Technical FAQ’s

Technical FAQs

Is that termite damage?
Gone undetected long enough, termites have the ability to devastate a structure. Although they are sometimes difficult to spot, there can be tell tale signs if you know what to look for. Worker termites need high humidity to survive. If they become exposed to dry air, they die quickly. As such, when they travel across concrete or stone, they build what's called a "shelter tube" around them to maintain close to 100% humidity. Spotting these tubes on masonry is a sure sign they've been there.
Does my roof leak?
Contrary to what you may think, roof leaks are sometimes not as obvious as they may seem. Roofs can leak surprising distances from that stain on your ceiling. We can give you a very good overview of the condition of not only the roof covering but, if accessible, the roof sheathing and supporting structure below.
Is this a wet basement?
Maybe, maybe not. We can give you information on evidence of water seepage at the time of the inspection, as well as a review of proper exterior grade and roof water management, we can not guarantee a dry basement. Determining past water penetration is difficult, if not impossible, in certain instances. Our clients are URGED to obtain disclosure from the seller of the property regarding any past occurrence of water seepage.
How old is that water heater?
The approximate age of most water heaters can often be determined by the serial number of the unit or the date of the governing ANSI standard to which the heater was manufactured. Ask both the seller of the property for the age and your inspector for an estimate at your inspection.
Do I smell Radon gas?
Doubtful. Not only is radon gas odorless, it's also colorless and tasteless. The amount of radon gas in a home depends on many different variables. Unfortunately, Worcester County happens to fall in an EPA Zone 1, which has the highest potential for levels to exceed 4 Picocuries per Liter, or (pCi/L). It's not uncommon to have one home far exceed the EPA action level, with a neighboring house well below the national indoor average of 1.3 pCi/L. Give our office a call. We would be happy to send you a complimentary EPA brochure titled, "Home Buyer's and Seller's Guide to Radon". To find out more on-line, try this from the EPA: Environmental Protection Agency
Should I install gutters and downspouts?
Properly installed and maintained gutters and downspouts can often save homes from the single most common problem to structures - water. Water can not only drastically affect the structural integrity of a house or damage finish material and furnishings, but maybe even more importantly, promote mildew and mold growth, adversely affecting indoor air quality. If you're going to put them up, maintain them. Improperly maintained, gutters and downspouts can promote wood deterioration, attracting wood destroying insects. Utilize splash blocks and extenders at the base of all downspouts to manage water away from the structure. Concentrating large amounts of water at the base of a single downspout can create a worse condition than without a gutter there at all. All in all, for most homes, gutters help more than they harm.
Is this electrical service adequate?
Although our inspectors are not electricians, and as such, do not perform any type of load calculation, your inspector will give you pertinent information about the electrical system in your potential new home. Whether there are fuses or circuit breakers, your inspector will determine if they are properly and safely sized, tell you whether the service outlets are grounded or not as well as what type of branch circuit wiring you have and it's condition. Next to water related problems, electrical issues are the most common to find on inspections. Find out if Uncle Joe wired the back porch for a welder and if upgrades or repairs are warranted.
Does this house have enough insulation?
It's not uncommon to see minimal, if any, insulation in many homes we inspect. If the home is greater than 10 years old, additional insulation may be a very cost effective upgrade. Adequate insulation can not only decrease the cost of heating and cooling your home, but can increase your comfort and make the home much more livable, as well as adding to its re-sale value. Find out what type of insulation you have, how much is there, and if you need more.
The Seller indicated there's an underground heating oil storage tank. Should I be concerned?
Simple answer to this. YES! Although it's fairly uncommon for an underground tank to leak, it's entirely possible. When an underground storage tank is found, our clients are URGED to obtain verification of condition and/or require proper removal prior to closing. Don't assume the liability of what has the potential to be an astronomical cost of cleanup if the tank has leaked and contaminated soil is present.
Does the seller have to repair any deficiencies found on the inspection?
There is no requirement that the seller repair anything or re-negotiate after the inspection. If deficiencies are uncovered that the buyer was not aware of prior to the inspection, they typically have the option to accept them, attempt to renegotiate to have them repaired or to adjust the purchase price, or reject the home and have their deposit returned to them. Consult your attorney for confirmation on this issue.