Arm Yourself with Knowledge: Invest in a Home Inspection Before You Buy

August 15, 2019 | Buyer Inspection

Most first-time home buyers have a list of deal breakers: the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the size of the kitchen, a nice backyard, etc. Unfortunately, these items tend to overshadow the real deal breakers, like the condition of the roof, foundation, and septic system. Don’t make the same mistake. Before purchasing your Houston home, allow Magnolia Home Inspection Services perform a thorough home inspection and provide the information you need to make a wise purchase decision.

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Septic Inspections Explained

February 7, 2019 | Buyer Inspection

We are often asked about septic systems and septic inspections. In this blog you will find Types of Septic Systems How Septic Systems Work Septic Maintenance Septic Inspection Limitations Septic systems were invented by the French in the 1860s. By the 1880s, the two-stage septic tank systems were installed in the United States. Today,nearly 20% or 1/5 of all households have a septic system. The number of households using septic systems has been steadily increasing. Unfortunately, many homeowners install and forget the septic system and are often surprised that their system requires maintenance or pumping. There are basically 3 types of septic systems: Septic tank with no disbursement of liquids to a leach field. Conventional septic tank with disbursement of liquids to a leach field. Aerobic septic system which pumps disbursement of liquids to a leach field. HOW SEPTIC SYSTEMS WORK Some of the older systems will contain 1 or … Continued

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How Does Your AC Work

January 24, 2019 | Home Inspection

Like driving a car, most people can enjoy their home AC without knowing all the details of how it works; however, the concepts are easy to understand and actually quite interesting. Let’s look at an AC functional diagram. The basics of cooling your home is about removing heat from the refrigerant. This is done by turning the refrigerant by compressing and decompressing the refrigerant to transform it from a liquid to a gas and back to a liquid. As the refrigerant is compressed, it becomes hot. When it is decompressed, it becomes cold. There are 2 units used in the typical residential AC system Outdoor Unit: is often called the Condenser Unit. It is a rectangular box sitting out of the house. Key components located in the outdoor unit is the compressor, the condensing coils, and a large fan. Indoor Unit: is typically attached to the furnace system. They share … Continued

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Missing TPR Valve – Big Deal?

September 3, 2018 | Home Inspection

Temperature Pressure Relieve (TPR) valves are installed on water heaters as a safety device to prevent water heaters from exploding. Building codes require that a TPR valve be installed. If you haven’t seen a water heater explode before, check out the short video below: Water Heater Explosion Video TPR valves are designed to open when the pressure exceeds 150 psi or 210 degrees F. These limits are set very low relative to the actual pressure it takes to explode a water heater. In this Myth Busters video, the pressure in the tank can exceed 330 psi before it will explode. The TPR valve will relieve pressure long before it becomes dangerous. So, if the TPR valve is missing, is it a big deal? Will the water heater explode today if we turn it on? Water heaters are designed to be safe. If the water heater is new, the risk of … Continued

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Aluminum Wiring – Safe or Unsafe?

August 30, 2018 | Buyer Inspection

The Question Is this house safe if it has aluminum wiring installed? This is the predominant question asked by home buyers and Realtors when aluminum wiring appears on the Home Inspection Report. For most houses, the answer is yes, the house is safe. Aluminum wiring is not as big an issue today as it was in the 1960s and 1970s due to improved installation methods and using electrical connections designed for aluminum wiring. v Aluminum wiring was used as a substitute to copper during the mid 1960s thru 1970s. It was used because the cost of copper was so high. The qualities of aluminum as a metal are not the same as copper; yet, aluminum wiring was installed using the same methods as copper. As a result, house fires did result and, unfortunately, several deaths did occur due to aluminum wiring. That was in the 70’s. Once the cause and … Continued

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Foundation Repairs Made Easy

July 8, 2018 | Buyer Inspection

In this blog, we will discuss low cost repairs homeowners can make for foundation cracks and exposed post-tension cable ends. Foundation Crack Repairs Corner Cracks Almost EVERY house in the Houston area with a concrete slab has them. Almost all of the cracks found at the corners of the foundation are NOT a concern for foundation failure. Almost all of these cracks can be treated easily by the home owner for under $5. If these cracks are left untreated, water can enter the crack and cause the crack to increase in size. Eventually, the corner section may fall off completely. If this happens, the foundation is still not failing; however, minor repairs are required to repair the corner section in order to support the brick or framing that is no longer supported by the foundation. In addition, cracks can create a conducive environment for wood destroying insects to enter the … Continued

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The Problems With Improper Grading

July 1, 2018 | Buyer Inspection

What in the heck is grading and why does it appear on home inspection reports? Grading is simply another word for the ground or soil. When we do a home inspection, we look for several issues with the grading. Does the grading slope towards or away from the house? When we inspect a home, we look at the entire lawn to determine the flow of water when it rains. Water should always drain away from the house and not towards it…especially in the Houston area! If your lawn naturally allows water to drain towards the house, there are several options: Trenching French Drains Dig out a swale. A swale is a shallow wide trench that diverts water away from the house. Swales can use natural soil and grass or can be concreted in with a drainage system as shown below. How high is the grading next to the foundation? In … Continued

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Maximizing The Market Value For Your Home

May 23, 2018 | Home Inspection

A “clean” home inspection report is extremely advantageous to the seller of a home. It will make your home more attractive to potential buyers. It reduces the size of the overall home inspection report, thus, not scaring away buyers. Buyers typically don’t want to purchase a home with a lot of issues, even if they are minor ones. It also conveys the message that this home is well taken care of and is a good property to buy. Most of these tips are zero to low cost Exterior 6 to 8 inches of the foundation should be showing around the perimeter of the house to promote the flow of storm water away from the house. Trim vegetation to 1 foot away from house to prevent insect access to house. Tree branches should not be touching the roof. This can damage shingles resulting in water penetration into the attic, insulation, and … Continued

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What Is An AC Balance Test

May 14, 2018 | Buyer Inspection

In our inspection reports, we often state that the air conditioning cooling system failed the balance or the TD test. So what is the world is an AC Balance Test? The AC Balance Test is slang for the AC Temperature Differential Test. It is the difference between the temperature of the air going into an air conditioner and the temperature of the air coming out. It is also called the “delta T” by HVAC professionals. Let’s review what is happening using the following diagram: The condensing unit, located outside of the house, sends coolant back inside the house to the Evaporator Unit where the coolant is cooled to a low temperature of about 25 degrees before it enters the evaporator coils. A fan blows room temperature air from the return air vent across the condensing coils. The air is chilled to about 55º F and vented back to the house … Continued

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Stucco vs EFIS

May 9, 2018 | Buyer Inspection

Traditional Stucco or Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EFIS), also known as synthetic stucco or Dryvit, are becoming increasing popular. Although they are very similar in outward appearance, the construction of stucco vs. EFIS is very different. This blog explains, at a very high level, the difference in construction methods and most common reasons why it would appear on a home inspection report as failing, needing improvement or further investigation required. Stucco Stucco is one of the oldest types of construction, dating back to 500 BCE in the times of Plato and Aristotle. The word “stucco” itself is Greek and means “no defeat”. In 1824, Joseph Aspdin improved traditional stucco application process by creating and adding Portland cement to the plaster mix. How it’s applied: Traditional stucco is applied by attaching a wire mesh to the external walls. A base coat or scratch coast of plaster is applied and successive … Continued

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