Call Nick @ 321-302-1211 with any questions
or to schedule an inspection.
This page is dedicated to information the
new home buyer must know:
• Aluminum wiring:
There is not a lot of readily available information out there
to the average home buyer on this subject so I will try to touch on it here. Almost all houses (newer and older) have a main
service cable made of aluminum wire. This is industry standard and poses absolutely no problems whatsoever if properly
installed/connected. Where aluminum wire poses a "issue" is the branch circuits such as outlet and lighting
circuits. I can't say for sure if there is any reliable statistics on how much of a real hazard aluminum wiring actually
is, but I can say the insurance companies do ask if the house has aluminum branch circuit wiring. This can increase
potential insurance costs because as of now the only company that will insure the home is Citizens (this changes from time
to time but from the last that I've heard...) and I have no idea what the increased costs are, I've heard both ends of the
spectrum. To replace the aluminum wiring is extremely cost prohibitive, but a process called "pig-tailing"
the wire can effectively take care of the issues associated with the wire. This process involves adding a copper
wire (pig-tail) to the aluminum branch circuit wire and connect the copper wire to the outlets and fixtures. This does
not change the fact that the house has aluminum branch circuit wiring, but from what I'm hearing it satisfies insurance requirements.
A state licensed electrician will be the best person to talk to if you are thinking about purchasing a house with aluminum
branch circuit wiring to see how much it would cost to do the repairs, assuming of course that it hasn't already been done
by the previous owner.
It's a good idea to inquire about the wire composition when you are thinking
about making an offer on a new home. The years affected are approximately 1963-1974 (it's very difficult to say because
it was phased out at different times in different jurisdictions. If the new home you are considering is in or close
to that age range, it wouldn't hurt to ask). It should be said that this hasn't been an issue for that long so
MANY people have no idea and they find out the hard way. It is very common for an inspector to note on his/her report
that the house has aluminum wiring and not say another word about it, or just glaze over it with a passing comment. I
always tell my clients to tell the insurance company up front (before closing) that the house has aluminum wiring that way
they can find out exactly what the insurance company is going to require.
Ok, I could probably fill up an entire
page on this subject, so if you are in the market for a home in the East Central Florida area, give me a call and I'll be
happy to talk with you at greater length if need be. I will say this, no matter who you use for a home inspection,
be there for the inspection, and ASK about the composition of the wiring (if it's in the affected year range).
There has been a significant change in the aluminum wiring situation.
Citizens insurance has approved two retrofit connection procedures. The house must have every fixture, outlet
and switch outfitted with either a Copalum or Alumiconn connectors. These are proprietary connection procedures and
although the idea of pig-tailing remains the same, the houses that are currently pig-tailed will still need to be retro-fitted
with these new approved connectors. I have personally confirmed this with Citizens. If history is an indicator, then
other insurance companies will follow suit with Citizens on this as well. Here is a link to the news story....
Homeowners dodge total rewire | Pensacola News Journal | pnj.com
This is Florida, we have mold spores in the air
along with a humid environment. In short, we are pre-disposed to mold issues. However, the 6 o'clock news is a
very poor place to get informed about it. Do some research. Get the facts. Scare tactics are a big money
maker for mold inspectors and mold removal specialists. There are some good mold inspectors out there and some good
remediation companies. I do a visual inspection for mold or mold conducive situations and inform the buyer on such and
when needed recommend them to seek out a good mold inspector to find out the nature of the mold. Water/moisture is the
key. Where there is consistent stagnant moisture, there is a strong possibility of mold cultures forming. Mold
analysis does not lend itself well to a home inspection that lasts 2-3 hours. The mold cultures need to be left at the
site and retrieved later. This is the main reason why Florida Home Inspectors Inc. does not do mold analysis testing
or air quality testing. Florida Home Inspectors performs a visual mold inspection only that is part of every single
I would recommend going to http://www.epa.gov/mold/
to get the best unbiased information on mold and it's health related issues.
• CBS home vs. wood frame:
CBS means concrete block structure. So how do these two stack up? Well I wish that was
a simple answer. I performed a lot of re-building of houses in south Miami after hurricane Andrew devastated the area.
To be honest there was little difference in how a block home stood up against a wood frame home. Many homes of each
were demolished, and many homes of each suffered little damage just down the street. It would seem that hurricanes do
not discriminate between the two a whole lot. However, most people think there is a huge difference so the block homes
seem to have a re-sale advantage in that respect. I would say that in many cases the wood frame homes are better insulated and
are therefore more energy efficient. They are also much easier to remodel and put additions on. In other words, buy a wood frame or block doesn't matter,
it really depends on the individual house not the general type.
word alone sends a chill up your spine if you live in a wood frame home. Relax, once again the 6 o'clock news and the
commercials on TV have people in a panic when they hear that word. You need to have a preventative termite treatment
in either type of home because both can get the little buggers. In fact I would say I see a higher incidence of termite
damage in block homes because homeowners tend to think block homes can't get termites, therefore may not be as diligent with
preventative treatments. Most people in wood frame homes are so terrified of them, a termite can't get within a block
of the home without passing out from the fumes of all the pesticide in the ground. Both CBS and wood frame homes
should have a good WDO (wood destroying organism) inspection before closing and that should be the time you get all the termite
information you can stand. I have a very good termite inspector I work in tandem with all the time, give me a call and
if you are nice I might even give you his name and number.
I'm sure many of you have heard of the latest blight to our housing industry known as "chinese drywall".
First of all, do some research on your own. There is no special place on the web or elsewhere that I get my information
from. I do my own research and you can do the same. That being said, of course some people aren't capable of properly
inspecting their house for the possible problem. In this case an inspector can be of value.
So what is "Chinese Drywall". Well in this case it refers
to wall board that was mined and manufactured from a couple of mines in China. All chinese drywall isn't problematic
for a couple of reasons. First of all most of the wall board in the US wasn't/isn't made in China. Furthermore
in some cases China sourced their raw materials from many different areas (including the US) and just assembled the wallboard
in China. So not all drywall/wallboard made in China is "Chinese Drywall".
On to the problems/risks. Well there are health risks/problems reported
that have been attributed to "Chinese Drywall" as well as mechanical issues. The health problems are much
more difficult to quantify and there are conflicting reports. There is also a mechanical problem that is much easier
to quantify. Much of the problems are contributed to a very high sulfur content when mixed with moisture basically creates
sulfuric acid that greatly accelerates corrosion on copper/aluminum water pipes and wiring. This is the easiest way
to find out if you have a problem. If the bad wallboard is in the house it will show itself by above normal levels of
corrosion on the AC evaporator coil and on the copper wires both in the outlets/switches and in some cases in the main electrical
If you even think you
might have it, give me a call and I'll come check it out for you. There is no inspector (including myself) that can
walk into a house and tell you with 100% certainty how much of the drywall you have, if any. I'll explain. From
what I've seen in the field the problematic wall board was not used on the ceilings, at least not usually. As you can
imagine, that's the easiest place to look at the back of the drywall and see where it was made. The ceiling board is
a different product and apparently most of the "Chinese drywall" was used on the walls. That makes it very
difficult to visually confirm it's presence. So what we have to do is look for the symptoms and make some educated assumptions.
The assumption is, if we find extensive typical issues related with "Chinese Drywall" then we assume that
at least some of the wall board is suspect. Areas are checked throughout the structure and if evidence is found throughout
then one can only assume the problem is fairly widespread. If it's localized to one area like the garage then one can
assume the problem is local as well. Assumptions can be very dangerous in the inspection business, so I'm careful to
fully explain to the customer what that means. It means more invasive and in most cases destructive testing will be
required. The conclusions of the inspection are only used as a guide as to where to start the destructive testing first
and wherever Chinese Drywall is found, it needs to be removed and disposed of, not covered up. I've inspected a lot
of houses and only run across a few that had at least some Chinese Drywall that could be confirmed. If you have a house
built between 2000-2007, it's possible you have it in your house. The problems seem to be more concentrated starting
in 2004 when the new construction market was booming resulting in a shortage of drywall. Do your research and call me
if you need my help.