Why Your Home Inspection Should Include Environmental Testing
When you’re touring a potential new home and you think you’ve found your forever home, your mind may be racing with thoughts about cost, space, safety, the commute, the move, mortgage rates, insurance, upgrades, and images of your family making the house a home.
After you make an offer, your very next steps are a home inspection and silent prayers that it’s in great shape structurally. Your Realtor may suggest a Home Inspector or you may have a referral through another home buyer, but you rest assured knowing that a thorough top to bottom inspection will take place by a qualified and certified professional who will identify areas of the home that need attention in a comprehensive report.
But are they looking at every issue in your home – including environmental testing?
“Many homebuyers assume or are lead to believe that services by a Home Inspector will uncover every potential issue in a home, and that is simply not accurate. There are many conditions of a home inspection that are outside the scope of services, and it would be prudent for a home buyer to understand those boundaries once environmental factors are found – like signs of water damage, smells that indicate mold and construction materials that suggest lead, radon or asbestos.”
~ Peter Bennett, Owner of A Full House Inspection located in Little Silver, New Jersey
Home Inspectors are an invaluable resource in assessing a home’s condition. But often, there are exclusions in the Home Inspector’s contract and work related to environmental testing. That’s when you’ll want to consider looping in a qualified Environmental Specialist to test, assess and help remediate environmental factors that have the potential to be dangerous to your family.
Here are 5 Signs that your Home Inspection Should Include Environmental Testing:
1. Older homes may contain lead-based paint or asbestos. The use of asbestos and lead-based paint in building materials was stopped by the late 1970’s, so if your home is older than that, there could be asbestos. Materials like popcorn ceilings, plaster walls, floor tiles, adhesives to flooring and insulation around steam pipes or wrapping around boilers are common places where asbestos can be found. If an older home has a newer basement remodel, an air sampling will help to determine how well the asbestos has been mitigated. If something is painted black, Home Inspectors will ofter tag is as suspect. It should then be followed up on by an Environmental Specialist
2. Poor condition of building materials could indicate mold from water damage. There are many signs that lead to mold concerns, including the condition of shingles and roofing materials that suggest leaks, and a basement with discoloration on sheetrock materials or on wood framing and paneling. When there are signs of airborne mold in the home, it is critical to bring in the services of an Environmental Specialist to determine the location and remediation measures that should be taken. Learn more about when your home inspection also needs a mold inspection.
3. Dried insulation could emit formaldehyde. An older style of dried foam insulation known as UFFI – Urea Formaldehyde can potentially emit formaldehyde which can be airborne and create issues for people who have respiratory illnesses or a hyper-sensitivity to chemicals. It can also be costly to remove and there is some conflicting response as to the level of health hazard.
4. Elevated Radon in your area and Poor Ventilation. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, any house can have higher than normal levels of radon regardless of age, geographic location, the type of house construction, and the existence of crawlspace, slab or basement. You cannot see, smell or taste radon, a cancer-causing radioactive gas, and it’s often found igneous rock and soil, and in some cases, well water. Radon is the #2 cause of lung cancer in the U.S. There are no immediate symptoms that will alert you to the presence of radon and it typically takes years of exposure before any problems surface. Testing is the only way to know your home’s radon levels, and your Inspector should either be licensed to perform the test, or bring in an Environmental Specialist
5. Grading of property and condition of downspout. 99% of the time grading creates issues related to slope of property that allows water to pool and drain back toward a home. If it’s questionable, a Home Inspector will suggest a more detailed look at the effects of the grade and a potential upgrade. If there’s water issue related to grading issues, and Environmental Specialist will be brought in so that mold can be further tested.
While many environmental factors may be excluded from home inspection services, a good Home Inspector will provide a photographed record to be included in the report to flag a condition of the home that should be followed up on by a qualified/certified Environmental Specialist.
Stock Environmental partners with A Full House Inspection regularly to provide highest quality environmental testing and remediation services to commercial and residential clients. A Full House Inspection inspects thousands of properties, their components, features and systems in accordance with State of New Jersey rules and regulations, ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors, and INACHI (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors) standards.
NJ Home Inspector Lic#GI371, NJ DEP Radon MET11140
530 Prospect Avenue Ste. # 3C Little Silver, NJ 07739
Office 732-758-9887 Cell 732-245-9817
Stock Environmental is an environmental consulting firm servicing all of New Jersey and New York. If you have questions, or would like to schedule an inspection, give us a call at 732-383-5190 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.