The Top 20 Most Common Crawlspace Defects Found During Home Inspections

Having your home’s crawlspace area professionally inspected is a very critical component of responsible home maintenance and management.

Here are the Top 20 most common defects found in a crawlspace:

  • Mold, algae, or mildew growing on foundation walls
  • Moisture seeping up from the ground into the crawlspace
  • Flooding or standing water in the crawlspace
  • Condensation forming on walls, vapor barrier, and HVAC equipment
  • Insulation damaged, falling or hanging from floor joists
  • No insulation present in the crawlspace
  • Mold and mildew on seal plates, floor joists, and sub-floors
  • Warping or Cupping Hardwood Floors
  • Substandard framing or poorly supported framing
  • Failing, sinking, or settling supports
  • Posts in contact with concrete/soil
  • Water Damage or dry rot on framing and subfloor
  • Improper notching of framing
  • Aged or leaking cast iron or galvanized water delivery or drainage pipes
  • Lack of proper ventilation
  • Improper electrical wiring
  • Electrical wiring in contact with crawlspace ground
  • Wood debris and other discarded materials in the crawlspace area
  • Missing, damaged, or incomplete vapor barrier
  • Mice, pest, and other insects/rodents in crawlspace areas

Contact Sentry Home Inspections, LLC today to schedule your home’s crawlspace inspection: 229 449-8482

 

   

Foundation Crawlspace Inspection

Many of the home’s most critical mechanical and structural systems are located in the crawlspace area:

Footings – Foundation Walls – Cripple Walls – Foundation Vents – Tier Support Systems – Sewer/Drainage Pipes – Water Delivery Pipes – Wall Seal Plates – Floor Joist & Subfloor Systems – Insulation – Electrical Lines – Cabling – HVAC Ducting –  Ducting Ties/Supports – Ducting Insulation – Moisture Barriers, etc.

Having the crawlspace closely inspected and documented is crucial because this area gives you a great indication as to the condition of the “bones” in the home.

 

Our Newest Crawl Space Crawler Technology:

6 Wheel Independent Suspension

No Line of Sight Monitor Control

HD 4 K Video & Pictures

Insta-Track Zoom Capacity

HD LED Lights

360 Degree Imaging & Video

5 1/2 Inches In Height!

Call Us Today To Book Your Inspection: 229 449-8482

Indoor Air Quality & Mold Inspection

The average person in Southwest Georgia spends 90% of their time indoors, so the quality of your indoor air is of the utmost importance to your health. Identifying health effects caused from Mold Contamination/Exposure can become critical. We are here to assist you with testing if some or all of the symptoms exist around you.  Symptoms include:

  • severe coughing
  • sneezing
  • sore eyes
  • runny nose
  • nasal congestion
  • allergic reactions
  • asthma
  • acute upper respiratory tract infections

We believe everyone deserves to breathe clean & healthy air

DON’T RISK YOUR FAMILY’S HEALTH. GET AN AIR QUALITY INSPECTION WITH OUR PARTICLE PLUS™ TECHNOLOGY TODAY.

BOOK YOUR INSPECTION IN SOUTHWEST GEORGIA NOW: 229 449-8482

Hornets, Wasps, Yellow Jackets and Bees: How To Protect Your Home?

We routinely come across hornets, wasps, yellow jackets and occasionally – even bumblebees and honey bees during a home inspection. These insect nests are sometimes visible – but more than often – they can not be seen until you suddenly happen upon them.

Opening a metal panel door, crawling into the attic or crawl space or inspecting the exterior areas of a home’s overhang / soffits / gable vents / windows / doors and it’s foundation areas will often readily encourage the nesting of these pests – especially wasps.

While most of the time, these insects do not cause significant damage to your home, except maybe honey bees, they do obviously cause safety issues for you, your family, pets, visitors and service professionals who are required to be present at your home. At Sentry Home Inspection Services we are not licensed to provide Pest Control Services. But, we can, and do identify visible safety issues regarding the presence of these and other pests. Of course, if we fell that the situation is serious enough and the general safety and well fare of your family and pets is in danger, then we will recommend securing professional pest control services. 

So, what can you do as a home owner to minimize the likelihood of intrusion by these pests? This is a situation where a good defense is always the winning approach. Preventing or eliminating opportunities for these pests to gain access into your home is always the best strategy. Always inspect your home looking for any opportunities that pests may have to enter your home environment. Repairing cracks, tears or holes in wood surfaces, repairing window, crawl space or gable vent screens, screening soffit vents and ensuring that no entry points exist in exterior roof or wall surfaces, electrical panels or distribution boxes – will be a great start toward mitigating this issue. In addition, make sure that any electrical or cable wiring entering the home has the entry hole properly sealed with an all weather sealant to discourage entry.

Of course, nests such as wasps nests that can be visually observed from a safe distance can be eliminated by knocking the nest down with a long pole or there are many effective long stream foaming sprays that are available for use as well as CRC sprays that can safely be used around electrical equipment to avoid the risk of shock and electrocution. For bees nests such as honey bees – locating a local bee keeper who can come and remove the swarm is the most effective intervention. Hornet nest and bumblebee nest should be terminated by a pests control professional. 

The Top 20 Most Common Defects Found in Home Inspections?  

Do You Know the Top 20 Most Common Defects Found in Home Inspections in Southwest Georgia? 

         

Not everyone knows the most common issues we see on a regular basis that show up as deficiencies in Home Inspections. Many of the issues could remedied with simple proactive maintenance – while some do require some level of professional assistance. Being aware of these common deficiencies can help sellers truly prepare their home for pre-listing and can also help buyers be aware of these issues during the home viewing process:

 

Ground Drainage – Proper Positive Slope

Worn Out Shingles / Roof Protrusion Boot Deficiencies

Chimney Flashing and Roof Flashing Deficiencies

Severely Weathered or Water Damaged Overhang/Soffit/Exterior Trim

Lack of Adequate Guttering System

Vegetation Against Exterior Structure – Tree Limbs Over Roof Surfaces

Weathered Windows & Caulking and Sealer is Severely Damaged or Missing

Doors That Need Adjusting and Servicing

Neglect or Moisture Damage to Brick Porches/Patio’s/Decks

Mold, Water, or Moisture Damage to Framing or Floor Systems

Improper or Inadequate Plumbing Under Sinks

Electrical Panel / Distribution Panel Wiring & Other Issues

Damaged or Improper Electrical Boxes, Receptacle, or Switches

Electrical Fixtures and or Bulb Deficiencies

No AFCI / GFCI Protection at Bedrooms / Bathrooms and Other Wet Areas

Smoke Alarms / CO Alarms

Lack of Proper Maintenance of HVAC Equipment & Filters

Badly Neglected & Lack of Proper Vapor Barrier in Crawl Space

Old Cast Iron and Galvanized Waste Disposal & Water Supply Distribution Pipes

Dangerous DYI / Unprofessional Construction Projects

 

If you are considering selling your home or if you are buying a home – contact Sentry Home Inspections, LLC today for the best Home Inspection in Southwest Georgia!

Does Your Home Have Defective Roofing Shingles?

You would likely not even know it. However, If you have visible, non weather-related damage to your roof, you most likely have defective shingles. There are currently thousands of roofs with Atlas Chalet and CertainTeed shingles that are deteriorating at a much quicker pace than the industry standard. This is due to manufacturer defects. These defects were so widespread that many lawsuits were filed over the past few years, lawsuits which eventually became large class-action lawsuits. Georgia had more of these shingles installed than any other State in the USA.

So, what do the defects look like? The defective shingles deteriorate in similar patterns including cracking, curling, pitting, blistering, balding and severe de-granulation.

These shingles, if present on your home, can encourage water penetration due to material failure. If you are going to be buying a home, the presence of these shingles can stop that process as insurance companies will not cover the roofs.  If you are selling a home with these shingles present buyers are not going to assume the innate risk and potential future outlay so the sale of your home could be abruptly terminated – unless, of course, you agree to cover contingency replacement of the shingles.

Make sure your home inspector is very well trained and familiar with roofing materials as well as any performance issues or defects with material composition and life span. Especially any shingles that have had manufacturer recalls or class action lawsuits. If they’re not, that could cost you thousands of dollars in unexpected repair and replacement cost as both a home buyer or a home seller.

If you are looking for the best home inspection in Albany, Leesburg or the Southwest Georgia Region – call Sentry Home Inspection Services today: 229 449-8482.

We’ve Got Your Back!

Are You and Your Family In Danger Of Asbestos Exposure?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber mined from the earth. It is heat and chemical resistant and is easily formed into just about any shape or product. It was used in more than 3,000 different construction materials and manufactured products, including many found in residential homes.

Typically – in residential settings these materials can be found in: cement, roof shingles, ceiling tiles, sprayed-on ceilings, patching compounds, attic and wall insulation containing vermiculite, siding, floor tiles, HVAC insulation, plumbing insulation/blanketing and many other sealant/insulation applications.

Asbestos can be identified in both a friable or non-friable state. Friable asbestos can be easily crumbled or reduced to a powder and can become airborne. This type of asbestos poses the greatest danger to the environment and exposure health. Non-friable asbestos is more tightly bound with another material and its fibers cannot easily be made airborne unless they are sanded, cut, or sawed.

When disturbed, asbestos breaks down into microscopic small fibers up to 1,200 times thinner than a human hair. These tiny fibers easily become airborne and when inhaled, many of the fibers will become trapped in the mucous membranes of the nose and throat where they can then be removed, but some may pass deep into the lungs, or, if swallowed, into the digestive tract. Once they are trapped in the body, the fibers can cause health problems such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and severe/chronic asbestosis. There is no known safe level of asbestos exposure, and medical research indicates these fibers can cause severe lung diseases and cancer in 10 to 30 years after the initial asbestos exposure.

If your home was built prior to the 1980’s there is a high likelihood that may contain asbestos in some form. It is vitally important to know if there is asbestos-containing materials in your home – and if so – risk exposure – so you can protect your health as well as your family’s.

Sentry Home Inspection Services is nationally certified to conduct residential and commercial asbestos survey’s and inspections. If you need to get an asbestos inspection in Albany, Leesburg and the Southwest Georgia Region we can help take care of all your survey, inspection and testing needs.

Starting at $199 up to 2,000 sq ft.  This service establishes the presence of asbestos, sample collection, risk assessment and certified laboratory testing results.

For More Information on the dangers of asbestos please visit the Environmental Protection Agency at: https://www.epa.gov/asbestos/epa-actions-protect-public-exposure-asbestos

 

20 Things Home Sellers Do To Hide Issues During Home Inspections

For most of us our home may be the single largest investment we will ever make. So it makes sense to hire the very best home inspector you can find to make sure that you are do everything possible to ensure you’ll have all of the unbiased factual information you need to make an informed investment decision.

While for the most part, one would like to think that all home sellers are completely forthcoming and completely honest about their home – unfortunately, the truth is, some dishonest or unscrupulous sellers use tricks in an intentional attempt to hide issues before and during the home inspection process. At Sentry Home Inspection Services we are well versed in identifying these tricks to determine if these were attempts to properly maintain and enhance a home or if these attempts are in fact trying to hide something.

Here are 20 Common Tricks Home Seller’s Use and What You Can Do To Disclose Them:

  1. Re-Roofing a Home: There are many reasons why a home may have a new roof and the presence of a new roof doesn’t necessarily mean that a seller is trying to hide anything. Especially in the case of homeowners insurance claims and proactive upkeep. However, sometimes a seller will re-roof a home in an attempt to hide long term neglect, which can mean sustained water intrusion, mold and air quality issues. Make sure your seller is able to produce all necessary roof information and history, and ask your home inspector to closely scrutinize this area.
  2. Use of Roof Sealant On Flashing, Vents and Chimneys: In many instances, properly used roofing sealant is a viable means of producing a water tight envelope that prevents rain water from entering a home. However, in more cases than not – roof sealant is often used as a quick, easy and cheap stop gap attempt to hide leaks and avoid performing proper repairs. In this situation also make sure your seller is able to produce all necessary roof repair information and history, and ask your home inspector to closely scrutinize these items.
  3. Painting Problem Areas: em areas. Fresh paint itself is not necessarily a tall tell sign of dishonesty, as it can simply indicate routine annual maintenance and pride in ownership. However, new paint can also be an intentional attempt to cover water stains, mold, deteriorating wood, insect problems and much, much more. An experienced home inspector knows what to look for to identify signs of “hiding problems.”
  4. Recently Completed Remodeling & Construction: Signs of recent remodeling or renovations may simply be a capital improvement effort on the part of the seller to increase the home’s value. However, this can also be an attempt to hide issues with the home. You will want to ask the seller why the work was done, who completed the work and ask for copies of receipts and building permits for the project(s) – especially with basement and exterior renovation projects. Also make sure you give your home inspector a  head’s up.
  5. Resurfacing of Exterior or Interior Foundation Areas: Recent resurfacing or refacing of a homes exterior foundation areas may very well simply be an aesthetic appearance effort on behalf of a seller. But it can also be an attempt to hide severe or long term water intrusion problems, settlement problems or structural support issues. Make sure your inspector is diligent in inspecting those areas.
  6. Windows That Have Been Heavily Sealed, Caulked and Repainted: While it is important to maintain the exterior areas of the homes windows, excessive or heavy sealant, caulking and paint could indicate an attempt to hide severely weathered, damaged or rotten areas of windows. Make sure you ask the seller about any exterior window work and ask your home inspector to carefully scrutinize each window.
  7. Newly Stained or Resealed Deck:  While regular deck maintenance is a routine part of home ownership and protecting an investment, occasionally seller’s will attempt to hide deck issues with a fresh resurfacing. An experienced professional home inspector will know what to look for and how to find those hidden issues that can be both structural as well as safety issues with a deck. Make sure your home inspector is certified in the Residential Code for Prescriptive Wooden Deck Construction.
  8. Re-landscaped Grounds Around The Foundation: Re-landscaping a yard can not only improve the exterior aesthetic appearance of a home but it also add property value as well – so long as it is done for those reasons. Unfortunately, many times, seller’s will have landscaping done around a home’s foundation areas to disguise rainwater run off issues as well as significant water intrusion. Make sure you ask about any newly completed landscaping projects and get the contact information on who competed the work. Make sure you mention any concerns to your home inspector because they know what to look for to identify water intrusion issues inside foundation areas.
  9.   Removing Evidence of Damage. Occasionally, it becomes necessary to sometimes replace exterior components f a home such as siding, wooden overhang, soffits, window encasement’s, etc.. Sometimes, sellers have this work completed just prior to listing the home on the market as a maintenance effort. Unfortunately, sellers sometimes try to hide damage from water, insects and more by removing any sign of trouble. If you notice recent random replacement of exterior elements, it could mean a deliberate attempt to hide long term issues. Make sure your home inspector is “certified” in Thermal Imaging and Infrared detection.
  10. Non Disclosure of The Home’s Major Systems Age(s): A responsible home owner is going to be able to disclose the age of the home’s HVAC system(s) and water heater. If a seller doesn’t know or doesn’t disclose this information, this could be an indicator that the systems are at or near the end of their average life span. One sign that the seller is trying to hide something is when they’ve disclosed only the bare minimum of information. As a buyer you should always ask to see manuals, warranties and receipts for annual servicing – repairs and replacements. Always make sure you ask your home inspector to conduct a thorough analysis of each to ensure they’re all in good working order. Your home inspector should be able to disclose the age of the units regardless of whether or not the seller does.
  11. Pests: Never assume that just because a a home looks beautiful that there are not pests that have taken up residence in the home. Responsible sellers should be able to disclose any pests issues, produce receipts for exterminations services and provide a copy of the home’s Termite Bond. If you have a sneaking suspicion there are pests taking up residence in your new home, don’t risk it — tell your home inspector so they can be aware of your concerns and always have a comprehensive wood destroying pests inspection completed by a licensed exterminator prior to closing.
  12. Contaminated Grounds: One major potential issue that many people do not think about is possible grounds contamination, especially for homes built before 1970. Homes from this time frame used to be heated by fuel oil. It was not unusual at all for homeowners to have large oil tanks installed in the basement or underground in an effort to conserve space and hide the unsightliness of a huge metal tank. Of course, fuel oil can contaminate the soil around it and having a fuel oil tank removed is very expensive. Because of this, many homeowners try to hide the fact that such a tank exist. If you see metal pipes sticking up out of the ground or observe areas that appear to be sunk in for no obvious reason – you want to make sure that you ask the seller about the possibility of a buried fuel oil tank.
  13. Disguising Problems With New Carpet: New carpet can really enhance the interior appearance of a home, make the home seem more inviting and doesn’t mean that a seller is trying to hide anything. But there is always the chance that they could be. Make sure you carefully review all seller disclosure information. Your professional home inspector should know how to check the “unseen” potential issues hiding under the carpet.
  14. Placing Decor Items In-front Of Problem Areas:  Sneaky sellers will block problem areas with artwork, shelves, entertainment centers and other furniture or personal items. Stacked up moving boxes against walls are another sneaky attempt by unscrupulous sellers to hide indications of damage. Make sure you make note of any thing that seems unusual or is blocking visual observation of areas inside the home, Don’t be shy ask the seller to move any such obstacles.
  15. Trying to Hide Appliances That Are Damaged Or Do Not Work Properly: Many home owners will try to disguise the fact that an appliance has issues or needs repairing by doing things such as placing many pots and pans on a range or cook-top prior to the home inspection, filling the dishwasher with dishes or filling the refrigerator ice maker bucket with store brought ice. If something doesn’t look quiet right with an appliance to you – make sure your home inspector knows before hand.
  16. Seller’s Restricting Access: Uncooperative sellers who make the home inspection process difficult or attempt to restrict a full comprehensive inspection in any way should raise am immediate Red Flag. If you are experiencing this as the home buyer, you may want to consider moving on to find another home.
  17. Seller’s Who Choose To Not Know About Potential Issues: Under the law, a seller cannot be held liable for problems he or she didn’t know about. Thus, many sellers, actually most sellers, won’t have mold, radon water quality, or indoor air quality test or inspections completed prior to listing the home on the market – why because they don’t have too and they don’t want to know. This makes it even more important to have these inspections performed as a buyer. That way, you know for sure – that your investment is secure and that your family’s health is safe.
  18. Seller’s Who Choose Not To Disclose Previous Property Usage: Sometimes seller’s refrain from mentioning potentially damaging property usage information. For example – a seller may not disclose that the home was a rental home for a period of time, acquired through repossession/foreclosure or was the site of criminal activity. Many times – past usage disclosure can provide many clues about things that need to be closely scrutinized during the inspection process. Don’t hesitate to talk to neighbors or local police about any known home history.
  19. Showing You A Home Inspection They Just Had Performed: While home sellers can certainly have a pre-listing home inspection performed in order to help them prepare the home for sale – be very leery of a seller who tries to convince you don’t need to waste your money on another home inspection – you can simply use theirs. Whether they already have a home inspection or not – hire a professional home inspector to inspect the home for you!
  20. Downplaying Concerns That You Raise. If a home seller tries to brush off your inquiries and questions you need to consider that a red flag. Sellers will often do this to avoid admitting that they have not kept the home in good maintenance or repair condition. If this happens to you, look for signs of questionable maintenance such as dirty air filters, dirty HVAC equipment, broken appliances, rusted over water heaters or degraded masonry work. also, make sure you ask for documentation when and if repairs were performed.

So Don’t Be Fooled!

If you have any reason to suspect that a home seller is being less than completely open and forthcoming with you about the home you are looking at – make sure you share that information with your home inspector.

When it comes to buying a new home, don’t limit your conversations or questions to just agents involved or the sellers. Talk to the neighbors in the neighborhood and ask questions like: Have you seen any repair trucks here lately? Why are the sellers moving? Are you aware of any problems in the neighborhood? What is the crime rate in this community? Etc…

 

Why It’s So Important to Change Your Air Filter

Air filters are a central, but often under-appreciated part of a central HVAC system. They don’t just filter out bits of pollen and dust that would otherwise circulate through the home and lower indoor air quality. They also provide a first line of defense against larger objects such as bits of loose insulation being pulled into the system where they could cause damage or present a fire risk. But if you don’t change your air filter regularly, it can turn against you. Clogged air filters are the number one cause of HVAC system failure.

As the filter catches more and more of the natural particulate pollution of your home – dust, mold and fungal spores, pet dander, fabric fibers, etc. – the fine mesh through which air passes becomes denser. This means that if you don’t change your air filter regularly, air can’t pass through as readily.

Because air doesn’t circulate as quickly, particulates can settle in ducts and on household surfaces when they’d usually be carried into the system and filtered. It’s a lot more cost effective to change your air filter than it is to schedule a duct cleaning, but dirty ducts can result in an ongoing drain to your system efficiency and a long-term source of pollutants in your air supply.

It’s best to change your air filter every month, especially if you have pets or live in a high-pollen area. Air filters are generally inexpensive and changing your air filter is a simple task that doesn’t require a professional hand. In most cases, you should simply be able to slide the old filter out and slide a new one in.

Check your unit’s documentation to determine what size and type of filter you need, and what minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) range the furnace should fall into. A high MERV filter with a very tight mesh may be too much for some units, resulting in a situation a lot like a clogged air filter, even just after you’ve changed it.

According to the Department of Energy, replacing a dirty filter with a clean one can reduce energy consumption by as much as 15%.

How Long Does a Home Inspection Take?

Generally speaking, a detailed professional home inspection by a certified inspector will take anywhere from two to five hours to complete – if it is done correctly. During the home inspection your inspector should insect the following:

  1. Roof
  2. Attic
  3. Exterior & Grounds
  4. Windows
  5. Doors
  6. Driveway/Walkway
  7. Electrical System
  8. Plumbing System
  9. Central Air System
  10. Heating System
  11. Walls
  12. Ceilings
  13. Floors
  14. Foundation
  15. Basement
  16. Structural components

There is no definitive time frame for home inspections as each home is unique and the time involved can vary for many reasons, such as total square footage (or area) of the home, age of the home, age of major systems, number of major systems in the home, overall condition of the property, how accessible certain areas are, a joining structure to be inspected, pool/hot tub inclusion, additional ancillary inspection services requested (mold, radon, air quality, water quality, lead-based paint, etc), weather conditions, questions that clients ask, etc.

The bottom line to remember here – is that you want your home inspector to take as long they need to ensure that you receive a first-rate comprehensive inspection. After all – who do you really want to hire – the home inspector that does the most or fastest inspections – or the home inspector that does the most comprehensive inspections? It’s your money – and you will get what you pay for.

So, if you are looking for the best Home Inspection in Albany, Leesburg, and the Southwest Georgia Region – let us take the stress and worry over your home inspection away! At Sentry Home Inspections, LLC We Inspect Your Home As If We Were Moving Our Own Family In. We’ve Got Your Back!