New article: Sewer Scope Inspections for Home Inspectors

While performing a sewer scope inspection falls outside InterNACHI’s Home Inspection Standards of Practice, many home inspectors offer it as an ancillary service because the information it yields can be very useful for homeowners, as well as prospective home buyers. Home inspectors can familiarize themselves with the equipment, protocols, and benefits of a sewer scope inspection when deciding whether to offer this service by reading Sewer Scope Inspections for Home Inspectors.

New article for inspectors: Inspecting Liquid Vinyl Siding

As homeowners and homebuilders opt for more attractive and lower-maintenance products and components for house exteriors, home inspectors should become more familiar with them to knowledgeably assess their condition and report on their defects.  Although liquid vinyl siding has been around for more than 30 years, it’s not necessarily easy to identify.  Learn more about what makes LVS desirable and popular by reading Inspecting Liquid Vinyl Siding.

New article for inspectors: Inspecting Evaporative Cooling Systems

Before the weather heats up, it’s important to have a home’s cooling system serviced so that it runs optimally.  And it’s just as important to have the right size system installed in the first place – not just based on the size of the home, but also the home’s climate zone.  Evaporative cooling systems are affordable alternatives to conventional central air-conditioning systems, but they don’t work everywhere.  Find out more about them by reading Inspecting Evaporative Cooling Systems.

Writing Inspection Reports in the Past Tense

Should inspectors write their report observations in the past tense?

I say, “Yes.” It may help reduce your liability.

Isn’t the report a document stating the condition of the property at the time of the inspection? Yes. Then why use the present tense?

Read “Inspection Reports:  Past or Present Tense?” here.

Setting expectations of home buyers

This introduction of the home maintenance book helps set the expectations of the home-buying client. – Ben Gromicko



Nice house!

Now it is time to keep it that way.

Just like the engine of an automobile, your house works as a system of independent parts. Every part has an impact to the operation of many other parts. A typical home has over 10,000 parts. What happens when all the parts work together in the most desirable, optimal way? You are rewarded with a house that is durable, comfortable, healthy and energy-efficient.

You can make it happen in just a few steps.

Step #1: Monitor the house
Step #2: Recognize potential problems
Step #3: Correct problems properly

This book will help you do all three steps.

If you hired a certified home inspector – that was a good decision and money well spent. As you know, the home inspector is not an expert but a generalist. Your home inspector inspected the home and reported the home’s condition as it was at the time of the inspection. That is the main responsibility of the home inspector. A home inspection does not include predictions of future events. Future events (such as roof leaks, water intrusion, plumbing drips and heating failures) are not within the scope of a home inspection and are not the responsibility of the home inspector.

Who’s responsible? You are. The new homeowner. Welcome to home ownership. The most important thing to understand as a new homeowner is that things break. As time moves on, parts of your house will wear out, break down, deteriorate, leak or simply stop working.

But relax
. Don’t get overwhelmed. You’re not alone. This book is for you and every homeowner experiencing the responsibility of home ownership. Every homeowner has similar concerns and questions. And they are all related to home maintenance.

The following questions are those that all homeowners ask themselves:

#1 “What should I look for?”
#2 “What does a real problem look like?”
#3 “How should it be corrected?”

The answers to these questions are written in this book.

This book will guide you through the systems of a typical house, how they work and how to maintain them. The systems include the following: the exterior, interior, roof, structure, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, attic, insulation, bathroom and kitchen.

You will learn what to monitor (what to look for) as the house ages. Most of the conditions and events that you will see and experience will likely be cosmetic and minor. Most homes do not have major material defects.

Throughout the book, there will be references to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors ( InterNACHI is the world’s largest trade association of residential and commercial building inspectors. The InterNACHI Residential Standards of Practice (SOP) defines what a home inspection is and lists the responsibilities of a home inspector. The SOP is located at

This book comments upon the responsibilities of a home inspector, because we are assuming that a home inspector has given you this book to read. Sometimes when a new homeowner is performing maintenance, apparent problems are discovered or revealed. Or as time goes by, things in the house leak or fail. A new homeowner experiencing a problem should refer to the Standards of Practice, which outlines the responsibilities and limitations of the home inspector.

The first nine chapters of this book describe the systems and components of a typical house.

Chapter 10 is about saving energy. This chapter describes how to make your home more comfortable and energy efficient by sealing air leaks and adding insulation —and you can do it yourself.

Chapter 11 has four maintenance checklists – one for each season.

Chapter 12 has a list of average life expectancies of systems, components and appliances in a typical home.

Home ownership is a great experience, and home maintenance is a great responsibility. This book will help you enjoy both.

Enjoy your house!

Read the first 32 pages and table of contents of the book at

New article about septic systems for inspectors

Hi all,

If you would like to know more about septic system maintenance and inspection, feel free to take a look at our new article called Inspecting Septic Systems. There, you will find out how a septic tank can be located, maintenance tips, safety precautions, and links to other informational resources.

I hope you find this helpful,


Maintaining Your Water Heater

Most people don’t give any thought to their water heater—they just turn on the faucet and expect hot water to come out.  Keep your water heater in peak operating condition by performing some simple routine maintenance.

One step you can take is to drain your tank.  How often you need to do this depends upon the sediment buildup you are getting in your tank.  Some experts recommend draining once a year.  I recommend draining your tank once, and checking sediment buildup.  Check it six months or a year later and compare the amount of build up to your previous amount.  This will give you an idea on how often you need to drain your tank.  If you have more sediment, you would want to drain more often.  Less sediment, drain less often.  Come up with a good schedule, that will keep your sediment build up to a minimum.

To drain the tank:

  • Turn off the power source to the water heater. You do not want it to heat while empty. This is very important. Failure to do so may cause damage to the water heater.
  • Turn off the water supply to the tank.
  • Locate the drain valve at the bottom of the tank. Looks like a hose spigot.
  • Connect a hose to this and place the hose in a basement drain or sump.
  • If this is the first time you are draining, I recommend running the water through a strainer to judge sediment build up. If you already know your level, continue to the next step.
  • Open the drain valve at the bottom of the water heater.
  • Most experts recommend draining 3/4 of the water from the tank. If this is the first time I recommend a complete flush.
  • Close valve and fill tank.
  • Once tank is full turn power source to tank back on.

If you notice lots of sediment at the end of the draining process, you may have to do this several times to clear out the build up.  This is common if this is the first time a unit has been drained in quite a while. Good luck!

If you need to replace your water heater please see Michael Therriault’s Blog.