We were on an inspection last week and part of the inspection is about concrete cracks in the driveway, sidewalks and other concrete areas on the exterior of the home. A lot of times the cracks go unnoticed and are forgotten about. And we do our due diligence by reporting them. But this time it struck me odd. And the realtor almost broke her ankle due to the cracking in the driveway. So I wanted to take this time about the cracks and why they are a so a must to repair. So lets begin.
Normally when we see cracks there is either 3 different causes. Your typical settling and aging cracks of the concrete. These are those tiny hair line cracks that you will notice in the garage, the driveway, sidewalk or porch. Sometimes they appear around the decking of the pool. They are not major but they should not be overlooked. Over time these cracks will seperate more. This is the time to have them repaired and be done.
Then we have the type of concrete cracks that over time have been ignored. The concrete has gotten moisture intrusion and with hot and cold temperatures the cracks have separated more then a 1/4″ gap. This usually happens after a freeze or winter. Still a moderate easy fix. But anyone who wears any type of heal will catch the heal in the gap and is definitely a safety hazard. When we see this, it is noted as well but more of a safety hazard instead of monitor. Now this separating of the crack should not had happen overnight. Its over time. Remember it starts out as a tiny hairline then grows to a 1/4-1/2″ gap.
And lastly we have the omg style cracking. This is usually occured when some type of structural or mechanical elements fail. For example water lines under the slab. Or you may have an area that ground erosion has started to occur. This is a bit more serious. The concrete may have lifted or settled and sometimes be intact. (tree roots sometimes do this) There is a cure to fix this but it will be more costly then the simple hair line crack.
So in closing remember every few months while doing exterior maintenance on the home, walk and check the concrete around your home. Unless you specifically look for something you may not see it. To learn more about this feel free to look us up at; http://www.emeraldinspectionservice.com or better yet give us a call. 352-322-2700. We perform concrete scanning and all concrete is noted on our inspections such as annual home maintenance, general inspection, and 11 month warranty inspection. The areas are the Gulf Coast, Central Florida, Brooksville, Tampa, Polk City, and Webster areas are just some of the areas. Thank You.
First I wanted to let everyone know that I am near Tampa Florida and Hurricane Mathew had no affect on me. I got just a little rain. So today, I wanted to share about a type of inspection that people hardly have anymore. This type is for when people are away from their homes. So lets begin.
An away from home inspection is the type of inspection to give people that are traveling or part time residents piece of mind about their homes. This type of inspection is very economical and the owner of the property sets the standard. For example. Lets say you are away for work or vacation for 10 days. Emerald Inspection Service can visit the property once or twice and make sure that the home or condo is OK. Some clients want us to just check the exterior to make sure that there is no broken glass, the landscaper has cut the grass on there scheduled day and to make sure there is no damage to the property. A more extensive inspection would be for us to enter the property and make sure that the electrical system is operating normal. There were no leaks that occurred and that the HVAC system is operating.
A lot of people do not think about this type of inspection because they fear the cost. Or they may think, I just get a neighbor to keep an eye out. OK, our reply to this is 2 fold. One, the cost starts at $25.00 and second part is what if your neighbor gets sick or has to go out of town un-expectantly. Hiring a professional inspection firm is your best way to know that your property is being watched and you will have total piece of mind. To inquire about this service or others we do, visit us on the web; www.emeraldinspectionservice.com or call us at 352-322-2700. We gladly perform these inspections in Land O Lakes, Lakeland, Tarpon Springs and Brooksville Florida all the time.
If you have been following our feeds on social media, lately we have been posting about infrared thermography. This is not some word we made up for new social media phase. This is actually a technology that some home inspectors will agree on that it is a must needed tool and some will say its a waste of money. We have spent time on research and have found that this gives the client a much clearer reference point and better reporting then using other tools. So this blog will explain a bit more of infrared thermography and why client’s should ask about it. So lets begin.
Infrared technology has been around for several years. The military and medical field has used it for many years. From night vision glasses to examining a limb on the body. The different type of equipment can range from $150.00 to thousands of dollars. But for home inspectors doing a one type reporting few times a week it has to be economical and clearly able to explain to the client of what they are reporting and difference between moisture being present and insulation in the wall. The different type of cameras will go from showing a small moisture area in side the wall cavity, for example to being able to determine heat loss from lack of insulation. The inspector has to be trained and certified in infrared. Without the certification, the inspector has a very expansive gadget and a lot of times may report a finding incorrectly. For example; “Emmittance” which means a measure of how much heat a material will radiate as a material cools down. Or my favorite Thermal Imagery. This term only means that property of an object that describes its ability to absorb and radiate heat. So while doing a spot target picture. The wall may show inside the wall cavity at 115 degrees Fahrenheit. OK, that’s the temperature but where does that figure come from. That is up to the trained inspector to determine.
Its not rocket science to determine these images. The biggest thing is knowing your tools. Some cameras are great for showing if electrical components are going to fail. Some will give more precise detail and there are the ones that will just tell temperature. And here is a thought. Chef’s even use these now instead of the old fashioned temperature probe. So as you can see this technology has been modernized for various types of trades. Keep in mind a chef is not going be able to determine what the factor of a leak is or issues in a wall cavity. Nor is a home inspector using infrared technology determine the diagnosis of a broken arm with the camera as well.
So in closing, why are we adding this service. Several reasons. One we want to be ahead of the competition. Secondly, we want to be able to have a various of avenues of clients that can call on us. A small apartment complex just last week in #Brandon Florida reached out to us because of moisture intrusion. We were able to provide a synopsis and detailed report with clarity to explain the scope of work that should take place to repair this issue.
We provide this type of service as many others throughout the Tampa, Brooksville, Lakeland and Clearwater Florida areas. And many more. This type of service can be added as an ancillary service or as the general purpose of the service. For more information, please visit us on the web at: www.emeraldinspectionservice.com Or call us anytime at; 352-322-2700.
As a footnote, I would like to add to this blog. That 9/11 is upon us. Please take a moment of silence to remember those in New York City, The Pentagon in Virginia and Shankesville Pennsylvania for those who were killed in the horrible terrorist acts. May we never forget that day and may one day we end the fight against terror by defeating our enemies foreign and domestic.
Wanna share the story of how Emerald Inspection Service, LLC came to life. About this time 3 years ago, Emerald Inspection Service, LLC was born. Emerald Inspection Service was born in Columbia Maryland originally. In Maryland I was in class for education hours for home inspection. During this process it was an exhilarated course. 7 days a week 10 hours per day. During this time we had mock inspections, learning different mechanical systems, new technology in the homes and administrative and legal as well. Once I completed the course and passed I was certified with American Home Inspectors Training Institute. However that was not licensing. The next step was to take what I learned and prepare for my test. I found out that Maryland accepts the National Certification Of Home Inspectors test. This also allows me to work in other states as well without taking another state test. Different states may require additional education hours, such as Florida. Once I passed the test, I was legally in business.
In February of 2014, I received my Florida Home Inspectors License. Now moving to Florida, I learned that Florida required about 40 more educational hours. Being the aggressor that I am. I enrolled in about 120 more hours. This giving full course credit from #AHIT. Since then, I have completed other courses as well to stay up on industry standards and license requirement.
Moving forward into our new year, Emerald Inspection Service has serviced over 200 clients in MD and FL. We provide certified floor consulting, 203k consulting, construction inspections for contractor or the home owner, and radon testing just to name a few. We offer warranty service with our inspections and this has expanded to termite warranty. Our normal service coverage area ranges from #Hernando to #Sarasota. And from #Clearwater to #Clermont Florida.
So in closing I would like to thank the clients and referral partners that have helped us get where we are today. Alot of people have asked why then name Emerald Inspection Service? Well in short, the Emerald is the stone of prophecy. The stone can keep the worrier calm and bring to reason. So at Emerald Inspection Service, there is no reason to worry about your next property inspection service. Which is why our slogan, Quality Inspections With Clarity! Again, Thank You!
We get asked a lot about inspecting older homes. There are several older homes in St. Petersburg, Dade City, Sebring and Brooksville, Florida that we inspect all the time. Age wise, an older home is about 20 or more years in age. When performing a home inspection, the inspector should have knowledge of systems in that era. For example, back then people were upgrading the panel box from 60 to 100 amp breaker panel. Now days it common to see 150 or even 200 amp service for a home. But what if it is an older home and not been upgraded. Is it a bad property. NO. The trained inspector is going to see how the house is. Yes, the appliances maybe aged or the windows are not energy efficient. But certain items can be upgraded and at the same time, they may not need to be.
If an older home has systems in place from 20 or more years the inspector should take extra time to see how that system is performing. For example, the range maybe aged, but is working just like a new one. To me there is nothing wrong with it, other then its not a stainless new one. Alot of people who bought homes back then, might had bought to down size or start over by themselves. You may had a couple that is just them, no kids. So there isn’t computers, hair dryers and other stuff on all the time. Just like water heaters, I have seen some that have gone into the bonus life way beyond the warranty. That is something that should be monitored but if there is no rust or the seams are not leaking then hey, leave it be until there is an issue.
So, when purchasing an older home, make sure that the home has been well maintained and understand how the people lived. Sure you may need to upgrade certain elements in the home for either more modernization or for your life style. But the biggest thing is making sure the inspector is experienced with inspecting those type of properties. For more information on this and other services, visit; www.emeraldinspectionservice.com or call us anytime at 352-322-2700 or 844-RADON-40. And Have A Happy & Safe 4th of July.
This weeks blog is about wind mitigation inspections. For some in certain places of the country, you do not have this type of inspection. However in the south, Florida, we do. So I want to share with you about how to save money on your insurance and what is actually performed during the inspection process. We perform these type of inspections in Citrus, Hernando, Sumter, Hillsborough, Polk, Pinellas and Pasco Counties of Florida normally within a day notice. We use the Citizens Insurance Reporting Form. There are others that we use but this is the most popular reporting form.
So lets begin. A wind mitigation or wind-borne inspection is a process where the home inspector will inspect the roof for any shingles that may be loose, separated or torn. Additionally check the ridge vent and valleys for defects. Also the inspector has to determine the roof style for the report. And then the skylights. The sky lights will have a rating on there if its rated for hurricane winds.
Secondly, the inspection process is to check to see if there any shutters that maybe attached to any windows. These type of shutters are metal shutters that cover the window or patio door in case of hurricane winds. These type of shutters have a rating that can be used to determine what the shutter can sustain in case of an object being flown and impacts the shutter. This is not the shutter that attaches to the home next to the window or the wood style that close. While inspecting for any shutters, the inspector additionally inspects the glass. The glass if it has sticker that states, Brovard County or Miami-Dade rated then this is additional discount. This is also if you are going to update the windows get the rating for this, to save money on the home owners insurance. After this, then the inspector checks to see if there is any glass block. Some older style homes will have glass block maybe for crawl spaces, bathrooms or part of the wall that allows light thru in a sun room for example. There are different ratings for glass block but also a great idea to have shutters for these as well.
Thirdly, the inspection process continues if there to check the garage door. The garage door normally has a style of missile bracing on the inside of the door. This is to protect the interior. Not necessary the door. Missile bracing is referred to if a small limb or tree is being blown around. Normal garage doors are thin metal and an object flying around can be a missile and go thru the door.
Then the process continues to the attic. My favorite part on a hot summer afternoon. (no seriously) So in the attic, the inspector will measure the distance and determine what the lenght of the nails are for the sheathing. A good rating is usually 8D and about 2 1/2 inches in depth of the framing member. The inspector will also check to see what type of type downs there are. For example, the trusses or rafters may have wraps, or straps. There maybe clips holding framing members to a main roof structure. Then on a lot of newer homes there are bolts that go from the foundation to the top plate of the wall. And of course inspect the framing members to make sure no cracked or split joists. And to check for any moisture or leaks on the sheathing.
Once this process is complete, the inspector has to check with the local municipality to check for any permits when the roof was either installed or re-roofed. Without a permit or any roof information this could be a deterrent to getting any credits for the roof.
So in closing having a wind mitigation inspection could save approximately 10-40% off your home owners insurance premium. At Emerald Inspection Service we can schedule these within 24 hours if you live in or near the areas of Tampa, Clearwater, Brooksville, Polk City Florida. For more information check out our website link on wind mitigation at https://www.emeraldinspectionservice.com/wind-mitigation.html
Or feel free to call us anytime at 352-322-2700 Thank You.
Wind Mitigation Inspection
A wind mitigation inspection is a report that is generated for the insurance carrier. As a home owner with windstorm insurance, state law entitles you to certain premium reductions. However, without a wind mitigation inspection, you can not get the discounts. If you have not had a windstorm insurance inspection at your home you are PROBABLY PAYING TO MUCH FOR YOUR WINDSTORM INSURANCE!
During a wind mitigation inspection, a qualified inspector reports on the key features that may decrease the amount of damage your home suffers during a hurricane or strong windstorms. There features fall into several categories; such as exterior construction type, roof shape, construction methods, age of the roof covering, door and window opening protection, as well as the year the home was constructed. Another factor maybe the elevation of the home and how it relates to wind speed.
When performing a wind mitigation inspection we take precise care to record the following information and take pictures (as seen below) to report to the insurance carrier if you may receive any discounts. Part of the wind mitigation inspection is we go into the attic. In the attic we randomly pick three roof rafters or roof trusses. We usually try to select two on each end of the roof and two near the center. We determine the nail length penetrating into the roof framing member. We also, measure the length of the nail penetrating through the sheathing. Once the attic portion is complete, we inspect any windows and glass block for hurricane stamps or Broward/Miami Dade stickers. This tells us if the glass will be hurricane wind resistant. Once that is complete we from there inspect the garage door for bracing and if any shutters can be attached to any glazing elements. Upon completion of the wind mitigation inspection, we visually inspect the roof and record all dimensions and take a few pictures of the exterior. While we make no guarantee that you may receive discounts from the insurance carrier, we will do our best to inspect all elements required by insurance companies for wind mitigation.
Most insurance carriers have their own type of reporting and we are fully equipped for that specific type of report. Additionally this process is completed anywhere there is windstorm insurance. Whether its Tampa, Webster, Leesburg or Port Richey. For further information check out our website; http://www.emeraldinspectionservice.com or call us anytime at 352-322-2700
If you live in the Tampa Bay area, Brooksville, Clearwater, or Webster Florida you more then likely have a crawl space or some other style where the house is on bricks, columns or piers. The crawl space is a vital part of the home. You need to have adequate insulation and ventilation for the space. Additionally, this is where critters and rodents like to live too. Each quarter you should inspect the crawl space to make sure there is no pests starting to intrude, varmints residing and that the mechanical is in tact.
The main plumbing service line is usually P.V.C. piping. A lot of times this sits on the earth. This pipe should be insulated and additionally be resting on a concrete brick to avoid contact. The main reason for this process is so the plumbing line does not freeze during the cold nights and erosion. Secondly, if there is a leak on the pipe, you maybe allowing dirt, and other particles in your drinking water. This process is very economical and will be a blessing if you sell the home.
While we inspect the crawl spaces, we look for items such as this, electrical conduit that has not been chewed upon, wet stains on drain lines, HVAC connections in place and not torn, the insulation beerier intact, recommend not storing items in the crawl space, and no pest tunnels along the dirt or along the underneath of the home.
To learn more about crawl space inspections, go to our website; http://www.emeraldinspectionservice.com or call us at 352-322-2700