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  • Uncover Hidden Secrets: The Importance of Lateral Video Sewer Scopes in Home Inspections

    When purchasing a new home, many prospective homeowners consider the house's appearance, structure, and amenities. However, an often-overlooked part of home inspection is the sewer system. Lateral video sewer scopes can be a critical step in ensuring the long-term integrity and functionality of the property’s plumbing. Here’s a detailed look into why lateral video sewer scopes are essential for residential homes, the common findings and defects usually encountered, how this service can save money, and the consequences of not including one during a home inspection. What is a Lateral Video Sewer Scope? A lateral video sewer scope involves using a specially designed waterproof camera that is inserted into the sewer line to provide a visual inspection of the pipeline running from the house to the main sewer system. This process allows inspectors to identify any existing issues within the sewer line that are not visible to the naked eye. Common Findings and Defects When performing a lateral video sewer scope, it’s not uncommon to uncover several potential issues, including: 1. Tree Root Intrusion Tree roots are notorious for finding their way into sewer lines, especially older pipes made from materials like clay or cast iron. Root intrusion can cause blockages and damage the integrity of the pipes. 2. Pipe Bellies A pipe belly occurs when a section of the sewer line sinks or slopes down, causing waste and water to pool at that point. Over time, this can lead to blockages and further damage. 3. Cracks and Breaks Over time, pipes can develop cracks or breaks due to shifting soil, ground movement, or aging materials. These defects can lead to leaks, blockages, and potential sewage backups. 4. Corrosion Metal pipes, particularly those made from cast iron, can corrode over time. This corrosion weakens the pipes, making them susceptible to cracks and breaks. 5. Blockages and Debris Non-flushable items, grease build-up, and other debris can create blockages in the sewer line. Regular maintenance and inspections help in identifying and clearing these blockages before they cause significant issues. Types of Aged/Outdated Piping That Can Be Uncovered During a lateral video sewer scope, several types of problematic piping materials can be detected, particularly in older homes, including: Clay Pipes Clay pipes are common in older homes. They are susceptible to cracking and can easily be infiltrated by tree roots due to their segmented construction. Cast Iron Pipes While sturdy, cast iron pipes are prone to corrosion over time. Corrosion can cause these pipes to weaken, crack, or break, leading to potential leaks and blockages. Orangeburg Pipes Orangeburg pipes, made of compressed wood pulp and tar, were popular in the mid-20th century. They are notorious for deforming, collapsing, and deteriorating much more quickly than other materials due to their organic composition. Asbestos Cement Pipes These pipes were used in some sewer systems and, while durable, pose a health hazard if they degrade and release asbestos fibers. Galvanized Steel Pipes Galvanized steel pipes can corrode from the inside out, reducing the diameter of the pipe and leading to blockages. Over time, they can leak and fail. Older Homes and Aging Sewer Systems Homes built several decades ago often have piping systems made from outdated materials. These systems are more prone to problems such as corrosion, root intrusion, and physical degradation due to the age and material of the pipes.How Lateral Video Sewer Scopes Can Save Money Conducting a lateral video sewer scope as part of your home inspection can save homeowners significant amounts of money in several ways: Preventing Expensive Repairs Unidentified sewer issues can result in expensive repairs down the line. Spotting and addressing problems early on can prevent them from escalating into major repairs. Negotiation Leverage If a sewer scope identifies issues before finalizing a home purchase, buyers can negotiate with the seller to fix the problems or adjust the home’s price accordingly. Avoiding Health Issues Sewer backups can result in health hazards due to exposure to raw sewage. Preventing these issues through early detection protects the health of everyone living in the home. Consequences of Not Including a Sewer Scope in the Home Inspection Neglecting to include a sewer scope in your home inspection could lead to several severe consequences: Unexpected Repairs Discovering sewer problems after purchasing the home can result in unplanned and expensive repair bills that could have been avoided with a pre-purchase inspection. Health Hazards Issues such as sewage backups can pose serious health risks, including exposure to harmful bacteria and pathogens. Decreased Property Value A home with known sewer issues can have reduced property value. Buyers may be wary of purchasing a home with potential underlying problems. Insurance Complications Damage arising from neglected sewer issues might not be covered by homeowner’s insurance, leading to out-of-pocket repair costs. Contact Us for Professional Home Inspections!! In conclusion, a lateral video sewer scope is an invaluable tool in a thorough home inspection. It helps identify hidden problems, prevent costly repairs, and ensures the health and safety of the home’s occupants. Including a lateral sewer scope inspection not only offers peace of mind but also serves as a wise financial decision, protecting your investment from unexpected plumbing disasters. When considering a home purchase, make sure to add a lateral video sewer scope to your list of essential inspections. This small step can make a significant difference in the long-term maintenance and enjoyment of your new home. Ready to schedule your home inspection? Contact us today! Michael McConnell, CMI© 205-306-2727 reliablehome205@gmail.com www.reliablehome205.com Don't leave any stone unturned – call us now to ensure your new home is safe, sound, and ready for your family.

  • 2-Prong Outlets: The Open Ground Dilemma

    When purchasing a house, particularly an older one, you might question why home inspectors place more emphasis on certain issues over others. One common concern that frequently arises during inspections is the existence of open grounds on outdated 2-prong electrical outlets. It is essential for prospective homeowners to grasp the significance of this issue, why it matters, and how it can be rectified. Let's take a basic look into why open grounds on 2-prong outlets are significant and explore ways to resolve them. What Are 2-Prong Receptacles and Open Grounds? Most newer homes feature 3-prong outlets (receptacles) which include a ground wire in addition to the hot and neutral wires. Older homes, however, often have 2-prong outlets that lack this grounding wire. An "open ground" refers to a situation where the ground connection is either missing or not functional. In essence, the grounding system is a safety feature. It provides an additional path for electrical current to safely return to the ground in case of a fault, such as a short circuit. This helps prevent electrical shocks, fire hazards, and damage to electronics. Why Home Inspectors Make a Big Deal of Open Grounds Safety Concerns Open grounds present a higher risk of electrical shock and fire hazards. Grounding provides a safe path for excess electricity to travel, thereby reducing the chance of electrical accidents.   Regulatory Compliance Modern electrical codes require grounding for a reason. Identifying and addressing open grounds ensures the home complies with current safety standards. Damage Prevention   Ungrounded outlets can lead to damage of electronic devices and appliances, as they are more susceptible to electrical surges. Awareness for Buyers and Sellers Homebuyers need to be aware of potential electrical issues to make informed decisions. For sellers, addressing these problems can make the property more attractive to buyers and potentially increase its market value. Why It’s Important to You as a Homebuyer 1. Peace of Mind: Knowing your home's electrical system is safe provides peace of mind. It ensures that your family and property are protected from potential electrical hazards. 2. Property Value: Homes with outdated or unsafe electrical systems might be valued lower. Ensuring proper grounding can help maintain or even increase your home's value. 3. Insurance Concerns: Some insurance companies may charge higher premiums or refuse to cover homes with significant electrical issues, such as ungrounded outlets. 4. Future-proofing: As technology advances, having an updated electrical system ensures that your home can safely handle modern appliances and gadgets. Recommended and Accepted Fixes 1. Replace with GFCI Outlets: Installing Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets in place of 2-prong outlets provides an acceptable level of safety. While GFCIs do not ground the outlet, they do shut off the electrical circuit if they detect an imbalance in the current, offering protection against electrical shock. 2. Rewire the House: The most comprehensive solution is to rewire the house, adding proper ground wires to the outlets. This can be a costly and invasive process but provides the highest level of safety and modern compliance. 3. Grounding via Metal Conduits: If the home’s wiring is encased in metal conduit, it may be possible to ground outlets by connecting them to the conduit, provided the conduit itself is grounded. This should be done by a professional electrician. 4. Use 3-Prong Outlets with Labels: In some cases, electricians might replace 2-prong outlets with 3-prong outlets but install a label that reads "No Equipment Ground". This alerts users that the outlet is not truly grounded despite appearances. Home inspectors emphasize open grounds on 2-prong outlets because they present potential safety hazards and compliance issues. As a homebuyer, understanding these issues can help you make informed decisions about your potential purchase and any necessary upgrades. Addressing grounding issues not only enhances safety but also adds value and future-proofs your investment. 🚨 Always consult with a qualified electrician to explore the best options for upgrading your home’s electrical system.🚨 For a thorough and reliable home inspection, consider contacting Reliable Home Services . Our comprehensive home inspections are conducted by InterNACHI Certified Master Inspector , Michael McConnell. You can visit our website at www.reliablehome205.com  or give us a call at (205) 306-2727 to schedule your inspection today.

  • Buyer Agent Attendance at Home Inspections: My Perspective as an Alabama Home Inspector

    As a home inspector in Alabama, I often encounter situations where buyer's agents are present during the inspection process. Recently, I learned that some agents have been asked not to be there, which surprised me. Having never considered it an issue, I started to wonder what the rationale behind such a request might be. From my experience, I've seen firsthand the numerous benefits of having a buyer's agent present during the inspection. Here are a few: 1.Expertise and Knowledge:  Buyer's agents can identify potential property issues and understand their implications.They can provide valuable insights and guidance to help buyers make informed decisions about the purchase. 2. Client Advocacy:  Buyer's agents act as your advocates throughout the transaction. They represent your interests and ensure that any concerns identified during the inspection are addressed appropriately. 3. Communication and Negotiation:  Your agent can effectively communicate the inspection findings to the seller 's agent and negotiate repairs or concessions on your behalf. 4. Emotional Support:  The home buying process can be stressful.Having your agent present can provide emotional support and reassurance. 5. Stronger Advocate:  As a home inspector, I witness how knowledgeable buyer's agents can advocate for their clients. They understand the inspection report's nuances and ensure that your concerns are heard and addressed effectively. Ethical Considerations:   While I couldn't find the specific wording about interfering with a client's choice of agent in the current AREC Code of Ethics or the 2024 NAR Code of Ethics, the underlying principles remain relevant. Article 1 of the 2024 NAR Code of Ethics emphasizes the importance of "promoting and protecting the client's interests.". This includes ensuring that clients have access to the services of their chosen agent. Conclusion: I n my opinion, there's no reason why a buyer's agent shouldn't be present during the home inspection. Their presence offers valuable expertise, advocacy, and support throughout the process. While some sellers may have reservations, open communication and a focus on ethical conduct can ensure a smooth and successful transaction for all parties involved.

  • A Homeowner’s Questions

    Every homeowner has similar concerns and questions related to maintaining their home. The following questions are those that all homeowners ask themselves: “How do things in my house work?” “How do I maintain them?” “What does a real problem look like?” “How should it be corrected?” The answers to these questions are in this blog. This blog will guide you through the systems and components of a typical house, how they work, and how to maintain them. You will also learn about what common house problems look like and how they can be corrected. The main systems of a residential building include the following: roof; exterior; basement, foundation, crawlspace, and structure; heating; cooling; plumbing; electrical; fireplace; attic, insulation, and ventilation; doors, windows, and interior. By taking reading this blog, you will learn what is required to be inspected during a home inspection, including all of the systems and certain components within those systems. Not everything is inspected during a home inspection. And not every defect (or house problem) will be discovered during an inspection. That's an impossible task for anyone, not just professional home inspectors. It's not possible to find every problem that exists or could exist by performing a home inspection, because many house systems and components are simply hidden, covered up, and not visible. Most homes do not have major defects, but some do. And that's the main reason to get a home inspection. And in this blog, we will learn a lot about what problems in a home look like, how to find them, and how to repair them. Next, let's talk a little about real estate agents.

  • The Home Inspector’s Responsibility

    The home inspector is not an expert but a generalist. The home inspector can inspect a home and report upon the home’s condition as it was at the time of the inspection. That is the main responsibility of the home inspector. A home inspection does not include predictions of future events, house warranties, or guarantees that nothing will ever go wrong. Future events (such as roof leaks, water intrusion, plumbing leaks, and heating failures) are not within the scope of a home inspection and are not the responsibility of the home inspector. Who’s responsible? The homeowner. The most important thing for a homeowner to understand is that things will break. As time goes on, parts of the house will wear out, break down, deteriorate, leak, or simply stop working. The inspection image shows water marks in the corner of the ceiling. The water marks indicate that the water leak has been taking place for some time. One could assume that the homeowner would likely know of this water leak problem since it has been an issue for some time. In a real estate transaction, the inspection report is only supplementary to the seller’s disclosure (what the seller knows about the home), and the report provides additional information to the home buyer. The inspection image of the roof shows a shingle tab that lifted up in the wind and cracked in half. This is a roof defect that happened after a home inspection was performed. This problem is not the responsibility of the home inspector, but of the homeowner. And it's likely that the homeowner wasn't aware of the problem. Future conditions are not the responsibility of the home inspector.

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