Oh Deer

When the home inspector rounded the corner into a Pittsburg family room… He did a double-take, as a full size deer was staring at him.

The inspector stared back.

Definition of stare: To look directly, fixedly, or vacantly, often with a wide-eyed gaze.

Definition of a stare-down: To stare at a person or animal until that person or animal blinks or turns away.

The deer never blinked.

Okay, the inspector may have lost the stare-down contest, but he didn’t say: “Oh deer, I missed something at that inspection today”

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Mushroom Tale

The home inspector was meandering through a vacant Oakland craftsman house built in the 1930s.

The inspection was discovering the typically items – double-hung windows that were painted shut – large cracks in the plaster walls – rodent activity in the crawlspace… until he walked into the bathroom.

It’s not every day that you see a mushroom growing up between the vinyl floor tiles.

Mushrooms are fungi that require oxygen, a food source, suitable temperature and a source of water to grow.

In this case, the subfloor under the vinyl tiles is the food source and there must have been a water problem associated with the bathtub plumbing for a source of moisture under the floor tiles.

Mother Nature wins again.

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Little White Block

Many people are injured by trips and falls in their own home.

Most homeowners don’t give interior stairs a second thought, but our certified home inspectors do.

When the inspector thought he’d seen it all – a little white block was spotted at the top of the stairs during a San Ramon home inspection.

An older wood stair baluster had been removed, leaving a ‘stump’ – a stair safety tripping concern and a home owners’ liability.

Count on The House Whisperer to identify health and safety conditions during their inspections.

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Crawlspace Clothes Lint

As the home inspector made his way under a Concord house – he spotted a large accumulation of clothes dryer lint in the crawlspace.

Clothes dryer lint is microscopic clothes fibers and is highly flammable. This is considered a fire concern and doesn’t meet building requirements.

Lint ducts are required to terminate at the exterior of a house.

Did you know that clothes lint is used by campers needing tender to start a fire?

It turns out that lint and a spark or match produces a flame almost instantly.

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Clothes Lint Red Flags

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates there are 15,000+ fires associated with clogged clothes dryer lint ducts.

The danger lies with the clothes dryer lint that builds up inside the lint duct between the clothes dryer and the outside termination.

Do you have any of these Red Flags?

  • Clothes take a long time to dry
  • Clothes come out hotter than usual
  • Excess lint accumulation behind the dryer

Our experienced home inspectors inspect clothes dryer lint ducts for these Red Flags – a fire safety concern.

  • Flexible through wall/floor
  • Missing, Deteriorated
  • Too many elbows
  • Wrong material
  • Accumulation
  • Disconnected
  • Damaged
  • Too long
  • Crushed
  • Vertical
  • Plastic

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Not a Bright Idea

The home inspector during a Berkeley home inspection spotted this electrical safety concern.

Illumination is a requirement in a bathroom bathtub and/or shower area, so you can see what you are doing – a good idea.

Installing an unprotected light bulb fixture above the showerhead – not a bright idea.

The surface temperature of a 60-watt incandescent light bulb can approach 260F degrees. Water splashing on a hot light bulb can cause the bulb to explode… littering the shower pan or bathtub with glass shrapnel and possibly injuring someone or worse.

In the inspection report: We highly recommend review by a licensed electrician prior to the close of the contingency period.

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Jaws of Destruction

One of the biggest threats of having rodents in your attic – is that they gnaw on electrical wires. 

Squirrels, rats and mice are all rodents. Their teeth grow non-stop like your fingernails. Just like a cat that scratches its claws to keep them in check and we trim our nails; rodents gnaw to keep their teeth short and sharp.

If an electrical wire outer jacket is chewed through and exposes the copper wires, the rodent is usually electrocuted and a fire can start.

The next thing you know the kitchen lights aren’t working or the fire department has been called.

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Toddler Safety

During a Walnut Creek home inspection, the home inspector had just finished entering an inspection comment about the wide spacing between the vertical components of the guard railing.

The white vertical posts in the photo are called balusters. The spacing between balusters used to be 6” wide and small children were falling through or getting stuck.

As the inspector looked up, this little girl was pushing on an installed clear plastic barrier.

Without the barrier, this would have been a potential falling concern for the toddler.

Stricter building codes were passed to meet the 4” Sphere Rule: The general rule is to install balusters, so that a 4” sphere can’t pass through – protecting toddlers from falling.

Fogged Windows

As the Concord home inspector walked into the house, he noticed that some of the windows were ‘fogged’.

There’s a good chance windows have failed seals in homes built between 1986-1992 with dark frame dual pane windows.

During this time, window manufacturers didn’t have a good ‘recipe’ for making dual pane windows. Even today, a low quality window is susceptible to a failed seal.

The window seal is the perimeter spacer that keeps dual pane glass separated.

A hot sun can heat the air between the panes of glass, so the glass bows slightly outward and when the temperature cools at night, the window glass contracts. This is called solar pumping.

If cool moist air is present when a window is contracting, weak window seals fail, allowing moisture to enter the window.

The fogginess is dried moisture on the inside of the glass.

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Overfilled J-Box

As the home inspector looked in a Walnut Creek walk-in crawlspace,the inspector was amazed by the number of electrical wires stuffed into an electrical junction box.

A junction box or J-box is a place where wires are connected together, and there’s a maximum number of how many wires can fill the box.

Too many wires can cause dangerous over-heating, short circuiting, and electrical fire.

Junction boxes also require a cover and someone would be hard pressed to install a cover on this installation.

There’s nothing worse than an electrical fire to ruin your day.

Schedule an inspection with The House Whisperer – mention that you’d like a Peace of Mind inspection and save $25.