Elizabethtown Ky Home Inspection Find

On the last inspection in Elizabethtown last week a potentially serious issue was uncovered.  Where the power lines run from the pole to the home, the lines were actually in contact with the homes aluminum trim. Over time, wind and vibration could cause the wire to rub on the siding and damage the insulation on the wire.  This damage could allow the aluminum trim on the home to become electrified and a potential shock hazard would exist.  It is an easy repair that the power company will make, but left unattended it could have a potential for danger.

Louisville Ky Home Inspection Find: Dangerous Wiring

The attic of homes offer a great deal of ‘home inspection finds.’  This is one of the areas that home owners try to make repairs, and out of sight out of mind really applies here.  On my Saturday inspection I saved the attic space for last since it was an older home and I expected to get a little dirty. The attic had a set of  stairs present so the attic had easy access and when things appear easy, they usually are not.  I was greeted at the top of the steps with the wire you see in the picture.  This wire was directly above the attic access entrance and if I had not been alert, this live wire could have easily caused a shock and possible fall from the attic.  Had the buyer been placing items in the attic, it could have been a tragic situation.  There are a few repairs that should be left to professionals and wiring is one of those. 

Now this is an easy repair for the sellers electrician to make as this wire should terminate in an approved electrical.  When buying a home, new or older, please get it inspected to ensure you do not get shocked, either literally or by chance.

Louisville Ky Home Inspection Finds: Fan Venting Issues

Vent fans are great in bathrooms.  They allow you to vent out of the room steam and moisture from showers and allow for ventilation in what can be an other wise tight space.  Older homes almost always had and windows in our
Vanity Units bathrooms for ventilation, but over time the windows (or at least an opening window) have disappeared and vent fans have taken their place. Vent fans are simple to install, if you have an over head light, you can in some cases just remove the light and replace it with a vent fan/light combination. There are rules about fan placement near showers and above tubs that you need to know, but this still can be an easy installation. The liquid floor screed is pumped into the floor space to create a perfect finish.

Do not have a light? Still a fan can be a simple installation, you will need to get into the attic and find the ceiling joists and install the fan.  You will need electric and a vent.  This is where the issues usually arise.  Most homeowners do not realize that the vent discharge tube must vent outside the attic and simply lay the tube on the attic floor allowing all of the moisture into the attic.  This will cause issues in the attic over time as the moisture can allow mold to grow in the attic.  The moisture will cause damage to the roof decking and goes almost unnoticed until it is too late.  You must get the vent tube to discharge outside the attic, run the line to the roof vent, soffitt vent or add a dedicated vent cover in the side of the home.  Do not let the vent cause you bigger issues down the road.

Home Tips: Attic Stairs

Attic access can be limited or quite often impossible to enter.  When we are trying to look in our attics at home, it is tempting to add attic stairs to allow easier access.  While these stairs offer a great ease of access, they also pose a risk of falls, failures and other dangers you should be aware of.  In the first picture you can see that the legs for the steps are not cut correctly.  This leads to the steps being under stress as you use them and could lead to the stairs warping while you are climbing them and could lead to injury.

In the second picture you will see a common mistake on installation of the stairs.  The sign clearly states that a nail should be driven into these holes, but most people have a drill and screws handy so screws it is.  The issue is that a nail has a higher strength resistance than a screw, and the screw head could snap of and leave you hanging-literally.  Easy repair, easy mistake but injury could result. 

The stairs are also a good place for heat loss.  Always make sure that you have an insulation blanket of some type the covered the stairs in the attic when not in use. Remember that you should also plan to install a floor in the attic directly in front of the stairs, this will give you a landing as you enter the attic and keep you from searching for the roof joists that you may find, or the drywall ceiling which you will probably find with your foot. This floor should be at least 24″ wide and made of 3/4″ plywood and run a length that allows ease of access and a clear path to the attic.

There are a great deal of these stairs on the market, some are better than others. Just be careful when using them.

Louisville Ky Home Inspection Finds: Attic ‘Bucket’

When home inspectors venture into crawl spaces, attics and other contained spaces, we never really know what we will find. Many of my friends have found snakes in crawl areas (I HATE snakes), some have found interesting things in attics as well. None of the attic finds give us more pleasure than the attic ‘bucket.’ On Fridays inspection the home looked good overall and the attic had an easy access door so up I went. Nothing really scary to discover, but back in an addition section of the attic I thought that I saw a bucket. Attic buckets always give us cause to pause and ask why a bucket. The first and automatic thought is a roof leak, and 9 out of 10 times that is the case. While this bucket is strange to find in the attic, it is just something a person left behind as there was not a detectable leak present. Who knows why, but it is always fun to find an attic bucket.