Bellingham,Wa Home Inspector and Critters in the Crawlspace

     As a Bellingham and Blaine, Wa. Home Inspector, and throughout my years as a general contractor, I have encountered quite the assortment of critters in crawlspaces, attics and walls.  It seems that these varmints have as keen an eye for comfortable real estate as we do.  This is above and beyond the usual offenders (ants, beetles, termites, spiders, and rodents). The list is pretty extensive; skunks, possums, snakes, feral cats, wild chickens, bats, raccoons, honeybee hives, assorted birds, squirrels, and more cockroaches than I care to remember about).  I’m sure that there are some that I’m forgetting.  Not the best things you want residing in your home when you’re trying to sell it.  Perhaps unless you’re prospective buyers are nature lovers.  Although, even the nature lovers took issue with the skunks.  And, invariably, when I run into these critters the homeowner usually has asked me to get rid of them for them.  Even though I am not an exterminator, more often than not I have complied with there wishes.  I guess I’m a sucker for a pleading, frightened, housewife with tears forming in her eyes. Call it a weakness.  Well, there are interesting, and often horrific, stories attached to just about every one of these unwanted guest evictions.  Probably cocktail party fodder.  Too lengthy to get into here.  I will say that it took six months before the skunk perfume faded, and I was no longer a social pariah.  And my ribs have healed quite nicely.  I still have hopes that my vision will return to normal, but I have my doubts.  I did get a couple gallons of honey, but that does seem like little consolation now.

     Anyway, if you are looking for a Bellingham, Wa. Home Inspector, please don’t hesitate to give me a call.  Just remember that I no longer do skunks.  And please don’t cry.  Allmann Home Inspection Services in Bellingham and Blaine, Wa.   360-371-0260.

 

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Bellingham, Wa. Home Inspector and the Perfect Home

     These days, with so many different and varied temperate climates and zones throughout our world that are all affected by the different forces of nature, the answer as to what is the perfectly built home can be quite a conundrum. And when we consider the changes in home building materials technology and the move towards greener planet friendly yet efficient building practices, the big picture can become even more confusing.  Most often, the surrounding environment will, and should, dictate the optimum building practices to be followed to produce the most comfortable interior living space in a given zone.  The conscientious builder does not want to sacrifice form for function, or visa versa.  Could it be that the igloo in the arctic, the jungle hut in the Amazon, the nomad tent in the desert, or a simple teepee, for examples, were  the best representations for dwellings for their extremely varied environments?  They most certainly were the greenest, the quickest to build, and the least expensive.  But you probably won’t find very many of these structures gracing the pages of Better Homes and Gardens.  Pity.  However, we can still learn from the rudimentary technology these builders utilized with these structures, which were used for centuries before the advent of modern technology.  At that time, they advocated utilizing the natural materials in your immediate vicinity; adobe in the deserts and plains, logs for cabins in the north, and even excavated caves in New Mexico built by the Pueblo, or Anastazi, Indians.

     In the United States alone, there are at least a half a dozen or more different climates, which would all benefit from building practices that consider the weather and natural conditions inherent to that region, meaning at least as many homes built with different designs and materials to be as perfect as possible for that region.  In Australia, there is a town, Coober Pedy, where most of the residents live underground in homes that were dug out while excavating for opals.  I might consider such a dwelling if I had to live in Tornado Alley, if groundwater levels did not prevent it.  Modern technology suggests that we can build homes stronger, better, and more efficiently, even to the point of being nearly airtight and waterproof.  However, modern building materials are replete with chemicals, adhesives, plastics, and other assorted  toxins that we might not prefer living in close proximity to.  Even the many expert researchers, technicians, and scientists that conducted research in the Bioshere in Arizona failed to get it right.  Although this was, and still is, a much greater undertaking than the simple home, many of the basic building principles remain the same.

     Until science comes up with the definitive perfect home for an area, a Bellingham, Wa. Home Inspector can at least reassure you that the various systems in your home are functioning properly and that your home is unaffected by structural damage and pests.  In the meantime, I’m still looking for a cave with a view.  Allmann Home Inspection Services in Bellingham, Wa.  360-739-7361

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Bellingham, Wa. Home Inspector and the Eternal Abode

     When we look around the world at buildings and dwellings that have stood the ravages of time, the common denominator on the oldest of the bunch is that they were all built out of stone, brick, marble, or granite.  From pyramids, temples, castles, monuments, coliseums, to the grandest dwellings, the common thread for longevity seems to be stone of some sort.  Stands to reason. We don’t last forever, so should our homes?  I personally try to avoid looking in the mirror anymore.  Very few “stick-built” homes or log cabins, or homes built utilizing bio-degradable materials can withstand nature forever.  We would all like to think that our homes would last long enough for several generations of our kids to enjoy them.  But how practical would it be to build a brick or stone house on the top of the San Andreas fault?  Although, I have seen some very old brick homes in places like New England, Atlanta, and London. 

     Most home inspectors have inspected heritage homes at one time or another.  Some are in need of a match or a bulldozer, but many others have benefitted from a constant relationship of TLC or fastidious home maintenance.  And that is what will give you your best chance for helping your house reach a ripe old age.  This routine of maintenance should start from day one of occupancy.  I have had many clients who believed that since their house was brand new, they didn’t need to do anything but enjoy.  However, after a very few years , they started noticing little problems popping up.  And the majority of these problems are preventable.  Minor problems can, and often do, become major issues when left unaddressed or undiscovered. 

     While it may be impractical to build most homes using stone or marble, you can still keep an ongoing relationship of care and maintenance with your home and enjoy the benefits for many years.  Except for maybe the mirrors.  Allmann Home Inspection Services in Bellingham, Wa.   360-739-7361 or 360-371-0260.

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Bellingham, Wa Home Inspector and Pitiful Pipes

     Many older homes still have their original galvanized water pipes.  And, depending upon the water quality in your area, often these pipes have given up their ghosts as far as their ability to transport water.  Failure factors may include a build-up of mineral deposits from hard water, attrition from rust especially at the joints, electrolysis caused by contact of dissimilar metals, and mechanical damage.  Galvanized pipe that has been buried in the ground can be corroded to the point of failure due to highly acidic soil.  New construction has mostly shifted to the use of pex, and copper,  although we still see pvc and cpvc.  Plastic piping, including polybutylene and polyethylene, are not as affected with mineral deposits as galvanized pipe, but may be affected by other issues.  Homes pre-1950 may contain lead water pipes and older copper pipes could be connected with lead based solder in the joints.  In the late 1960’s, I was working for HUD repairing very old homes in the L.A. area.  Quite often, I had to replace the majority of the galvanized pipes in the home because little or no water was making it to the faucets.  In some cases, more water was leaking out on the ground than into the house.  During an inspection, the home inspector will check for water pressure and flow to plumbing fixtures, and for signs of problems caused by these issues mentioned above.

     Water quality alone can be the biggest factor in the longevity and integrity of piping, and then, in turn, our own health.  In addition to water being hard or acidic, many water municipalities may add several chemicals such as chlorine, fluoride, aluminum sulphate, calcium hydroxide, and fluorosilicic acid in an effort to keep water marginally potable.  Add to these the various organic salts already possibly in water (arsenic, radium, aluminum, copper, lead, cadmium, mercury, etc.), hormones, and pesticides, and we can see how there can be a build-up of these toxins in piping, or in the human body.  This is why inspectors will often see various water filtration systems in homes, including tap filters, water softeners, distillation units, and reverse osmosis systems.  Though these systems cannot all be tested during the course of a home inspection, they may be good indicators of existing water conditions, which can affect piping, plumbing fixtures, hot water tanks, boilers, appliances, etc.

   So please call a Bellingham, Wa. Home Inspector to evaluate and make recommendations about your prospective purchase of a new home.  Just don’t drink the water.  Allmann Home Inspection Services in Bellingham and Blaine, Wa.  360-371-0260 or 360-739-7361.

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Bellingham, Wa Home Inspector and Pitiful Pipes

     Many older homes still have their original galvanized water pipes.  And, depending upon the water quality in your area, often these pipes have given up their ghosts as far as their ability to transport water.  Failure factors may include a build-up of mineral deposits from hard water, attrition from rust especially at the joints, electrolysis caused by contact of dissimilar metals, and mechanical damage.  Galvanized pipe that has been buried in the ground can be corroded to the point of failure due to highly acidic soil.  New construction has mostly shifted to the use of pex, and copper,  although we still see pvc and cpvc.  Plastic piping, including polybutylene and polyethylene, are not as affected with mineral deposits as galvanized pipe, but may be affected by other issues.  Homes pre-1950 may contain lead water pipes and older copper pipes could be connected with lead based solder in the joints.  In the late 1960’s, I was working for HUD repairing very old homes in the L.A. area.  Quite often, I had to replace the majority of the galvanized pipes in the home because little or no water was making it to the faucets.  In some cases, more water was leaking out on the ground than into the house.  During an inspection, the home inspector will check for water pressure and flow to plumbing fixtures, and for signs of problems caused by these issues mentioned above.

     Water quality alone can be the biggest factor in the longevity and integrity of piping, and then, in turn, our own health.  In addition to water being hard or acidic, many water municipalities may add several chemicals such as chlorine, fluoride, aluminum sulphate, calcium hydroxide, and fluorosilicic acid in an effort to keep water marginally potable.  Add to these the various organic salts already possibly in water (arsenic, radium, aluminum, copper, lead, cadmium, mercury, etc.), hormones, and pesticides, and we can see how there can be a build-up of these toxins in piping, or in the human body.  This is why inspectors will often see various water filtration systems in homes, including tap filters, water softeners, distillation units, and reverse osmosis systems.  Though these systems cannot all be tested during the course of a home inspection, they may be good indicators of existing water conditions, which can affect piping, plumbing fixtures, hot water tanks, boilers, appliances, etc.

   So please call a Bellingham, Wa. Home Inspector to evaluate and make recommendations about your prospective purchase of a new home.  Just don’t drink the water.  Allmann Home Inspection Services in Bellingham and Blaine, Wa.  360-371-0260 or 360-739-7361.

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Bellingham, Wa. Home Inspector and the Roadworthy House

Just thought I’d say a few words about the politics involved in the homebuyer/ real estate agent/ home inspector relationship. I believe that ultimately all three parties understand the advantages of having a comprehensive home inspection. Occasionally, it seems that ethics can come into question. The dynamics are that the homeowner wants to be sure that they know everything about a house and that they are making a sound purchase for their hard-earned money, the real estate agent wants to sell the house, make a living, and give the homebuyer a quality house that they want for a good price, and the home inspector wants to protect the homebuyer, make a living, and discover as much as they can about a house during the course of an inspection, and then make the homeowner aware of all of his findings. This is the ideal. However, there can also be homebuyers who want to purchase a property for a quick cosmetic makeover and to flip it for a quick profit, regardless of possible unresolved issues with the house, real estate agents that just want to make the sale, and home inspectors that just want to please real estate agents for possible future referrals, or to squeeze in as many inspections in a day as possible. And there are varying degrees along the spectrum. We all know where we fall along the spectrum. As is often the case, the bottom line is cash versus personal credo or ethics.
It is not unlike the process of purchasing a used car, with a couple of exceptions. No one, I hope, would consider buying a used car without having their mechanic check it out first. And, no one should expect that a used car will be as pristine as a new one. They do, however, want to be sure that the car is roadworthy and the price is right. The process is much the same with home inspections. The exception is that the home inspector will not, or by law should not, be doing any repairs, whereas the car mechanic might. I do, however, hear tell of home inspectors that do solicit work for themselves in the course of an inspection, in spite of the fact that the law requires a one year abstinence period. And the car, or home, seller may have just slapped a new coat of paint on the old rust bucket and disregarded any mechanical woes, in hopes of the quick “as is” sale. I have inspected houses that I would not wish upon my worst enemy, but they were still sold to someone. Which is why, I suppose, that I have heard so many agents say that “it’s going to take the right motivated buyer to move this property!” But move it they did.
So, as goes without saying, there are still the unscrupulous in every trade. The bottom line is still “buyer beware”. And still the best way for a home buyer to be aware of all of the issues and concerns with a home, and to be sure that their prospective home is “roadworthy”, is to deal with reputable real estate agents and to have a comprehensive, complete, and thorough home inspection by a qualified Bellingham, Wa. Home Inspector. Thankfully, there are still plenty of both. Allmann Home Inspection Services in Bellingham, Wa. 360-371-0260 or 360-739-7361.

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Hello Valued Visitors and Prospective Homebuyers!

Welcome to Allmann Home Inspection Services!

For most people, the purchase and ownership of their house is the most important and costly investment they make in their lifetime.  Many buyers are overwhelmed at the prospect of committing to a property that they know little about.  You need to be sure that this property is fully inspected and analyzed as to it’s current condition, in order to feel confident that you are making the right choice.  My motto at Allmann Home Inspection Services is ” I inspect your home as if it were my own!”.  I know that if I was about to invest in a property, I would want to know everything that I could about the current condition of that property.  How else can you be sure that the investment you are about to make is a sound one?  I inspect a property with an eye toward detail, safety, function, and longevity.  You will receive a comprehensive written report detailing the condition and areas of the home that may require amending, improvement, and recommendations for further evaluation by trade professionals.  Service, promptness, reliability, professionalism, and customer satisfaction are my goals and stock in trade for my clients before, during, and after the inspection.  Thank you for considering Allmann Home Inspection Services for your inspection needs.

Contact Information:

Steven H. Allmann
8492 Shintaffer Rd.
Blaine, WA 98230
360-371-0260
360-739-7361
Fax: 360-371-0260
Email: allmannhomeinspections@gmail.com
Web: allmannhomeinspections.wordpress.com

Personal Information:

Licensed and Certified Washington State Home Inspector #650
NACHI Certified #10010502
Graduate of Bellingham Technical College Course for Home Inspection
Former General Contractor
Over 40 Years in Construction Trades

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