I am so glad I decided on this company.  The home inspector knew his stuff, and he explained the inspection report in a way that was clear.  I was able to negotiate my purchase and saved a lot of money.  Thanks for everything.        -  Karla P., San Diego

Blog Q & A Inspector Goes out on a Limb
Inspector Goes out on a Limb
Q & A
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Six months ago I was looking at a new house (it was built in 1976 but the guy who owned it previously said he remodeled it himself in 2006) and in January of this year I had to get a full home inspection done on the house before I could purchase it. When I got the report back from the home inspecter it said: "Full house inspection complete. Clear of Asbestos, Lead Paint and Mildew." What I want to know is, can a house inspecter really tell if there was no asbestos in the house? I always thought you had to hire a different specialist for that.   - Justin (Question from Yahoo Answers)
 
DEAR JUSTIN: A home inspector absolutely cannot determine during a field inspection whether or not you have asbestos, lead or mildew (mold) in the home.
 
The use of asbestos was prevalent in older homes as a binding agent and plaster, as a fire retardant in acoustic ceiling materials, to improve the service life of tile mastic and roofing materials, etc. the problem is, asbestos fibers are microscopic and cannot be seen by the naked eye. So while you're inspector might ASSUME that asbestos is or is not present based on the type of materials found during the inspection and the age of the home, the only way to determine for certain is to collect samples and have these analyzed by a lab.
 
Now let's discuss lead-based paint. There are test kits that you can purchase at your local home center that can tell whether or not lead is detected in a tested paint sample. Did your inspector have such a kit? As I'm sure you are aware, lead-based paints can be very toxic to small children and the elderly so if the building occupants fall within the two categories is very important to professionally test for the existence of lead-based paint.
 
Finally, we get to mildew. Simply walking through a home looking for visible signs of mold and mildew does not necessarily tell the whole story. Mold can be hidden within walls, attics and crawlspaces under your home. When molds reproduce they send "spores" through the air and these spores can begin a colony of their own if they happen the land on an area conducive to mold growth. It is these airborne spores that often cause medical symptoms in humans that could range from a scratchy throat to a life-threatening condition. The spores are too small to be seen by the naked eye. If you were to have a mold inspection, the inspector would do a series of tests within your home which would usually include collecting air and surface samples. These samples would then be sent out to a lab for analysis. The lab analysis would typically tell you the type (genus and species) and relative concentrations of mold found in the area where the samples were obtained.
 
Now that you know little bit more about the process of testing for these particular environmental contaminants, you can use this knowledge to judge whether or not your home inspector performed his due diligence in ensuring that the home is clear of these potential toxins.

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Darin Redding
Written on Tuesday, 17 May 2011 17:43 by Darin Redding

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Last Updated on Friday, 03 February 2012 08:44
 

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6826 Millbrook St.
San Diego, CA 92120
619-663-8740