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OLDER HOME - This is a problem commonly found in our inspections and can be quite dangerous.   Additional circuits were improperly added to this main electrical panel box.  They were "Double Tapped" into a 240 volt breaker.  Double tapping electrical breakers and circuits can cause overheating, notice the burn marks on the wires.

This is dangerous and a potential fire hazard.

Inspectec will find dangerous electrical conditions

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NEW HOME -  At this new $350,00 home, gutters were improperly installed.  Water was directed and discharging against the shingles and into a flashed valley area. This can cause water to get up and under the shingles, causing damage to the structure. This gutter should have been sloped the other way or, a small downspout could have been added at this end diverting the water down the shingle, not against it.  Big gaps in the trim have also allowed birds to get into and above the soffit areas and are making a mess below.

New home builders, for the most part, try their best to build a well constructed home but even for the best builders, it's hard to stay on top of the many sub-contractors that have to be hired to build a new home.

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OLDER HOME -  Wow,  This is a dangerous one!  These wires are the main electrical feed lines to the home.  This is high voltage and unprotected power.  As you can see in the photo, the insulation is totally gone from the splices on both hot wires.  What makes it really dangerous is that these bare wires are within an inch of the aluminum trim.  If these wires come in contact with the trim it would energize the trim, siding, downspouts and anyone that touched them.  Although this is a serious and dangerous condition, it is easy to correct.
As is, Very dangerous!
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60s - 70s HOME -  Aluminum wiring, used in some homes from the mid 1960's to the early 1970's, is a potential fire hazard.  According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fires and even deaths have been reported to have been caused by this hazard. Problems due to expansion, or more likely micro-fretting and arcing at the connectors, can cause overheating at connections between the wire and devices (switches and outlets) or at splices. The connections can become hot enough to start a fire without ever tripping a circuit breaker!   Repairs inlcude re-wiring the entire house but there are other solutions. Pigtailing using  "COPALUM" connections is one.
For information on Aluminum wiring Click Here 
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This one just makes us sick!  (A re-habbed house)  This old home was fully renovated by a "house flipper".   The living room fireplace was listed as "wood burning".  When looking at it, (see the top picture), everything looks fine.  All updated, a working damper, a ceramic hearth extension, etc.   But some things that "look good" can actually be serious issues!   When we looked from "inside the firebox", it was clear that there is a serious problem.  As part of the remodeling, someone removed the entire "face brick", even at the top of the firebox. (see the lower picture).  This means the firebox, has no "top front" to contain a fire.   If that's not bad enough, the re-habbers built a wood wall (in front of the fire box) so they could apply the "pretty front tiles".  If someone would have built a fire in this fireplace the home would have caught fire, 100% for sure!   In all the years we have done home inspections it just never ceases to amaze us that someone would do something like this.  Just because it "looks good" does not mean it is safe or proper.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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OLDER HOME - The homeowner had no idea that this duct had come loose.   One bedroom in the house always seemed cold.   No wonder,   These flex ducts were poorly installed with bad supports and there was also no insulation installed on the main trunk duct.  All of the ducts running through this crawl space had to be re-supported and re-insulated properly. 
How much heating energy had been lost over the years?

Inspectec will find energy wasting conditions

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REMODELED HOME - Someone has added a fireplace & chimney to this home and cemented the cut rafter right into the brick.  When a structural wood member is cut through in a situation like this, the load it carries must be transferred to surrounding structural members using a "Header" installed perpendicularly and connected to the two adjacent rafters. This allows proper support and a safe space between the wood framing and the chimney.  Spacing from framing to wood should be at least 2".  Many times homeowners and some remodelers, just don't know how to go about a project properly and safely.

This is not a proper installation & a severe Fire Hazard.

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OLDER HOME - Homeowners are required to disclose known defects / conditions such as water infiltration, mold, ect, but many times we find items hidden or concealed.   Here is an example of moisture damage and Mold.   Note: The worst area, is in the shape of a pipe that may have been cut / capped, and is now seeping / leaking, behind the drywall and creating a health hazard.

Our Inspections protect YOUR interests!

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OLDER HOME - This is the main support beam under the center of an older home.  The home had several additions over the years and as you can see in the photo, the original wood support beams could not handle the added weight. This and other support beams are now cracking / splitting under the load.  This is a very costly repair item to find out about after you buy.  This home had many serious problems.
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OLDER HOME - "Federal Pacific" brand electrical panels (shown), are known fire hazards. These panels are considered latent fire hazards as their breakers may not trip properly in the event of an electrical short / hazard.  There are also other unsafe panels / components such as "Zinsco", "PushMatic" etc.
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OLDER HOME -  Roofing problems are common. This photo shows caulk used incorrectly.  A properly installed roof will not need caulk as in this photo.  In an area like this, metal "Step Flashing" would be used, installed under the siding and between shingles, to protect the structure from water infiltration.  Caulk used on a roof in this manner is a sure sign of problems and / or a poor installation job.
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ANY AGE HOME -  Yes, Thats a Raccoon that made himself a nice warm home, above the homes fireplace.  It is not uncommon to find animals getting into uncapped chimneys.
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NEW HOME -  At this brand new home, many "squash blocks" were not installed / missing (red arrow).
Squash blocks (blue arrow), support the loads of upper levels and in some cases, the entire house. Squash blocks are required at any and all load bearing points when using engineered joists such as this house has.  These were the main level floor joists supporting the entire two upper levels and most of the squash blocks were missing. 
This is a serious mistake for a builder to make.
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OLDER HOME Asbestos is contained in many products manufactured before the mid 70s.  In older homes, it is common to find asbestos products such as the pipe insulation shown in the photo, and/or other components such as floor tiles, furnace and stove gaskets, ceiling textures, etc,.  
Covered or encapsulated asbestos is usually not a concern but loose, frail fibers can be a hazard.  Breathing in asbestos fibers can lead to an increased risk of lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other health issues.
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ODD but TRUE -  The vertical pipe in this attic area is the homes main plumbing vent.  Someone has connected 3 bathroom fan exhaust vents to it.  This may allow sewer gases to enter the home and is quite improper. 

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ODD but TRUE - How many years do you suppose it has been since this furnace was cleaned?
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ANY AGE HOME - This is a "Triple" Fire Hazard.  1) Plastic dryer vents dry out over time and become brittle, not to mention, plastic will burn!   2) You can also see in the picture that screws were used on the metal section of the vent.  Screws, protruding into a dryer vent will collect lint on the screw tip starting / causing a blockage.  3) The vent is reduced as it enters the metal section.  A sure blockage issue.
It is best to use non-corrugated, smooth wall vent pipes for dryers and replace any plastic ASAP.

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 ODD BUT TRUE -  Yes, Even Tree Houses need to be built properly.

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ODD BUT TRUE -  Buried gas meter.
                            Honey, We need more Mulch!
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ANY AGE HOME - The Top photo shows a fan we observed in an upstairs bedroom at a vacant, "fixer upper" house.  The clients laughed at the "cheap cardboard" fan blades that wilted in the humidity.
We noticed some minor water staining so decided to further evaluate this by getting permission to remove a small piece of the drywall.  (the attic area above, had no access).  Good thing we did, as you can see on the lower photo, excessive moisture and mold was above this ceiling due to seepage / leaks on the roof.
It is rare to get permission to do this type of evaluation as owners usually will not allow it.  In this case, we used a small, pinhole camera tool to view the area.  After mold was found, the owner allowed the removal of some drywall, to see the extent of the damage.  They had no idea this problem existed..