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Checklist of Orange County Home InspectionThe Home Inspection General conducts many home inspections in Orange County. The purpose of these home inspection is to provide you, our client, with information regarding the general conditions of a building and its associated structures and systems. The Home Inspection General will provide written documentation of material defects discovered in the inspected building, systems and components which, in our opinion, are safety hazards, are not functioning property, or appear to be at the ends of their service lives. Often our report may include recommendations for correction or further evaluation.

Computer used in Home Inspection Orange CountyAs stated on our home page, our home inspections in Orange County always meet or exceed guidelines set for the by ASHI and comply with the CREIA Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. A home inspection does not include cosmetic and aesthetic conditions and it is not technically exhaustive. Unless you specifically request additional inspection services, our inspection will survey the basic operation of the systems and components of a building which can be reached, entered, or viewed  without difficulty or requiring action which may result in damage to property or personal injury to the home inspector.

As a sample of the scope of a our home inspection in Orange County, we provided a sample outline and narrative that illustrates the thoroughness of our inspections. This is a sample outline and general narrative and therefore is not intended to represent a  specific home inspection which may include more or less than the sample below.


I.  EXTERIOR For a detached single home in Orange County we inspect the following exterior features: driveways, walkways, fences, Exterior component of Home Inspection Orange Countygates, handrails, guardrails, yard walls, carports, patios covers, decks, building walls, fascia and trim, balconies, doors, windows, lights and outlets. Unless you specifically request additional services we do not evaluate detached structures such as storage sheds, and we do not water test or evaluate subterranean drainage systems or remotely controlled components like driveway gates. The Home Inspection General does not evaluate landscape components like trees, shrubs, fountains, etc. We also do not comment on wear and tear associated with the passage of time which would be apparent to the average person.
Grading & Drainage
    General Comments
    Moisture & Related Issues
    Area Drains
    Wood Separation from Soil
House Wall Finish
Exterior Components
    General Comments
    Yard Walls
    Fences & Gates

II. STRUCTURAL Cracks or deteriorated surfaces in foundations are quite common. In fact, it would be rare to find a raised foundation wall that was not cracked or deteriorated in home being inspected in orange countysome way, or a slab foundation in Orange County that did not include some cracks concealed beneath the carpeting and padding. Fortunately, most of these cracks are related to the curing process or to common settling, including some wide ones called cold-joint separations that typically contour the footings, but others can be more structurally significant and reveal the presence of expansive soils that can predicate more or less continual movement. We will certainly alert you to any suspicious cracks if they are clearly visible. However, the Home Inspection General not specialists, and in the absence of any major defects we may not recommend that you consult with a foundation contractor, a structural engineer, or a geologist. Nonetheless, cracks in hard surfaces can imply the presence of expansive soils that can result in continuous movement which can only be confirmed by a geological evaluation of the soil.
    Hard Surfaces
        Common Observations
        General Conditions

III. ROOF/ATTIC There are many different roof types which the Home Inspection General inspects by walking on their surfaces. If we are unable or unwilling to do this for any reason, we will indicate the method that was used to evaluate them. Every Orange County roof will wear differently relative to its age, the number of its layers, the quality of its Roof component of Home Inspection Orange Countymaterial, the method of its application, its exposure to direct sunlight or other prevalent weather conditions, and the regularity of its maintenance. Regardless of its design-life, every roof is only as good as the waterproof membrane beneath it, which is concealed and cannot be examined without removing the roof material, and this is equally true of almost all roofs. In fact, the material on the majority of pitched roofs is not designed to be waterproof only water-resistant. However, what remains true of all roofs is that, whereas their condition can be evaluated, it is virtually impossible for anyone to detect a leak except as it is occurring or by specific water tests, which are beyond the scope of our home inspections in Orange County. Even water stains on ceilings, or on the framing within attics, could be old and vwill not necessarily confirm an active leakwithout some corroborative evidence, and such evidence can be deliberately concealed. Consequently, only the installers can credibly guarantee that a roof will not leak, and they do. We inspect every roof conscientiously, and even attempt to approximate its age, but we will not predict its remaining life expectancy, or guarantee that it will not leak. Naturally, the sellers or the occupants of a residence will generally have the most intimate knowledge of the roof and of its history. Therefore, we recommend that you ask the sellers about it, and that you either include comprehensive roof coverage in your home insurance policy, or that you obtain a roof certification from an established local roofing company.
        General Comments
        Method of Evaluation
        Estimated Age
        Gutters & Drainage

IV. CHIMNEY The Chimney Safety Institute of America has published industry standards for the inspection of chimneys, anon January 13, 2000, the National Fire Protection Chimney portion of home inspection Orange CountyAssociation adopted these standards as code, known as NFPA 211. Our Orange County home inspection includes an inspection of masonry and factory-built chimneys to what is known as a Level-One inspection, which is purely visual and not to be confused with Level-Two, and Level-Three inspections, which are performed by qualified specialists with a knowledge of codes and standards, and typically involves dismantling components and/or investigations with video-scan equipment and other means to evaluate chimneys.
    Family Room Chimney
        General Conditions
        Log Starter

V. PLUMBING Plumbing systems have common components, but they are not uniform. In addition to fixtures, these components include gas pipes, water pipes, pressure regulators, pressure relief valves, shut-off valves, drain and vent pipes, and water-heating devices, some of which we do not test if they are not in daily use. The best and most dependable waterPlumbing component of Home Inspection Orange County pipes are copper, because they are not subject to the build-up of minerals that bond within galvanized pipes, and gradually restrict their inner diameter and reduce water volume. Water softeners can remove most of these minerals, but not once they are bonded within the pipes, for which there would be no remedy other than a re-pipe. The water pressure within pipes is commonly confused with water volume, but whereas high water volume is good high water pressure is not. In fact, whenever the street pressure exceeds eighty pounds per square inch a regulator is recommended, which typically comes factory preset between forty-five and sixty-five pounds per square inch. However, regardless of the pressure, leaks will occur in any system, and particularly in one with older galvanized pipes, or one in which the regulator fails and high pressure begins to stress the washers and diaphragms within the various components. Waste and drainpipes pipes are equally varied, and range from modern ABS ones [acrylonitrile butadiene styrene] to older ones made of cast-iron, galvanized steel, clay, and even a cardboard-like material that is coated with tar. The condition of these pipes is usually directly related to their age. Older ones are subject to damage through decay and root movement, whereas the more modern ABS ones are virtually impervious to damage, although some rare batches have been alleged to be defective. However, inasmuch as significant portions of drainpipes are concealed, our home inspection in Orange County can only infer their condition by observing the draw at drains. Nonetheless, blockages will occur in the life of any system, but blockages in drainpipes, and particularly in main drainpipes, can be expensive to repair, and for this reason we recommend having them video-scanned. This could also confirm that the house is connected to the public sewer system, which is important because all private systems must be evaluated by specialists.
    Potable Water Supply Pipes
        Water Main Shut-off location
        Pressure Regulators
        Pressure Relief Valves
        General Conditions
    Water Heater
        General Comments
        Age, Capacity & Location
        Gas Shut-off Valve & Connectors
        Water Shut-off Valve & Connectors
        Vent Pipe & Cap
        Relief Valve Discharge Pipe
        Drain Valve
        Drain Pan & Discharge Pipe
        Seismic Straps
        Sediment Trap or Drip Leg

VI. ELECTRICAL There are a wide variety of electrical systems in Orange County with an even greater variety of components, and any one particular system may not conform to current standards or provide the same degree of service and safety. What is most significant about electrical systems however is that the national electrical code [NEC] is not Electrical testing at home inspection Orange Countyretroactive, and therefore many residential systems do not comply with the latest safety standards. Regardless, we are not electricians and in compliance with our standards of practice in our Orange County home inspection we only test a representative number of switches and outlets and do not perform load-calculations to determine if the supply meets the demand. However, in the interests of safety, we regard every electrical deficiency and recommended upgrade as a latent hazard that should be serviced as soon as possible, and that the entire system be evaluated and certified as safe by an electrician. Therefore, it is essential that any recommendations that we may make for service or upgrades should be completed before the close of escrow, because an electrician could reveal additional deficiencies or recommend some upgrades for which we would disclaim any further responsibility. However, we typically recommend upgrading outlets to have ground fault protection, which is a relatively inexpensive but essential safety feature for your Orange County. These outlets are often referred to as GFCI's, or ground fault circuit interrupters and, generally speaking, have been required in specific locations for more than thirty years, beginning with swimming pools and exterior outlets in 1971, and the list has been added to ever since: bathrooms in 1975, garages in 1978, spas and hot tubs in 1981, hydro tubs, massage equipment, boat houses, kitchens, and unfinished basements in 1987, crawlspaces in 1990, wet bars in 1993, and all kitchen counter top outlets with the exception of refrigerator and freezer outlets since 1996. Similarly, AFCI's or arc fault circuit interrupters, represent the very latest in circuit breaker technology, and have been required in all bedroom circuits since 2002. However, inasmuch as arc faults cause thousands of electrical fires and hundreds of deaths each year, we categorically recommend installing them at every circuit as a prudent safety feature.
    Main Panel
        General Comments
        Service Entrance
        Size & Location
        Circuit Breakers

VII. HEAT & AIR CONDITIONING The components of most heating and air-conditioning systems have a design-life ranging from ten to twenty years, but can fail prematurely testing air conditioning at home inspection in Orange Countywith poor maintenance, which is why we apprise you of their age whenever possible. We test and inspect them in accordance with the standards of practice, which means that we do not dismantle and inspect the concealed portions of evaporator and condensing coils, the heat exchanger, which is also known as the firebox, electronic air-cleaners, humidifiers, ducts and in-line duct-motors or dampers. We perform a conscientious inspection and evaluation of both systems, but we are not specialists. However, even the most modern heating systems can produce carbon monoxide, which in a sealed or poorly ventilated room can result in sickness, debilitating injury, and even death. Therefore, in accordance with the terms of our contract for a home inspection in Orange County, it is essential that any recommendations that we make for service or a second opinion be scheduled before the close of escrow, because a specialist could reveal additional defects or recommend further upgrades that could affect your evaluation of the property, and our service does not include any form of warranty or guarantee.
    HVAC System
        Age & Location
        Common Observations
        Vent Pipe
        Gas Valve & Connector
        Combustion-Air Vents
        Condensate Drainage
        Drip Pan
        Refrigerant Lines
        Differential Temperature Readings
        Flexible Ducting
        Sediment Trap or Drip Leg

VIII. LIVING AREAS Our inspection of living space includes the visually accessible areas of walls, floors, cabinets and closets, and includes the testing of a representative number of windows and doors, switches and outlets. However, we do not evaluate window treatments, or move furniture, lift carpets or rugs, empty closets or cabinets, and we do not comment on cosmetic deficiencies. We may not comment on the cracks that appear around windows and doors, or which follow the lines of framing members and the seams of Checking vent at Home Inspection in Orange Countydrywall and plasterboard. These cracks are a consequence of movement, such as wood shrinkage, common settling, and seismic activity, and will often reappear if they are not correctly repaired. Such cracks can become the subject of disputes, and are therefore best evaluated by a specialist. Similarly, there are a number of environmental pollutants that we have already elaborated upon, the specific identification of which is beyond the scope of our Orange County home inspection service but which can become equally contentious. In addition, there are a host of lesser contaminants, such as that from moisture penetrating carpet-covered cracks in floor slabs, as well as odors from household pets and cigarette smoke that can permeate walls, carpets, heating and air conditioning ducts, and other porous surfaces, and which can be difficult to eradicate. However, inasmuch as the sense of smell adjusts rapidly, and the sensitivity to such odors is certainly not uniform, we recommend that you make this determination for yourself, and particularly if you or any member of your family suffers from allergies or asthma, and then schedule whatever remedial services
may be deemed necessary before the close of escrow.
    Main Entry
        General Conditions
    Living Room
        General Conditions
        Walls & Ceiling
    Dining Room
        (Standard Room Inspection Items)

IX. KITCHEN We test kitchen appliances for their functionality, and cannot evaluate them for their performance nor for the variety of their settings or cycles. However, if they are kitchen part of home inspection in orange countyolder than ten years, they may well exhibit decreased efficiency. Also, many older gas and electric ranges are not secured and can be easily tipped, particularly when any weight is applied to an open range door, and all such appliances should be confirmed to be secure. Regardless, in our Orange County home inspection we do not inspect the following items: free-standing appliances, refrigerators, trash-compactors, built-in toasters, coffee-makers, can-openers, blenders, instant hot-water dispensers, water-purifiers, barbecues, grills or rotisseries, timers, clocks, thermostats, the self-cleaning capability of ovens, and concealed or counter top lighting, which is convenient but often installed after the initial construction and not wired to national electrical standards
        (Standard Room Inspection Items)
        Sink & Counter top
        Valves & Connectors
        Trap & Drain
        Garbage Disposal
        Gas Range
        Exhaust Fan or Downdraft

X. PRIMARY HALLWAY Our evaluation of hallways is identical to that of living space, except that we pay particular attention to safety issues, such as those involving handrails, guardrails, and smoke detectors
        (Standard Room Inspection Items)
        Smoke Detector
        Carbon Monoxide Detector

XI. ATTIC In accordance with our standards, we do not attempt to enter attics in Orange County that have less than thirty-six inches of headroom, are restricted by ducts, or in Attic being inspected in orange countywhich the insulation obscures the joists and thereby makes mobility hazardous, in which case we would inspect them as best we can from the access point. In regard to evaluating the type and amount of insulation on the attic floor, we use only generic terms and approximate measurements, and do not sample or test the material for specific identification. Also, we do not disturb or move any portion of it, and it may well obscure water pipes, electrical conduits, junction boxes, exhaust fans, and other components.
    Primary Attic
        Access Location
        General Conditions
        Plumbing Vents
        Water Pipes
        Batt & Cellulose Insulation

XII. BEDROOMS In accordance with the standards of practice, our inspection of bedrooms includes the visually accessible areas of walls, floors, cabinets and bedroom being inspected in orange countyclosets, and includes the testing of a representative number of windows and doors, switches and outlets. We evaluate windows to ensure that they meet light and ventilation requirements and facilitate an emergency exit or egress, but we do not evaluate window treatments, nor move furniture, lift carpets or rugs, empty closets or cabinets, and we do not comment on common cosmetic deficiencies.
        (Standard Room Inspection Items)
        Smoke Detector
    First Bedroom
        (Standard Room Inspection Items)
        Smoke Detector
    Second Bedroom
        (Standard Room Inspection Items)

XIII. BATHROOMS In accordance with industry standards, we do not comment on common cosmetic deficiencies, and do not inspect bathroom being inspected in orange countyevaluate window treatments, steam showers, and saunas. More importantly, as part of our Orange County home inspection we do not leak-test shower pans, which is usually the responsibility of a termite inspector. However, because of the possibility of water damage, most termite inspectors will not leak-test second floor shower pans without the written consent of the owners or occupants.
        (Standard Room Inspection Items)
        Sink Countertop
        Sink Faucet Valves & Connectors Tap and Drain
        Hydra Spa
        Toilet & Bidet
        Exhaust Fan
    First Bathroom
        (Same as Master Bathroom)

XIV. LAUNDRY  In accordance with industry standards, we do not inspect clothes dryers, nor washing machines and their water connections and drainpipes. laundry room being inspected in orange countyHowever, in Orange County there are two things that you should be aware of. The water supply to washing machines is usually left on, and their hoses can leak or burst under pressure and continue to flow. Therefore, we recommend replacing the rubber hose type with newer braided stainless steel ones that are much more dependable. You should also be aware that the newer washing machines discharge a greater volume of water than many of the older drainpipes can handle, which causes the water to back up and overflow, and the only remedy would be to replace the standpipe and trap with one that is a size larger.
        (Standard Room Inspection Items)
        Exhaust Fan
        Valves & Connectors
        Trap & Drain
        Gas Valve & Connector
        Dryer Vent

XV. GARAGE  In Orange County it is not uncommon for moisture to penetrate garages, because their slabs are on-grade. Evidence of this is typically apparent in the form of efflorescence, or salt crystal formations, that result when moisture penetrates the concrete slab or sidewalls. This is a common with garages that are below grade, and some sidewalls are even cored to relieve the pressure that can build up behind them, and which actually promotes drainage through the garage. Also, if there is living space above the garage, that space will be seismically vulnerable. Ideally, the columns and beams around the garage door will be made of structural steel, but in many residences these components are made of wood but could include some structural accessories, such as post-straps and hold-downs, and plywood shear paneling. However, we are not an authority in such matters, and you may wish to discuss this further with a structural engineer. In addition, and inasmuch as garage door openings are not standard, you may wish to measure the opening to ensure that there is sufficient clearance to accommodate your vehicles.
        Wall & Ceiling
        Garage Door & Hardware
        Automatic Opener

XVI. POOL & SPA Pools and spas do leak, but without specialized equipment this may be impossible to confirm. However, it could become apparent from secondary evidence pool inspected in orange countyduring our home inspection in Orange County, which is purely visual. Regardless, the owner or the occupant of a property would be aware that the water level drops regularly and must be topped off, and this should be disclosed. Unusually high water bills could reveal this, but only a pressure test of the pipes, a dye test of cracks, or a geo-phone test of specific areas would confirm it, and any such specialized test is beyond the scope of our home inspections Orange County. Therefore, you should ask the sellers to guarantee that the spa does not leak, request to review the water bills for a twelve-month period, or obtain comprehensive insurance to cover such an
        General Comments
        Enclosure Safety Observations
        Pool Observations
        Interior Finish
        Deck & Coping Stones
        Drain Covers
        Pool Light
        Diving Board
        Pool Motor
        Pool Filter

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July 29, 2011
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