought the power had simply been turned off. The multi-function shower valve was flawless, and the unit was draining properly. Once I fully investigated, I realized that the steam generator wasn’t even present in the basement, nor was the power connected inside the main electrical panel.

This buyer was very pleased to have paid for an inspection even though he originally assumed it wasn’t necessary. (After all, it’s a new home…what could possibly be wrong?) His home inspection fee was money well spent since the builder supplied a steam generator with no labor costs to make this beautiful shower functional before transfer.

Note to self: never assume!

Because of a myriad of reasons, newer homes should always be inspected. There are a variety of other “issues” that can be detected and addressed before “closing” on your dream house.

Please don’t hesitate to email or call me with any questions regarding a Home Inspection for newer homes.


Is there Radon or Radiation in Granite Countertops?

May 26, 2013
Granite countertops are still popular and add to a home's value.

Granite countertops are still popular and add to a home’s value.

Although most of the media’s attention on whether or not granite counter surfaces are a health risk has quieted down, there is always a lingering question with this issue. As a home inspector, I routinely perform radon tests in homes and have also tested on granite personally. I have not found readings that would be alarming …. as matter of fact, radon is commonly present in most northeast Ohio homes BELOW ground level. According to government EPA “…since granite is generally not very porous, less radon is likely to escape from it than from a more porous stone such as sandstone. It’s important to know that radon originating in the soil beneath homes is a more common problem and a far larger public health risk than radon from granite building materials. Also, any radon from granite countertops in kitchens or bathrooms is likely to be diluted in the typical home since those rooms are usually well ventilated.”

To reduce the risk of lung cancer from exposure to radon, which is a known carcinogen, you should test the air in your home. Although there are home testing kits, a trained radon specialist with knowledge on calibration and interpretation of readings is recommended by the EPA.

There are lots of things that we expose our bodies to everyday … but the beauty and durability of granite countertops far outweighs the minimal radioactivity that occurs naturally in many natural products like granite.