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Virginia Beach Home Inspector Offers SewerGard

· Plumbing

Virginia Beach home inspection company Safe House Property Inspections now offers SewerGard with every home inspection. SewerGard is sewer line protection the world leader in underground repair coverage. You can buy your new home with confidence and worry less knowing that main water and sewer collapses and breaks are covered, up to $4000.

**See policy for complete terms and conditions**

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Stairways and Safety

· Home Safety

During many Virginia Beach home inspections on common issue encountered is stairway safety. Due to their inherent dangers, as well as unsafe patterns of use by homeowners, stairways are the sites of a surprising number of injuries. A careful assessment of the risks posed by stairways can prevent unnecessary injuries. Stairways are the sites of numerous household accidents
Facts and Figures
  • 1,638 people died from falls on steps and stairs in the United States in 2004. This figure is greater than the combined number of swimming pool and bathtub drownings for the same year, according to the National Safety Council. The actual number of stairway accidents is probably much higher, as many people who sustain injuries don’t know why they fell, and others are too embarrassed to admit they fell, so these incidents go unreported.
  • Elderly occupants are at particular risk of falling down stairs, mostly due to impaired vision, reduced strength, and poor balance. For individuals age 65 and older, 260,000 are injured every year in falls on steps, stairs and escalators, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
  • Handicapped and young children are also at increased risk of sustaining stairway injuries.
  • In a study by Loughborough University in England, one-third of surveyed households admitted to leaving objects on stairs, presenting a serious trip hazard.
  • In addition to potential physical injury, falls can cause serious psychological and social consequences, affecting confidence, mobility, and general well-being, according to the same study.

While residents might already be aware of stair abnormalities, their guests may not be prepared for irregular steps or inadequate headroom height, for instance. Prospective buyers, too, are safer hearing about such irregularities from you than learning through experience after they purchase the home. The following is a partial list of defects you may find in stairways:

  • Handrail is loose, incomplete, missing, splintery, not of a contrasting color with its background, or has insufficient finger clearance. As deck stairways may be open on both sides, missing handrails there put occupants at serious risk.
  • Treads are cracked, uneven, worn, loose or poorly supported.
  • Risers are of uneven height.
  • Lighting is poor, shadows are numerous, or the corridor leading to the stairs is dark. It’s helpful to have a light switch installed at the top and bottom of each staircase.
  • Floor is waxed, increasing chances of slipping.
  • Exterior steps are not sloped to prevent water settlement and icing.
  • Stair carpeting slides or is not firmly affixed to stairs. Double-sided tape or tacks may be used to prevent slipping.
  • Balusters are spaced more than 4 inches apart, allowing a child to potentially slip through and get trapped.
  • Stairs are not ergonomically designed.
  • Stairs are too steep.
  • Platform or landing surface is not slip-resistant, and/or has a sharp object, blunt wall, or window located in the direction of a possible fall.
  • Nosing is missing, broken, worn, patched, loose, slippery, or not installed properly.
  • Sharp corners are on stair elements.
  • Headroom is insufficient.
  • There is no safety gate at the top of stairs in a home with small children.

Note that some design defects would be difficult or cost-prohibitive to remedy, so this would require rebuilding of the stairs.

In summary, stairways can pose a serious safety risk for building occupants, but these risks can be minimized by adequate stair construction and safe practices.

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Window Issue at Virginia Beach Home Inspection

· Uncategorized

Here’s a problem being found more often during Virginia Beach home inspections. The issue is when the sun strikes the low-E windows and the reflection hits the vinyl siding which causes it to become hot enough to melt and distort.

2013-07-08 12.22.52

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Rodents Found During Virginia Beach Home Inspections

· Home Inspection Information

During many Virginia Beach home inspections we will find evidence of a presence or sometimes even an infestations of rodents. Rodents are a problem not just because they can destroy personal property and create problems with a home’s structure, but also because they can spread serious diseases to humans and their pets. Rodent-borne disease may be spread directly — by touching rodents or their Rat in a PVC pipeurine, feces or saliva — or indirectly — by coming into contact with fleas or other insects that have fed on an infected rodent host. Inspectors should use extreme caution and wear appropriate personal protective equipment when entering a home that is known to be infested with rodents.
Some diseases resulting from direct contact with mice and rats include:
  • hantavirus pulmonary syndrome;
  • hemorrhagic fever with renal; syndrome;
  • Lassa fever;
  • leptospirosis;
  • lymphocytic chorio-meningitis;
  • plague;
  • rat-bite fever;
  • salmonellosis;
  • South American arenaviruses; and
  • tularemia.
Some diseases resulting from indirect contact with mice and rats include:
  • babesiosis;
  • Colorado tick fever;
  • human granulocytic anaplasmosis;
  • lyme disease;
  • murine typhus;
  • scrub typhus;
  • rickettsialpox;
  • relapsing fever; and
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Rodents also pose a danger to the integrity of the structures they inhabit. They have strong teeth and they may chew through structures to gain access to food sources. The best method for preventing exposure to rodents is to prevent rodent infestation in the first place, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Rodent presence at virginia beach home inspectionHow can you tell that a home is infested?
Actual rodent sightings in the home are a good indicator that a severe infestation may be in progress.  Mild cases of infestation might not result in actual rodent sightings.
Indicators of an infestation are:
  • chewing or clawing sounds that come from inside or outside a home. Noises may even come from the roof, as tree-dwelling rodents may try to gain access to a home from above the living space;
  • stale smells coming from hidden areas;
  • evidence of structural damage that can provide entry points into the home;
  • evidence of gnawing and chewing on food packaging;
  • nesting material found in small piles, such as shredded paper, fabric or dried plant matter; and
  • rodent droppings anywhere in the home, especially near food packages in drawers and cupboards, and under the sink.
How can rodent infestation be prevented?
The following measures can be taken to eliminate rodents’ food sources, according to the CDC:
  • Keep food in thick plastic or metal containers with tight-fitting lids.
  • Clean up spilled food right away, and wash dishes and cooking utensils soon after use.
  • Keep outside cooking areas and grills clean.
  • Always put pet food away after use and do not leave pets’ food or water bowls out overnight.
  • Keep bird feeders away from the house.  Utilize squirrel guards to limit access to the feeder by squirrels and other rodents.
  • Use thick plastic or metal garbage cans with tight-fitting lids.
  • Keep compost bins as far away from the house as possible.
  • Dispose of trash and garbage on a frequent and regular basis, and eliminate clutter in and around the property to discourage nesting.
Mice can squeeze through a hole the size of a nickel, and rats can squeeze through a hole the size of a half dollar, according to the CDC. Consequently, smaller gaps may be filled cheaply and easily with steel wool and caulk may be used to seal it in place. Larger gaps and holes may be filled with lath screen or lath metal, cement, hardware cloth or metal sheeting.
Common places where gaps may be found inside the home are:
  • inside, under and behind kitchen cabinets, refrigerators and stoves;
  • inside closets near the floor’s corners;
  • around the fireplace;
  • around doors;
  • around plumbing pipes under sinks and washing machines;
  • around the piping for hot water heaters and furnaces;
  • around floor vents and dryer vents;
  • inside the attic;
  • in the basement or crawlspace;
  • near the basement and laundry room floor drains; and
  • between the floor and wall juncture.
Common places where gaps may be found outside the home are:
  • in the roof among the rafters, gables and eaves;
  • around windows;
  • around doors;
  • around the foundation;
  • near attic vents and crawlspace vents;
  • under doors; and
  • around holes for electrical, plumbing, cable and gas lines.
Any potential nesting sites outside the home should be eliminated. Elevate hay, woodpiles and garbage cans at least 1 foot off the ground. Move woodpiles far away from the house. Get rid of old trucks, cars and old tires that mice and rats could use as homes. Keep grass cut short, and keep shrubbery within 100 feet of the home well-trimmed.
What should be done if a house is found to be infested with rodents?


It is important to stay away from rodents, and to protect children and pets from direct and indirect contact if they are found in the home. Droppings should be handled only with extreme caution, even if they have dried. A face mask and gloves should be worn if handling and cleaning up these droppings because disturbing fecal particles may precipitate airborne contaminants. Affected areas should be sterilized after the droppings have been removed.All holes, cracks, and gaps in a home should be sealed to keep out rodents
In mild cases of infestation, homeowners may choose to eliminate the rodents themselves. They should make sure to take preventative measures while doing so.  To remove rodents, homeowners will need to use traps or rodenticides.
Some different types of traps include:
  • lethal traps, such as snap traps, that are designed to trap and kill rodents;
  • live traps, such as cage-type traps, that capture rodents alive and unharmed, requiring that the rodents then be released or killed; and
  • glue boards, which are low-cost devices that use sticky substances to trap rodents, requiring a further decision regarding disposal, since such traps are not lethal.

Traps should be set in any area where there is evidence of frequent rodent activity. Some rodents, particularly rats, are very cautious and several days may pass before they approach the traps. Other rodents, such as house mice and deer mice, are less cautious and may be trapped more quickly. Glue traps and live traps may scare mice that are caught live, causing them to urinate. This may increase a homeowner’s risk of being exposed to diseases, since the rodent urine may contain germs or disease-borne pathogens.

Rodenticides are products intended to kill rodents, and are typically sold as powders in bait and tracking form.  Some rodenticides include:

  • baits, which combine rodenticides with food to attract rodents.  They may be formulated as blocks or paste and may be enclosed in a bait station;
  • tracking powders, which are rodenticides combined with a powdery material.  The powder sticks to the rodents’ feet and fur and is swallowed when the animals groom themselves.  After consuming the chemical poison contained in the bait or tracking powder, the rodents die.  Some rodenticides (including tracking powders) may be legally applied only by certified pesticide applicators because they may pose a risk to human health.
The following measures should be observed when an infestation is being eliminated:
  • Traps and baits should be placed in areas where children and pets cannot reach them.
  • Products should be used according to the label’s directions and precautions.
  • Only traps that are appropriate to the type and size of the targeted rodent should be used.
  • Glue boards should be placed in dry, dust-free areas, as moisture and dust will reduce their effectiveness.

In summary, make sure your Virginia Beach home inspector lets you know about any evidence found regarding the presence of rodents in the house. A rodent infestation poses a serious risk to human health, and extreme caution must be taken when eliminating the problem. You will want to contact a professional exterminator to deal with more severe infestations, since rodents reproduce constantly and quickly.

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Ventless In Virginia Beach

· Interior

DSCF0033Occasionally during a home inspection in Virginia Beach we will find what is known as a ventless fireplace. Ventless fireplaces, more accurately known as duct-free fireplaces and room-venting fireplaces, are a type of residential gas-heating device. Ventless fireplaces are preferred because they burn at nearly 100% efficiency, release far less harmful gasses than most other heating alternatives, and their installation is restricted little by architectural constraints.
These types of fireplaces do have some tend to stir a bit of controversy. Despite their name, they vent unburned combustion byproducts directly into the living space. Traditional fireplaces, by contrast, are equipped with a flue that vents to the outdoors, saving humans and their pets from exposure to the bulk of the carbon monoxide (CO) and airborne particulates created by the fire. As a less serious yet still important side note, ventless fireplaces create high levels of water vapor, which can lead to mold growth and a variety of other moisture-related building problems. Mold can be a serious health hazard for at-risk individuals, and it can damage fabric, photographs, books and building materials.

To mitigate CO dangers, manufacturers instruct customers to keep a window open while ventless fireplaces are in operation –- advice that is easy to ignore, as an open window allows the entry of cold air, defeating the efforts of the fireplace to warm the living space. Many manufacturers also install an oxygen-detection sensor (ODS) in their ventless fireplaces that will automatically shut down the appliance if oxygen levels in the home become dangerously low. Critics point out that this sensor is typically located at the lower part of the unit near the floor, where it detects cool, fresh, oxygen-filled air and misses hot combustion gasses as they rise and pool toward the ceiling. And if the sensor fails, any CO-producing abnormality experienced by the fireplace will continue unnoticed and potentially harm building occupants.

Massachusetts, California, and a number of other states in the U.S., as well as Canada and other countries, have outlawed ventless gas fireplaces due to the aforementioned safety concerns. Many individual municipalities, too, have outlawed these appliances in states where they are otherwise legal. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development bans ventless fireplaces in their housing, and advisements against the use of these appliances have been issued by various watchdog groups, such as the American Lung Association, the Centers for Disease Control, the Environmental Protection Agency, and even the Mayo Clinic. In particular, these organizations warn against exposure of individuals who are particularly vulnerable to CO, namely, the elderly, pregnant women, small children, those with pre-existing cardiovascular difficulties, and small pets. To be fair, though, there have been no documented cases of fatalities caused by ODS-equipped ventless fireplaces, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
As your Virginia Beach home inspectors we will report the presence of any ventless fireplaces so you are fully informed and can make the decision that best fits the needs of you and your family regarding their use.

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Will Your Virginia Beach Home Inspector Go There?

· Crawlspace

When you hire your Virginia Beach home inspector one thing to keep in mind is will he be able to access hard to get to areas or will they be disclaimed in the report. Of course not every attic or crawlspace is completely accessible but every effort should be made to provide a complete report. This is an example of a crawlspace entry that may cause some home inspectors to disclaim the crawlspace as inaccessible.


So what here is are a few important details that would not have been on the home inspection report. These are some of the highlights or lowlights from this crawlspace.









 Just some of the things your Virginia Beach home inspector will be looking for during your home inspection.

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Question For The Virginia Beach Home Inspector

· Uncategorized

paint question for the virginia beach home inspector


How do you calculate how much paint you will need for a room?


Painting your home’s interior is not only a lot of work, it’s expensive. And because the color must be custom-mixed in some cases, you want to be sure you buy enough.

A second problem with paint: You’ll have to store leftovers in a place where they won’t freeze. That ruins paint.

To calculate the right quantity so you’ll have enough but not too much, follow this advice from Martha Stewart:

* Determine the wall area by multiplying the height of a room by the width. Don’t subtract any square feet for doors and windows unless they take up half of the room.

* Divide the total number of square feet in all the walls by 450. That’s the number of square feet one gallon of paint will cover.

* Add about 10 percent to your order for future touch-ups.

* If you know you will be using two coats, double the amount of paint you will buy.

If you calculate correctly, you won’t run out of paint, but you will still have to find a place to store the future touch-up material.

Because you won’t have very much, you could put it in the back of a closet inside the house.

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Live Tech Support For Your Home

· Home Inspection Information

Get one year of FREE technical support for you home when you choose Safe House Property Inspections for your Virginia Beach home inspection.

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Multipurpose Use Is Not Always A Good Idea

· HVAC, Uncategorized

2013-03-09 08.42.10

Extending drain lines from your the downspouts on your house is always recommended. Keeping water away from you foundation is key to prevent damage. Now draining all the rain water from your roof into your neighbor’s yard might not be the best solution for neighborhood relationships.

On this Virginia Beach home inspection there was a discovery in the attic that I had not seen before. The use of irrigation drain lines as ductwork for your HVAC system is not only an unapproved installation it is definitely highly inefficient. The attic was quite warm when I got up in there do to all the air leaking out of these drain lines



Now there is a lot more wrong with this setup than just using the wrong material for the ducts, but it just goes to show how important it is to get that home inspection in Virginia Beach before you buy a home.

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Ask the Virginia Beach Home Inspector Question of the Month

· Home Maintenance

virginia beach home improvement ideas


 Dear Virginia Beach home inspector we want to make some improvements on our home so it will sell quickly. What do you suggest?



   Basic improvements are important,and  they don’t have to cost much if you do them yourself.

* You can start by adding a fresh coat of paint to bring new life to a room. If you have rooms or walls that are odd colors, paint these entire rooms in beige and install new electrical outlet covers.  Touching up woodwork will also bring a fresh look to the room.

* Adding new faucets in the kitchen and master bath are  can add a more modern look when the present fixtures are starting to show their age.

   This applies to light fixtures as well. Sparkling new fixtures on a newly painted ceiling actually gives you a “new room.”

* One of the most important areas is the kitchen. If you have a few thousand dollars to spend on a project, decorators say new countertops are a good choice. Some choices are quartz as in Caesarstone or Cambria, DuPont’s Zodiaq or solid surface Corian, or Eco’s Cosentino or IceStone.

* Add new life to the exterior by painting the window frames, and the front door. The door is especially important and can be made a contrasting color, like red.

   Make sure the trim around the roof isn’t chipped or deteriorating, and that your gutters and downspouts are properly attached.

* If the roof has a dark streak or two, a roof-cleaning company can make it look new again. The black streaks are caused by bacteria known as gloeocapsa magma (algae growth). A professional roof cleaning    will take them away. Just remember that you do not want to take a power washer to your roof, it will do more damage than good.

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