Home Inspection Process
What to expect
The typical home inspection process in Volusia county Florida takes a few hours to complete. Depending upon the square footage of the home, the home inspection can take from three hours with an average home size of up to 2,500 square feet, to an additional hour per 1,000 square feet. It is vital for potential home owners or purchasers of property to attend the home inspection process.
Imagine if you were purchasing a six digit vehicle and having a mechanic look it over before hand, most informed buyers would want to be there to understand the issues found by the mechanic. This concept applies to homes as well. That is why we encourage our clients to attend the inspection process.
One of the most prominent questions we get asked is, what is a home inspection? How long does a home inspection take, and what does a home inspection cover?
Steele and Associates Inspections follow a series of professional standards which we derive our process from. Simply put we look at the systems of the home. The house itself is one big system of which is comprised of many smaller systems to make it function as a whole. We look at those systems for function and safety.
Starting at the top of the structure most home inspections examine the roofing for wear, proper material for the slope of the roof, flashing which routes water away, and we check any protrusions such as vents and chimneys. A good home inspection will also look at proper gutter systems and the routing of water. Many homeowners do not understand that water is one of the main menacing evils of a home. You can read more about this in my article on Water and Your Home.
From there you can expect most home inspections to examine the grading of the lot and the exterior of the structure. A home inspection will identify potential structural issues at this point, looking for clues to defects in the foundation and any other signs of potential issues that will be further investigated on the inside of the home. Many homes in the Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, and Flagler areas will have the main service electrical panels located on the exterior so it is often at this point that the home inspector will check these electrical systems.
The home inspector will remove the Panel door and its face cover to inspect the wiring and breakers inside of the panel itself. It is highly unadvised for an un trained person remove any electrical panel cover! There is very high voltage inside of these service panels and severe injury or even death is most certain if a circuit is made through a person by accidental or inadvertent contact.
From this point you can expect the home inspection to move indoors, and the exterior to be revisited again. The home inspection process inside will seem mundane at first. However, your home inspector will be looking at the walls, door ways, and ceilings for cracks which may be indicative of a structural shift. Read more about cracks in your home here. You can then expect a proper home inspection to move to the systems of the interior including the HVAC or air conditioning, the electrical systems of the interior, the plumbing, and appliance operation.
While all home inspections are of a qualitative manner and not quantitative, meaning no real measurements are taken and more so observations, an easy and effective way to test the HVAC system is through what is known as a Delta T measurement. We take a measure of the intake air of the system’s temperature and the air being expelled through the vents in the home to determine if the system is cooling/ heating to an acceptable degree. There are a number of safety features that are checked over on the HVAC system which when in place provide protection for your home and the system overall.
The electrical system is assessed on the inside of the home by reviewing the performance of receptacles. GFCI’s are tested for proper and safe operation. Wiring deficiencies are often times found during this process. You can expect your home inspector to test receptacles with a small device which will indicate improper grounding, reverse or incorrect wiring, and bootlegged grounds to neutrals which is a common and not so safe practice often times done by homeowners replacing older two prong receptacles with updated three prong receptacles.
Plumbing is a very important system in the home in that if it is not functioning properly it can cause major damage if leaks occur or be a major hindrance if water flow restrictions exist. So, you can expect a qualified inspector to check for signs of leaks under sinks and at connection points near toilets. Most inspectors will verify leaks with a device known as a moisture meter which can confirm the presence of water in a material. The home inspector will usually run many faucets at the same time which will be checking for functional flow of the plumbing system. Have you ever taken a shower and had it interrupted with low water flow because someone else in the house was using a faucet? Again most inspections are quantitative and not qualitative, but we always double check pressure by attaching a gauge to the system to get a PSI reading however this is not a requirement for most home inspections.
Appliance operation is often times only checked for basic operation. A home inspection almost always will review that the appliances respond to normal operation controls such as turning on the dishwasher, oven, stovetop, etc. but may not report on the appliance’s accuracy or efficiency in application. So you will see the home inspector turn on these appliances basically to see if they work, but not to the extent to be able to report that the dishwasher will clean the dishes well for example. As the home is one large system with many smaller systems within it, some appliances are left running to test other systems of the home, such as the dishwasher which will help in testing for water flow and drain function.
From there you can expect to see your inspector go into the attic space where they will be checking for proper ventilation, insulation, and any signs of water intrusion. Most home inspectors will not allow clients to climb on their ladders due to liability, but a good home inspector will make up for this by taking additional photos and even videos to include in their report to keep their clients informed. If a home has a crawl space, an area under the homes floor, the inspector will also inspect this area for the same.
Overall the home inspection process is a fact finding mission to enlighten potential buyers as to the condition of their future purchase. It is often an anxious time for both buyers and sellers a like, but finding a knowledgeable home inspector who is a good communicator and who has the proper inspecting and reporting tools can make the process much easier and more comfortable. Choose an inspection company that has a modern digital report as the layout and delivery is much easier to understand than older pdf paper reports of years past.