Inspection Terms for Home Inspections

Inspection Terms for Home Inspections

Inspection terms explained hereMost Realtors are familiar with the inspection terms used in a home inspection report however you may need help with explaining to your client; what they mean or how important they are.  Here is an alphabetical list of the most common home defects found during an inspection and a link to a full explanation of those inspection terms.

Asbestos   Asbestos was widely used in building materials until the 1970’s.  Although considered a health threat if disturbed it can usually be contained and left in place.

Aluminum Wiring  Aluminum wiring was used in the late 1960’s to mid 1970’s due to a shortage of copper wire.  Several problems are associated with aluminum branch wiring for lights and receptacles.

Bonding  Bonding of metallic water lines and metallic gas lines is required by both the National Fuel and Gas Code and the National Electrical Code.  Gas and water lines that are not properly bonded present a possible fire hazard.

Chinese Drywall  Although not normally found in our area it something we discuss with all of our clients.

Double Tapping  Double tapping is simply placing two wires under one screw in a fuse or breaker connection.  Most manufactures specify only one wire per fastening screw because this may present a fire hazard.

Electrical Grounding  Grounding of electrical circuits is used to provide a safety for users of electrical appliances.  Improperly installing or leaving it out of an electrical circuit may present an electrocution problem.

False or Bootleg Grounds  Many home owners and handy men will place a jumper wire from the neutral terminal to the ground terminal on a three prong receptacle used on an older two wire circuit.  This effectively fools the standard testers used by home inspectors, appraisers and code enforcement officials.  Unfortunately it also presents a serious risk of electrocution by circumventing the built in safety of the grounding circuit.

GFCI  Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter  GFCI protection has been required by the National Electrical Code since the 1973.  Each time the NEC is updated new requirements are presented for new construction.  If these changes are safety related we will note them in our report.

Open Grounds  Open grounds will result when a three prong receptacle is placed in a two wire circuit.  This is very common in homes built before 1972.  It is also unsafe because the expected grounding protection of the three prong plug is not present.…rounded-circuits/   see also

Knob & Tube Wiring  Knob and Tube Wiring was used until the 1940’s and is no longer considered safe.  Many insurance companies will not insure a house with Knob and Tub wiring and insulation companies are not allowed to install insulation over Knob & Tube wiring in attics.  We recommend a qualified electrician evaluate all knob and tube wiring.

S-traps and P-traps  P-traps (sink drains that go through the floor) are no longer allowed by state and national plumbing codes.  There is a simple fix to change most P-traps to the acceptable S-trap.

Shared Neutrals  Shared neutrals is a cost cutting procedure commonly used in our area.  Changes to the National Electrical Code in 2011 no longer allow the use of shared neutrals in new construction or repair work.  Although there is no instruction by the NEC that they be changed in existing homes we recommend it because shared neutrals are a safety issue and relatively easy to correct.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms  Smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms are required by the state of Illinois and common sense.

Federal Pacific STAB-LOK Breakers  Federal Pacific stopped manufacturing the STAB-LOK brand of breaker boxes in the 1980″s after a number of home fires and electical failures were attribited to them. We recommend a qualified electricain evaluate all FPE STAB-LOK breaker panels.

Vermiculite Insulation  Vermiculite insulation used until the mid 1980’s as a pour in insulation for attics and walls.  Vermiculite insulation has a very high probabilty of containing asbestos.  There is currently a removal program in place to help with the removal costs of vermiculite if a home owner decides to have it removed.

Water Heaters  Water heaters should be inspected regularly and drained twice a year to prolong their life.

If you did not see the inspection terms  you were looking for please send us an email and we will try to update this list with your inspection terms.

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the Better Business Bureau

The State of Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations      License #  450.010421