Our job as your professional home inspector is to alert
you, to the extent possible, to unknown problems and potential environmental hazards in your current or potential house. Ours
is a non-invasive visual inspection of your property. While we may be able to alert you to possible problems, our basic inspections
are no substitutes for specialized contaminant testing.
Lead is a highly toxic metal used for many years in products in and around homes. Lead’s adverse health effects
range from behavioral problems and learning disabilities to seizures and death. Because their bodies are growing quickly,
children age 6 and under are at greatest risk. Primary sources of lead exposure for children are deteriorating lead-based
paint, lead-contaminated dust, and lead-contaminated residential soil. Lead might be present in any home built up until the
1940s. Rarely found in source water, lead can enter tap water through corrosion of plumbing materials. Homes built before
1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, joints, and solder. New homes are also at risk: even legally “lead-free”
pipes can contain up to 8 percent lead and leave significant amounts of lead in the water for the first several months after
installation. Since the 1980s, EPA and its federal partners have banned or limited lead used in consumer products, including
residential paint. Federal regulations limiting the amount of lead in paint sold for residential use started in 1978. If your
property was built before 1978 or you are considering remodeling, renovating, or repair, you may wish to think about lead
inspection. Water quality can be compromised by such other trace elements as iron, excess acidity, manganese, calcium, magnesium,
mineral salts, hydrogen sulfide, selenium, chromium, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium. Excerpts from U.S. Department
of Environmental Protection, “Lead in Paint, Dust, and Soil”.
Mold (fungi) is present everywhere, indoors and outdoors. There
are more than 100,000 species of mold, at least 1,000 of which are common in America. Species of Cladosporium, Penicillium,
and Aspergillus are some of the most commonly found species. Mold most likely grows in bathrooms, basements, and anywhere
else where there is dampness or water. Many types of mold routinely encountered aren’t hazardous to healthy individuals.
Too much exposure to mold may cause a worsening of such conditions as asthma, hay fever, or other allergies. Fevers and breathing
problems in a vulnerable individual are possible but unusual. When moldy material becomes damaged or disturbed, spores, which
are reproductive bodies similar to seeds, can be released into the air. Exposure can occur if people inhale the spores, directly
handle moldy material, or accidentally ingest the spores. Since all molds need water to grow, mold can grow almost anywhere
where there is high humidity, dampness, or water damage. Most often molds are confined to areas near the water source. Removing
the source of moisture through repairs or dehumidification is crucial in preventing mold growth. Correcting underlying water
damage and cleaning the affected area is the best way to treat mold. If mold contamination is extensive, a professional abatement
company may be needed. Excerpts from The New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, Environmental &
Occupational Disease Epidemiology, “Facts About Mold”.
is a radioactive gaseous element produced in the disintegration of radium, a radioactive metallic element. It cannot be detected
by the senses and can be confirmed only by sophisticated instruments and laboratory tests. The gas enters a house through
pores and cracks in the concrete or through floorboards of poorly ventilated crawlspaces, especially when wet ground allows
the gas to escape easily through the soil and disperse in the atmosphere. Radon is a lung carcinogen: the National Academy
of Sciences estimates radon causes some 15,000 to 22,000 lung cancer deaths annually. The U.S. Surgeon General and the EPA
recommend all houses be tested for radon. Houses with high radon levels can be fixed. Excerpts from U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency, “Indoor Radon”.
which play a positive role in recycling wood and plant material,
become a problem when they consume structural lumber. Every year thousands of U.S. housing units require termite treatment.
These pests cause serious damage to wooden structures and posts and can also attack stored food, household furniture, and
books. Successful termite management requires special skills, including a working knowledge of building construction and an
understanding of termite biology and identification. In most cases, it is advisable to hire a professional pest control company
for the inspection and control problem. Wood-boring beetle
larvae feed on wood and wood products.
Adults of some species bore holes into plaster, plastic, and soft metals. Many species cause problems when emerging from wood
in newly constructed buildings because they leave small circular or oval exit holes in the wood. To avoid these problems,
infested wood must be kiln-fried before being used for lumber. The species Deathwatch Beetles is primarily found in soft woods
(girder, beams, foundation timbers, some types of furniture, with some species attacking books). False Powderpost female beetles
bore a tunnel, or egg gallery, into wood or other materials, then deposit eggs in pores or cracks within the tunnel. Adults
of some species bore through such soft metal as lead and silver, as well as plaster and other non-wood materials. Affected
structural wood should be removed and replaced whenever possible. Wood Wasps and Horntails.
wasp damage in buildings is likely to be more cosmetic than structurally weakening. Emerging wood wasps can chew through any
substance: wallboard or plaster walls, hardwood floors, carpeting, linoleum, non-ceramic floor tiles, and other interior surfaces.
Several species can damage wood in building and other structures. Though ants
don’t eat wood, they bore into it to make their nests, sometimes causing serious structural damage. Also, they nest
in hollow doors, cracks and crevices, furniture, wall voids, and termite galleries. New building infestation occurs when land-cleaning
in the area disturbs existing native colonies. Excerpts from University of California Agriculture & Natural
Resources, UCIPMOnline, “Statewide Pest Management Program”.