Knox Inspection Services, Inc. sketch by Geoff Evans
Knox Inspection Services, Inc.
1410 South Terrace Drive
[1 block west of 15th and Lewis]
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Phone: 918.744.8128
Fax: 918.744.5669
Toll Free: 800.875.5474
"Red Flags”
1)  How are the heat exchangers in the furnaces inspected?
Between 0% to 20%, depending upon efficiency rating, of a forced air gas furnace heat exchanger can be visually examined.  A deteriorating heat exchanger will often exhibit accumulated particles of rust in the burner compartment and flame distortion when the furnace blower is activated.  A Carbon Monoxide test is not usually performed because they can be unreliable during certain temperature conditions. If there is any mention of the heat exchanger in your inspection report get it serviced before closing!  Heat exchangers are not implied to be free of defects.  The temperature extremes make heat exchangers unpredictable.

2)  Does the Inspector walk on the roof surface?
One story homes with composition shingles and a 3-12 slope, with a safe location to set the ladder usually get walked upon.  Otherwise, probably not.  If however, the Customer wants the roof inspected from the top we will be sure the roof surfaces are Inspected from the top.  There may be an additional fee if two story ladders or special equipment is required.  Roof surfaces on two story properties, covered with precipitation, with wood or metal shingles, or with a steep slope, may be inspected only from the ground with the aid of binoculars to avoid damage to the roof surface, and risk to the Inspector.  Standing on a ladder at the eaves using a pair of binoculars brings the roof surface visually to within 5 feet. (just like standing on it.)  It is important for the Customer to inform the Inspector of any disclosures regarding the roof surface.  An "acceptable" rating of the roof, or opinion of the number of surface layers is not necessarily accurate.  The Homeowners insurance company must be consulted for roof eligibility.

3)  How do you check for past moisture infiltration into the sub-slab air ducts, basement, or crawl space?
A history past moisture infiltration into sub-grade areas, such as basements, crawl spaces, or air ducts is often difficult to identify if it has been infrequent.  The Inspector when using a mirror and flashlight, can se only 10% of the sub-slab air ducts and consistently recommends a Video camera inspection to view the full duct system.  A strong flashlight is all that is usually necessary in other locations.  Deterioration, stains, mineral residue, high water lines, rust, mud or water marks, are all evidence of past moisture infiltration.  Only the property owner knows the frequency of the problem (if any).  The Inspection offers no assurance that the crawl space, air ducts, or basement, has not in the past, or will not in the future, suffer from moisture infiltration which may result in conditions of high humidity and mold growth requiring substantial repair or improvements.  A video camera Inspection is the only way to be sure the air ducts are good condition.
4)  Why is there a lot of talk about foundation stabilization?
Many neighborhoods have clay soils which change by expanding and contracting with fluctuations in moisture content.  The Inspector/Engineer examines for movement in the visible portions of the home to determine if foundation activity has affected the overall structural integrity of the home. Some movement evidenced by cracks and gaps is quite normal.  Some movement is the long term result of fluctuations in soil moisture and requires improvements to stabilize the supporting system.  Fortunately, the homeowner can often minimize damage to the home resulting from changes in soil moisture by proper site management.  The prediction of structural activity or damage to the home is not offered in this Inspection.
5)  What are some “Red Flags” to Inspectors?
“Red Flags” are conditions and situations that flag potential problems in a property.  Generally a home without a Seller’s Disclosure is a candidate for problems that are not readily evident.  A transaction without a professional sales associate involved is a Red Flag.  A home that the buyer accepts on the contractual terms of “as is” often results in an unhappy buyer.  A home with a lot of cosmetic improvements made by the Seller, or when the Seller makes the repairs recommended in the inspection report, often results in more warranty claims filed in the first 30 days after closing.  A septic system that is frequently pumped of contents is a candidate for malfunction, (normal pumping frequency is 5-7 years).  A “French Drain” is of serious concern if there is little or no documentation to support the installation.  Major improvements to the home such as electrical panel, hot water tank, and major HVAC replacement that do not have the municipal permit stickers on the new installations are of concern to the Inspector.  Many things done to a home to “get it ready to sell” are often in good faith by the homeowner.  An accurate Seller’s Disclosure when coupled with a good Home Inspection and Home Warranty is always the best combination for the informed Home Buyer.
Can you answer the following questions?
  • Why do most Sellers prefer the Buyer obtain a conventional mortgage loan rather than VA or FHA?
  • Who is contractually obligated to obtain the estimated costs for the recommended repairs?
  • If a house has had previous foundation stabilization, is that good or bad?
  • Does a completely filled out Sellers Disclosure list all of the problems?
  • Is a Municipal construction permit required to perform most major home repairs for legal compliance?

  • If you do not know the answer to these questions, please ask your Inspector or Realtor®.

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