3 Ways Landscaping Can Protect Your Home

3 Ways Landscaping Can Protect Your Home

Landscaping is a great way to put a personal touch on the exterior of your home, adding color and life to the typical neutrals of your siding, windows, and roof. A well-landscaped yard not only looks great, but can boost your property’s value when you sell.

But landscaping does far more than just look pretty. It also can protect your home and its inhabitants. Here are 3 ways landscaping can benefit your home and family:

 

Foundation Protection

If the soil surrounding your home’s foundation is mounded up or improperly graded, this can lead to pooling of water and, over time, wear away at your foundation. Bringing in a landscaping professional to check that the soil is sloped at a proper angle so that water rolls away from your foundation without it being so high up on your home that it leads to extra moisture retention. But don’t make it too high: the siding should not come into contact with the soil, and you should make sure any weepholes in brick veneer aren’t covered up.

Also, if you do landscape around your home, don’t ignore the plainer sides of your home. Landscaped sections tend to receive more watering, and the soil on those sides expands while the non-landscaped sections retain their normal size and consistency. This can lead to foundation damage, if the soil around your home is pushing up against the foundation unevenly.

Why is this important? Your home’s foundation is literally the thing that holds it up and keeps things standing. If your foundation has cracks, the upper floors of your home can shift, leading to expensive – and dangerous – damage.

 

Burglary Prevention

Giving careful consideration to where you landscape, what type of landscaping you use, and any other elements, such as lighting, can help protect your home from intruders. First, keep large bushes or other things that block line of sight away from entrances is important. To minimize the chance of someone snooping around under your windows, consider adding rose bushes or some other thorny plant to discourage prowling. And once you do have landscaping established, make sure to keep things trimmed and neat, as overgrowth can become a prime hiding spot. You should also make sure there is nothing organic touching the house; there should be a 6-12 inch gap between the siding and any plants.

Your landscaping choices aren’t entirely about greenery and flowers, however. Making sure your yard has ample lighting and that dark areas are illuminated. If you don’t like the look of electric lights or worry about the high cost of power, there are a lot of great solar-powered outdoor lighting options to look into.

Why is this important? Of course, keeping your home safe from burglars is important! Not only does decreasing the risk protect you and your family, but it decreases the crime rate in your area, which positively impacts property values when you want to sell.

 

Natural Disaster Suppression

In Maryland, the major concern is weather: high winds, heavy rains, hurricanes, heavy snow, and even the occasional tornado. Depending on where you live, you may need to consider the likelihood of these natural disasters when choosing your landscaping, especially since climate patterns are changing. In areas where wind storms or tornadoes are common, planting trees and shrubs strategically around your home to reduce wind speeds and decrease damage may be important. If your area is prone to flooding, planting native trees and shrubs that will take root and create drainage space in the soil helps minimize the possibility of flooding.

Consulting with an experienced local landscaper knowledgeable about your local climate is important when designing your yard with natural disaster considerations in mind.

Why is this important? While there’s little that can be done to prevent the onset of a natural disaster such as a fire or flood, taking steps to minimize the damage to your home could mean the difference between minor inconveniences and tragedy. Protecting your home can help improve property values, decrease insurance premiums, and increase your chances of selling quickly.

 

Independent Home Inspections in Frederick, MD, & Beyond

Thinking of selling your home? Want to add some landscaping but aren’t sure how the rest of your home is doing? The home inspection professionals at Inspections by Bob can come to your home and give you a thorough, independent inspection you won’t get anywhere else.

We take our time looking over your home, making recommendations on items that need to be repaired now, what you need to keep an eye on, and how best to maintain the systems in your home. You don’t even need to be thinking of selling to get one of our inspections! We offer anytime home inspections to check up on your home’s systems so you can be sure things are always in top condition.

Ready to get to know your home better? Schedule your inspection today!

5 Unexpected Places Your Home Inspectors Check

A home inspection shouldn’t necessarily be a stressful occasion. Whether you’re preparing to put your house up for sale or simply want to better understand its condition, home inspections should be as helpful and informative as a trip to the doctor for a check-up. However, like physicians, home inspectors want to give your house a thorough looking-over, even in places you might not have thought of. Here are 5 unexpected places home inspectors may check, and how you can keep them in top shape:

Behind Every Door

Even if you’ve lived in a house for years, it may still be keeping some secrets from you. Maybe there’s extra storage space under the staircase in the basement, but it’s only accessible behind a door with no handle next to your washer and dryer. Or there’s an access panel to your attic, but it’s hidden in a closet behind your tie rack? Not every owner knows every nook and cranny of his house; home inspectors, however, are experts at finding hidden entrances, and will most certainly look behind every single one of them.

Foundations

One would assume that checking the upkeep of a house’s foundation is obvious. It’s literally the support keeping your entire house standing, after all. However, when putting a house up for sale, this is often overlooked. Many potential buyers simply assume that the foundation is sturdy, while sellers often take it for granted due to the fact that they haven’t had any trouble with it so far. This is an extremely important aspect for any inspector to look over, especially when it comes to older houses.

Electrical

Houses are always changing. Walls are being painted, carpets are being pulled up, entire sections are being renovated. Because the layout of a house can shift over and over again, electrical rewiring is expected. Just because the electricity is working throughout the house doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s set up properly. Home inspectors will always check your electrical panels to make sure that they’re safe and aren’t breaking any codes.

Attics & Crawl Spaces

An open house is the perfect opportunity for potential buyers to look over a house in person. It may come as a surprise, then, that so many people hesitate to go into the crawl spaces or attics of a house they’re considering moving into! These are vital spaces in any home and can hide all manner of problems. Even if you don’t expect anyone to look here, your home inspectors definitely will.

Ducts & Chimneys

During one of our many inspections, we encountered a house that was listed as having two fireplaces. It turned out that one of them was a fake: just a framed box without a flue or chimney. Another common scenario involves heat ducts and cold air returns that should have air circulating through them, but actually stop at a brick wall, completely defeating their purpose.

It’s important to know where everything in your house leads to. Sometimes, they can lead absolutely nowhere.

Schedule a Thorough Pre-Listing Home Inspection Today in Maryland

Make sure you won’t have anything holding up your home’s selling process with a pre-listing home inspection by Inspections by Bob. We take our time, looking over every inch of your home so we find anything that might be a problem. After our inspection, you get a detailed report with recommendations, and our inspectors are available to answer any questions you might have. Contact us today to schedule your pre-listing home inspection!

Other Inspection Experts to Consider Bringing in When Buying a House

Real Estate Inspector Frederick MD

You’ve got your eye on that perfect home, and have your thorough, independent home inspection scheduled. You know you’re going to get a great inspection, but maybe you’re wondering if one inspection is enough. Home inspectors are like triage nurses: generalists, not experts. Our job is to identify whether issues need a Band-Aid or a trip to the Intensive Care Unit.

If the home you’re in the market to buy is high-end, or has special circumstances, we may recommend bringing in some other experts to check things out before you make that purchase.

Termites & Other Pests

While home inspectors can check for signs of infestation, only a Maryland-licensed and certified pest inspector can determine what type of pests are present and the best course of action for getting rid of the buggers. Whether or not you see signs of a pest problem, you’re probably going to want to bring in an exterminator to check things out. Many lenders also require a pest inspection as a condition of writing a mortgage.

Mold

Again, even though your home inspector may be able to spot visible mold (or, more likely, smell it) from a mile away, testing for it can only be done by someone with the proper training and credentials. If we suspect a problem with “microbial growths” we will typically recommend hiring a mold remediation company, rather than spending money on testing, And since the main contributor to mold growth is water infiltration, we will likely suggest bringing in a drainage contractor to discuss water management on the outside of the house.

Water Damage

Water is the main enemy of the home, and we are always looking for the pathways it may take to sneak inside, and looking for evidence of staining and flooding. While interior drainage systems and sump pumps are a popular way to deal with water penetration, they only deal with the symptom, not the cause. You need a drainage contractor to evaluate the exterior of the home, including the gutter system and grading, and recommend how the water management can be improved. Since this involves a good deal of specialized knowledge about the soil and landscaping, a specialist will be able to give you a thorough risk assessment. This is an especially important person to bring in if you’re buying a house on a flood plain or one that has had significant water damage in the past.

Septic Systems

If your home is served by a septic system, you definitely want to bring in the experts. We can’t determine the health of a septic system during our visual inspection; we typically just report whether we were able to locate the lid or inspection port. Septic systems are costly to replace, and sometimes they can’t be replaced at all due to space or soil limitations. A septic company will open the tank and inspect the drainage field to determine the condition and give a report on the anticipated life.

Roofing

For homes that have expensive or unusual roofs, such as slate roofs, bringing in an expert can be beneficial. Some roofs need specialized training or equipment to inspect without damage. We will recommend which type of roofer to contact, as bringing in someone who isn’t familiar with your particular roofing material can cause cause more problems than they fix.

Pool & Hot Tub

While we do look at areas around a pool, our inspections are typically limited to reporting on the access and whether the area is protected from unauthorized use. This is not the same as pool inspection. If the home you’re purchasing has a pool or hot tub, we recommend having it inspected by a specialist who is well-versed in their care and keeping. All too often, families  purchase homes with attractive pools and hot tubs, only to find out soon after moving in that there was an expensive part that needed repair which could have been negotiated during the offer stage.

Thorough Home Inspections in Central Maryland

At Inspections by Bob, we work hard to give you as much information about the home you plan to purchase as possible. We know home-buying is a big investment, so we give you the information you need to make the most informed decision you can.

We offer a variety of home inspection packages, from basic check-up inspections all the way through our premier home inspection packages. Call today to schedule your home inspection!

Crawl Spaces: Signs You Might Have Trouble

Frederick home Inspections

It’s easy to overlook a problem in your crawl space. Unlike a finished basement or attic, a typical crawl space is extremely limited real estate that is difficult to move through and easy to ignore.

That being said, crawl spaces are built into your house for many important reasons. If a problem arises in your crawl space, it’s crucial to catch it before it causes serious damage. Here are a few signs of trouble to look out for in your crawl space:

Poorly Placed Floor Joists

Nearly every home has a few squeaks in the floors, but not all of them are accompanied by a sag or indent in the same spot. This could be a sign of poorly placed floor joists or support columns, two crucial pieces of support keeping your house stable. If the support columns are spaced too far apart – or if the floor joists are simply too old – the floor will begin to sag over time.

Best-case scenario, this is an annoying inconvenience for you and everyone in your house who have to listen to decorations rattle every time you walk over that indented spot. Worst-case scenario, the entire foundation of your house is at serious risk of collapse.

Mold

Mold loves growing and spreading in warm, damp, dark places, especially when a food source like wood is involved. Add in their desired high humidity levels and you have prime real estate for it to thrive. If any of those conditions rang any bells in your head, then it might be time to go down and check your crawl space for this unsightly fungus.

Some people assume that mold is so synonymous with crawl spaces that you can’t have one without the other, which is naïve and dangerous thinking. Mold can start in your crawl space and spread out into your living space, creating an enormous health hazard for everyone living within.

Wood Rot

Is there a spot in your house that seems to have a consistent musty smell you can’t get rid of? Maybe it’s exceptionally humid as well? And a spot on the floor almost bounces when you step on it? Maybe you already crawled down there to check for mold, only to find it along with something else: the wood used for your floor joists is rotting.

Rotting wood is dangerously weak and unstable. If something as crucial to the foundation of your house as its floor joists are rotting, that means they’re a lot more susceptible to breaking altogether. And if your floor joists break, down comes everything they’re holding up; like, say, the floors of your house.

Water & Dampness

A majority of the problems we’ve discussed on this list can be boiled down to a single culprit: water. Damp environments are where mold, rot, and fungi thrive, putting your entire foundation in jeopardy. Bulk water damage (flooding) is an even more dangerous (and quick-acting) problem. Small floods in your crawl space can result in softening and breaking down wood, cracking or misaligned support columns, damage to your insulation, spreading mold, leaking into your living space, getting in contact with electrical wires and creating a fire hazard, and countless other problems ranging from frustrating to downright dangerous to your health.

Thorough Home Inspections in Central Maryland

At Inspections by Bob, we’ve seen it all during inspections – the good, the bad, and the ugly (especially when it comes to crawl spaces). We are committed to making sure our clients make the best home-purchasing decisions possible, so we take our time and provide thorough inspection reports unlike any you’ll find elsewhere. Contact us today to schedule your home inspection!

It all comes down to noticing the little things

The inspection was going pretty well, with only a few minor issues as I got to the last room on the second level. I was testing the window and something about the sill caught my eye.

small crack in windowsill

Doesn’t look like much, does it? Just a little gap in the caulking. But there was a bit of a lumpy texture. So I pulled out my sharp probe to check if there was any softness in the framing.

Probe inserted in rotted window framing probe inserted in rotten window framing

Uh, I think there’s a problem there. The probe slid in with hardly any resistance, and when I pulled it out, I could feel dampness on it, indicating the framing was wet… and there hadn’t been any rain in about four days. The window next to it had the same result. Something was very wrong. So I pulled out the next tool in my arsenal: my moisture meter.

Moisture meter shows wet sill

Even with the probes just resting on the sill, the meter showed high moisture. As I moved the tool around the frame, I kept getting readings well into the red zone.

moisture meter at maximum

Below the window, the moisture level pegged the meter, indicating a significant water problem behind the drywall. How far down did the problem go? I went to the first level and checked the windows directly below to see if there were any problems there.

 

The wall above the first level windows was also soaking wet, and rotting. What could have caused this to happen? The house had metal siding that appeared to be in fairly good shape for a 30-year-old structure. So I set my ladder up outside to take a closer look above the first level windows. As soon as I looked above the window trim, I had my answer.

siding sealed to window trim

The siding over the top of the window frame was completely sealed. Any water getting behind the siding had no way to drain out, so it simply soaked into the framing and caused it to rot. I also checked the trim over the front door, and it was sealed as well.

rotted pediment over front door

Here you can see the wood framing out the outside doesn’t resist the probe at all.

What’s the fix for this? Unfortunately, it’s not going to be simple, or inexpensive. It’s quite likely the entire front of the house will need to have the siding removed, all the framing checked and repaired or replaced, new insulation installed, and new siding put into place.

Water is the archenemy of a house, and it’s only by paying attention to the little things that we can help our clients avoid the big things.

Everything You Need to Know About Water Damage

“Water damage” is a pretty vague term. It could range from an extremely serious health risk to a small issue in the corner of a room – but what exactly do you need to know about these problems? How can you tell if there is water damage present and what should you do to take action to fix it?

Water damage has many causes. When you think of water damage, you probably imagine a flood, a burst pipe, or a water main break. This kind of damage is extremely serious and will require immediate attention. If this happens, contact s 24-hour water damage restoration company. While you wait for them to respond, you’ll want to move items out of the way. You also may need to turn off the valve to isolate the water supply if the issue is caused by your pipes, and also turn off the circuit breakers powering anything in the vicinity of the water.

If the water issue is less dramatic but still present, such as a persistently wet basement corner, or a pinhole leak in a copper distribution pipe, contact an appropriate professional (such as a foundation repair company or a plumber). Immediate service isn’t necessary but make sure you get it taken care of. The moisture will eventually lead to organic growths, corrosion, or could escalate to flooding.

Water damage can be categorized into three types that describe the risk they pose to you and your family’s health.

Category 1 involves water that is relatively clean, such as fresh water from a distribution pipe.

Category 2 is water that has the possibility to cause illness since it could contain bacteria or harmful chemicals. This would include “grey water” from a sink or bathtub drain.

Category 3 water is highly contaminated, typically with human waste, and can cause serious illnesses or even death. A sewage leak is an immediate health hazard that must be addressed to prevent contamination of belongings or structural components.

Water that begins as Category 1 has the potential to turn into Category 2 and eventually 3 since, once the damage has begun, the water will likely come into contact with contaminants such as soil, fuel, trash, and human waste. And if the water lingers, it will become a breeding ground for bacteria and other organic growths, which will penetrate any porous surfaces and create a major health hazard. This is why you must try to catch water damage as soon as possible and get it repaired.

The final thing to consider when it comes to water damage is what your insurance will cover for you. Homeowner’s insurance will typically not cover any flood damage. If you live in an area that is subject to frequent flooding, you may have coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Make sure you look at your current insurance policy so you can get a clear picture of what is covered. Many sudden and unpredictable issues, like storm damage, are typically covered. Water damage caused by negligence of property maintenance, though, could be excluded, along with gradual leaks. Here’s a good article from Allstate Insurance that gives a rundown on what their insurance will and won’t cover.

Contact your insurance company as soon as you believe you have a claim on your hands. You’ll want your agent to start the claims process as soon as they can and they should be able to help you get through the immediate steps to mitigating any further damage.

Water damage is no small issue, and finding what may seem like a minor issue before it turns into a major problem is important. During our home inspections, we are always looking for evidence of existing water damage, as well as signs of potential water issues, such as poor drainage and old pipes. Just remember, we can’t see through walls so leaks can still happen even without visible signs.

If you think you have signs of water damage, call Inspections by Bob today to make sure you catch anything that could harm your family’s health!

5 Resources to Consult Before Putting an Offer on a Home

Buying a home can be a stressful, especially if it’s your first time. Listening to the advice of your realtor and mortgage broker can help some, but there are a lot of details that can go overlooked, even by experienced professionals. We’ve assembled this quick list of resources to check before signing on the dotted line to help you buy the best home for you.

Tax Records

The county tax records on a property will tell you a lot about its history. A sudden jump in the assessed value or taxes payable rate on a home could mean either there was a lot of new work done in that year, or the tax rate was suddenly increased. Looking at tax records for your potential home and asking around about anything that may have caused the changes can be helpful. Additionally, seeing the tax payment history on the property will give you a heads-up as to whether there are any liens against it that could cause you problems.

Plot Plan

Oftentimes, homeowners will think they have the right to do whatever they’d like to their own property, but this isn’t the case. Getting your hands on the property’s plot plan and zoning details will help you understand the exact space of which you will own, and what you can and cannot do with that space. In some cases, you may need a special permit in order to build a shed, or zoning laws could prohibit you from operating a business out of your home. It’s important to understand these details so you don’t get your plan going only to find yourself in a legal bind down the road.

HOA Records

A Homeowner’s Association (HOA) is a private group formed by the real estate developer and run by the community residents. An HOA acts as a sort of low-level community governing body for the homes in that planned community. The tenants or owners living in homes under the umbrella of the HOA pay a fee to be a part of the HOA, which then, in turn, uses those funds to maintain common areas and provide amenities and services such as recreation facilities and trash pickup. An important thing to do is to find out details regarding any HOA you may be a part of with the purchase of a property. Some of these details could include who is on the board of the HOA, what fees are required, and how those fees are handled and spent by the HOA. Pay special attention to any restrictions listed in the covenants; for example, many HOAs forbid parking commercial vehicles within the neighborhood, even on your own driveway.

Ownership History

Looking through what seems to be the minor details of a property’s ownership history can reveal some important skeletons in the closet. This includes checking with the local authorities on the permit history of the house. Property tax records are considered public documents, so look up the records to see when the property was last sold, and what the official property description is (for example, does the listing say four bathrooms but the tax records say two?). Also, a house that changed hands within the past year for a much lower price than the current listing price may be a “flipper” house, and these may have been prettied up to sell, without correcting potentially expensive problems. Check the permit history as well. It could save you a lot of trouble if you get the ball rolling on your homeowner’s insurance in order to make sure the home is insurable. There are horror stories of owners purchasing a home only to discover it is uninsurable due to previous insurance claims from the old owners. These clues and details can then be turned into powerful resources negotiating the price of the property, or the deal-breaker that saves years of headaches.

Conveyance of Fixtures & Appliances

A big part of the home-buying process is double- and triple-checking details, and this includes things such as the fixtures and appliances the current owner will be leaving. You don’t want to assume the window treatments, washer and dryer, or refrigerator are staying only to find out they are long gone after you have the keys to your new abode. Often, the home listing put out by the seller will include any items that are being left behind for the new owner, but your contract with the seller finalizes all of that, and the list of items could change at some point during the process.

>>How long can you expect appliances to last?>>

As a homebuyer, it is important that you do your homework on any property before putting in an offer. Consulting with the above resources can help you get a more complete picture of the purchase you’re about to make. This information, paired with an inspection by the independent professionals at Inspections by Bob, can give you the tools you need to make an informed home choice. Call today!

7 Common Home Inspection Findings

No two homes are alike, and no two home inspections are alike. However, there are several common areas that pop up – time and time again – in home inspections.

Here are 7 common home inspection findings:

Faulty Wiring

This can mean anything from outdated wiring to improperly grounded outlets. A frequent finding is that there is something wrong with the electrical entrance cable on the outside of the home. Exposure to sun, wind, and extreme temperatures can cause this cable to fray, creating potentially dangerous conditions for the homeowners.

Improper Grading or Drainage

Water that pools up at the foundation can cause leaks into the basement, erosion, and foundation damage. Inspectors often see that the ground at the foundation isn’t properly graded: the ground should slope down at least one inch per foot for six to 12 feet from the foundation, which allows water to flow away from the house, rather than working its way through the foundation walls and into the basement. Other issues with drainage include low spots in the lawn, which can lead to flooding during heavy rains, or buried drainage systems, which have a tendency to clog.

Window Problems

Problematic windows aren’t always as easy to spot as broken or fogged glass. Windows that are difficult or impossible to open could mean structural issues with the window or even the home. Sometimes, careful inspection of the area around the windows reveals shifting or gaping, meaning the home is losing energy and causing drafts.

Poor Ventilation

The attic is an often-overlooked area for homeowners, as most don’t use it for more than extra storage (which isn’t recommended anyway, as the heat and humidity can damage belongings). Improper insulation, poorly configured ventilation, or blocked openings can lead to a buildup of heat and moisture in the attic, meaning increased chances of mold, mildew, or water damage to the roof sheathing or framing, not to mention high utility bills.

Bad Plumbing

Leaks in plumbing under sinks and around toilets is a frequent finding, especially if a home is currently occupied and filled with stuff, meaning leaks may not be as apparent. outdated piping is another frequent finding in older homes; we are still finding problem materials such as galvanized supply pipes and polybutylene tubing.

Exterior Issues

Your home’s exterior has a lot of items that require frequent care and maintenance – roof, gutters, and siding, for starters. Some frequent discoveries during an inspection include debris and standing water in gutters, improper flashing around chimneys, and warped or broken siding panels.

Basement Troubles

Moisture in a finished or unfinished basement can lead to all sorts of problems. Frequent symptoms include puddles, water stains, and powdery residue on the walls. In finished basements, there is a real risk of hidden damage that could be expensive to fix. Basement problems commonly are tied to other inspection findings, including broken gutters or improper grading at the foundation.

Thorough Home Inspections in Central Maryland

At Inspections by Bob, we’ve seen it all during inspections – the good, the bad, and the ugly. We are committed to making sure our clients make the best home-purchasing decisions possible, so we take our time and provide thorough inspection reports unlike any you’ll find elsewhere. Contact us today to schedule your home inspection!

What You Can Expect from Your Home Inspection Report

At Inspections by Bob, we aim to give you as much information as possible about your home and the fixtures, appliances, and structures inside it. We want you to know that you are making a sound investment, and that your home will be as safe a place as possible for you and your family.

Because we are committed to thorough inspections and thorough reporting, we pack our electronic home inspection reports with as much information as possible and take the time to answer any questions you may have.

In 2015, we moved to electronic inspection reports, which allowed us to provide our customers with thorough reports shortly after the inspection is completed. We show you the report on our tablets, walking you through the main points and highlighting anything particularly concerning. Photos are automatically embedded into the report, so you can see the problem right away and, if necessary, ask us to show you the real thing in your house.

Our electronic reporting format includes a convenient breakdown of important information, so you know immediately what needs attention. These sections include:

  • Hazards that need attention now – Repairs that must be made as soon as possible, as they are health or safety hazards
  • Needed repairs – Parts of the home that need repairs, but are not immediate hazards and could be used as part of the negotiating process if you’re purchasing a home
  • Risks that are part of the house – These are things that you need to know about the house that aren’t necessarily dangerous, but you need to know (unusually steep stairs, low ceilings, etc.)
  • Maintenance recommendations – This section includes notable things that should be included in your home repairs budget, including clogged gutters or peeling paint
  • Things to watch – In this section, you’ll be given a list of things you don’t necessarily need to repair now, but that you should keep an eye on to see if something changes
  • End-of-life items – These are the things in your house that are still functional, but are nearing the end of their life and are likely to need replacement soon

>>How long are your home appliances & fixtures expected to last?>>

In addition to the full report, which usually is between 35-50 pages, we leave you with a binder full of useful home maintenance and informational brochures. We’ve developed these brochures over our years inspecting homes, and we believe they cover many of the common questions, concerns, and routine maintenance tasks that many homeowners need to be aware of.

Our inspection reports are not documents that are intended to be put in a file folder and forgotten about; they’re meant to provide you, the homeowner, with valuable information on the care and keeping of your home for years to come. Keep your home inspection report and brochure booklet handy, refer to them often, and use the recommendations to help you guide home maintenance and improvement tasks down the road. The binder is intended to serve as a “living document” where you can record all the maintenance, repairs and upgrades you do for the house. This way, when you choose to sell, you will have the complete history of the house in one convenient place.

Exceptional Home Inspection Services in Maryland

At Inspections by Bob, we live and breathe home inspections, and we’ve seen it all. Whether you’re looking to buy a new home, planning to sell, or just want someone to take a look at the home you live in and point out necessary maintenance, contact us to schedule your inspection!

The Importance of Getting a Closer Look

At a recent inspection, we came across an electrical service entry cable that didn’t look to be in very good shape. It was in a pretty inaccessible location, blocked by a big stand of shrubbery, so we took a picture of it.

Damaged Electric Service Entry Cable

Looks like something nibbled on the insulation around the cable. This is a Bad Thing, as it exposes the inner conductors to the elements and that can lead to arcing and fire. Already we will report the cable needs to be replaced as service entry cable cannot be spliced. The fact that it’s just lying on the ground is another pointer that whomever did this installation was not taking the proper care to protect the cable!

Not Close Enough

This might be enough for the report, but we wanted a closer look at the damage. This required wriggling under a tangle of branches and shrubbery to get a better view. And it’s a good thing we did.

Burn damage to service entry cable-  Home Inspections Frederick, Germantown, Potomac, Clarksburg, Silver Spring MD

That is no animal damage; that is the sign of an arc blowout. The edges of the opening are burnt, and the insides are charred. How this property was still getting power is a mystery; the damage looks like it goes through to the current-carrying conductors! There’s no real way to know how long this damage has been present, but something this bad needs to be corrected immediately. This cable was exposed to weather, and this gash will let water into the cable and cause more arcing and more damage, and maybe even lead to a house fire. It’s resting on a piece of very flammable plastic pipe!

This is the importance of not just doing enough to satisfy the requirements of a home inspection report; we strive to do what’s needed to get the full picture so we can give our clients the most accurate information about the property they are thinking of buying.