Search Results for: attic access

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

PODCAST: Tessa and Reuben get serious about attic access panels

Bill, Tessa, and Reuben start the show off by talking about the new standards for life at home, working with family, and trying to broadcast to large audiences while not having spouses carry on loud phone conversations in the same room. Reuben discusses how COVID-19 has changed the face of…

PODCAST: Tessa and Reuben get serious about attic access panels

Bill, Tessa, and Reuben start the show off by talking about the new standards for life at home, working with family, and trying to broadcast to large audiences while not having spouses carry on loud phone conversations in the same room. Reuben discusses how COVID-19 has changed the face of…

Attic inspections, sealed attic access panels

Sealed attic access panels are the bane of my existence. Nothing about home inspections causes more consternation than 'sealed' attic access panels; not just for the home inspector, but also for the buyer, the seller, and the real estate agents involved in the sale. We've changed our official company policy…

Attic access hatches must now be weatherstripped, not sealed

There is a change to the Minnesota Energy Code that took effect over a year ago, which now requires attic access hatches to be weather-stripped. I think that's just peachy. I've never liked how attic access hatches are sealed on new construction homes, because it's usually a piece of drywall…

Poorly insulated attic access panels

For at least the last twenty years or so, the most common way of insulating attics in Minnesota is to use loose-fill insulation - either cellulose or fiberglass.  This is a huge improvement over fiberglass batts, because batts are nearly impossible to install in attics and they cost more money.…

Adding attic insulation? Read this first.

If you're thinking about adding attic insulation to your home this year, please read this first. Many homeowners go about re-insulating their attics all wrong. What's far more important than simply adding attic insulation is to have air-sealing performed first. This is the labor-intensive part of an attic insulation job…

Adding attic insulation? Read this first.

If you've considered adding attic insulation to your home this year, please read this first. Most homeowners go about re-insulating their attics all wrong. What's far more important than simply adding attic insulation is to have air-sealing performed first. This is the labor-intensive part of an attic insulation job that unscrupulous…

Dear Home Seller, please let me into your attic

Dear Home Seller, I’ll be doing a home inspection at your house in the near future. I’ll be going through your house from top-to-bottom for the new home buyer(s) to help make sure that your home is as great as the buyers think it is. I’ll surely have several recommendations…

Attic inspections: opening sealed panels

Should home inspectors open up "sealed" attic access panels?  Heck yes.  Every time, unless the owner or buyer specifically says not to.  That's my story, always has been, and I'm sticking to it. Post edit 3/6/18: I've changed my stance. We will open the attic provided the seller gives permission.…

Who Inspected Your Attic?

Who inspects the attic insulation in new construction homes?  Probably just the person that put it in.  Nobody else. When new houses are built in Minnesota, the municipal inspection departments typically never even stick their head up in to the attic after the insulation gets blown in.  I know this…

A New Attic Problem with New Construction Homes

For about the last twenty years or so in Minnesota, it's been standard practice to seal up attic bypassses; little passageways for conditioned household air to leak in to the attic.  Attic bypasses are also known as attic air leaks.  It's important to seal all of the bypasses in an attic,…

The Best Way To Insulate An Attic

Unfortunately, the easiest way to add insulation to just about any place in your home is to install fiberglass batts.  Fiberglass batts are typically the worst insulation for any job, as I complained about in a recent blog.  I mentioned at that time that I would follow up with a blog about…

Thinking of adding more insulation to your attic? Read this first.

If you're tired of dealing with ice dams and you've decided to finally get your attic re-insulated, please read this first.  You might save yourself a lot of time and money. Over the past two months, a large portion of my business has been ice dam inspections in Minnesota.   For most…

Attic Problems On A New Construction Home

We recently inspected a new construction, custom built home in Edina.  We did a team inspection at this property, where Neil, Duane, and I all inspected the house at the same time.  We really went over this house with a fine tooth comb, but we didn’t come up with much that…

PODCAST: Home Inspection Process Part 3

It's the final stretch for the talk about Structure Tech's home inspection process series. Tessa, Reuben, and Bill start by talking about the top 5 things that they specifically look for when walking inside a house. They follow a step-by-step flow process that they stick to, in order to avoid…

PODCAST: Home Inspection Process Part 2

Today's episode is a continuation of Structure Tech's home inspection process. Bill opens the show by asking about getting permission from the homeowners to open attics. He also touches on the topic of having minors in the house during the inspection. Reuben highlights that the real estate contract in Minnesota…

PODCAST: Home Inspection Process Part 1

Today's episode is part one of Structure Tech's home inspection flow process and why we do things this way. The standard process has been developed and enhanced since the start of the company.  Tessa shares the process flow which starts from a pre-inspection call.  Tessa continues to share that from…

How to prepare your home for the inspection

Preparing your home for an inspection can mean two things to people. The first is to get the house in tip-top shape, making sure that the home inspector won’t have to write a long list of minor repairs that take five minutes each. It’s a great thing to do, but…

Infrared Inspections

INSPECT WITH THERMAL VISION INCLUDED WITH STANDARD HOME INSPECTIONS Infrared cameras show surface temperature differences, which can give clues to a host of different problems with houses. We offer infrared inspections as part of our standard home inspection, as well as for single-item troubleshooting inspections. We do not offer stand-alone…

Specific Information: Minneapolis

SPECIFIC INFORMATION: MINNEAPOLIS If you’re buying a home in Minneapolis, here’s some helpful information specific to Minneapolis.   How do we know?  Because we inspect a TON of houses in Minneapolis, and we make it our business to know about the houses we inspect.  Nearly 50% of the houses that…

PODCAST: Reuben’s flooded house and other homeowner flubs

The gang starts off the show by talking about their lives spent working from home, and they quickly move on to projects happening around the house. Bill discusses the time that he ended up with a frozen outdoor faucet because he forgot to remove his garden hose. Reuben talks about…

PODCAST: Reuben’s flooded house and other homeowner flubs

The gang starts off the show by talking about their lives spent working from home, and they quickly move on to projects happening around the house. Bill discusses the time that he ended up with a frozen outdoor faucet because he forgot to remove his garden hose. Reuben talks about…

Podcast: When the seller attends the home inspection

Tessa starts off the podcast by talking about a recent "memorable" home inspection. A less-than-helpful seller decided to stay home for the inspection because nobody told her that she was supposed to leave, and the situation got extremely awkward. To make things much worse, the seller's agent showed up to…

Podcast: When the seller attends the home inspection

Tessa starts off the podcast by talking about a recent "memorable" home inspection. A less-than-helpful seller decided to stay home for the inspection because nobody told her that she was supposed to leave, and the situation got extremely awkward. To make things much worse, the seller's agent showed up to…

Bath fan fire hazards

Old dirty bath fans can start fires. A bathroom exhaust fan relies on air moving through the fan to cool it down. When the fan is clogged with lint and dust, airflow can be severely restricted, which makes the fan run hot. You take a hot fan motor and put…

Podcast: Fixing Ice Dams the Right Way

Reuben, Tessa, and Bill discuss repair methods for ice dams on Minnesota homes. Before starting with Structure Tech, Tessa used to spec out insulation and air sealing work for houses with ice dam issues. The team discusses the cause of ice dams, how to fix them the right way, and…

Podcast: Fixing Ice Dams the Right Way

Reuben, Tessa, and Bill discuss repair methods for ice dams on Minnesota homes. Before starting with Structure Tech, Tessa used to spec out insulation and air sealing work for houses with ice dam issues. The team discusses the cause of ice dams, how to fix them the right way, and…

Tool list for home inspectors

I've put together a tool list for my inspectors. I've shared this tool list on home inspection discussion forums so many times that I decided I should put it on my website in the form of a blog post. This is definitely not a must-have tool list for all home…

Infrared cameras, home inspections

It's been about seven years since my company purchased our first infrared camera. Since then, we've amassed quite a collection of infrared images. We used to have one infrared camera that was shared by me and Milind, but it got too difficult to juggle one camera, so we bought a…

Photos from new construction inspections, part VI

It’s once again time for my annual blog post that stresses the importance of new construction inspections. Specifically, home inspections. I still talk to home buyers, home owners, and real estate agents who have never even considered the idea of getting a home inspection on a brand new home. I…

Photos from New Construction Home Inspections, Part V

I've compiled new-construction defect photos from the past six years into this one gigantic blog post.  If you're in the market for a new home and you're not sure if a home inspection is worth doing, please look through these photos.  If you're a real estate agent who isn't sold on the…

Combustion Air Ducts, Part I: Why Houses Need Them

Have you ever noticed a big insulated tube dropping down next to the floor near your furnace or boiler in the basement? If you trace this duct down, you'll find that it connects to an opening at the exterior of the building.  This is essentially just a hole in the…

Photos from New Construction Home Inspections, Part II

"New construction homes get inspected dozens of times by municipal inspectors as part of the permit process, so there is no need to hire a private home inspector if you're buying a new home." I hear that a lot.  I do my best to convince home buyers otherwise, but when…

Observe and Report? That’s for Mall Cops, not Home Inspectors

While reading a blog post from Jay Markanich, a home inspector I've gotten to know and respect over the years, I discovered an interesting difference between home inspection Standards of Practice (SOP) - specifically, between the ASHI and InterNACHI SOP. Jay was writing about finding what appeared to be mold…

“One Home Inspection Please, with an Infrared Scan On The Side.”

We've been using an infrared camera at random home inspections for the past several months, and we've decided that this is by far the coolest home inspection tool in the world.  It's also pretty useful.  Today I'm going to share some of the problems we've been able to identify with…

Photos From New Construction Inspections

If you're buying a new construction home, get it inspected by a private home inspector. I could wax on and on about how important home inspections are for new construction, especially if the builder tells you that a private home inspection isn't necessary, but I've found that photos are far more convincing…

Three Simple AC Maintenance Items

According to my friends who work on air conditioners, there are three basic maintenance items for AC units that people overlook. And these three items comprise a large portion of easily preventable equipment failures. These consist of the condensate line, the air filter, and the condensing coil.  The Condensate…

PODCAST: Three simple AC maintenance items

Today, Reuben talks about simple air conditioning maintenance items for indoor air quality and air comfort.  Reuben shares three maintenance tips. He first discusses the importance of changing furnace filters and how it can lead to restricted or reduced airflow. He and Tessa then talk about how an oversized AC…

PODCAST: Look out for these red flags

Today's show is about red flags buyers should look out for when buying a property.  Reuben and Tessa run through tips and recommendations when checking a house. Tessa shares where and how to look at the roof for any defects, damages, or irregularities. Reuben adds that there's a lot that…

PODCAST: Energy Efficiency Comes Last

Today, the three-legged stool breaks down and digests the recent podcast about insulation with Patrick Huelman.  Tessa starts the discussion by talking about Patrick's applied research and development in residential houses with the Building America Program that is led by the Department of Energy. This program focuses on energy efficiency…

Chimney Inspections vs Home Inspections

Having a rip-roaring open-flame wood fire in your living room is serious business. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), nearly 18,000 fires are caused by wood-burning appliances every year. That's just crazy. Chimney fires are a very common occurrence, so we're diligent about recommending specialized chimney inspections.…

Photos from new construction inspections, 2022

New does not mean perfect. We do a ton of new construction home inspections, and our clients never regret hiring us for the home inspection. I could wax on and on about the importance of getting a home inspection on a new construction home, but I'd prefer to let our…

PODCAST: Insulating a 1.5-story home

Today we will talk about ways to improve home performance by installing proper insulation. Tessa shares that there are more ways to insulate a house and discusses how to better insulate and improve home performance. She defines pressure boundaries and thermal boundaries. Bill shares that ''project overcoat'' adds years of…

PODCAST: Home Inspection Reports, Clicking vs Clumping

Bill talks about Open Access, a new project, and a training program where they learn more about houses. Open Access is a venue where inspectors answer questions from real estate agents. He mentions the session is appropriate for real estate agents with the same climate zone.  Tessa explains the training…

PODCAST: Appliance Repairs and Maintenance (with Phil Whiteford)

Phil Whiteford, the owner of Omega Force Appliance Repairs, attends the show to talk about the proper use of appliances and their company's warranty program. diagnostic calls and an appliance protection plan that covers eight appliances for $30 a month. They go over the common issues with refrigerators, front-load washing…

PODCAST: Code Officials vs Home Inspectors (with Douglas Hansen)

The principal author of Code Check and Electrical Inspection of Existing Dwellings, Douglas Hansen joins the show to talk about building codes and home inspections. Douglas started in the industry as a carpenter in the 1960s, and he was also a teacher and a home inspector. He was tapped by…

PODCAST: Roof Problems and Finger-pointing (with Kyle Miller)

Kyle Miller from an exterior general contractor called All Around, joins today's show to talk about roof problems. Bill opens the discussion by describing their neighbor's roof damages and inquires about the responsibilities of homeowners and contractors in fixing the damages. Kyle shares that most damages are caused by installation…

PODCAST: Where to find mold, Part 1

Minnesota is a moldy state and there are around 59 places where mold can hide! Today, Vickie Swenson from Minnesota Mold Inspections, LCC and Neil Saltzman from Inspection Services, help us unpack some questions about mold.  They talk about how to find mold, how it develops, and how to prevent…

PODCAST: Why is my house crying

Today's show is about mysterious siding stains and air exchangers. Bill raises his concerns and clarifications about air quality as it is one thing that homeowners must start working with starting the fall season. Reuben names and distinguishes the three types of mechanical ventilation: positive ventilation strategy, exhaust-only or point-source…

PODCAST: Fall Maintenance

Today's show is about household maintenance that needs to be done before a long winter. Bill, Tessa, and Reuben talk about what to check and clean. They highlight the under-maintained areas of a house. They start by discussing the water system from sprinklers or lawn irrigation systems; how to properly…

PODCAST: The dark side of pest control (with Scott Dorn)

The northern part of the USA has a different situation in terms of pests. Scott Dorn, the owner of BOGO (Buy One Give One), Pest Control , joins the show to talk about managing pests.  Scott talks about the history and foundation of their company. He hates using poison, and…

PODCAST: Why Tessa hates T&G

Bill is thinking about installing a tongue & groove ceiling at his cabin, but Tessa and Reuben give his idea no love. Tessa shares that air leakage and moisture getting into the attic can be prevented in multiple ways. However, the climate zone, amount of air leakage, humidity levels in…

PODCAST: Water Damage (with 24-Restore)

Reuben shares a recent water disaster with his kitchen water heater. He tapped 24Restore, a service company that specializes in emergency damage caused by water, fire, biohazards, and storms. He then shares the process and his full experience with the dispatch team of Jesse and David.  Jesse Jackman shares that…

How to Inspect Your Own House, Part 9: The Air Conditioner

Most single-family homes in Minnesota have a split system air conditioner. This consists of a big boxy-looking thing with a fan that sits outside the house, which is connected to a box that sits on top of the furnace through two refrigerant lines; one line is small and will be…

An inside look at chimney inspections (with Steve Trumble)

Steve Trumble, the owner of Chimney Doctors in the Twin Cities, joins the show to talk about all things related to chimneys. The show starts off with Steve introducing himself and his company. He also discusses a metal fabrication company which he owns. Then, Steve, having  a massive amount of…

The Future of Energy Efficiency (with Peter Troast)

The show starts off with Peter Troast, the founder and CEO of Energy Circle, sharing a little bit about himself and his company. He joins the show to talk about the concept of healthy homes and indoor air quality and some of the changes that people are starting to think…

Beam Fill and Rotted Rim Joists

Reuben has been meaning to blog about the subject of this episode since 2014. He was finally able to create and post it when it was brought up by an internal team question. Today, the gang will be talking about the issues of rotted rim joists, beam fill, and floor…

Building Science Fight Club (with Christine Williamson)

Christine Williamson, building scientist and the person behind Building Science Fight Club, joins the show to talk about the different ways to integrate new knowledge into building durable and efficient structures and designs with the help of building science. She also discusses how this is a tool to solve specific…

Top 20 Home Inspection Photos from 2020

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And it’s also time to share our favorite home inspection photos of the year. As always, it’s tough to narrow down our favorites. We share these photos on our Facebook page throughout the year, and these were some of the best. Enjoy!…

Real Estate Education

Real Estate Education Reuben and Tessa teach FREE continuing education classes to real estate agents and currently have five different courses that have been approved by the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Due to COVID-19, we are currently teaching our 1-hour and 2-hour CE classes live, online. Click on any of…

What is included in Home Inspection Services

HOME INSPECTION: WHAT'S INCLUDED What’s Included All of our home inspectors are proud members of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. As such, we abide by the ASHI Code of Ethics, as well as the ASHI Standards of Practice, which sets forth the minimum requirements for a home inspection. The list below incorporates…

Buyers Home Inspections

Buyer's Home Inspections A typical home inspection will take typically 4 hours to conduct, depending on the size and condition of the home, and how many questions our clients have. For first-time buyers, our home inspections provide an excellent education on ownership and maintenance of the house. What’s Included All…

Education

EDUCATION Real Estate Education Home Inspector CE Class Home Inspection Training Real Estate Education Bryan Scholtes teaches FREE continuing education classes to real estate agents and we currently have eight different courses that have been approved by the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Email us at education@structuretech.com to set up classes…

Live Building Code Q&A (with Andy Schreder)

Building official Andy Schreder with Rum River Construction Consultants joins the show for a Q&A session via Facebook Live. There's some great discussion of commonly asked questions, along with some very interesting insight from Andy about why building officials don't always enforce code requirements. The topics include: Permits required for…

“Your insurance company isn’t dumb” (with Steve Kuhl)

Steve Kuhl with Kuhl's Contracting returns to the show to share some insider dirt on insurance restoration, insurance claims, which insurance companies "pay out" and which ones don't, and gives us a behind-the-scenes look into the world of insurance fraud. Steve is passionate and opinionated about all of this stuff,…

The evolution of home inspection scheduling with Lisa Ferrario

Our very own Lisa Ferrario joins the show to discuss the evolution of home inspections, scheduling, and all things related. TRANSCRIPTION The following is a transcription from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it may be slightly incomplete or contain minor inaccuracies due to…

How to sell your home with fewer problems: a case for pre-listing inspections

Twenty-five-year real estate veteran Rhonda Wilson joins the show a second time to discuss pre-listing inspections. Rhonda has been encouraging her sellers to get pre-listing inspections for the past decade, and she has become quite accustomed to having her listings sell faster and with far fewer hassles than most other real estate…

PODCAST: Everyone loves Milind

Milind Angolkar was the first home inspector to join the Structure Tech team after Reuben, and we love him. In fact, everyone loves Milind because he's a good, kind person. We start the show by discussing Milind's history with the company, and Milind shares some crazy home inspection fail stories.…

PODCAST: Everyone loves Milind

Milind Angolkar was the first home inspector to join the Structure Tech team after Reuben, and we love him. In fact, everyone loves Milind because he's a good, kind person. We start the show by discussing Milind's history with the company, and Milind shares some crazy home inspection fail stories.…

Facebook Live Q&A Session #2

For this episode, we answer your questions about houses and home inspections. These include the following: Should home inspectors open Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok panels? How to deal with ice dams if you don't want to pay a professional to remove them How to best find a drain leak with…

Facebook Live Q&A Session #2

For this episode, we answer your questions about houses and home inspections. These include the following: Should home inspectors open Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok panels? How to deal with ice dams if you don't want to pay a professional to remove them How to best find a drain leak with…

Podcast: George’s Pet Peeves

We had our very own George Ury on the podcast a few weeks ago to discuss the new Minneapolis energy stuff, and he was such a peach that we decided to have him on for another episode. This time, we just let him rant about all of his pet peeves.…

Podcast: George’s Pet Peeves

We had our very own George Ury on the podcast a few weeks ago to discuss the new Minneapolis energy stuff, and he was such a peach that we decided to have him on for another episode. This time, we just let him rant about all of his pet peeves.…

Top 20 home inspection photos from 2019

It's time for our favorite blog post of the year; the Top 20 Home Inspection Photos. These photos were all featured on our Facebook page over the past year. Enjoy.  Work harder, not smarter. This might be the most labor-intensive method of insulating a bathroom exhaust duct that we've ever…

Podcast: Chimney and Fireplace Safety

This episode is all about chimney inspections, chimney safety, and we discuss some of our craziest interactions with so-called chimney experts. TRANSCRIPTION The following is a transcription from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it may be slightly incomplete or contain minor inaccuracies due…

Podcast: Chimney and Fireplace Safety

This episode is all about chimney inspections, chimney safety, and we discuss some of our craziest interactions with so-called chimney experts. TRANSCRIPTION The following is a transcription from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it may be slightly incomplete or contain minor inaccuracies due…

Podcast: Fall Maintenance for Minnesota Homeowners

Reuben and Tessa talk about several of the required fall maintenance chores that Minnesota homeowners need to take care of. Bill laments about how difficult it is to be a homeowner, and how he'd rather be watching football ;-). TRANSCRIPTION The following is a transcription from an audio recording. Although the transcription…

Podcast: Fall Maintenance for Minnesota Homeowners

Reuben and Tessa talk about several of the required fall maintenance chores that Minnesota homeowners need to take care of. Bill laments about how difficult it is to be a homeowner, and how he'd rather be watching football ;-). TRANSCRIPTION The following is a transcription from an audio recording. Although the transcription…

Podcast: Asbestos, Home Inspections, and Vermiculite

Asbestos, Home Inspections, and Vermiculite: Today the gang discusses asbestos. While home inspection standards of practice don't require home inspectors to report on environmental hazards such as asbestos, most home inspectors still point this stuff out if they believe it's a problem. The most common locations for hazardous asbestos are…

Podcast: Asbestos, Home Inspections, and Vermiculite

Asbestos, Home Inspections, and Vermiculite: Today the gang discusses asbestos. While home inspection standards of practice don't require home inspectors to report on environmental hazards such as asbestos, most home inspectors still point this stuff out if they believe it's a problem. The most common locations for hazardous asbestos are…

Podcast: Home Inspection Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes, including home inspectors. In this episode, we share some of our worst home inspection mistakes. We're also joined by Structure Tech home inspector Jim Tobias. Reuben has already blogged about several of these mistakes recently, which you can find here: Wrong house,  Bathtub flood,  Trampled insulation, ruined…

Podcast: Home Inspection Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes, including home inspectors. In this episode, we share some of our worst home inspection mistakes. We're also joined by Structure Tech home inspector Jim Tobias. Reuben has already blogged about several of these mistakes recently, which you can find here: Wrong house,  Bathtub flood,  Trampled insulation, ruined…

Podcast: A Home Inspector’s Perfect House

Reuben, Tessa, and Bill discuss what would make for a perfect Minnesota house. They talk about rooflines, water management, siding, basements, heating, and cooling systems. They also talk about an old blog post of Reuben's, titled Boilers vs. Furnaces. TRANSCRIPTION The following is a transcription from an audio recording. Although…

Podcast: A Home Inspector’s Perfect House

Reuben, Tessa, and Bill discuss what would make for a perfect Minnesota house. They talk about rooflines, water management, siding, basements, heating, and cooling systems. They also talk about an old blog post of Reuben's, titled Boilers vs. Furnaces. TRANSCRIPTION The following is a transcription from an audio recording. Although…

Podcast: Problems with Story-and-a-Half Houses

Reuben and Tessa gang up on Bill, complaining about the shortcomings of story-and-a-half houses found throughout Minneapolis and Saint Paul. The discussion is focused on insulation, ventilation, heating, cooling, and ice dams. Reuben blogged about this topic back in 2011: My beef with 1.5-story houses TRANSCRIPTION The following is a…

Podcast: Problems with Story-and-a-Half Houses

Reuben and Tessa gang up on Bill, complaining about the shortcomings of story-and-a-half houses found throughout Minneapolis and Saint Paul. The discussion is focused on insulation, ventilation, heating, cooling, and ice dams. Reuben blogged about this topic back in 2011: My beef with 1.5-story houses TRANSCRIPTION The following is a…

Introducing the Structure Talk podcast

It's official, we're doing a home inspection podcast. Structure Talk is a podcast about houses, home maintenance, homeownership, buying and selling houses, and of course, home inspections. This podcast is hosted by me, Tessa Murry, and Bill Oelrich. For our pilot episode, the focus is home inspection Easter eggs. These are…

Introducing the Structure Talk podcast

It's official, we're doing a home inspection podcast. Structure Talk is a podcast about houses, home maintenance, homeownership, buying and selling houses, and of course, home inspections. This podcast is hosted by me, Tessa Murry, and Bill Oelrich. For our pilot episode, the focus is home inspection Easter eggs. These are…

Ice Dams: how to prevent and how to remove

Ice dams are literally dams of ice that form on roofs and cause water to back up. Ice dams form when the snow that touches the roof melts, and then that water freezes again before running off the roof. This usually happens at the edges of roofs, but not always.…

Should home inspectors trample insulation? No.

Should home inspectors walk through insulated attics to fully inspect the attic spaces? I say no. This topic was recently discussed in an online forum for home inspectors, and I was surprised by the number of chest-pounding home inspectors who are willing to trample through the insulation in an attic…

Egress requirements and the two-opening myth

There has to be a large group of home inspector trainers who tell home inspectors that every bedroom needs two methods of egress. I've heard this repeated by home inspectors in online discussions more times than I can count, and it's based on nothing. This is a total myth. A bedroom…

Q&A: “Why do you charge more money than your competitors?”

This week's question comes from a real estate agent: "Why do you price yourselves significantly higher than any other company/individual inspector I have seen in the area?" That's a fair question that I debated even turning into a blog post. The answer is completely self-serving, but it's a question that people…

Magic wand? I’d change the home inspection contingency form.

If I could wave a magic wand to make my job as a home inspector easier, I'd change the home inspection contingency form. Dig. When someone buys a home in Minnesota, they typically include an addendum to their purchase agreement, called the Inspection Contingency. This is typically a one-page form that…

Four simple things for sellers to do before the home inspection

This is a home inspection checklist for sellers, to help make sure that the home inspection can be completed once, the first time, without any hitches. It’s extremely frustrating for everyone involved in a real estate transaction if a full home inspection can’t be completed during the first trip, especially…

Ice dams: prevention and removal /ice-dams-3/

With all of the recent snowfall here in the Twin Cities, it's a good time to talk about ice dams. I'm re-posting my last blog post on this topic from February of 2014. How To Prevent Ice Dams (the right way) Ice dams form when snow is melted on the…

Camera buying advice for home inspectors

I've gone through numerous digital cameras and I've become quite opinionated about what features a home inspector should look for in a camera. I recently sent an email to one of the newest inspectors on my team, giving some camera buying advice. Once I was done with that email, I…

New Home Inspection Contingency form takes effect August 1st in Minnesota

For anyone buying or selling a home in Minnesota after August 1st, 2016, heads up: the Minnesota REALTORS® Forms Committee has revised the Inspection Contingency form, which is typically what gets used when writing an offer on a home. If you're a first time home buyer, the whole process of signing…

Q&A: Can electrical boxes be buried in insulation?

This question came up during a conversation that I was having with another home inspector during the last ASHI chapter meeting. We know that the covers for electrical boxes need to be accessible, but what if the box is located in an attic? Is it acceptable to bury the box…

Q&A: When do smoke alarms need to be hardwired?

The following question was recently asked on the Structure Tech Facebook Page: "Can you give a short version of current fire detecting code? I'm doing reno and it's really complicated to understand if you have to install wired in ones or not." That's a great question. Smoke alarms are required…

State of the Union, 2016

Happy 2016!  I normally don't write "bloggy" type blog posts like this one, but here it goes. To start, sorry for the cliche' title, but at least you know what you're getting with this post. This is just a quick update on what has happened over the last year, and…

Top 20 Home Inspection Photos from 2014

We share our favorite home inspection photos on our Facebook page and our Google+ Page with a feature we started back in 2009, called the Photo of the Day.   Sometimes we make a game out of the photos, asking what's wrong in the photo.  Other times, the defects are quite…

Photos from New Construction Home Inspections, Part IV

It's been one day short of a year since my last post on new construction home inspections, so it's time for another.  My message is pretty simple: new homes should be inspected by private home inspectors.  Home inspections aren't just for old houses or used houses. One of the newest inspectors on…

Ice Dams /ice-dams-3/

I've been seeing ice dams all over the Twin Cities, and I've heard from a number of homeowners who are having problems with ice dams right now.  I've written about ice dams extensively on this blog, so I'm putting together links to my three main blog posts on ice dams…

Photos from New Construction Home Inspections, Part III

“You'd be wasting your money if you hired a home inspector.  This is a brand new house that has been inspected dozens of times by the city of Perfectville, and they're especially picky.  If there was anything wrong, they would have already caught it." Sound familiar? This is the same…

Q&A: What Does a Long Home Inspection Mean?

I recently had someone email this question: Is a longer home inspection good news for the seller, or bad news? Or neither? Great question.  The quick answer is that there are so many variables that affect the duration of a home inspection that the time of the inspection alone won't…

Home Inspections on Townhouses

There's a prevailing myth in the real estate industry that a townhouse inspection is far easier than a single family home, takes less time, and uncovers fewer defects.  False, false, and false.  When we quote a price for a townhouse inspection, we always quote the inspection fee exactly as we…

Preventing Ice Dams From The Exterior /ice-dams-3/

I've been doing a lot of attic inspections for Minneapolis homeowners with water leaking in to their houses, and in almost every case I find obvious problems in the attic that should be addressed to either prevent or significantly reduce ice dams.  I mentioned most of the stuff that I…

My Beef With One-And-One-Half Story Houses

I've lived in a one-and-one-half story house in Minneapolis for the last six years, and I feel like I've earned the right to complain about them.  My main beef with them is insulation and ventilation; they're a pain in the butt and they're expensive to get right. There are two…

“…But The City Approved It!”

It happens to me several times each year; I inspect a home for a buyer, I point out a construction defect, then I get a call from an angry seller or seller's agent, accusing me of being wrong. If someone challenges my call, I'm always happy to provide an authoritative reference…

Top Ten Minnesota Home Inspection Defects For Old Houses

Top Ten Minnesota Home Inspection Defects 10.  Tree Branches Rubbing On The Roof Tree branches do a lot of damage to roofs.  Just think about branches rubbing on the roof all day long while the wind is blowing.  This adds up to a lot of damage.  Tree branches too close…

How To Prevent Ice Dams /ice-dams-3/

After all the recent snowfall, it's a good time to talk about ice dams.  Ice dams are caused by the same thing I've been blogging about for the last several entries; heat loss!  The most obvious sign of heat loss in attics is ice dams - those huge masses of ice…