Home Inspection Term Paper

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All cultures have their differences. However Looking at the home foundation is one of the major aspects of inspection. Overall, the inspectors will be: 1) Observing site factors impacting the structure such as slope, drainage, or cracks; 2) Identifying type of construction, materials and site and foundation details; 3) Analyzing defects that happened over time such as signs of movement;

Looking for defects of omission such the absence of supporting posts, piers and footings; 5) Evaluating the information gathered and determining if repair is required; and 6) Reporting observations and making recommendations to the possible new owners or the sellers.

The foundation analysis will include: foundation crack evaluation that examines the extent of the cracks; bulge or lean measurements that determine how much bulge or lean is present; foundation movement active vs. static that concludes whether the foundation movement is ongoing; foundation damage severity that decides the severity of foundation damage; and failures by foundation type and material, which describes the types of foundation damage, cracks, leaks or other defects. The exterior of the house, regardless of stucco, brick, shingles or siding will be checked for any damage or water problems.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on Home Inspection Assignment

The floors and floor covering also need to be looked at thoroughly. Carpet should be checked for proper stretching and securing of the seams, mostly for safety. Thick carpeting can also affect air circulation of the heating and air conditioning system by restricting adequate air circulation. Vinyl, tile and linoleum need to be in good condition without any lose pieces that could mean signs of moisture or workmanship problems. The hardwood floors must be checked for wider-than-normal gaps, movement when jumping up and down, signs of moisture, squeaks, pops or cracking. The latter can be evidence of lose joints and/or loose or no subfloors. If any settling is noticeable, it is necessary to check for joist problems. In the basement, the inspector looks at the joists for bracing or solid blocking, which show how well the house is made. The floor of the basement is checked for stains from water and evidence of a water pump if there is extensive water at certain times of the year.

Fireplaces and chimneys often deteriorate quickly, especially those made from brick. Inspectors look for staining where the chimney or fireplace goes through the ceiling because of possible leakage. In older homes, steel sleeves or liners are used to insure the integrity of the flueway and chimney unobstruction; these must be checked. The fireplace grates and ash receivers provide a good indication of the fireplace structure; gaps in the base are a sign of trouble. The fireplace damper needs to be opened and operational and the draft checked.

On the roof, it is necessary to make sure the liner extends past the masonry section of the chimney. At the side of the house, the joint formed between the chimney and the house need to be plumb without a separation. The mortar needs to be dry and not crumbling. The home inspector will walk on the roof to closely examine the surface, the roof flashings, and skylights. Walking on the roof also provides additional information about structural integrity.

In the attic, an inspection is made of the roof rafters for any moisture damage, previous fire remains, or structural decay as well as any insect or rodent damage. The collar beams and ridge board need to be checked for sagging or cracks. The ceiling of rooms below the attic need to be checked for stains from moisture or badly damaged plaster. It is also necessary to look for large cracks. If there is insulation, the amount, type and condition has to be recorded, as does if there is the necessary amount for best results. Further, the condition of all exposed utilities, ducts and piping in the attic must be examined.

Each interior room of the house is inspected carefully. The plaster walls and ceilings are examined for any damage, and large cracks and/or sagging plaster on the ceiling or walls may be a sign of problems with joists. The inspector also looks at the ceiling for water stains. The walls, floors and ceiling of the kitchen are inspected for water damage and cracks. The sink is checked for cracks or chips, and water must go down properly. The sound of gurgling could mean improper venting. The pressure of the water is determined. The garbage disposal must be in working condition and no loud noises or vibations. All drawers and cupboards need to close. All appliances that remain for the new owners must be in working order. The refrigerator and dishwasher must be checked for leaks.

Likewise, in the bathrooms, the floors, walls and ceilings are checked for cracks and water stains. The bathroom fixtures are looked at for cracks and chips. Both faucets are checked for dripping and the water checked for coloration from pipe corrosion. The metal of the pipes should be noted. The water must go down the drain quickly. All faucets must be put on the same time to determine if all fixtures operate at fair rate of discharge. Water pressure is checked in the sink and tub, as is waste and drainage plumbing. The base of the toilet must be installed tightly onto the floor. Leakage is checked around the sink, toilet and tub. The heating and ventilation systems are checked. Venting must be in proper condition. The laundry room is also checked for plumbing and venting. Depending on the location, different analyses need to be performed. The condition of the water heater also provides a good indication of the condition of the house. A water heater supply valve needs to be in place.

The electrical system consists of a number of different check points. All lighting fixtures must be mounted tight to ceilings and walls. The fixtures must be sturdy and well mounted, too. If they hang by chains, the wires must be in tact and not frayed. Careful note is taken of the wall receptacles and how far they are from the appliance. All wiring must be grounded and specially grounded in wet areas such as the bathroom. All switches need to be in working order; switchplates must be opened to check installations. Wherever possible, wiring should be checked for their condition, especially if older. Outlets, wiring and fuses cannot be overloaded with appliances and lights. Surge protectors and power strips may be needed in places. The washer and dryer and refrigerator need special electrical work. The circuit breaker and fuses must be the proper size. A vent is needed where the dryer air leaves and an exhaust vent is required over the kitchen stove.

The furnace and space heaters need to be evaluated. If the home has an oil-fired heating system, it is necessary to determine the efficiency of the unit. The oil company most likely has done this on a regular basis, if it has been on a service contract. This includes checking the draft, stack temperature, oil pressure and smoke test. Thermostats must be located, tested and determined in correct location. The furnace system has to be checked regardless of the time of the year. Gas and electrical heating systems must be checked as well. Similarly, it is necessary to determine whether or not the air conditioning system is working properly. This is regardless of whether they are window units or larger systems.

In addition to these standard examinations, there are other ones depending on the particular house and the specific services of the inspector. Insect and rodent inspection looks primarily for termite (past and present) infestation in the basement, throughout the house and attic and around the foundation. In addition to the termites, there are other insects that destroy wood including the power post beetles, carpenter ants, and wood-decaying fungus. Present or previous squirrel, bat, mice and rat problems will be recorded as well.

The house may also be checked for the odorless radon gas that can enter the house through dirt floors in the cellar and cracks in the concrete floor slab or foundation walls. Older homes may be checked for asbestos insulation and lead in the paint. Almost all homes have one type or another of mold somewhere. Although not all types are toxic, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish types without lab testing. Thus it is imperative to treat and remove all molds as if they are potentially harmful -- black mold, for example can result in a serious health hazard.

Houses that are not in the city may have a septic tank used to collect and dispose of sewage. The tank has to be cleaned out and checked for any cracks. Likewise, houses in the country will not have town water but wells. Homeowners must ensure that their well water is safe to drink, there is enough water for ongoing use and that the well and pump are properly maintained. A malfunctioning well can pose a health risk to family members and neighbors, and can be expensive to repair or… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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