For over 35 years we have been involved in residential and the commercial building trades. Our experience covers Oregon Standard Operating Inspection Procedures plus
- Building science, health & safety
- Thermal & air barriers
- Gas fired appliances
- Air leakage
- CO2 & CO / dirty air
- Water sheds
- Green buildings
- Energy management
- Solar loading etc.
The above list of items are not covered in the standard inspection SOP. The SOP states to turn on devices such as the thermostat and water facets to see if they operate. The Oregon standard SOP does not require HVAC duct systems air flow measurement testing, pressure testing, combustion appliance testing, flue draft testing, air barrier "insulation" R value measurements, etc.
Our services could include a detailed inspection of the SOP and "EM" Energy Management detailed list. To the best of my knowledge no other inspectors in Oregon are certified in these areas . Because we have been testing and analyzing in these additional areas of the building envelope does provide us with experience to implement an assessment review of your property. However in some cases the client may just want a standard inspection. Just remember, you get what you pay for.
If I was going to invest several hundred thousand of dollars in a property, I would want to know how much more am I going to have to invest after the purchase. Yes a standard inspection does cover major components such as plumbing, electrical, structural and roof. However think about long term utility cost health & safety.
- What if my electric bill is $300 or more per month after I move in?
- What if the back bedroom is cold in the winter or hot in the summer?
- What if I feel drafts on my feet?
- What if my child starts to feel sick because of CO?
- What if my home fills up with smoke from my chimney?
- What if I find out my home has radon?
All of these are good valuable questions after the purchase. Just about all of these questions involve health & safety. Some pertain to monthly utility cost.
From the attic to the crawlspace. All the major systems and components will be inspected.
- Structure: foundation, framing, roof , walls, crawlspace and attic
- Roof: eaves, gutters, downspouts, vents, chimneys and all vent stacks
- Electrical: Outlets, light fixtures, switches, main panel/sub-panel, service entrance conductors
- Plumbing: Water heater, visible piping throughout home, all exterior and interior faucets, sinks, tub/showers
- Heating and Cooling: Main furnace, oil/wood/pellet/gas stoves, ducting, A/C unit and lines
- Exterior: Walls, siding, patios, decks, walkways, garage door, exterior fixtures and outlets, windows and doors
- Ventilation: Attics and crawl spaces need to properly vented
- Vapor Barriers: Crawl spaces should have proper ground barrier
- Interior: Ceilings, walls, floors, drywall, finishes, windows, doors
- Insulation: Attic insulation and venting, crawlspace insulation and venting
- Appliances: Dishwasher, ranges, waste disposal, permanent microwave
Do I need to have my home inspected?
I would always suggest to have an inspection. New or old, every home needs an inspection. Your inspector will provide you with a wealth of knowledge that's hard to acquire any other way. From the foundation to the roof, you'll gain important information about the largest investment you're likely to make in your lifetime. By helping you to better understand your house, a home inspection helps to pave the sometimes rocky road of home ownership.
We operate within Oregon's SOP, "standard operating procedures". However if clients desire a more technology inspection, we can provide it as well. In addition many buildings are never tested for pressures or air flow. Most people have never heard of building pressure testing. In order to provide building pressure testing requires additional certifications and training. Why pressure test? Pressure testing will provide more information about positive or negative room pressures, HVAC duct system and structural pressures. Measuring dominant positive or negative pressures. See our page on pressure testing. Yes anyone can hire a professional for a regular inspection. And that is what you will receive, a standard regular inspection! However not one of these inspectors can conduct an above standard inspection. While we follow the standard SOP we also designed our business to provide a better standard inspection.
Flue Draft & Combustion Testing
Flue Draft Testing. While all inspectors may or may not test flues of combustion appliances, again there is a reason why. Flue draft of combustion appliance should be a requirement. When a structure is under negative pressure the flue gases that are suppose to go out the flue. Negative pressure will pull CO back into the living space. Or if there is a fireplace that smokes up the structure, negative pressures could be the reason why in most cases.
Thermal Imagery: Years ago we were certified by FLIR in thermography. The science of "conduction" heat and cooling utilizing thermal imagery. Thermography is tricky if you are not trained in this field. This is why professional training is provided. Before reporting on an inspection when using this technology, the inspector should know what they are talking about. Yes we provide thermal scanning on electrical and the building envelope. Non evasive thermal scans can be a instrument used in detecting over heated circuits, water or moisture intrusion, air leaks, etc.
Certified by BPI-Building Performance Institute has also provided us with a much better understanding on building science, energy usage and testing for health & safety. Here in the Pacific Northwest we also have PTCS-Performance Tested Comfort Systems certification for duct systems. This program was designed by Bonneville Power and Energy Trust of Oregon. This involves HVAC duct systems and building pressures. As you will read in our web site building pressures can be a very big concern. Many people are injured every year by having negative pressures in their dwelling with gas fired appliance. Many businesses have experience health and safety issues with chemical storage rooms due to improper pressures.
Add Ons: Testing of combustion appliances, testing of flue drafts, pressure testing, insulation verification R-value and air flow. These add ons are basic information about the building envelope that are not covered in the SOP.
Commissioning for commercial: This is for new construction or existing structures. Potential buyer may want the structure inspection to verify all electrical, water systems, plumbing, HVAC, receptacles, lighting, mechanical, structural, roofing, appliances, pressure testing, ventilation, vapor barrier, thermal barrier, insulation, air sealing, etc.... has been installed correctly and working. During the commissioning process we operate all electrical and combustion equipment. We also take amp loads of electrical components then compare to spec sheet. To high or low of amp draws are always a tell tell sign.
Commercial: New or existing structures. Please contact us.
Building inspections. Potential buyers or occupants depend on a professional company to uncover possible issues for structural issues, health and safety.
On combustion appliances, would you want to know how efficient those appliances are? Wouldn't you want to know if those appliances "flue" are drafting correctly once the structure is placed under load? Under load means, all exhaust fans in the structure on to create a negative pressure to see if combustion appliances are drafting or back drafting!
By placing all exhaust fans on, this may create a negative pressure within that structure. If the negative pressure reach's 3 pacals "PA" this would pull the CO gases back into the structure. Many people do not know this and rely on CO detectors. However when you read the instructions on a CO detector it tells you how high the CO level must be before it will alarm. On some CO detectors the level PPM has to reach a level that could kill a person before it alarms.
HVAC air flow: Many HVAC systems are installed incorrectly. The consumer believes that all HVAC systems have been installed correctly. Example: When your subdivision was built the builder put each trade out for bid. Plumbing, electrical, HVAC etc. The builder went with the lowest bid. HVAC companies had to be competitive. I know this because I use to install HVAC systems, thousands of them. All HVAC systems normally were designed by sq footage of the structure. Never were they designed by heat or cooling loads, air leakage, solar loading etc. These systems were installed quickly. Duct systems were under or over sized and not sealed. Not one system was ever calibrated or air flow balancing was done. This is not required.
This is the reason why we hear so much about rooms being cold in the winter or hot in the summer. This can also cause moisture in walls and that leads to mold or mildew.
Medical Facilities Air Pressure Measurements.
Industrial-Commercial Inspections: Industrial inspections / audit cover the structure as well as equipment. An energy audit covers machinery, electrical loads, lighting, thermal / air barriers, HVAC systems. These audits may take a few days to weeks depending on the size of the building and number of mechanical equipment in place. Commercial & industrial is very different from residential.
These types of facilities have different types of materials used in the building process. Plus the amount of electrical and mechanical equipment takes a great deal of time to test and process. These inspections include a spread sheet report outlining existing energy usage compared to what could be reduced when upgrades are implemented. Along with a narrative report outlining any defectencies we locate.
We offer building pressure inspections if you have gas fired appliances or an chemical storage room. We place the structure under load so testing results will reveal real life exposure to back drafting of CO or other types of C02. Yes we use scientific equipment to conduct these tests. To the best of my knowledge no other home inspection companies offer this procedure.
Below is a few of our additional certifications. All certs pertain to building science. Knowledge is everything. A standard inspection has always been the appropriate standard way to go. However when investing in a property the buyer may want to know more. Example: In 2011 we tested approx 165 residential structures. Approx, 20% of those structures tested in as a negative pressure. Those structures were heated by gas or oil. Under negative pressure the CO was being pulled back into the living space. On each one of these properties the client said that for years they had headaches and sometimes felt dizzy. During our interview with the client this would always happened during heating season. We corrected the problem in every case. In addition by conducting pressure testing we can also define which side of your duct system is leaking more. The supply or return side.