Spring Showers = Leaking Homes

April showers bring May flowers.  We all sang that rhyme as children, but April and Spring showers can also bring many headaches to homeowners.  The most common headaches are leaking basements and leaking roof gutters. The only sure fire, 100% accurate, foolproof, never get water into your foundation is to build your home on the peak of the mountain.  While you might not get water into your foundation; there just aren’t enough mountains to go around, plus there is no way the “prize patrol” is ever going to find you there.  

Because of this, we build our homes with some form of topographical relief or plan and this plan has to include carrying the water away from the foundation.  Most homes have some form of roof drainage, usually in the form of gutters and downspouts. Often these gutters can be clogged in the winter and sometimes with the fall leaves and debris.  If these gutters are clogged the water will not be properly carried to the downspouts.

If the downspouts do not carry the water far enough away from the foundation, the water will back cycle or be backpitched toward the foundation and possibly into the lower levels.  When dealing with downspouts, there really is only a right and wrong way of looking at them. Is water draining away from the home or is it draining back toward the foundation? It is as simple as that.  Some homes might require several feet of extension; where others only need a small splash block.

Keep water out of your home this Spring.  Clean your gutters and monitor your downspouts.  You might just need to add to your downspouts.

The Home Inspector is Not a Babysitter

It is funny how the home inspection has changed from fact finding, to negotiation tool, and now it is everything all rolled into one. During the beginning years of the home inspection industry, the Realtor was present during the entire inspection.  The Realtor was the only one with access to the keys or the home and they were also the liaison between the buyers and the sellers.  Now everything has changed.

A home inspector typically has a set routine and road map on how they migrate through a home.  Some home inspectors like to be left alone, while others provide their clients with a moving dialog.  Regardless of what the inspector’s style is, the inspector is just that, the home inspector.

Here is a recent review left about an inspection:  

Ramona Sandru ★★★☆☆

Wrinkled bed sheets No water in refrigerator

I have been a home inspector for 30 years and I know how tiring it can be.  You are scheduled to do three inspections in a day; you have to trudge through the snow, drive 100 miles between the three jobs and talk with three different clients.  Yes, we all lay down on the bed for a 15 minute nap.  NO! I have never heard of that.  However, I have seen clients sit on the beds and I have seen client’s children jump on beds.  We cannot control what they do, nor should we ever be responsible for their actions.  

I think of a recent inspection.  The Realtor came to unlock the vacant home, the client and members of the family were present, and then the Realtor left to go to another appointment.  The client’s children arrived a little bit later, after school, to look at the home.  I finished the inspection and had to go to my next one, but the client wanted to stay to measure more things and show the children the home.  I asked them to leave but they insisted the needed to stay.  Again the home is vacant.  I left because I needed to get to my next inspection, but soon after I was called asking if I locked the door and everything was fine.  The realtor was upset I did not force them to leave.  

We had another seller recently call the office and voice their disappointment and rudely complaint that we opened the kitchen cabinet and removed a glass.  The glass left in the sink was their evidence of the action.  But, the rest of the story is; the inspector needed to test the water dispenser on the refrigerator door.  He could have hit the button and let the water run in his hand or down the door but instead he used a glass.

The moral is, People need to be responsible for themselves.  The client should know they are in someone else’s home; and should have been taught as children not to touch other people’s stuff.  And, the Realtor should stay and be present during the inspection because too many times the realtors just do not show up or just sit in the car. 

The home inspection is a service.  As an inspector, I am biased and I believe it is an important service.  The market has placed this service as one of the lowest monetary valued services in the home transaction; all the while the inspector maintains the highest amount of liability.  So, for the love of all things fair and equitable, have your Realtor stay during the inspection.  The inspector is not there to babysit.

The Importance of Having a Thorough Home Inspection Before Buying a New Home

When you’re buying a new home, there are a few critical steps to take. 

The first? Find a great real estate agent who will negotiate effectively for you throughout the process. 

Then you’ve got to narrow down the neighborhoods you want to look at, handle repairs on your own home if you’re also selling your house, and get all your financials together to make the mortgage qualification process smooth and easy. 

But one of the most important steps when buying a new home is: having a thorough home inspection by a licensed professional home inspector. 

Here’s why. 

Home inspections can save you thousands of dollars in unexpected expenses. 

Let’s say you skip the home inspection to save $400 during the purchase process. 

Well, a few months after buying the home, you start noticing water damage in a part of your upstairs ceiling. When you call in a contractor to fix it, they tell you that part of the roof is deteriorating, and will need to be replaced, while the water damage also has to be remediated. 

If you’d gotten an inspection during the purchase process, the inspector most likely would have noticed the roof damage, and you could have had it fixed by the seller before closing. Then you wouldn’t have had a huge repair bill, and what’s more, the repairs would have been less serious. 

Home inspectors can spot potential problems that need further exploration. 

While it’s true that home inspectors are generalists, they are trained to spot hard-to-notice problems that warrant a specialized home inspection

For example, if they spot standing water around an HVAC unit, or smell a musty or humid smell in one part of the house, they’ll probably recommend bringing in a mold inspector to see if there’s a mold problem. 

If the home you’re buying is old, the inspector may recommend something like a lead-based paint inspection or a chimney inspection to ensure the home is actually safe. 

Home inspectors can also spot signs of pest infestation, from termites to rodents. Both of these pests are more than annoyances—they can actually damage the structure of a home. That’s why it’s so important to bring in a pest company or termite company if there are indications they’ve taken up residence in the home you’re buying. 

Home inspectors can spot attempts to cover up problems.

While most home sellers are honest and disclose everything they know about a home’s problems, some do resort to attempts to cover up known or suspected issues. 

Some tricks sellers use to pass the home inspection are: 

  • Making small cosmetic repairs that don’t quite fit with the rest of the home
  • Claim they don’t know the history of the house or “haven’t lived here long”
  • Use heavily scented candles or air fresheners to cover up unpleasant smells
  • Keep the inspector from accessing certain areas, like a basement, crawl space, or breaker box

If you notice any of these things occurring, it’s time to look a bit deeper. Ask your sellers for a disclosure form, and urge your home inspector to be as thorough as possible. 

Home inspections are a perfect example of how paying some money up front can save you thousands later on. Make sure you schedule yours before you close! 

Mackenzie Kirk Content Marketing Coordinator, HomeLight

mackenzie.kirk@homelight.com www.homelight.com

Inspecting a Tile Shower

A shower pan failure can be one of the most expensive repairs to a home. Correction requires demolishing the shower floor and, likely, the entire surround. Sometimes a shower pan leak will go undetected for years. This can cause extensive damage and extend beyond the shower floor. (You may be facing a full bathroom remodel.) If there is living space below the shower, there may be staining on the ceilings or mold and rot in a wall cavity. No matter how you look at it, a shower pan failure is going to be an expensive repair. The question is whether it will cost hundreds of dollars or thousands.

So you are buying a home with a tiled shower? What is your inspector looking for? Remember that a home inspection is a visual inspection of readily accessible components. The inspector will not (can not) cut holes in walls or ceilings to look for a small but destructive leak. When an invasive inspection is not possible, what tools does the inspector have? When and how can your inspector go beyond their standard of practice? This could be the most expensive repair a new homeowner is faced with and the average home inspector is not going to be equipped to find it. 


There are three things an inspector will need to find the leak. First, they must be willing to take some extra time and go beyond their Standards of Practice. To find a leak, they must first stop the drain and fill the pan with water. (This test is excluded from the SOP and there is an alibi for missing anything that wasn’t obvious or easy to find.) If the shower is over a crawlspace and there is insulation between the floor joists, the home inspector must move the insulation to see any staining from a failed shower pan. Why wouldn’t they? They aren’t required to. They may not have appropriate PPE to do it safely. (Are they wearing gloves, goggles, and a respirator? They should be.) Maybe they can’t get to the area below the shower. If they cannot, does their report say so? (It should.) 

The second thing they will need is an infrared camera. An IR camera will not determine if an area is wet, but it can draw attention to a wet area for further evaluation. Most home inspectors do not have IR cameras and many charge extra for pulling them out. Using IR thermography is critical in finding a shower pan failure if there is living space below it. We scan the walls and floors in adjacent rooms to look for potentially wet areas. We also scan finished walls and ceilings below a tiled shower.

The third thing the inspector will need is a moisture meter. As I stated before, an IR camera will not definitively tell you something is wet, the next step is to test the area to determine if it is actually wet. Water staining is the obvious indicator that there was a leak but staining doesn’t always happen right away, it may not happen at all, and it may show up somewhere else. Most inspectors have a moisture meter but they need a reason to suspect something is wet before using it.

At The BrickKicker, we take extra time and use the proper tools when inspecting tiled showers. It is impossible to find every deficiency in a home. Our methods are not guaranteed to find every shower pan leak, every time, but we know that the minimum standards, the industry standards, are going to miss them most of the time. If you are purchasing a home with a tiled shower, make sure you call The BrickKicker for your home inspection.

Thermal Pane Windows

Thermal pane windows have surged in popularity for their energy-efficient design, but just what is a thermal pane window and how can it help you maintain a happier home? While a standard window consists of one pane of glass, a thermal pane window can have double or triple the panes. This provides a better barrier against the elements, which means you can spend less on heating and cooling! Let’s dive into the benefits of this technology for homeowners.

Explaining the Thermal Pane Window Design

Did you know that windows can account for up to 30 percent of your heating and cooling costs? That means that standard windows can actually cost you tons of money in bills over time. A thermal pane window improves upon the standard design in a number of ways.

  • A thermal pane window uses two or three layers of glasses to reduce heat transfer between your home and the outside environment.
  • Between each pane is a layer of insulating gases, which add another layer of insulation to both sides of the glass.
  • A layer of low emissive coating of metallic oxide is applied to each pane to reduce energy consumption even more. This adds a third barrier against harsh weather.

Can Thermal Pane Windows Be Repaired?

One of the most common questions we hear is, “Can thermal windows be repaired?” This design is not only energy-efficient, but extremely strong as well. However, it is possible for the thermal pane window seals to develop moisture over time. This can create condensation, which leads to a cloudy appearance. But frequently, there are simple methods available to repair the thermal pane window seal without the need to replace the entire window.

  • Testing: Has the window seal really failed? Hold an ice cube on the glass and notice the reaction. If moisture forms on the outside of the glass, your window is fine. If it forms on the inside, your seal has failed.
  • Prevention: Some window manufacturers add a small valve to the window by drilling a tiny hole and coating it with a moisture control membrane. This lets moisture out without letting anything in.
  • Repair: Even if your thermal pane window seal has failed, it doesn’t mean the entire window is compromised. Often, homeowners simply need to replace the faulty pane and they can continue to enjoy the energy savings of a thermal pane window.

Get a Home Inspection With The BrickKicker

Whether you’re thinking of upgrading to thermal pane windows or you’re concerned about your current window seals, a professionally-certified inspection can give you greater peace of mind moving forward. Contact us at The BrickKicker for more information.

Windows

There are many perspectives when you look at windows.  Depending upon your perspective is where you find yourself.  If you are the housekeeper, you are worried about keeping them clean.  If you are a small child you are looking at the big world out there.  If you are the homeowner you may be looking at one of the most expensive replacement items in the home.  

If you are the home inspector you are looking at a very complex and diverse system that has deliberately placed a hole in the exterior envelope for the sole reason of making the home less efficient, less water and weather tight, and has a huge potential of liability or call-backs.           

Before you can really sit down and start to discuss the construction, installation, maintenance, failures or any other features of windows it is only right to look at the industry standards and understand what the home inspector is actually supposed to look at and inspect.

American Society Of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

4. EXTERIOR

4.1 The inspector shall:

  1. inspect:
    1. wall coverings, flashing, and trim.

10. INTERIORS

10.1 The inspector shall inspect:

   D.  a representative number of doors and windows.

International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI)

3.2. Exterior

I. The inspector shall inspect:

C.  a representative number of windows;

3.10. Doors, Windows & Interior

I. The inspector shall inspect:

  1. a representative number of doors and windows by opening and closing them;

Both of these standards have one thing in common, they both talk about a representative sample.  The rest of it is up to experience and background.  This leaves a great deal up to each individual to determine what their professional expectations are, as well as what the client expectations are.  This why it is important to have a good thorough understanding of windows, not only the functionality but where the potential failures might be as well.

Gaining a good understanding has to begin with understanding the basic styles of windows.

  • Single Hung – There is a top and bottom sash but only the bottom sash moves or opens and closes.
  • Double Hung – There is a top and bottom sash and both the top and the bottom sashes move or open and close.
  • Arched Window –  Typically a fixed or non-moving pane of glass with rounded tops that add an architectural design element.
  • Awning Window – These are ideal in climates with a lot of rain.  They have a sash or window that opens upward like an awning.
  • Bay Window – Bay windows protrude from an exterior wall and create a small shelf in the home. Bay windows rely on flat windows set into an angled frame that are built out of the home.  These can be casement, fixed, single or double hung windows.
  • Bow Window -Bow windows rely on custom curved windows that create a circular area along the outside of the home. Depending on the amount of window panels you want to use to create the curved bow window, a bow window can sometimes run more expensive than a full bay window.
  • Casement Window – Casement windows swing out to the side or up to open. This allows the window to be constructed of solid glass and offers a less obstructed view overall. 
  • Garden Window – Garden windows are essentially mini bay windows that are meant for plants. They’ve earned their name because they act like tiny little greenhouses that protrude from the inside of your home.
  • Glass Block Window – Most commonly, glass block window types are frosted or adorned with a patterned design, which simultaneously provides light and privacy. They are ideal for use in bathrooms, basements, and other private spaces.
  • Hopper Window – Hopper windows open from the top and usually crank open to tip down. They make efficient use of compact spaces, which is why they’re commonly found in basements or bathroom. These windows can open inward or outward depending on the need or design.
  • Jalousie Window – Jalousie windows are a unique window style that splits into many different slats of metal or glass. The windows open like a set of blinds. Simply crank the lever and the slats tilt to the side, which creates a series of gaps for air to flow through.

   

  • Picture Window – Picture windows are fixed windows that can not be opened. Picture windows are large window types that don’t have any breaks or visible frames, resulting in an unobstructed beautiful view.
  • Round Circle Windows -Round, half round, elliptical, or oval—the the round circle window category encompasses many different shapes that add architectural interest to your home. In particular, round windows give your space a nod to historical decor, such as Victorian or Gothic era structures. 
  • Skylight Window – Skylights are typically found on the roof and add an excellent window style option to those looking for more natural light into the home.  These windows can be fixed or moving.
  • Sliding Windows -Sliding windows have two sections that are usually made from single windows, and one of the sections slides horizontally overtop of the other to open or close. 
  • Storm Windows -Storm windows are exterior windows that install right in the same frame as your current windows. Storm windows add another layer of blocking out drafts and heat loss perfect for when cold weather rolls in. Storm windows are also perfect for areas who often get inclement weather.
  • Transom Windows – A transom window is the decorative windows that you see installed above doors in upscale homes, or even above other windows in some instances.  Many times these windows are located over interior spaces as well as exterior locations.

Now that there is an understanding about the types of windows there needs to be an understanding of the parts of the windows.

  • Interior Casing: The finished trim or holdings around the window frames. They help prevent cold air from entering as well as add a finishing touch and enhancing the overall look of the window.
  • Head: The horizontal part of the window frame.
  • Muntin: A bar / strip of wood or metal between adjacent panes of glass that create a grid or latticework appearance.
  • Sash Lock: The locking mechanism attached to a single-hung or double-hung window.
  • Upper Sash (Upper Panel): The upper part of the fixed or movable framework holding the pane of a window, this can be fixed or movable.
  • Side Jamb: The vertical parts that form the sides of a window frame.
  • Stile: Vertical members of the window frame.
  • Window Pane: A plate of glass within a window frame.
  • Lower Sash (Lower Panel): The lower part of the fixed or movable framework holding the pane of a window this cab be fixed or movable.
  • Channel: A groove around windows.
  • Exterior Sill: The external horizontal bottom part of the frame that protects from water intrusion and can be used as a decorative element.
  • Apron: The decorative raised section below the window sill.
  • Stool: The bottom horizontal shelf of the window attached to the window sill where the sash descends.  This is where plants may be placed.
  • Bottom Rail: The lowest horizontal part of the window frame that connects to its vertical parts.
  • Top Rail: The top horizontal part of the window frame.
  • Air Latch: Makes it possible to keep the window open regardless of the position you set it.
  • Aluminum Bracket: Brackets made of aluminum and part of a window bracket system that offsets the window from the wall by a few inches.
  • Glass Sealant: A silicone-based product that can take on the form of a liquid, gel or foam.  This is applied to glass surfaces as a protective coating and used to preserve its clean and dry exterior.
  • Hollow Glass: Window panes made of hollow glass.
  • Pane: A sheet of glass in a window.
  • Spacer: An insulating glass unit typically made of aluminum that’s sealed between two glass layers and keeps the glass panes apart.
  • Meeting Rail: The horizontal rail of a sash that meets the rail of the other sash when the window is closed.
  • Pulley: A simple machine with a wheel and a rope / chain used to lift heavy objects.
  • Sloped Sill: The exterior part of the window sill that is designed to be sloped downward to enable water to run off.
  • Drain Hole or Weep Hole: A short channel where fluids can flow.
  • Lift Rail: A handle used to open and close a window that goes all the way across the sash.
  • Lower Sash: The lower part of the fixed or movable framework holding the pane of a window, and it can be fixed or movable.
  • Frame: The framework that makes up the window’s perimeter and supports the entire window system.

Now that the types and parts of a window have been identified, it is time to start to discuss the failures that can happen.


The industry standards provide the inspector the opportunity to inspect a representative sample of the windows.  The superior and confident inspector will go beyond that and might not operate or exercise every window for operation the inspector should lay hands on or observe the condition of every window.

Glass can break.  A very common failure to windows is the simple break or fracture in the panes of glass.  Glass can be relatively inexpensive, but there are circumstances where the replacement of cracked glass can be costly.  Cracked glass can also be dangerous, and should be considered a safety hazard as well as functional issue with the window.

There can be deterioration to any elements of the window: the glazing bean holding the glass to the sash can fail; the paint or finish can fail; troughs or sill can decay from standing water; and rails and stiles can be damaged or cracked. 

In addition, exterior water can run down the glass and filter into the claddings or behind the claddings and this can cause the wood structure of the frame and sash to deteriorate.  This is very common on casement windows with a wooden frame and cladded exterior. Any issues with windows can cause problems for owners, including costing them more on energy.

Permanent Foundation Certification Inspection

What is inspected during a Permanent Foundation Certification Inspection?

The BrickKicker will be looking for 3 things during the Permanent Foundation Certification Inspection.

First, The BrickKicker will be confirming that the installation meets HUD requirements. Specifically, we will be checking that the permanent foundation has a load path so the building will not fall off or float off, the foundation.

Second, The BrickKicker will check additions to the manufactured home. Additions can be mechanically attached but the structure of the manufactured home cannot be used to support an addition.

Third, The BrickKicker attempt to confirm that the manufactured home is in its first permanent location. “1st Permanent Location” is often difficult or impossible to completely verify. However, HUD/FHA does not want to see these Manufactured Homes moved from one location to another. Moving a home built like this can damage its structural integrity.

What is the process and time frame for receiving our Permanent Foundation Certification?

The BrickKicker is aware of the time constraints surrounding real estate transactions. We make sure the inspections are completed within 2 days of the order being placed and submit all necessary data to a licensed engineer that we work closely with. The engineer reviews the photos and, depending on the findings, will state that the manufactured home has been constructed in accordance with HUD/FHA Guidelines or will recommend corrections to the home so that it is in compliance with HUD/FHA Guidelines. From start to finish this process takes 3-4 business days.

What does the report look like?

The report will include a cover page, table of content, general and structural information about the inspection (with photos) and will conclude with a HUD Engineering Certification Report Summary page. The average report is 8 pages long and will have 20 – 25 photos.

How much does the Permanent Foundation Certification Cost?

The BrickKicker offers a stand-alone Permanent Foundation Certification or it can be ordered with a standard Home Inspection. To keep the overall cost down and provide very timely service, we work very hard to make sure that the inspection is completed within 2 to 3 business days. A typical Foundation Certification is $395. We offer a $100 discount if it is ordered with a Home Inspection.

Top 5 Electrical Panel Defects!

What to do with 5 defects frequently found in an electrical panel.

Electrical issues in a home inspection report can cause a great deal of anxiety for buyers. They might perceive every one of them as a fire or shock hazard and a long list may give them the impression that the house is unsafe. In an older home, the electrical section of the report can be overwhelming. 

Buyers expect us to report everything we find, no matter how inconsequential. A good home inspector will not just give a list of defects: They will also tell you why you should care and what to do next. Afterall, maybe it’s not worth worrying about. Here is a quick rundown of five things we frequently find in an electric panel. 

Mismatched breakers – Low Priority – Wait 

We often report breakers in a panel that have a different manufacturer than the panel. Does it matter? Probably not, but it could be an issue on an older panel. Most modern breakers have a somewhat standard design. An electrician can verify this during a service call for something more important. Without other signs of a problem (poor fit, damage, scorch marks) this is a low priority find.

Missing Grommets – Low Priority – Wait

There are requirements to prevent conductors from being damaged in every part of the electrical system. In an electrical panel, cables are secured to prevent strain on the connections inside the panel and to prevent overcrowding. Does it matter? Probably not for existing construction. This is another low priority find and an inexpensive correction.

Open knockouts – Low Priority – Wait

This may seem like a silly thing to write up but there are two great reasons to keep the enclosure as enclosed as possible. The main reason is to contain a fire within the panel but also to keep unwanted visitors out (i.e. insects, rodents, snakes). Open knockouts have been required to be filled since the 1923 National Electrical Code (NEC). This is also a low priority item and can probably wait until an electrician is called for something else.

Double-Lugged Neutrals – Low Priority – Wait

Each neutral conductor is required to have its own individual terminal. (This has been required since 1965 but was not specifically addressed by the NEC until 2002.) Neturals carry current and develop heat that can lead to loose connections and arching in the panel. We see signs of overheating in about 1% of these installations. Without signs of overheating this is another low priority item that can wait.

Double Tapped Breakers – Potential Hazard – Call an electrician

Double-tapped breakers have been prohibited by the NEC since 1935. The connection at the terminal is the weakest point on the circuit and the place where problems are most likely to occur. Some modern breakers are designed to accommodate two circuits but there is rarely a good reason to do so. There is a potential to overload the circuit causing (hopefully) the breaker to trip. Double taps can also lead to loose connections and overheating. If the seller has not experienced any nuisance tripping, the repair is likely going to be a splice with a single wire pig-tailed into the breaker. If the circuit is overloaded, a new breaker or a tandem breaker may need to be installed. We would elevate this to a higher priority repair and ask the electrician to take care of the low priority items when they are on the service call. 

If your client is overwhelmed by a home inspection report, you should absolutely expect your home inspector to help them focus on the parts that matter. As a REALTOR you should never downplay the inspector’s findings but you can certainly push back on your client’s behalf when the report is missing clear and actionable information to help them move forward. 

At The BrickKicker, we report every finding the same way. We tell your clients what we found, why they should care, and what they should do next. 

Make sure The BrickKicker is number one on your referral list!

Dryer Vents

Dryer Vents

Most Americans do not consider in home laundry as a luxury but rather more of a common element and necessity. Most of us never think about the dangers associated with the basic dryer appliance. Dryers, both gas and electric, require some form of vent that discharges from the home and exits to the exterior of the home.

One of the most important things stressed during any inspection training course is safety. A home inspector is not a code-enforcer, and it is important to distinguish between the two, because there is so much riding on the inspector’s ability to spot trouble areas.

According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), there are more than 14,000 dryer fires reported. The importance of the system being properly configured, the use of proper materials and the maintenance of the dryer and dryer exhaust systems can hardly be overstated. A well designed exhaust system can allow the dryer to work at peak operating levels.

There are very simple rules for the discharge of dryer through a vent pipe. The discharge pipe should evacuate to the exterior of the dwelling in less than 25 feet, and each bend or 90 degree angle in the pipe will shorten that distance by 2 1/2 feet each time. The connection of the various elements of the dryer vents should never be fastened with screws. If a screw is used they can create an opportunity to catch the lint on the interior of the pipe and cause a blockage.

Length Standard

The next and probably the most important element to inspection of the dryer vent should be the identification of the materials being used to exhaust the dryer vent. While home stores and appliance stores may sell a wide variety of pipes and pipe materials, many of these might be dangerous and will contribute to the likelihood of a fire. The common plastic vent is highly susceptible to fire, the combustible plastic material can melt and combust with only a partial blockage or obstruction of lint material.

The foil material, while also very common, is a very lightweight material and can also combust. The lightweight material also causes the material to dip or bend, and these bends can cause obstructions.

Flexible pipes are convenient to install, do not require specific elbow materials, and are different than foil pipes because these are a much thicker material. These are a very acceptable material as long as they are kept clear of debris and properly fastened and installed.

The safest and arguably the best material is smooth rigid metal. This material allows the lint and other elements on the interior of the pipe to easily move to the exit point on the exterior of the home.Just because the proper materials, fastening and length is present; the home is still not out of harm’s way. The interior of the dryer vent will require periodic cleaning, because the lint material is extremely flammable.

A professional can be called to thoroughly clean the interior of the vent, and insure the system is without build-up. This will lessen the fire risk considerably. Determining if the dryer vent requires cleaning could be as easy as looking at the exterior vent. If it is dirty there, the rest of the pipe will also be dirty.

Dirty

Most home inspectors and HVAC contractors recommend the vent system be professionally cleaned annually. This is a very simple inexpensive process that should be placed on your annual maintenance list.
There will also be special installation circumstances which will need special attention. These will include vent pipes that exit into or through an attic, and since metal pipes are the recommended materials, this can pose some additional obstacles. In this instance, because the temperatures of the discharge in the pipe is warm; the pipe will be prone to condensation and this condensation could cause water damage to the ceilings below. This is why the pipes in these areas are recommended to be insulated; to prevent condensation.

The attic vent should also never discharge directly into the attic but to the exterior of the home. This can be through the roof or the eaves but it has to be to the exterior. If the vent is broken or torn or just discharges directly into the attic, then lint material can become a fire hazard there as well.

Bottom line, the key is to make sure the dryer vent is clean. While the materials used for the vent is very important, the interior maintenance is the most important part to dryer vent safety.

New Construction Inspections

We get it. Why would anyone suggest getting an inspection on a newly constructed property? 

The Builder has invested a substantial amount of time, money and emotional energy in constructing a home. Dozens of tradespersons have worked together for hundreds of hours over several months to showcase their best work. The county inspector reviewed the work throughout the construction process and has given their blessing. A REALTOR spent their hard-earned marketing dollars to find the right buyer. That buyer fell in love with the home. 

Who wants a home inspector to come along and disrupt the process?

We couldn’t agree more. At The BrickKicker, we see ourselves as part of the process and we understand our place within it. Our job is to educate buyers and give them an honest, unbiased survey of the home. We help them complete their due diligence so they can move forward with confidence.

We see the consequences of shortcuts and poor practices on a daily basis. In Georgia, you get a one-year warranty on your new home but your builder may have no leverage over his subcontractors 11 months after they have been paid for their work. A new construction inspection by The BrickKicker will identify potential issues before closing while you have the negotiating position to get things done correctly.

While a traditional home inspection is designed to look at the elements of an existing home a new construction inspection can go one step further. We can verify code compliance and have more time and better tools than the county building inspectors that have periodically stopped by during construction. We pay special attention to the issues that are frequently overlooked. The BrickKicker inspectors will provide you with the information you need to prepare a final punch-list. This is a list of items found in new construction which are incomplete, missing or completed in a less than quality manner.

What should buyers look for when choosing an inspector for new construction?

The State of Georgia has no licensing or certification requirements for home inspectors. One thing that distinguishes The BrickKicker from other companies is our commitment to continuing education. We complete 2 hours of CE per inspector, per week. We have some of the most educated, tested and trained inspectors in the State of Georgia and we can meet any builder requirements. Our minimum standard is certification by The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), the only 3rd party accredited home inspection association. All of our inspectors meet the highest standards in our industry. Some builders demand a higher standard, the International Code Council Residential Combination Inspector certification (ICC R5). We meet that requirement as well. 

Buyers should be aware that a Purchase and Sales Agreement for a newly constructed home will likely specify that they hire a home inspector with specific credentials and insurance that most practicing home inspectors in Georgia do not have. If you choose the wrong inspector you may find out the day before your scheduled inspection that they are not permitted on the property. When you are looking for an ICC Residential Combination Inspector with Workers’ Compensation Insurance, a business license and General Liability Insurance, call The BrickKicker.