Home Inspections: Finding Defects.
Above is a photograph of a typical main water line at the water meter near the curb. It appears to be a meter pit filled with rain water or a water supply line leak but it is not. If you click on the photo, you will see that the water standing inside the meter pit is actually raw sewage that came directly from an uncovered PVC cleanout slightly uphill.
This is my favorite appliance to hate. An electric bath ceiling heater. These are a carryover from the Forties and Fifties before we had central heating or heat lamps. Be careful when replacing this fixture and don’t be surprised if the wires come apart by themselves.
What about mold?
Mold, Radon gas, Chlordane, lead paint, lead water pipes, formaldehyde, asbestos, foundation movement, and termites. Should we be concerned when buying or owning a home?
The answer is obviously, YES. However, the need for logic and perspective also exists.
Today we have so much to consider when owning, buying or selling a home, but the reality is that many of the anxieties of daily living are heightened and exaggerated. So many of the things that give us pause are conceived and based on “junk” science, false reporting, flawed research or just plain hype.
Mold is a huge problem for insurance companies or is it really?
We need to question the motives of those who might benefit from a little hysteria. Mold is a problem but not so much for the characteristics of mold but because of insurance.
To someone sensitive to or affected by mold, radon, chlordane, lead, formaldehyde, etc. the threat and the harm can be serious but the hysteria experienced by the general public is not justified.
Insurance carriers have clever ways to “purge” their line items of coverage by going public with their “extensive losses”. They can virtually eliminate future risks completely or justify charging more for deductibles and premiums. Mold coverage is now an extra if you can get coverage for it at all. This has been evident in almost all kinds of insurance over the years, but more noticeably in auto and health insurance.
Learning which hazards pose the greatest threat, which are most likely to occur, and which can be accepted as part of normal daily living can make even a rational person afraid.
The truth is:
- Many of the items stored in our cabinets and closets are more threatening than radon gas.
- Foundation movement and termite infestations, the two most prominent concerns to homeowners, are almost unavoidable in North Texas, and for that matter, many other parts of the country.
- Mold is everywhere and has been for eons.
- Your electric oven has higher levels of EMF than the power lines outside your house.
- Most homes in this area experience at least one incident of differential foundation movement before the fifth year.
- Termites discover most homes in North Texas before the house is thirty years old. As far as I know, termites have never killed anyone or made them ill.
- If you own a pool, the chemicals you store in the garage can have a greater affect on your health than Chlordane, radon gas or mold.
- Your gas water heater or heating system may be much more hazardous than the Chlordane under your foundation from a termite treatment 20 or 30 years ago.
- Plumbing cross-connections can be much more harmful to you than the lead content in your drinking water.
- Propane and Natural Gas leaks are found every day in routine home inspections. Compare that to Radon gas discoveries!
- The aerosols and other cans and boxes stored under the sink may make you or your family more ill than the insulation in your attic or walls.
- Improper handling of hardware store pesticides and lawn products may cause greater harm than the asbestos siding that may be under the aluminum siding on your home’s exterior or in your attic.
- Environmental hazards such as asbestos, lead, water contamination, and radon gas are real but do not deserve the level of hysteria that results from over-reporting or over-reacting.
Do your homework. Research these things thoroughly before you develop a phobia that may be insurmountable and prevent you from buying your dream home.
Develop a reasonable perspective before you buy. Sift through the available information.
Separate the facts from the theories. Consider the theories but pay more attention to the facts.
We have to question the motives of anyone who submits their findings based upon “junk” science or flawed research before we accept their conclusions.
The threat of EMF, mold, Radon Gas, Lead and others to one’s health may exist but information is available on the Internet concerning nearly all environmental hazards to anyone who is willing to seek it. Names of organizations and testing laboratories relating to some specific hazards is also available from your Health Department.
Whether it be the printed press, television news services, trial lawyers or insurance companies, we should always question the motives of any group or organization who wishes to convince us of a threat.
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License No. 58
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