Wyoming Property Inspections & Drone Imaging

Author: RobertPWitham (page 1 of 2)

Why You Need to Maintain Your Gutters

Gutter maintenance and cleaning may not seem like an important detail of home ownership, but neglecting your gutters can lead to expensive damage and repairs.

Photo: Tree overhanging rain gutters
This tree overhanging the roof and rain gutters on a Wyoming home has dropped a lot of leaves into the gutters.

Among the many items that we check during our Wyoming home and commercial inspections are gutters, downspouts, and downspout extensions. Leaves from nearby or overhanging trees are a common source of debris in gutters and downspouts. Neglecting gutter maintenance and cleaning can result in a surprising amount of debris accumulating in the gutters and downspouts. This debris will eventually clog the gutters and downspouts.

Photo: Rain gutter clogged with leaves
The gutters on this Wyoming home were clogged with leaves from an overhanging tree.

Clogged gutters and downspouts do not allow water from rain or melting snow to drain away from the home. As water backs up in the gutters, it will begin to leak around the gutter. The result is water damage to the fascia and eaves, siding, and even the foundation.

Photo: Rain gutter clogged with leaves.
The gutters on this Wyoming home were clogged with leaves from an overhanging tree.

Water is the great destroyer of homes and commercial buildings and is the most common source of expensive property damage that we see during inspections here in Wyoming. Cleaning gutters is usually an easy maintenance task that should be performed at least once per year – or better yet twice per year in the spring and fall. Additional maintenance includes inspecting the gutters, downspouts, and downspout extensions to be sure everything is functioning properly and performing any necessary repairs.

While inspecting the gutters on your home or other buildings, we recommend looking for gutters or downspouts that appear to be sagging or loose, and for signs that the gutters or downspouts are leaking water in places where they should not. Downspout extensions or splash blocks are also an essential part of the gutter system as water that is discharged from the gutters should be carried at least six feet away from the building to prevent water damage to the foundation.

Photo: Inspecting the roof and gutters during a home inspection

Clogged gutters or downspouts lead to water backups in the gutters that will cause significant damage to your home or commercial property if not corrected quickly. Regularly inspecting, cleaning, and repairing any gutter or downspout problems will help to protect your investment in your home or other properties.

At Frontier Inspections, LLC, we always inspect gutters, downspouts, and downspout extensions during our home and commercial inspections. We’re also available to just inspect the gutter system at your home or business to help you protect your investment.

Call us at 307-670-3706 to schedule a gutter system inspection or see our inspection services page to learn more about the ways we can help you better understand and protect your home and property.

Are Loose Electrical Outlets Dangerous?

We’ve all encountered loose electrical outlets at home or work. Loose outlets are not only annoying, they’re also dangerous.

As Wyoming home and commercial inspectors, we frequently encounter loose electric receptacles or boxes in homes, offices, garages, and shops. We always inspect for electrical problems, and any time we discover a loose receptacle or box we note it in our inspection report and recommend that the problem is repaired immediately.

Outlets vs. Receptacles

These terms are often used interchangeably, but technically electrical “outlet” is a term that applies to all outlets on a branch wiring circuit. That is, every end-point along a wire running from the circuit breaker box is an outlet. The outlets may include receptacles (where you plug in electric appliances), light switches, light fixtures, and more.

Loose Outlets/Receptacles

Loose electric receptacles are not uncommon, particularly in older homes and commercial properties. We’ve all had the experience of plugging an electric appliance into a wall receptacle and noticing that the connection felt loose or noticing that the male plug is falling out of the receptacle. Receptacles that were cheaply manufactured and of lower quality, that are used frequently, or that supply power to a high-draw appliance are more likely to become loose over time. An electric receptacle that is used frequently to power a vacuum cleaner is a good example of this type of usage.

Over time and with repeated usage, the contacts in electric receptacles may degrade and become worn out which leads to the receptacle contacts being loose. The plastic components of the receptacle that hold the contacts in place may also degrade and begin to crack or crumble over time which also may lead to loose contacts in the receptacle. The result is that the male plug is noticeably loose when it is plugged into a receptacle. This wear in the receptacle may be caused by a variety of factors.

Why Do Electric Receptacles Become Loose?

All materials degrade over time. The older the electric receptacles are in your house or commercial building, the more likely that the effects of aging will lead to the contacts becoming loose. The quality of the receptacle also plays a role as higher-quality receptacles will likely last longer due to being made with better materials and manufacturing techniques.

Mechanical forces also play a role in loosening electric receptacles. As electric appliances are repeatedly plugged into receptacles and then unplugged the contacts are stretched and the receptacle housing is exposed to low levels of stress. Eventually the contacts and the receptacle housing materials become fatigued and begin to fail.

Heat is another factor that leads to the contacts and housing of electric receptacles failing. Appliances that require a lot of power to operate (vacuum cleaners, air conditioners, electric heaters, etc.) all result in the receptacle becoming hot during usage. This heat build-up tends to accelerate the degradation and failure of materials in the receptacle.

Vibration is yet another factor that leads to electric receptacles failing over time. The electric current that is passing through the wiring and receptacles (and into appliances) in your home or commercial building creates vibrations. Over the course of years, these tiny vibrations result in wear and eventual fatigue of the electric receptacle components.

Why Are Loose Receptacles Dangerous?

Photo: Burnt electrical wires at a loose receptacle
Burnt electrical wires at a loose receptacle

Loose electric receptacles are dangerous, whether they are in a home, commercial building, garage, shop, or any other location.

Receptacles that have become loose may allow the male plug to dangle with exposed prongs that could create a risk of electric shock if someone inadvertently touches the exposed prongs. This may especially be a risk for small children. These exposed prongs also create a risk of an inadvertent electrical short being created if a conductive object is dropped or falls and comes into contact with the prongs. Plugs that are not firmly seated in a receptacle create a risk of electric shock or fire.

Photo: Burnt electrical wires at a loose receptacle
Burnt electrical wires at a loose receptacle

Receptacles that are loose also result in poor contact between the prongs on a plug and the receptacle itself. Loose electric connections result in arcing – where the electric current jumps over an air gap between the plug prongs and receptacle contacts much like what happens with a spark plug in your vehicle’s engine. Electric arcing results in heat which leads to further deterioration of the receptacle and may lead to an electrical fire.

Loose Electric Outlet Boxes

A similar problem, and one that is often also referred to as a loose electric outlet, is that of loose electric boxes. Receptacles, switches, and electric wire junctions/splices are all housed within or mounted to an electrical box.

Ideally, electric boxes are firmly attached to a wall stud. These boxes rarely come loose, though it still does happen due to impacts or repeated stress on the box – like the stress caused by yanking on electric cords to unplug them from a receptacle. Sometimes, however, electric boxes are installed using different techniques and these boxes are more likely to become loose in the wall and to move every time a switch or receptacle is used.

This too is a dangerous condition as the wires are continually being stressed and moved, and the electric connections are continually being stressed and may begin to move. Over time, the wires may break, the protective sheathing on the wires may chafe and expose the wires, or the connections to the receptacle or switch may loosen. As the connections loosen, they may cause unreliable electric service, but they may also begin to arc and overheat. The result is an electric shock or electric fire hazard.

How to Fix Loose Electric Receptacles or Boxes

Loose electric receptacles need to be replaced immediately. Loose electric receptacles create a risk of shock and fire.

Loose electrical boxes need to be properly secured in the wall or replaced immediately. Loose electrical boxes also create a risk of shock or fire.

We recommend contacting a licensed electrician, electrical contractor, or other qualified professional for all electrical repairs so that you know the repairs are performed properly and safely.

Home and commercial property inspections are not only helpful when you are purchasing a property. Periodic property inspections allow you to be aware of developing problems before they become dangerous or more expensive problems.

Contact Frontier Inspections, LLC by phone at 307-670-3706 or by email at frontierinspectionsllc@gmail.com to schedule an inspection of your home or commercial property. We proudly serve our Wyoming community with pre-sale inspections, pre-purchase inspections, routine maintenance inspections, and commercial property inspections.

Now Offering Aging-In-Place Inspections

We are now offering Aging-In-Place inspections for homeowners in Wyoming. As a former Emergency Medical Technician and full-time caregiver, I understand just how important design and accessibility is in a home. At Frontier Inspections, LLC, we want to provide you with the knowledge and information that you need to remain in your home for as long as possible despite the physical challenges that may come with aging, illness, or injury.

What is an Aging-In-Place Inspection?

Aging in place is a strategy that has been developed to help facilitate people being able to remain at home – in their own homes – for as long as possible despite potential declines in health and mobility. The primary focus of aging in place tends be on aging homeowners, but it also provides value to homeowners of any age who are experiencing mobility or other health issues due to illness or injury.

The unfortunate truth is that homes are usually designed for people who do not have mobility issues (perhaps requiring the use of crutches, a walker, or a wheelchair) or other health challenges like visual impairment or balance problems. Aging-In-Place inspections are designed to identify any potential problem areas in the home so that they can be improved or corrected to allow residents to remain in their own homes.

As home inspectors (Robert is a Certified Aging-In-Place Professional), we will carefully inspect your home with a focus on identifying the things that may present risks or limitations due to aging or illness/injury. Following the inspection of your home, we will provide you with a detailed report outlining modifications or improvements that you may wish to consider making to the home in order to keep it as safe and accessible as possible.

The recommendations included in an Aging-In-Place inspection report are, in many ways, “best practices” that would be found in any quality senior housing or assisted living facility since these facilities are designed for older people who may have a variety of physical limitations. The majority of homes in America, however, are designed for residents who do not have physical limitations.

When Should I Have an Aging-In-Place Inspection?

The best time to have an Aging-In-Place inspection performed is before you need it. The earlier you have an Aging-In-Place inspection performed on your home, the more time you will have to make any desired modifications or improvements to the home before they are necessary. For many homeowners, the best time to have an Aging-In-Place inspection performed is while they are still working and have the income to fund home improvement projects. It is never too late, however, as many improvements or modifications that may make your home safer and more accessible are inexpensive or free.

Frontier Inspections, LLC offers Aging-In-Place inspections as a stand-alone service or as an add-on to a full home inspection (at a discounted price). You can reach us by phone at 307-670-3706 or by email at frontierinspectionsllc@gmail.com to learn more or to schedule an Aging-In-Place inspection.

What’s Included in an Aging-In-Place Inspection?

During an Aging-In-Place inspection, we will inspect the exterior and interior of your home with a special focus on areas of concern for those who may be aging or experiencing challenges with mobility or overall health. Once the Aging-In-Place inspection has been completed, we will provide you with a detailed report outlining our suggestions for any modifications or improvements to your home to make it safer and more accessible.

Some of the things that we will look at during an Aging-In-Place inspection include:

  • Exterior (yard, driveways, sidewalks, stairs or ramps, lighting, and more)
  • Entryway
  • Appliances
  • Kitchen
  • Bathroom
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Flooring
  • Hallways
  • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
  • Storage
  • Windows

Frontier Inspections, LLC offers Aging-In-Place inspections as a stand-alone service or as an add-on to a full home inspection (at a discounted price) for your Wyoming home. You can reach us by phone at 307-670-3706 or by email at frontierinspectionsllc@gmail.com to learn more or to schedule an Aging-In-Place inspection.

Spring Home Maintenance Tips

Now that winter’s grip is fading and warmer weather is right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about spring home maintenance projects. The mix of extreme cold, wind, snow, rain, and warming cycles during a typical Wyoming winter can be rough on homes. The arrival of spring weather is a good time to take a close look at your home to see how it weathered the Wyoming winter.

Safety Alarms

Spring is a great time to check all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home. Press the test button on each alarm to be sure that it functions. Alarms that are too high to reach may be activated using a stick or pole to depress the test button.

This is also a good time to consider whether safety alarms are due for replacement. We always recommend replacing any alarm that is old enough to be discolored or yellowed. Checking the date on alarms may require taking them down to read the label. Alarms that are 10 years old should probably be upgraded as a safety precaution.

This is the time to replace the batteries in your safety alarms if they are powered by replaceable batteries (usually a 9-Volt battery). A good rule of thumb for battery-powered safety alarms is to replace the batteries each spring and fall to be sure they are fresh.

It’s also a good idea to install 10-year lithium battery alarms if they are not hardwired into your home’s electrical system.

Roof

The roof on your home is designed to be reliable and durable but, like everything else in life, it does not last forever. A roof may fail spectacularly (often following damage from a storm), but many times a roof will begin to slowly fail and leak. Keeping a close eye on the visible parts of your roof may allow you to spot a problem as it is developing and to avoid further damage and even more expensive repairs following months or years of silent leaking.

We realize that many homeowners are not able to perform a thorough roof inspection on their homes. That’s why we offer stand-alone roof inspections at a reasonable price. We will come out and perform a careful inspection of your roof while looking for any signs of failure. Our roof inspections involve a variety of techniques depending on the situation and weather conditions.

Fascia and Trim

The fascia and trim on your home take a beating from wind, rain, snow, and ice. These components are essential for keeping water, wind, and pests from entering the structure of your home. Slowly walking around outside your home, possibly using binoculars for a closer view, while looking at the exterior of the home from different angles may allow you to spot a developing or new issue before serious damage occurs.

Air Conditioning Checkup

Air conditioning systems are expensive, but one way to make them last longer and perform more reliably is to have an annual service performed by a qualified HVAC technician. Scheduling an annual maintenance visit now before the heat of summer is the best way to be sure your system is performing as well as possible when you really need it.

Windows, Doors, and Screens

Spring is the perfect time to carefully look at all windows, doors, and screens to be sure that they are operating as expected. Windows and doors should open and close smoothly, should lock easily, and should not show any signs of water leaks. Screens are desirable for keeping out insects, but are also important to keep birds, bats, and other critters from coming in through windows.

Water Heater

Hot water at the tap is easy to take for granted. Water heaters are often hidden away out of sight (and thus out of mind) until they fail and stop working. Water heaters that are nearing the end of their service life often develop leaks and may have visible rust, particularly around the bottom of the water heater unit.

Water heaters should be equipped with a manufacturer’s data tag that provides a wealth of information. One important detail that should be included on the data tag is the date that the water heater was manufactured. Some manufacturers do not list the date of manufacture on the data tag. Discovering the date on these models requires looking up the serial number in an online database.

Gas water heaters often last for 8-12 years, while electric water heaters often last 10-15 years. These estimates may vary depending on quality, water condition, and maintenance.

Water Leaks

The freezing temperatures during a Wyoming winter may cause water lines and fixtures to freeze. Some of these situations would be immediately apparent, but others might not be so obvious. Spring is a good time to check any water lines or fixtures that you have not used recently, like outdoor hose bibs or water connections in garages, sheds, or other outbuildings.

Gutters and Downspouts

Rain gutters and downspouts are essential for carrying water away from the home and foundation. It is not unusual for gutters or downspouts to become clogged with leaves, sticks, bird nests, or other debris over time. Spring is the perfect time to look over gutters and downspouts to be sure they are ready for action when it rains.

Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are not just for commercial buildings. Having a fire extinguisher handy when a small fire starts may allow you to safely extinguish the blaze before it spreads. Since it’s easy to forget about fire extinguishers until they are needed, spring is a good time to take a look at each fire extinguisher. Make sure it is easily accessible, that the charge indicator shows that it is ready for use, and that the expiration date has not passed.

Extension Cords

Many homes rely on extension cords to provide electric power where it is needed. Spring is a good time to take a look at all extension cords. Discard and replace any extension cords that are brittle, frayed, or cracked, or that show signs of looseness or burned spots on the ends.

GFCIs

Ground Fault Circuit Interruptor (GFCI) devices are essential for electrical safety. These devices should be installed for receptacles near kitchen counters, bathrooms, garages, decks, laundry rooms, and anywhere moisture or water is a possibility.

GFCI receptacles should be tested periodically by depressing the test button on the receptacle and then resetting the device using the reset button. While it is recommended that GFCI devices are tested at least monthly, spring is a great time to verify that these devices are present where they should be and that they are still working properly.

Annual Maintenance Inspections

Spending a few hours looking over your home every now and again is essential for preserving your real estate investment. Spring is a great time to perform one of these maintenance reviews.

Many homeowners do not have the time or physical ability to perform a careful maintenance inspection of their home. At Frontier Inspections, LLC, we offer annual maintenance inspections for a reasonable price. Call us today at 307-670-3706 or email frontierinspectionsllc@gmail.com for a free quote or to schedule your annual maintenance inspection this spring.

Water: Destroyer of Homes

Water is essential for life, but it’s also the great destroyer of homes. As we perform home inspections in Wyoming, the one category of defect or problem that we see more than any other is moisture and water damage.

New homes may be affected by water damage, though this is less common. Older homes in particular may have been subject to years of exposure to moisture, water, and the elements. All outside building materials here in Wyoming are exposed to harsh sunlight, wind, rain, snow, and ice throughout the year.

The average age of a home in Wyoming in nearly 50 years old. Here in Campbell County and Gillette where Frontier Inspections, LLC is based the average age is a little newer at 34 years. In Casper and Natrona County the average age is 53 years. As these Wyoming homes age they are naturally exposed to the elements and the effects of wear on the exterior materials.

Thorough and careful maintenance will help considerably with preventing moisture intrusion into the home structure. Many homeowners, unfortunately, are either unaware of aging components that require maintenance or just don’t get around to it for one reason or another. The result is often much more extensive and expensive damage. Roofing materials, flashing, caulk, and paint are all common items that may fail over time and allow water to penetrate the structure of the home.

Another place where extensive damage may occur involves water that falls to the ground outside of the home. Rainwater and snowmelt that drains from a roof should be collected in gutters and carried away from the home. Many homes in Wyoming, however, lack gutters or have gutters that were improperly installed or maintained. The result is often water damage to walls, windows, or the foundation of the home.

Landscape grading also plays an important role in protecting a home from water damage. The general guideline with grading is that the ground should slope downward at least six inches within the first ten feet away from the foundation. Ground that is not sloped, or worse yet that is sloped toward the home, may lead to water collecting around the foundation and causing serious structural damage to the home.

Water is literally the leading cause of damage that we see during Wyoming home inspections. Whether you are a current homeowner interested in preserving your investment or a buyer interested in knowing the true condition of a home that you are considering purchasing, we are available to perform a thorough and professional home inspection.

Email frontierinspectionsllc@gmail.com or call 307-670-3706 to schedule your home inspection. Thank you for considering Frontier Inspections, LLC for your inspection needs.

What Is The Purpose of a Home Inspection

Since most people purchase no more than a few homes during their lifetime, the real estate transaction process may seem complicated and confusing. One aspect of the home purchase process that is vitally important, however, is a home inspection. What is the purpose of a home inspection?

A home inspection protects you. Whether you are preparing to purchase a home or are considering selling your home, a detailed home inspection provides you with the information you need to understand the condition of the property.

Modern homes are comprised of many systems working together, but many of these systems are complex and may be difficult to access. A professional home inspector utilizes his or her experience, training, and tools to assess the overall condition of the home and the various systems and components that it contains for your benefit.

Are you preparing to sell your home? A pre-sale home inspection allows you to understand the current condition of your property and helps to identify any issues that are likely to be discovered by a buyer’s inspector. This knowledge provides you with the opportunity to address any problems before buyers start to view the property, potentially reducing delays and requests for repairs or discounts.

Are you preparing to purchase a home? A pre-purchase home inspection allows you to better understand the condition of the property, as well as safety hazards or maintenance issues that will need to be corrected. Regardless of whether you decide to ask the seller to perform repairs or proceed with the purchase as is, you are at least better informed about the condition of the home.

A home inspection is really about you having the best information possible about the condition of a property, whether you are a buyer or seller. It’s only with a thorough understanding of the home’s condition that you are able to make the right decisions for you and your family.

Thank you for considering Frontier Inspections, LLC for your home inspection needs. We are Wyoming owned and operated, and proudly inspect properties throughout the state. You can reach us by phone at 307-670-3706 or by email at frontierinspectionsllc@gmail.com if you have questions or if you would like to schedule an inspection.

Is a Home Inspection Really Worth the Money?

In a word, yes! It’s understandable that a home inspection may feel like just one more expense during an already expensive home-buying process. The cost of a full home inspection on your new Wyoming home, however, is minimal when it is compared to the potential savings for you as a home buyer.

The bottom line is that a professional home inspector will always find issues with any property. It’s been said that old homes have old home issues while new homes have new home issues, but all homes have issues. Knowing about as many of these issues as possible in advance allows you to make the most informed decisions about a home purchase.

Whether you choose to ask the seller to have repairs performed, to negotiate further, or to continue with the home purchase and take care of any problems later is up to you. The important thing is that you understand what you are buying so that you can make the right decisions for you and your family.

A professional home inspection may reveal defects with a home that you might not notice during a brief walkthrough. Oftentimes there are defects in a home that the seller doesn’t even know about. Some of these defects may just be annoyances, but others may amount to very expensive repairs.

  • A roof replacement on an average home in 2023 may cost $10,000 to $15,000. The cost can rise dramatically if additional repairs are required due to water damage or structural problems.
  • Replacing an HVAC system in 2023 may cost anywhere from $5,000 up to $12,000 or more – and some larger homes may have more than one system.
  • Replacing a water heater may cost nearly $1,000 on the low end up to several thousand dollars on the high end – and some homes have more than one water heater.

These are only a few examples of potentially expensive repairs that a homeowner may face over time. A modern home is comprised of many systems and components that will all fail over time. An inspection on your new Wyoming home allows you to know as much as possible about the condition of everything in the home.

You owe it to yourself to be as informed as possible about the condition of your home. As one old saying goes, forewarned is forearmed.

Thank you for considering Frontier Inspections, LLC for your home inspection needs. Visit our Home Inspection Services page to learn more about Wyoming home inspections. Call 307-670-3706 or email frontierinspectionsllc@gmail.com to schedule your inspection.

Does My Deck Need to be Inspected?

You may be wondering if your deck needs to be inspected. The short answer is that yes, your deck probably needs to be inspected. There are at least two very important reasons to have a deck inspection performed and both have to do with safety. A Wyoming home and deck inspector will be able to evaluate the construction and condition of your deck so that you can be sure it is safe for your family and friends.

Photo: Deck joist
These deck joists showed signs of water damage and rot.

Why a Deck Inspection?

The first reason to have your deck inspected is to be sure that it was properly built and that it is properly secured to the house. It is estimated that the majority of decks in the U.S. are not fully safe. In many of these cases, the decks were not built properly in the first place. Improper supports, joists, railings (guards), stairs, and attachments to the house are all common defects for decks.

The second reason to have your deck inspected is to be sure that it is still safe and that its condition has not deteriorated over time. Assuming your deck was built to be secure and safe initially, its condition may well have deteriorated or weakened over time. Snow load, water from melting snow and rain, wind, and the summer sun all take a toll on any outdoor building materials here in Wyoming.

Photo: Deck joists with water damage and improper attachment to the house
These deck joists showed signs of water damage, and the deck ledger board was not properly attached to the house.

Fast Facts About Decks

  • More decks collapse during the summer than during the rest of the year. This may be due to decks being used more frequently during the summer months.
  • Almost every deck collapse occurs while the decks were either occupied or under a heavy snow load. A deck that is weak may seem to performing adequately, but adding hundreds of pounds to the deck, whether from heavy snow or people, may be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back.
  • There is no correlation between deck failure and whether the deck was built with or without a building permit. A permitted deck may still not be built or maintained properly, while an un-permitted deck may be built and maintained very well.
  • There is no correlation between deck failure and whether the deck was built by a homeowner or a professional contractor. Professional may cut corners or make mistakes just like a DIY homeowner.
  • There is a slight correlation between deck failure and the age of the deck. Unsurprisingly, as decks age and are exposed to the elements over a period of years the condition may deteriorate.
  • About 90% of deck collapses occurred as a result of the separation of the house and the deck ledger board, allowing the deck to swing away from the house. It is very rare for deck floor joists to break mid-span. Many decks are not properly attached to the house.
  • Many more injuries are the result of rail failure, rather than complete deck collapse. Deck rails should be able to support the weight of an adult leaning against the rail, but many decks are built inadequately or have deteriorated over the years and are in a weakened condition.
  • Deck stairs are notorious for lacking graspable handrails. A safe, graspable handrail is essential as you, your family, and your guests move up and down deck stairs.
  • Many do-it-yourself homeowners, and even contractors, don’t believe that rail infill spacing codes apply to decks. Proper rain infills or balusters are essential for safety, particularly if children will ever be present on the deck.

Is Your Deck Safe?

Was your deck built to be safe and, if so, is it still safe today? A Wyoming home and deck inspector will be able to answer these questions for you. In the best case, your deck may be in good and safe condition and you will enjoy peace of mind after your deck inspection. In the worst case, your deck may have been built poorly or may have deteriorated over the years and be in need of repairs. In this case, at least you know what is required to make the deck safe once again and can improve the condition of the deck before there is a problem.

Thank you for considering Frontier Inspections, LLC for your home and deck inspection needs. You can schedule a deck inspection by calling 307-670-3706 or by emailing frontierinspectionsllc@gmail.com.

Will a Home Inspection Reveal Every Possible Problem?

Any home inspector who takes his (or her) job seriously has already spent hundreds – if not thousands – of hours studying to learn everything possibly about the structure, materials, and systems in a variety of homes. And, for conscientious home inspectors, studying and learning is a process is continuous and that never ends.

“Best practices” for buildings and systems are ever evolving, and new technologies are emerging at an unprecedented rate. This means that home inspectors do not have the luxury of thinking that they know everything about homes no matter how many years they have been working in the industry. Inspectors must always be learning and growing professionally.

Despite all of the training, experience, and attention to detail that an inspector may bring to a property, there are still challenges involved with performing a home inspection. These challenges include time, the visual nature of home inspections, and the potentially intermittent appearance of some problems.

Time

Most home buyers spend only a relatively short time walking through a home before making an offer. A home inspector has the luxury of spending more time in the home, but in most cases it is still only a few hours.

While home inspectors try to be efficient during the time available for a home inspection, it’s still typically only a few hours. A home inspection encompasses the roof, the basement or crawlspace, and everything in between. During the course of a home inspection, an inspector is looking at and evaluating literally thousands of data points.

It’s just not possible to look in every nook and cranny during the few hours available for a home inspection. As a result, home inspectors usually focus on the big issues that will have the most impact for a home buyer. For example, the condition of the roof, heating and cooling systems, electrical system, plumbing, etc.

We recently performed an inspection on an older home that had obviously been neglected in recent years. Despite spending far more time on the property than many inspectors would have, we’re still certain that there were additional defects that would have been discovered with more time at the property. At the same time, we’re confident that we identified the most significant issues with the home and our client was happy with the detailed report (plus hundreds of photos and videos).

One strategy that we utilize is refusing to overbook. Some inspectors will try to schedule multiple inspections each day. While the desire to stay busy and earn enough to pay the bills each month is understandable, our approach is to go slower and enjoy the luxury of time so that our client receives the best possible home inspection.

Visual Inspections

Home inspections are, by design, visual inspections. Home inspectors evaluate the readily accessible parts of the home and inspect what can be inspected without disassembling the home. During a roof inspection, for example, an inspector will evaluate the visible condition of the roof covering (shingles, tiles, etc.) on the outside as well as the rafters and roof sheathing from the attic on the interior if possible. We cannot, however, remove the roof covering to inspect the fasteners, underlayment, and roof sheathing.

We have an auto mechanic friend who is highly skilled, very well trained, and meticulous. He once told me that he dislikes performing pre-purchase inspections on vehicles because there is only just so much that he can look at during the inspection. It’s not possible, for example, to disassemble the engine or transmission to inspect every part for evidence of wear or damage during a pre-purchase inspection.

No matter how thorough and careful my friend is with a pre-purchase vehicle inspection he knows that there are things he cannot see and evaluate. Despite these limitations, his inspection is still a valuable service because he is able to evaluate many complex components and to identify a number of potential problems that a car buyer might not notice before purchasing the vehicle.

Home inspectors are faced with a similar challenge. We cannot disassemble the home to inspect every hidden detail. We are, however, able to utilize our training and experience to identify a host of potential problems.

The visual nature of a home inspection is in some ways an inherent limitation, but that doesn’t mean that home inspectors are not able to perform a thorough inspection. It is still possible to perform a very thorough inspection by knowing what to inspect, what to look for during that inspection, and by utilizing advanced tools and technology to supplement what is visible with the naked eye.

Intermittent Evidence

Another challenge that home inspectors face is that some problems are not apparent all of the time. A problem may be intermittent, or it may only be evident under certain conditions. Since a home inspection is a snapshot or “point in time” evaluation of a home, it is possible that some problems may not be evident during the inspection.

During a recent home inspection, we noticed while evaluating the roof that one gutter was completely full and leaking from the end. Since it had rained earlier that morning, it was obvious that the gutter downspout was clogged and needed to be cleaned. This problem might have been difficult to identify had it not rained recently.

On the other hand, some problems with water are discoverable even if the weather has been dry. Moisture damage may still be evident to a trained eye. Additionally, the use of tools like thermal imaging cameras and moisture meters may allow an inspector to identify a problem area even when it is not actively leaking.

Some problems may not be readily apparent during a home inspection, but a knowledgable and conscientious inspector will still be able to identify at least some problems that may not be obvious.

Unfortunately, a home inspection can never reveal every possible problem with a home due to limitations of time, the visual nature of the inspection, and the intermittent nature of some defects. A home inspection is still exceptional value for the money, however, as many defects can be identified during the inspection. This knowledge of the overall condition of the home is invaluable to you as a home buyer (or homeowner) because it allows you to make informed decisions about a significant and complex investment.

In many cases, the defects found during a home inspection would cost many times the price of a home inspection to have repaired when discovered at a later date. Additionally, many defects (like leaks or moisture intrusion) may be much less expensive to repair if discovered early before further damage has occurred.

Thank you for considering Frontier Inspections, LLC for your inspection needs. Our goal is to provide you with incredible value from your home inspection. In addition to a detailed and easy-to-read inspection report with plenty of photos and even videos, we will take the time to answer any questions you may have about the report.

You can schedule your home inspection by phone at 307-670-3706 or email at frontierinspectionsllc@gmail.com.

What Is a Home Inspection?

What is a home inspection, and what exactly does a home inspection cover?

According to the InterNACHI Standards of Practice (SOPs):

“A home inspection is a non-invasive, visual examination of the accessible areas of a residential property, performed for a fee, which is designed to identify defects within specific systems and components defined by these Standards that are both observed and deemed material by the inspector. The scope of work may be modified by the Client and Inspector prior to the inspection process.”

InterNACHI Standards of Practice (SOPs)

Note: InterNACHI is the world’s leading association for home inspection professionals. We follow InterNACHI’s Standards of Practice in our home inspections.

Why Are Home Inspections Performed?

Home inspections are most commonly performed at the request of a home buyer prior to purchasing a new home so that the buyer is informed about the overall condition of the home as well as any major defects.

Home inspections may be performed at the request of a home owner in preparation for selling the home. This allows the seller to repair any unknown issues before listing the home for sale. In addition to expediting the sale process by reducing the number of possible repair requests, this may serve as an advantage when advertising the home for sale.

A home inspection may also be performed at the request of a home owner, whether on a personal residence or investment property, as part of an overall maintenance strategy. The bottom line is that modern homes are equipped with many complex systems and it’s not always easy to access these systems or to know what might be a developing issue. Routine maintenance inspections, often performed annually, allow a property owner to remain informed about the condition of the home and to plan ahead for any significant problems that may arise.

What’s Included in a Home Inspection?

A detailed home inspection that is conducted according to InterNACHI’s Standards of Practice (SOPs) reviews many systems in the home in an effort to identify any observable defects. The following list covers some of the things that we look for during a home inspection.

  • The roof covering materials, gutters, downspouts, vents, flashing, skylights, chimney, and other roof penetrations; and the general structure of the roof from readily accessible panels, doors, or stairs.
  • The exterior wall covering materials; the eaves, soffits, and fascia; a representative number of windows; exterior doors; flashing and trim; adjacent walkways and driveways; stairs, steps, stoops, stairways, and ramps; porches, patios, decks, balconies, and carports; railings, guards, and handrails; and vegetation, surface drainage, retaining walls and grading of the property, where they may adversely affect the structure due to moisture intrusion.
  • The foundation, basement, or crawlspace, and structural components.
  • The heating system, using normal operating controls.
  • The cooling system, using normal operating controls.
  • The main water supply shut-off valve; the main fuel supply shut-off valve; the water heating equipment, including the energy source, venting connections, temperature/pressure relief (TPR) valves, Watts 210 valves, and seismic bracing; interior water supply, including all fixtures and faucets, by running the water; all toilets for proper operation, by flushing; all sinks, tubs, and showers for functional drainage; the drain, waste, and vent system; and drainage sump pumps with accessible floats.
  • The electric service drop; the overhead service conductors and attachment point; the service head, gooseneck, and drip loops; the service mast, service conduit, and raceway; the electric meter base; service entrance conductors; the main service disconnect; panel boards and over-current protection devices (circuit breakers and fuses); service grounding and bonding; a representative number of switches, lighting fixtures, and receptacles, including receptacles observed and deemed to be arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) protected using the AFCI test button, where possible; all ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) receptacles and circuit breakers observed and deemed to be GFCIs using a GFCI tester, where possible; and for the presence of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Readily accessible and visible portions of the fireplaces and chimneys; lintels above the fireplace openings; damper doors by opening and closing them, if readily accessible and manually operable; and cleanout doors and frames.
  • Insulation in unfinished spaces, including attics, crawlspaces, and foundation areas; ventilation of unfinished spaces, including attics, crawlspaces, and foundation areas; and mechanical exhaust systems in the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry area.
  • A representative number of doors and windows by opening and closing them; floors, walls, and ceilings; stairs, steps, landings, stairways, and ramps; railings, guards, and handrails; and garage vehicle doors and the operation of garage vehicle door openers using normal operating controls.

As you can see, we inspect a lot of things while performing a complete home inspection. This list is far more comprehensive than what a potential home buyer will be able to inspect during a typical walkthrough of a home. We typically spend at least a few hours – longer on larger homes – and take the time that is necessary to perform a thorough and detailed inspection.

Following the home inspection, we provide a detailed and easy-to-read report with plenty of photos to help you understand any areas of concern that were identified during the inspection.

Schedule Your Inspection

Whether you are a home buyer who needs a new home inspected before purchase or a home owner who needs a maintenance or presale inspection performed on your property, Frontier Inspections, LLC is ready to help. Reach out to us by email at frontierinspectionslls@gmail.com or by phone at 307-670-3706 to schedule your inspection.

Thank you for considering Frontier Inspections, LLC for your home inspection needs! Please let us know if you have any questions.