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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

Post-Tension Slab Alert

April 18, 2018 | Buyer Inspection

About 40 to 50 years ago, Houston home builders began switching from convention concrete & rebar foundations to post-tension slab foundations. This change was not made because post-tension slabs make for a better foundation. This change was made because post-tension slabs are cheaper which translates to more profit for the homebuilder. Unfortunately, the results of this change is devastating for homeowners. Conventional concrete & rebar foundations last about 20-30 years before failure begins to occur. Post-tension slabs are lasting about 15-20 years and are failing at a much higher rate. The switch from steel rebar to post-tension cable by Houston area home builders has delivered unmistakable results – post-tension cable foundations are failing earlier and in far greater numbers than steel rebar foundations. Authority News Network, June 22, 2017 Post-tension slabs are created with concrete trenches around the perimeter of the house where the external walls will be placed. Additional … Continued

Read More

Home Fire Safety

March 8, 2018 | Buyer Inspection

We all remember Smoky the Bear from our childhood saying “Only you can prevent forest fires.” Well, that sentiment carries over to the household as well. Home fire safety is a crucial issue for everyone. Reports about home fires are on the news all the time, and, unfortunately, we continue to have significant damage to properties and tragic loss of life when home fires occur. As homeowners, it is our responsibility to ensure the safety of our homes. This can be accomplished several ways via smoke detectors, fire suppression devices, proper maintenance of the house. Fatal Facts Half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. Only one in five home fires were reported during these hours. 43% of home fires start in the kitchen. One fourth of home fire deaths were caused by fires that started in the bedroom. Another fourth resulted from … Continued

Read More

Home Inspections Tips For Buyers

January 12, 2018 | Buyer Inspection

There are many things facing first time home owners who may not be familiar with all the intricacies of the home buying process. One of the primary duties of the Realtor is to assist the home buyers through this process. This blog is designed to inform First Time Home Buyers with what is involved with home inspections. Why A Home Inspection? Home inspections are performed to educate the buyer about the condition of the home they are purchasing. Once informed, they can decide whether this home is for them. Are Home Inspections Required? No, however, some financial institutions require them. Without the home inspection, the buyer may be purchasing a home with issues that are not readily apparent to the untrained eye. Can I Perform My Own Home Inspection? Yes; however, you still run into the same issue with financial institutions. In addition, the seller and the listing agent may … Continued

Read More

How To Read A Texas Home Inspection Report

January 1, 2018 | Buyer Inspection

One of the challenges every home inspector faces is to translate what they see to a report that makes sense to the person reading the report. The Home Inspection Report is designed to inform the client about the overall condition of the home. With this information, the client, with advice from their Realtor, can determine how to proceed. They may accept the condition of the home, negotiate for some of the repairs, negotiate the purchase price, or they may decide to withdraw the purchase offer and continue looking for a home. At Magnolia Home Inspection Services we use the following color code: Blue: inspector comments about the condition of the item inspected. These appear when there is an issue with the item. Red: inspector comments concerning safety issues for the item inspected. Black: standard TREC LIMITATIONS Home Inspection Reports can be lengthy and confusing. The report can contain anything from … Continued

Read More