Asbestos: Asbestos is a toxic chemical that was traditionally used in many different building materials before 1975 because of its resistance to fire, chemical, and electrical damage, and its sound absorption properties. Inhalation of asbestos fibers over a prolonged period of time significantly increases risk for lung cancer. It is important to have asbestos testing done when purchasing an older home.
Building Insulation: While Building Insulation is usually referenced in regards to thermal insulation, it can refer to materials installed in a building for any type of insulation, including acoustic insulation and fire insulation. A variety of materials, such as cellulose, fiberglass, urethane foam, and vermiculite (which contains asbestos) are used as thermal insulation. The R-value of insulation refers to its level of effectiveness.
Carbon Monoxide: Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas that is a byproduct of incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. The most common source of carbon monoxide in American homes is from improperly functioning central heating furnaces. High concentrations of carbon monoxide cause unconsciousness, followed by death due to interference of oxygen supply to the brain.
Home Inspection: Home Inspection by a licensed home inspector refers to the assessment of a home’s physical condition, and the condition of the major infrastructural components of the home, including heating, cooling, electrical, and plumbing. Internal and external physical structures such as the roof, siding, gutters etc. are also inspected. A home inspection is not an appraisal of monetary value, rather it is an assessment of the current physical condition of the home and whether or not any repairs are needed or will soon be needed. Some WI home inspectors also provide value added services like carbon monoxide testing, radon testing, energy efficiency assessment and other services not required by Wisconsin home inspection regulations.
Home Inspector Errors and Omissions Insurance: Protects the home buyer and seller in case a looming home repair is missed by the home inspection. Not all Wisconsin home inspectors carry Errors and Omissions Insurance, so it is important to make sure that your home inspection is set up to protect you, not just your Milwaukee home inspector.
Lead: Lead is a commonly used substance to improve the performance of paint. It was outlawed for residential use in 1978, but it can still be a problem in older homes. Proper care must be taken in disposal or repairing or lead based painted surfaces to avoid inhalation. It is also important to test for lead in water supply. Lead is a toxin impairing every major organ system of the body, the brain, and reproductive ability as well.
Log Home Inspection: Log Home Inspection differs from standard home inspection in that much more specialized knowledge is needed. Because of lack of standardization of building procedures and materials in log home construction, there are many facets of log homes that need to be understood in order to be properly inspected. There are very few home inspectors with extensive log home construction experience. Therefore, qualified log home inspectors are very hard to find.
Moisture Meter: Moisture meters detect the amount of water in a substance, particularly wood to determine whether it will be subject to warping or changing shape as the moisture content adjusts over time.
Pre-Inspection: Pre-inspection refers to the practice of the home seller obtaining a home inspection in order to ensure that there are no undiscovered repairs that would delay or discourage the selling of their home. A Home Smart Pre-Inspection refers to a Wisconsin home inspection performed by Open Hearth where no inspection fee is due until the house sells.
R-Value: R-Value is a measure of thermal resistance, and is the reciprocal of the U-Value. The higher the R-Value, the more effective the building insulation.
Radon Gas: Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas formed in the decay of radium. Radon is among the heaviest substances that are gases under “normal” conditions, and is a significant health hazard, causing over 20,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the United States alone. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, after smoking. According to the environmental protection agency, 1 in 15 American homes has elevated radon gas levels.
Radon Gas Testing: There are many different types of radon tests available. However, because of the variety of environmental and home conditions that effect the efficacy of radon testing, it is recommended that home owners have their radon test performed by an individual that has been certified by the National Environmental Health Association as being proficient in radon gas testing, in order to ensure that all factors have been accounted for, and an appropriate radon testing device is used.
Thermal Imaging: Thermal Imaging cameras detect infrared radiation, to graphically show heat loss or difference between areas. Thermal imaging can show problems that would otherwise be undetectable such as water leaks, or gaps in housing insulation. Thermal imaging is not required by Wisconsin home inspection regulations, meaning that there are many potential problems that could be missed by a standard home inspection.