Every once in a while I come across a home with no gutters.
The point of a gutter and leader (downspout) systems is to collect rainwater from the roof and direct it away from the building foundation by means of leader extensions, splash blocks, or underground drain lines.
An improperly functioning gutter and leader system can add to water and ice backing up against fascias and under roof shingles, can damage soffits, and can discolor or deteriorate siding materials. Faulty gutters and leaders can also lead to soil erosion adjacent to buildings and serious water and foundation displacement problems in basements and crawl spaces.
Gutter systems take more abuse from extreme weather conditions, particularly ice and snow, than any other component of the building envelope. They are also subject to damage from ladders and being stepped on, as well as from falling tree limbs and debris.
Gutters should be sloped a minimum of 1 inch for every 40 feet of run. Standing water may indicate a sagging or incorrectly pitched gutter.
If you see a gas fired furnace or boiler in the basement of home that you are interested in purchasing after a home inspector goes through and discovers evidence of an underground oil tank during the home inspection you will need to take some precautions.
Evidence of an existing or pre existing tank can include copper lines transitioning a foundation wall. Exterior fill pipes exiting the ground. Often though the tank was in the basement and removed. The tanks placement can often be found by marks on the concrete floor where the oil lines ran along the floor or the feet of the tank leaving marks in the concrete.
Circumstances can vary upon the discovery of a tank. Some tanks are removed others are filled with sand under the ground.
Active oil tanks under ground can often pose problems. Leaching oil from cracked tanks can cause many problems. Large remediation expenditures are not uncommon. I remember a situation about 25 years ago when a leaking oil line cost over $500,000. to remediate only to eventually result in the demolition of the home.
Today oil tanks are not installed underground. Some older towns like Aberdeen and Middletown will have tanks underground that were installed in the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s.
I have been told by some remediation companies that all tanks leak. It is a matter of degrees.
For your home inspection call us at 800-989-3872 or visit us on the web at www.pinnaclehomeinspections.com
If your home inspector finds evidence of an oil tank you can get the soil scanned by a tank service company. This will let you know if there is a tank anywhere on the property.
As we leave this harsh winter and enter into spring, now is a great time to go outside and evaluate your grading.
Water problems usually become more apparent in summer from heavy rains or after rapid snowmelt during the winter/spring months.
Common issues from poor grading usually lead to; cracked walks due to heaving/settlement, water seepage into the basement or lower levels, standing water, rot to exterior siding, and a continuously running sump pump to name a few.
Today on my home inspection in Barnegat New Jersey I discovered a negatively pitched grade, causing water seepage into the basement and garage levels.
I explained to my client a few recommendations for remediation to reduce or eliminate these issues.
Simple maintenance is the key to maintaining a positive grading.
1. Clean your gutters and downspout
2. Make sure your downspout extensions are attached to discharge water away from your foundation
3. Make sure that the soil is pitched away from the foundation creating a positive slope. (This could be deceiving with mulch and stone creating a positive slope at the top surface, however the underlaying soil is still back pitched towards the foundation. Keep in mind that stone and mulch percolate water down.)
It’s recommended for slope of 1 inch per foot, for a minimum of 5 feet, away from your foundation as a guide to creating a positive in grade.
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Sometimes when inspecting a vacant home in the winter time the utilities are on.
Sometimes the heat is off. That was the case here. With the heat off this Brick home had a copper pipe burst just under the slop sink. The gushing water flooded the empty home. When inspecting such disasters it is important to bring moisture meters, pliers, flashlights and screwdrivers.
My job as the home inspector was to find the burst pipe. The buyer thought is was the in wall supply to the washer. It was not the pipe came right out of its sleeve. The home was mitigated for mold and all the flooring replaced on the first floor.
That cost a lot more than running the heat for a few months.
Visit us on the web at www.pinnaclehomeinspections.com or call 800-989-3872