There is no “one size fits all” answer. Here are some factors that can affect the duration of your inspection:
Size and layout of the house:
A smaller house will usually take less time to inspect. A house with an unusual floor plan may take a little longer because the inspector will want to ensure they are not overlooking any of the rooms.
Condition of the house:
Regardless of size, an empty house in good condition may take less time than a house that is packed with furniture and personal belongings or a home that is in poor condition.
Inclement weather can slow things down a little. For example, during one of our inspections it began raining heavily, so I waited until the rain stopped before inspecting the roof. It was worth the wait because the rainfall alerted me to several roof leaks as well as a leak in the ceiling of one of the bedrooms.
It is understandable that the client wants to be at the inspection and I’m fine with that. I help my clients help me by talking with them before the inspection and tactfully explaining that by allowing me to work uninterrupted, the inspection will not take too long. I encourage them to make a note of any concerns and where they are located, and save their comments or questions until we get to that location and then we can discuss. That keeps the client involved without breaking my flow and dragging out the inspection.
Newer inspectors may take longer because they are still in the learning curve and want to get it right (which is a good thing). If contractors or workmen are on-site that can add to the length of the inspection.
Taking into account the above factors, most home inspections will take between two and four hours to complete. We allow at least three hours per inspection, but in every instance take the time needed to do a thorough job. Quality is always job #1 with us.
Got questions about home inspections? We’ve got answers – Call us!
There is a great deal of discussion among home inspectors about whether or not to get on the roof during a home inspection. Some inspectors feel that you cannot do a thorough and proper inspection without getting on the roof and they are entitled to their opinion. My goal here is simply to provide some insight as to why some inspectors choose not to walk on the roof.
Getting on the roof – Positives and negatives:
Is the inspector required to get on the roof during an inspection?
Here are excerpts from the Standards of Practice for the three organizations that Virginia home inspectors answer to: (1) International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) – “The inspector is not required to walk on any roof surface.” (2) American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) – ASHI Standards of Practice only state that the inspector is required to inspect the roof system, nothing more. (3) Commonwealth of Virginia – “The method of inspecting the roof covering shall be noted and explained in the home inspection report. If the roof covering cannot be inspected, the licensee shall explain in the home inspection report why this component was not inspected.”
None of the Standards of Practice require the home inspector to get on the roof. It is a personal choice made by the individual inspector.
But there is one more thing to consider. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) requires that fall protection be provided at elevations of four feet in general industry workplaces, five feet in shipyards, six feet in the construction industry and eight feet in longshoring operations. So as I read that requirement, the home inspector who climbs on the roof without fall protection would be in violation of OSHA regulations (unless you have a roof that is less than four feet from the ground). I have had inspectors become angry with me and insist that the OSHA regulations do not apply to home inspectors. I respectfully asked them to provide proof of such an exception, and I’m still waiting.
Methods for inspecting the roof without getting on it:
(1) Binoculars from ground level (2) Ladder placed at roof edge (3) Drone (4) Extension pole with wireless camera (5) Upper-level windows looking down on lower-level roof surface. The savvy inspector uses a combination of these methods to get the job done. I have two extension poles, one 24-foot and one 30-foot, and have achieved excellent results using the extension pole with a wireless digital camera. I can zoom in on plumbing vents, flashing and individual shingles to get great photos. I’ve had more than one client and realtor comment on the “cool pole” or ask how I got such great roof shots when I didn’t get on the roof.
A word of caution about drones – if you hire an inspector who uses a drone, confirm that they are properly licensed through the FAA and have the appropriate insurance coverage.
The inspector can also tell a lot about what is going on with the exterior of the roof by doing a thorough inspection of the attic interior. For example, water stains on the roof decking inside the attic may alert the inspector to problems on the exterior roof surface.
In my humble opinion, it is possible to do a proper and adequate roof inspection without getting on the roof. Don’t refuse to hire an inspector just because they don’t walk on roofs. And don’t hire one just because they do.
Single-strand aluminum wiring was sometimes used in place of copper for electrical branch circuit wiring in residential construction between the mid-1960’s and mid-1970’s. Since about 1973, use of single-strand aluminum wiring has largely ceased due to problems with the material.
Problems with single-strand aluminum wiring
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), homes wired with aluminum wire manufactured before 1972 are 55 times more likely to have one or more connections reach "fire hazard conditions" than a home wired with copper.
Some of the common problems with single-strand aluminum wiring are: (1) Electrical current vibrates as it passes through wiring. This vibration is more extreme in aluminum than it is in copper and over time can cause connections to loosen. (2) Aluminum wire is more susceptible to oxidation than copper wire. The aluminum oxide formed by the oxidation process can deteriorate connections and present a fire hazard. (3) Aluminum is more susceptible to fatigue and failure from bending and other forms of abuse than copper. Metal fatigue causes the aluminum wire to break down internally and increases the wire’s resistance to electrical current, leading to a buildup of excessive heat. (4) Contact with moisture or dissimilar metals can cause the aluminum to corrode. (5) Single-strand aluminum wiring can be damaged by over-tightening screws that connect the wiring to breakers or other electrical components. The wire will continue to deform even after the tightening has ceased and this creates a loose connection and increases electrical resistance in that location.
Identifying Aluminum Wiring
Standards of Practice for the Commonwealth of Virginia and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) require the home inspector to report on single-strand, solid conductor aluminum branch-circuit wiring, if observed by the home inspector.
One clue for the inspector will be the age of the house. Homes built or expanded between 1965 and 1973 are more likely to have aluminum wiring than houses built before or after those years. On visible sections of wiring, the plastic wire jacket may be marked with the word “aluminum," the initials "AL," or a specific brand name, such as "Kaiser Aluminum."
Evaluation and corrective action
Aluminum wiring should be evaluated by a qualified licensed electrician who is experienced in evaluating and correcting aluminum wiring problems. Not all licensed electricians are properly trained to deal with defective aluminum wiring.
Aluminum wiring can be a fire hazard due to inherent qualities of the metal. Inspectors may suggest that their clients talk with their insurance agents about whether the presence of aluminum wiring in the client's home is an issue that would require changes to their policy language.
Call us – we’ve got experience in locating and identifying single-strand aluminum wiring.