One of the routine questions asked by our customers is...what tools do you use throughout the inspection? Admittedly, I'm a gadget freak, but nonetheless, here's what I carry to facilitate a thorough review of the property:
- Flashlights (I carry about 5 of different sizes and purposes. In fact, I'll share one with a "hands on" customer who wants to be personally involve in the inspection.)
- Measuring tapes (I carry 2 because invariably the customer wants to measure for curtain sizes and furniture placement. I'll even share one with a child at the inspection to keep him or her occupied)
- Ladders (two types) If you're dying to know...one is a Telesteps and one is a Little Giant) Incidentally, I purchase most of my equipment from Prolab who's customer service is second to none.
- Water pressure gauge to verify proper regulated pressure. Yes, homeowners can adjust their own water pressure inside the home. Do you know what yours is?
- Various screwdrivers
- Digital camera (very important for data collection)
- Electrical circuit anaylzer that checks for loose grounds, improper wiring and other electrical faults. I find electrical problems in about 85% of the properties we inspect. Some discrepancies are life threatening!
- Gas leak detector
- Carbon monoxide detector (I carry this important tool for two reasons. One is to protect the inspector. The other is to identify this poisonous gas that quietly gives people flu-like symptoms or worse-yet kills them. So many homes do not have this device. One is needed per HVAC system. They cost less than a Tommy Hilfiger shirt. Get one!)
- Electronic moisture meter (This is a critically important tool. It detects moisture under tile using radio frequency technology. Very useful in identifying defective wax rings around toilet bases. It also measures moisture content in wood) All home inspectors should have this tool in their bag.
- Protective clothing for crawlspace entry (Any homeowner who has a crawl space needs proper protection including gloves, an overall, and most importantly...a minimum N-95 respirator. I'll be posting another blog specific to this topic in the near future.)
- Reference manuals including our inspection software, technical manuals, manufacturer's manuals, and code books
- A reliable inspection vehicle. This is ours...
- Most important set of tools I carry, you ask? My senses. Before every inspection I pray that God may grant me maximum ability to use my eyes to detect a defect such as a bowed wall/sagging floor or evidence of a bathroom that was previously used as a meth lab. My ears to detect bearings that are going bad in a attic fan or the burping/gargling sounds of a water heater on its last leg. My nose to detect a musty odor in a basement which may suggest possible mold or sewer gases backing up into the residence. My sense of balance when I'm working on a steep roof or straddling ceiling joists in an attic during new construction. My sense of touch to detect a circuit breaker that is excessively hot or vibration in a kitchen appliance that is needing repair.
The collection of tools and training on how to effectively use the tools is expensive, but much needed.
As inspectors we must rely on our brains to facilitate the identification, processing, recording, and communication of these findings so the customer (we do it an informative, non-alarming manner) can fully understand and take action on the findings.
This blog a little insight as to what tools we rely on to successfully perform our inspection functions for our customers