Beware of these Property Defects – Repairs can be EXPENSIVE!
Older homes will usually undergone many renovations over the years. Some of the work done is clearly visible but there are always concerns with work that is not visible, and that is where your home inspection gets interesting. Knowing where to look for telltale signs of deficiencies only comes with years of experience. Even newer homes can have hidden problems which could be do to ” Do-It-Yourself” renovations or just poor workmanship. Our list of problems that maybe encountered are some of the major issues, which while not always visible can create problems for unsuspecting home buyers.
Shortly after aluminum wiring became common place, some overheating problems started to appear. These included flickering lights, warm cover plates on switches and receptacles, and burned insulation on wiring. Any kind of overheating condition can lead to the possibility of fires.
1. Softness: Aluminum is a much softer metal than copper. Electricians who had always worked with copper found that it was very easy to nick, cut, or crush the aluminum wiring when removing insulation or making connections. They had to be gentler. Damaged wire creates local hot spots and results in overheating.
2. Creeping: When electricity flows through wire, the wire heats up. Aluminum wire expands more than copper when it heats up. The repeated expansion and contraction as the wire heated up and cooled down caused to the wire to creep out from under the terminal screws that held the wire in place. This wire creeping resulted in loose connections and overheating.
3. Rusting: When metals rust, they form an oxide on the surface. Rust on steel is red, rust on copper is green, and rust on aluminum is white. It’s not a big problem when copper wiring rusts, since the copper oxide that forms is electrically conductive. It doesn’t interfere with the wire’s ability to do its job. When aluminum wiring rusts, the white oxide is not a very good electrical conductor. It does interfere with the flow of electricity, and again, can cause overheating.
Most insurance companies will not insure a home with galvanized plumbing because it is well past its predicted life span. Galvanized steel pipes, commonly installed in homes prior to 1950, have an average life expectancy of 40–50 years. Over time, the galvanized steel pipes begin to rust or corrode from the inside out, resulting in reduced water pressure and restricted water flow. This presents an increased risk of leaks or ruptures occurring in the pipes and the potential for flood damage. Your insurance company will probably require you to replace galvanized plumbing with copper and plastic piping before providing you with insurance coverage.
Asbestos in your HOME
Older homes will typically have some asbestos as it was used in drywall, floor tile, ceiling tile and in many types of insulation. Removing asbestos can be expensive and involves setting up decontamination and clean zones in the home. Recommend obtaining multiple quotes for any removal. All asbestos removed has to be tagged and disposed of at an approved waste site. If you are thinking about removing the asbestos yourself buy the proper protective equipment and follow accepted guidelines for removal process. Your health could be at stake if you ignore the hazards involved in asbestos removal. Asbestos, as a product, was removed from acceptable housing materials around the mid-1970’s, so if the home is older than 1970, chances are high that somewhere within the home, there is asbestos.
Knob & Tube Wiring
Knob and Tube Wiring, also called Open Wiring, was a common wiring method used in the 1900’s to the late 1940’s.. While not illegal, it can be in poor condition with failing insulation and cracked tubes and insulators. Most home insurance companies will not insure a home with knob and tube wiring installed. Many times an older home will have most of the knob and tube wiring removed but often there may be a circuit or two that is overlooked or ignored due to shoddy workmanship. Never install insulation over exposed knob and tube wiring as it requires an open air space to dissipate any heat build up.
Potable Water Tests
A water potability test will check the water for the presence of the most common, dangerous bacteria such as Coliform, E-coli, and Fecal coliform. Testing can be performed on well water or tap water. In addition to checking for harmful bacterium, a chemical test can be conducted to check for magnesium, iron, lead, fluoride, chlorine, and other chemical compound levels in your water. Most home buyers do not know that if you are buying a home with a well that a typical water potability test done by your Realtor at your kitchen or bathroom sink will not detect feces in the water if there is a UV light and Cartridge Filter installed. The water must be collected prior to any water treatment devices such as softeners, carbon filters, reverse osmosis units and ceramic filters. Bypass, remove or disconnect these devices to ensure that the sample is taken before the water enters these treatment devices.
WETT Certified Inspections
If you use a wood burning appliance in your home, such as a wood stove, wood-fired furnace, pellet stove or wood-burning fireplace, and never had it WETT inspected, you should arrange for a WETT inspection for the safety of you and your family. Most insurance companies will also require you to obtain a WETT Certified Inspection on a new installation, on an existing installation that has undergone a modification, or when you purchase a home equipped with a wood burning appliance.
Building permits are required for just about any renovation project. When you buy a home which has had work done without a building permit you are assuming responsibility for any deficiencies that may exist. Plumbing and electrical systems were installed without proper inspection prior to enclosing work. Any structural change requires a design and a building permit. Protect yourself and your investment by having a professional home inspection prior to purchasing property.
The steel beam supported on concrete column is improperly installed. This should have been observed prior to occupancy permit being issued by City Building Department. This unsafe condition would have continued until possible failure of support except for detection during home inspection.
Free Themal Imaging Inspection with every home inspection. See what you are missing.
Protect your family and home from Property Defects by calling the Alliston Home Inspector.