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Jim's Home Inspection Blog

By Jim Ellis 19 Jun, 2017
During a home inspection in Foley, AL I ran across this big guy. This spider was close to 5 inches long. It is my understanding most spiders are venomous to some degree. This "Banana Spider" is low on the totem pole for being a threat to humans, however I do my best not bother them much just in case.

By Jim Ellis 07 Jun, 2017
At the beginning of this home inspection done in Pensacola, FL a few days ago I ran across this tube used and made by termites. I did not disturb it and left it for the termite inspector that was scheduled to be there the next day.  I'm not sure what kind of termites they are or if it's even active. There is no way to tell how much, if any damage has occurred inside the wall without removing some of the drywall
By Jim Ellis 03 Jun, 2017
Check out this video of services we perform for you while looking under your home in the crawlspace
By Jim Ellis 01 Jun, 2017
So many times during a home inspection we find the pull down attic stairs not installed properly. This topic is the use of screws vs 16d nails as required.  Most screws are not designed for sheer strength and can break without any notice leaving you on the floor or hanging above it.
Below is part of a sample installation instruction sheet:
PERMANENT MOUNTING OF STAIRWAY  B. Nail the sides (jambs) of the stairway frame to the rough opening frame, using 16d nails or 3" lag screws. Holes are provided in the pivot plates and piano hinge brackets. Also nail through the end boards into the rough opening headers. Complete permanent installation by using 16d nails or 3" lag screws to secure stairway frame on all four sides of the rough opening
By Jim Ellis 01 Jun, 2017
Hold onto your hats, when the ceiling fan hits you in the head it will hurt! Chances are no major injuries will happen. Technically the fans are not supposed to be mounted below 7 feet from the floor. I usually find these low fans on room additions such as porches
By Jim Ellis 30 May, 2017
NADRA.org has a compilation of Inspectors, deck builders, service providers, distributors and retailers that work together promoting the safe standards of deck building and maintenance.  
When their deck inspections are done, they don't care what the building code was being used when built. They only care that the deck is safe today and tomorrow.
It takes just moments to locate all kinds for horror stories on the internet. Remember you can always find what your looking for and scary stuff sells! NADRA has a sample check list most home owners can download to use or you can call the office and we can set up a deck safety check from one of our home inspectors.
If you have a deck or perhaps your thinking about building one, check out their website for a full list of articles, news and information
By Jim Ellis 24 May, 2017
By now you have probably seen a fogged window or two. There are some that can be repaired, however it will not have the insulating gas between the panes of glass as it did originally. The only way to do this is to replace the window assembly. 
A typical double pane window here in the south, will have an R value of somewhere between 2.0 & 3.0. After it looses it's seal this diminishes even more. To put this R value in perspective, insulation in your attic built locally here today would be an R38! Huge difference.
So, window manufactures also take into account U values which is how well or poorly it transfers heat
By Jim Ellis 23 May, 2017
Just like us, cracks come in all sizes and shapes. Some cracks can be serious, this one however is not a structural concern. When I find a crack like this during a home inspection it does peak my interest. I will look inside, under and around the home as much as possible. There are lots of different causes ranging from foundation, slab settling, tree roots gone wild, sand base for the foundation to a lack of gutters are just some to mention.
By Jim Ellis 19 May, 2017
It's pretty common to find a water heater installed by non professionals. It's also very common to find incorrect installation of the water heater TPR (Temperature Pressure Relief) In this case the tube for the valve runs uphill when leaving the valve. If the valve starts going bad or gets some dirt in it, and starts to drip a little water, the water can't go anywhere. It will sit in the line until enough pressure builds up to blow it out. This can create an unsafe condition and I have read stories about valve problems and the water heater can literally blow up and out!
When this valve starts to go bad you may see water dripping from the end of the tube. If it expels water it can be very hot & dangerous causing severe burns. In extreme cases it's can blow out a ceiling!
Check out this episode of Myth Busters and experimenting with a TPR valve & water heater
https://youtu.be/9bU-I2ZiML0
By Jim Ellis 16 May, 2017
I did this home inspection a while ago that left no doubt that this was Termites & mold. There were literally thousands of termite tubes dangling from the floor and joists under the home. There was so much damage to the joists, I could easily put my hand all the way through some of them.
Near the top of the photograph is a termite tube, or shelter heading toward the ground and it is surrounded by some type of mold growth. The white on the floor joists and sub-flooring is also some type of mold.
This is not a healthy environment for anyone to live in or near!

Jim's Home Inspection Blog

By Jim Ellis 19 Jun, 2017
During a home inspection in Foley, AL I ran across this big guy. This spider was close to 5 inches long. It is my understanding most spiders are venomous to some degree. This "Banana Spider" is low on the totem pole for being a threat to humans, however I do my best not bother them much just in case.

By Jim Ellis 07 Jun, 2017
At the beginning of this home inspection done in Pensacola, FL a few days ago I ran across this tube used and made by termites. I did not disturb it and left it for the termite inspector that was scheduled to be there the next day.  I'm not sure what kind of termites they are or if it's even active. There is no way to tell how much, if any damage has occurred inside the wall without removing some of the drywall
By Jim Ellis 03 Jun, 2017
Check out this video of services we perform for you while looking under your home in the crawlspace
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