Crazy & dangerous homemade light!

March 18, 2014

All Points Inspection job photos 005 (1)

Not a good way to use a pie plate… This light and other makeshift lights need to be replaced if you’re buying or selling a home.

Smoke Detectors for Safety

November 14, 2013
type: photoelectric smoke detector

type: photoelectric smoke detector

In a typical home inspection, I routinely check for smoke detectors. This blog post will not cover every single requirement, but rather an education to the homeowner, whether you are purchasing a home or not. The issues I will raise is in the area of fire safety which includes the ever important smoke detector.

There are two basic types of smoke alarm detectors sold in the US ……ionization and photoelectric. I recommend both, but lean towards photoelectric detection and here’s why.

These two types of alarms indicate differently. Most people are just used to the typical ionization sensor smoke alarms, but if they become annoying, they are sometimes  disconnected by someone in the home.  According to The ASHI Reporter:

     “Remember, about 96% of US homes have at least one smoke alarm. Nearly two-thirds of all residential fire deaths occur in homes that are unprotected. Roughly 50% of homeowners with nonfunctional alarms cite nuisance tripping as the reason for disabling their alarms. To complete the picture, many of the remaining 1/3 of residential fire deaths occur in homes where an alarm sounds, but it sounds too late for the occupants to escape. Over the years a number of government, university and manufacturer research studies, many going back to the mid-1970’s, clearly show that ionization alarms are slow to react in deadly smoldering fires and account for the vast majority of nuisance trips.”

In July, 2010, Albany, California became the first city in that state to require photoelectric smoke alarms in new construction and remodels. Other cities in California and the Ohio cities of Shaker Heights, Chagrin Falls and others have enacted similar ordinances.

The phrase, “It’s better to be safe than sorry” really is true on the issue of fire safety in your home.

Take care,


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.


I love home inspections!

June 20, 2013
I'm on a roof .... with a killer view!

I’m on a roof … with a killer view!

I am blessed to be doing something that I love. Really.

Some days are a little tougher than others, I admit. Like the days when an inspection requires me to crawl (literally) in a crawl space or in an attic when the temperature is 90 degrees. But then there are inspections that I do on some really neat locations. In the photo above, getting on the roof was cool (literally) with an amazing view of Lake Erie (where I dream of fishing more than inspecting).


Here’s to a great inspection report!


Vent Pipe

June 20, 2013

Vent Pipe

When a plumbing vent pipe lines up with an attic roof rafter, just cut it out!

Water & moisture issues

February 16, 2013
window trim damage from moisture

window trim damaged from moisture

Just like a car needs regular oil changes to prevent damage, so do houses. A regular routine for homes should be caulking and painting around areas that are vulnerable to moisture or water leaks.

Here are the two critical areas to inspect:

  1. Siding – wood sided homes and aluminum wrapped windows are guilty culprits of water penetration if typical caulk maintenance is not kept up.
  2. Window frames – many homeowners don’t realize why they have water penetration during heavy rainstorms through windows and doors. Again, a recommendation of caulking and painting to maintain weather seals around all windows and door frames.

Mold and mildew are really common issues when inspecting homes in Northeast Ohio. I’ve addressed proper ventilation inside the home (see Mold…should you worry?), but keeping water from coming into the house needs to be priority as well.

Termites in Ohio

September 14, 2012

termite damage

Many lenders are now requiring a “pest” inspection in addition to the normal home inspection. It’s in your best interest to call a qualified pest inspection service to identify damage to wood structure, which could indicate termites.

Contrary to what you may have heard, there are termites in Ohio.

According to “The main destructive termite species in Ohio is the Eastern subterranean termite.” I’ve seen evidence of this local termite species as a home inspector. Learning from a professional pest control professional about the damage has been an interesting experience for me. This local termite can be destructive to common building timbers.

Identification is the first step in proper extermination. Hire a home inspector with the expertise to spot termite damage.

A good pest control company to call for a quality pest inspection in Northeast Ohio is Patton Pest Control Co.

Safety railings are a ‘must’

August 2, 2012

How many safety hazards can you find in this photo? (or at your own home, for that matter?)

The deck and all steps are important areas of safety for your home inspection

Here is the item most blatantly missing and will cause any home inspection to fail: handrails. I am looking for hand railings on all stairs and a safety railings on any deck platform or steps that are 36-inches above grade or higher. Bench seating on a deck is NOT considered safe, nor does a bench seat meet the safety requirement on the inspection report.

Kids love to climb up on things… and a built-in seat on a deck is too tempting. So keep them safe (and pass inspection!) by installing a safety railing right away.

Have a great summer and stay safe!


Home Inspection: A Smart Choice

April 21, 2012
1600 sq.ft.ranch - inspected and ready to buy!

1600 sq.ft. ranch – inspected and ready to buy!

The more confident you can be throughout the home-buying process, the better.

As a home inspector, I am required to report potential issues that require special attention.

The square footage of the property you want to buy makes no difference, as far as providing you an inspection report that meets all applicable requirements for the state of Ohio.

According to Keller Williams’ 8 Steps to Buying a Home: “you’ll need to have a property inspection (which we highly recommend you attend) that will expose hidden issues. That way, you’ll know what you are getting into before you sign closing papers.”

Read more from  Keller Williams here.

What do wet or damp basement walls mean?

March 10, 2012

There is always that little “box” on a home inspection report that I know I have to mark when I see damp walls in a basement. While most homebuyers know that damp basements may be an issue…wet foundations surely are a big issue.

The question arises, does a wet wall equal future damage? We do know that water+time=mold.

Fortunately, damp walls or floor in a basement does not always call for a dramatic foundation “dig,”  but getting to the source of the moisture is important.

One of the evidences of a previous “wet” wall is a chalky white substance called “efflorescence.” This is a result of evaporation of water. Another clue could be a musty odor or humidity.

Please call me if you have any questions!