Details Home Inspections, LLC.

360.823.3034 Brian@DetailsHomeInspections.com WA Licensed Home Inspector #1533 OR OCHI#2103 Home Energy Score Assessor

Everything You Need To Know About Your Camas Washington Septic System

At Details Home Inspections, one of our goals is educating homeowners. The city of Camas Washington has an interesting and unique approach to sewage/waste management. We get questions about this a lot and you should know that if you live in Camas Washington your home is tied into the City of Camas sewer main as a part of the municipal wastewater treatment system. 

As your professional home inspectors in Clark County WA, we would like to share some important information about the Camas WA systems so that you can come to understand what this means to you and how it might impact your home buying or home selling process. 

An Overview of Septic Tank Systems

Over time, solids collect in the septic tank and are pumped out by the City of Camas every 6-10 years. In this process, the wastewater is filtered and then pumped out to the wastewater system. You can reduce waste and protect the wastewater treatment system, your home plumbing systems, and even the environment by avoiding flushing items that do not degrade easily. 

If you have a septic tank in Camas Washington, you will have one of the following systems on your property:

A STEP System- Septic Tank Effluent Pumping System: This is your sanitary sewage system which pumps the fluids from a collection tank into the pressurized mainlines using a high head pump, alarm system, and a control panel.

A STEF System- Septic Tank Effluent Filter System: This system works by siphoning the waste instead of pumping it using a high-level alarm and an electrical panel.

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How do you know which system is on your property?

A professional home inspector can help you identify which system has been installed on your property, or a property which you're considering purchasing. We can also recommend a suitable maintenance plan and show you how to turn off the alarm. If the alarm goes off, this generally means the system needs to be serviced by the city.

Who claims ownership of the STEP/STEF system on your property?

Once your installed STEP/STEF system has been inspected and accepted, the City of Camas will actually be the owner of all components of it. The only part of the system you own is the sewer line from your residence to the tank. With the city being the owner of the system, they are also responsible for all maintenance of it and will need to be able to have access to it at all times. 

What happens if there is damage to the STEP/STEF system?

While the city claims ownership to the system, if there is damage that is due to negligence, gross negligence, or intentional acts, you as the owner will be responsible. This includes any clogging that occurs because of improper use, as stated in the City of Camas Ordinance 13.62.070.

Can I landscape over my STEP/STEF tank?

The main issue with landscaping is that the green riser lids cannot be covered up by any landscaping you choose to do on the property. This is because these lids need to be accessible at all times to ensure that the city can access it in a timely manner in the event of emergency or maintenance call. 

At Details Home Inspections, we can help you Identify the type of system you have in your current home or in a home you are planning to purchase. We can also educate you on what the presence of the system means for your life in the home and how to protect the system from damage due to improper use. Together we can come up with a maintenance plan that will work for your family.

Contact us today to schedule an inspection with your trusted home inspectors in Clark County WA or check out our Facebook page for more tips for loving your home.

Clark County PUD Rebates & Loan Programs

At Details Home Inspections, we love seeing 3 things. The first is our customers having well-built homes that give them peace of mind. The second is energy efficiency so that these homes are functioning in the best possible manner. The third is watching our customers save tons of money with their energy efficiency by using rebates, incentives, and loan programs.  

These rebates, incentives and low-interest loan programs help create a better and more efficient community while also reducing cost to consumers. Utilizing these programs can also help you reduce the amount of power you need to buy, allowing you to use only the energy you need and avoid wasteful spending. 

We're lucky here in Clark County WA in that our local Clark County PUD offers some truly amazing Rebate and Loan programs:

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The Solar Energy Program: For those looking to invest in solar technology, loans are available to assist you. Whether you are looking to install rooftop solar systems or solar water heaters, they can help you find a contractor within their network and help you through the entire process to ensure you are completely happy with your new system.

The Heat Pump Program: This program offers a $750 rebate that helps pay for an upgrade to your existing system. The idea is to help residents upgrade to a heating and cooling system that is ductless, thereby using only a fraction of the electricity while offering an even more comforting environment.

A Smart Thermostat: The use of one of these nifty gadgets can help reduce energy waste while keeping your home comfortable for your family. If you are a current customer with Clark Public Utilities and are heating your home with either an electric furnace or a heat pump, you might qualify for a $50 smart thermostat rebate. If you have a natural gas furnace instead, you still could qualify for a rebate through the Energy Trust.

The Weatherization Program: If you are looking into replacing your windows, insulating your attic or walls, air sealing, duct sealing, or other weatherization projects, you may qualify for a loan of up to $15,000 at just 3.5% interest. Manufactured homes or homes that are heated electrically are eligible for the program, but all eligibility is based on credit approval.

The Heat Pump Water Heater Program: If you are looking for an efficient alternative to heat your water, you can currently take advantage of a $150 rebate for qualifying Tier 1 heat pump water heaters, and a $300 rebate for qualifying Tier 2 and 3 heat pump water heaters.

Multi-family Property Programs: For owners of electrically heated multi-family buildings (5 units or more), Clark Public Utilities offers a variety of rebates for the weatherization of these structures. For owners of multi-family structures with four or fewer units, they can apply for the PUD's single-family home weatherization rebates.

These rebates may not last forever, so now is a great time to take advantage of programs which will help you improve your home while saving some serious cash.

Contact us today at Details Home Inspections or check out our Facebook page to learn more about our professional home inspections in Vancouver WA. We would be happy to discuss some of the upgrades that may help you create a more comfortable, efficient, and safe home for you and your family!

9 Common Issues With New Construction Homes

At Details Home Inspections we fully understand that buying a new home for your family is serious business. This is true whether the home is new construction or a modest fixer-upper.  Due to the looming financial responsibility of this large investment, getting the lowdown of what lies beneath the surface of your potential home is of huge importance. 

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This is where a qualified and thorough home inspector comes into play. This step is so valuable and is always your best bet for an honest home evaluation. Including this as a requirement of closing is a good idea so you can have a general understanding of what you are getting yourself into before you sign the papers and lay down some cash.

So, if you're in the market for a new home or are a real estate agent and are not sure if a home inspection is worth the cost, we could definitely show you the value. Contrary to popular belief, even a bright and shiny new-construction home can come with some serious issues. 

Also, if you own a new home and didn't have it inspected before you bought it, now might be a good time to fit that in before your one-year warranty is up. Click here to read about our 11th-month inspections!

If you are working directly with a builder for your new home, they should welcome the opportunity to have the home checked out by a private home inspector prior to closing. This will give them the opportunity to address issues before they become major problems. Regardless of how thorough the municipal inspector is; mistakes can be missed in the process.

Below is a list of commonly missed issues in new construction homes that may cause you to want to schedule an inspection with us right away:

1. Missing paint on the underside of trim boards and fascia boards- this is an important detail to prevent moisture intrusion

2. Missing or improperly pitched gutters

3. Missing or cracked caulking around interior windows or around the sink and shower areas 

4. Improperly installed radon mitigation

5. Leaking shower heads which could lead to water damage

6. Garage door safety reverse not functioning causing a safety hazard

7. Missing insulation in the attic and/or crawlspace

8. Missing and damaged foundation wall vents

9. Disconnected exhaust vents in attic

All of these issues could lead to damage that may be costly to fix. Even smaller problems, like a leaky shower head, can balloon into a much bigger disaster if left unfixed.

At Details Home Inspections, it is our goal to help you avoid these common problems from the start, so that you can save time and money in the future. We aim to give you peace of mind and freedom from stress as you go about the closing process, and we do this by educating you about what lies within the bones of your home.

Contact us today or message us on Facebook so we can make a plan to help you get through the home buying process in one piece.

Homeowners Beware of these 3 Unsafe Electrical Panels

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Do you own a home that was built before 1990? If so, you may not be aware of the outdated main electric panels/boxes that could be hiding in your home.

The scary thing about these outdated electrical panels is that they can be very unsafe. The major difference between these and your more modern electrical panels is that the old-fashioned ones don’t contain safety devices like fuses or circuit breakers that will trip and shut off the power when too much electricity flows through them. This fail-safe was added in new models to help prevent fires caused by overheating wires.

Now that we have your attention about the fact that your home may have old, outdated panels inside, here are 4 types of unsafe panels you should look out for:

Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) Panels: From the 1950’s to the 1980s, Federal Pacific Electric was one of the most popular manufacturers of electrical panels in the United States. For this reason, they were routinely installed in millions of homes.

Residents during that time didn’t know that these panels are extremely unsafe because FPE electric panels’ circuit breakers fail to trip when there’s a short circuit or circuit overload. This problem has caused thousands of fires. These panels have also been known to send power to the circuit, even when in the off position causing electrocution even when the circuit should be dead.

Zinsco Panels: These panels were popular electrical panels and were installed in homes throughout the1970s. Nearly 50 years later the company is now out of business, but many homes are still equipped with these panels.

These panels are unsafe because the circuit breakers inside have been known to melt to the main ‘bus bar.’ Leading to a breaker that can’t ever trip, even when there’s a short or overloaded circuit. So if there ever is a short or other problem, the surge of power melts wires and starts a fire in your home.

Fuse Box: These are old electrical panels that use fuses instead of circuit breakers to protect your wires from becoming overloaded. In the event that the circuit draws too much electricity, the fuse will burn out and need to be replaced.

Fuses are not actually inherently unsafe. They work just like circuit breakers, but can’t be reset, and instead must be replaced. However, they are considered unsafe in homes today because they have been modified over time to try to keep up with today’s energy demands.

Here are a few ways that we as homeowners may create problems with fuse boxes that make them unsafe:

  • Placing too many things on a single circuit
  • Replacing a fuse with a bigger fuse
  • Replacing the fuse with something metal

What should you do if you have one of these panels?

If you have one of these 3 unsafe and outdated electrical panels, or any other outdated panels, your trusted inspectors at Details Home Inspections highly recommends replacing them. If you're not sure what type of electrical panel is in your home, contact us today at Details Home Inspections. We'd be happy to take a look and give you some recommendations.

If replacing the unsafe panel is not an option, you should have an electrician inspect the panel regularly to make sure that there are not any signs of problems that could cause fires or electrical issues in your home.


Contact us or visit our Facebook page with any questions about these panels. Safety is top priority with Details Home Inspections, your professional home inspector in Vancouver Washington.

Brian Ross is a Certified Home Energy Score Assessor

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Brian Ross of Details Home Inspections in Vancouver Washington recently earned his certification as a U.S. Department of Energy Home Energy Score Assessor for Washington and Oregon. This means that he is not only fully qualified to perform professional home inspections for those interested in buying or selling a home in Washington but that he also can assess a home and provide an official Home Energy Score on homes in Washington and Oregon.

You might be wondering what exactly that means? What is a Home Energy Score?

The U.S. Department of Energy's Home Energy Score provides home owners, buyers, and renters directly comparable and reliable information regarding the home's energy use. The Home Energy Score was developed by the U.S. Department of Energy and implemented in 2012 in order to standardize a means of measuring and comparing a home's energy use across the housing market. The Home Energy Score is comparable to the miles-per-gallon rating on a car and is an incredibly useful tool in the decision process for home buyers. 

There are four key features of a Home Energy Score Report:

  • The energy efficiency score based on the homes 'envelope'- the foundation, roof, walls, insulation, and windows, and the heating, cooling, and hot water systems.
  • An energy use estimate including a breakdown of estimated energy use dependent on type of fuel used, assuming average use.
  • Recommendations for improvements and associated estimated cost savings when implemented. 
  • A theoretical 'score with improvements' indicating the expected Home Energy Score once recommended improvements are completed.

If you're looking to buy or sell a home in the near future, or if you're interested in learning how your current house scores and would like to see the recommendations for improvement and cost-savings, contact Brian Ross with Details Home Inspections in Vancouver Washington. Remember that Brian is certified to perform Home Energy Score Assessments in Oregon and Washington, and can also provide professional home inspections for Washington.

For more information and current topics, visit the Details Home Inspections Facebook Page

For more information on the Home Energy Score provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, click here

Water Heaters: Is it Time for an Inspection?

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Water heaters are a marvel of modern technology. One could argue that without the invention of water heaters and the availability of hot water on demand, humans may still be living in the stone age. Do you have an older model water heater that you'd like to have inspected for safety? Are you purchasing a home and need a full inspection, including an assessment of the water heater? 

Water heater inspection is one of the services provided by Brian Ross, certified professional home inspector with Details Home Inspections LLC in Vancouver WA. 

Maybe you're considering replacing your old water heating unit and aren't sure the options available now? Take a moment and read through this article to learn a bit about the different options and the pros and cons of each. 

There are four basic types of water heaters: solar, heat pump, tankless, and tank-style. 

Solar Water Heaters use energy from the sun to heat water. There are active and passive styles of solar water heaters, depending on the type of pump system that they use. A major benefit of purchasing a solar water heater is that they're long-lived, often lasting upwards of 20 years. A downside of a solar unit is that you'll likely need a backup option for days without adequate sunshine. Additionally, solar units are usually quite expensive and difficult and complicated to set up. 

Heat Pump Water Heaters move heat rather than actually generating it. The unit pulls heat from the surrounding air and dumps it into the tank of water. Because they do not have to generate the heat themselves, these types of water heaters are 2-3x more efficient than gas or electric water heaters. The cost of these types of units is also very high and they're very dependent on location and installation expertise. Additionally, heat pump units can create a large added demand on your HVAC system. 

Tankless Water Heaters use modern technology to heat water directly on demand, without storing large quantities of hot water in a tank. These units are significantly smaller than traditional tank-style water heaters and have a long lifespan of approximately 20 years. This style water heater is generally 3-5 times as expensive as a traditional tank-style water heater and requires an expert installation. 

Tank-Style Water Heaters are the most common and get their name from having a tank, usually 30-50 gallons, of water that the unit keeps constantly hot for ready use in the home. These come in two styles: electric or natural gas. Tank-style water heaters are cheaper to purchase and install than other options, but use a fair amount of energy to keep the water constantly hot and suffer from standby heat loss.

Depending on the type of water heater that you've got, its lifespan can vary greatly. If you're purchasing a home and aren't sure the age of the water heater, consider giving us a call at Details Home Inspections at 360-823-3034. We can perform a full home inspection and provide a detailed and unbiased report so that you can know what to expect in regard to maintenance and/or repair needs for the home, including the water heater.

Don't wait until your old water heater springs a leak and floods your garage. If your water heater is a decade old or more, or you're not sure its age, contact us today at Details Home Inspections. We'll be happy to pay you a visit and give our professional opinion on your water heater in Vancouver Washington. Like and follow our Facebook Page for more tips and up to date information.

*This article is indebted to the Pacific Heating & Cooling Blog.

Top 10 Issues To Remedy Before Marketing Your Home

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If you're starting to think about selling your home, you'll want to be proactive in your preparations for getting the house ready so that you can get top dollar for your investment. You can count on the potential buyer to have a professional inspection done on the home, so plan ahead and address these top 10 issues before you even put the house on the market. 

These things won't hit your wallet hard if you take care of them in advance, but they are the types of issues that fuel negotiations and lower selling prices when found on buyer inspection reports!

1. Smoke Detectors: Be sure that the home has functioning smoke detectors installed in all of the important places! You'll need one in every bedroom and each hallway or access point into every bedroom or sleeping area. It is recommended that you have at least one smoke detector on every level of the home. These should usually be installed on the ceiling of the room or hallway.

2. Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Similar to smoke detectors, you will need a functioning carbon monoxide, or CO, detector outside each sleeping area. You must have one on every level of the home. Unlike smoke from a fire which rises, carbon monoxide mixes with air and can behave in a manner almost like pooling water, creating a pocket of toxic gas in a specific room or area of the house. There are various theories in regard to placement of a CO detector in a room, but most seem to agree that placing your CO detector three to five feet off the floor, and away from any furniture obstructions, is best. 

3. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter: You will want to have Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) units installed in all bathrooms, the kitchen, outside receptacles, and garage receptacles. These devices help protect against electrocution by monitoring the electrical current flow and cutting it off if triggered. 

4. Window Screens: You will want to be sure that all window screens are securely installed.

5. Nail Heads: You will want to caulk all nail heads on roof vents, plumbing vents, and roof flashing to prevent moisture intrusion. 

6. Water Heater: Be sure that your home's water heater has seismic straps properly installed to protect against damage in the event of an earthquake. 

7. Outdoor Vegetation: Trim all outside vegetation away from contacting the sides of the house.

8. Clearance to Major Systems/Spaces: Be sure that there is safe and proper access clearance to your electrical panel, water heater, furnace, and into the attic and/or crawlspace. 

9. Aesthetics: Be sure to repair any areas of chipped or peeling paint, trim work, the deck, etc. These may seem trivial, but will be noted in a professional home inspection and would likely become a point for the buyer to negotiate on price. 

10. Windows: Repair or replace any fogged or failed/broken windows. Again, these can easily become a point for lowering the purchase price on a home.

Details Home Inspections in Vancouver Washington provides sellers with peace of mind through Pre-Listing Seller's Inspections. 

If you're preparing to sell your home, consider giving Brian a call at 360-823-3034 or contact him online to schedule an appointment. Brian is a certified professional home inspector with Details Home Inspections and is highly experienced. You'll receive a detailed and unbiased report of all inspection findings which can help you prepare your home to sell at the best price possible! 

11th Month Builder's Warranty Home Inspections

  Details Home Inspection  is a Vancouver Washington home inspection company providing quality inspections to Vancouver, Battle Ground, Camas, Washougal, Ridgefield, Woodland, and all of Clark County WA. We provide home buyer inspections, pre-listing/seller inspections, new construction and phase inspections, multi-family dwelling inspections, warranty inspections on new construction homes, and radon testing. In this blog post, we're going to focus on 11th Month Builder's Warranty Inspections.  Most home builders offer a one year warranty on new construction homes. Many home owners make the mistake of becoming complacent and trusting that their newly built home is settling well when this may not be the case. It's worth a professional 'second look'.   One area of specialty for Details Home Inspection is the 11th Month Builder's Warranty Home Inspection. Schedule an 11th month inspection with us and we'll come perform a full inspection before the builder's warranty expires.  Our home inspections are non-invasive and observations will be made of the visible and apparent condition of the interior and exterior of the structure, including major systems and all components. Most home inspections last approximately 2.5 to 4 hours. You are not required to be present but we encourage your attendance as the inspector will happily relay information to you about any concerns and can even give advice on potential costs and/or avenues of repair or replacement and things to watch out for when dealing with your home builder.   This is a great opportunity to really get to know your house, inside and out, and learn its strengths and weaknesses in order to manage proper and proactive home maintenance for years to come.  Upon conclusion of the inspection, you'll receive a full report including photos and information on any material defect within the structure at the time of inspection. Armed with this information, you will be able to contact your home builder to have them manage the repair or replacement of any necessary flaws or defects while the home is still under the builder's warranty.  If you'd like to schedule your 11th Month Builder's Warranty Home Inspection, contact us today either online by  clicking here , or give us a call at 360-823-3034. We take pride in the services we offer and hope that we can help you out by providing a professional home inspection in Vancouver WA or Clark County.

Details Home Inspections is a Vancouver Washington home inspection company providing quality inspections to Vancouver, Battle Ground, Camas, Washougal, Ridgefield, Woodland, and all of Clark County WA. We provide home buyer inspections, pre-listing/seller inspections, new construction and phase inspections, multi-family dwelling inspections, warranty inspections on new construction homes, and radon testing. In this blog post, we're going to focus on 11th Month Builder's Warranty Inspections.

Most home builders offer a one year warranty on new construction homes. Many home owners make the mistake of becoming complacent and trusting that their newly built home is settling well when this may not be the case. It's worth a professional 'second look'. 

One area of specialty for Details Home Inspections is the 11th Month Builder's Warranty Home Inspection. Schedule an 11th month inspection with us and we'll come perform a full inspection before the builder's warranty expires.

Our home inspections are non-invasive and observations will be made of the visible and apparent condition of the interior and exterior of the structure, including major systems and all components. Most home inspections last approximately 2.5 to 4 hours. You are not required to be present but we encourage your attendance as the inspector will happily relay information to you about any concerns and can even give advice on potential costs and/or avenues of repair or replacement and things to watch out for when dealing with your home builder. 

This is a great opportunity to really get to know your house, inside and out, and learn its strengths and weaknesses in order to manage proper and proactive home maintenance for years to come.

Upon conclusion of the inspection, you'll receive a full report including photos and information on any material defect within the structure at the time of inspection. Armed with this information, you will be able to contact your home builder to have them manage the repair or replacement of any necessary flaws or defects while the home is still under the builder's warranty.

If you'd like to schedule your 11th Month Builder's Warranty Home Inspection, contact us today! You can find our contact info here, or give us a call at 360-823-3034. We take pride in the services we offer and hope that we can help you out by providing a professional home inspection in Vancouver WA or Clark County.

Lead-based Paint Can Make You Sick

Details Home Inspections in Vancouver WA is frequently asked about lead-based paint. It’s one of the things we know we don’t want in our home even if we don’t quite know what it is or what it does.

What exactly is lead?

Lead is a naturally occurring element that’s found just about everywhere. It possesses many qualities that make it ideal for the construction industry.

There’s only one problem. Lead is a neurotoxin. It’s very bad for humans and animals. It’s especially dangerous to children and pregnant women.

If it’s so toxic why is it in paint?

Lead’s toxicity wasn’t really known until the 19th century. It was used in paint because it’s opaque and water resistant.

Does the paint in my house have lead?

If your home was built after 1978 it probably doesn’t have lead-based paint. The older the home the greater chance it has of containing lead-based paint.

Lead-based paint isn’t necessarily going to make your family sick. Problems arise when lead-based paint begins to deteriorate. When that happens, dust is created. The dust, which contains lead, is inhaled and that’s when people get sick.

Young children tend to put things in their mouths and/or bite things. So, any place covered in lead-based paint that a child might bite, for example, a window sill or door frame, can also be hazardous.

If you think your home may have lead-based paint, contact Details Home Inspections in Vancouver WA to have the professionals check it out!

 

Details Home Inspections Offers Radon Testing

Details Home Inspections offers a variety of services. One of the most important services they offer is radon testing.

This service is important because radon is a cancer-causing radioactive gas. In fact, radon is believed to be the second leading cause of lung cancer.

As if being carcinogenic wasn’t bad enough, radon is also odorless, tasteless, and invisible. It can be in your home and you won’t even know it’s there.

Radon is produced by decaying uranium. It’s practically everywhere including in homes. Experts believe one in fifteen homes has a radon problem.

You’ll find radon in the soil and air. The problem isn’t necessarily being exposed to radon, but being exposed to elevated levels for extended periods.

Radon enters your home through the soil. It seeps through pores in your foundation and gaps in your floors and walls.

While most new construction requires radon mitigation, any home can experience high levels of radon. That’s why it’s important to have your home tested for radon.

Fortunately, testing for radon gas is easy and inexpensive. A short-term test will be done to learn if further testing is needed.

To have your home tested for radon, contact Details Home Inspections. We provide radon testing in Vancouver WA that you can count on.

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