Buyers Home Inspection
A pre-purchase Home Inspection (Buyers Inspection) is performed using the Standard of Practice for the State of Wisconsin. It is a visual inspection of the various components of the home to protect you the buyer from unforeseen costly repairs that you may not be aware of. Obviously these defects will need to be in a condition that is visible to the naked eye as we inspectors can not disassemble the various components as we do not have permission to do so. Covers to various equipment such as the electrical and furnace panels are removed other wise they just can't be inspected as these areas pertain not only to possible repair needs but also as a health and safety potential issue.
Sellers Pre-Listing Home Inspection
A seller's inspection is initiated by the property owner usually prior to listing the property. It helps the seller to determine what systems and structures of the property need repair. More importantly, it helps the seller and the seller's agent to accurately represent the home by disclosing damage to prospective buyers (which further helps to curb lawsuits). Damage discovered as a result of a seller's inspection can either be repaired by the seller (to maintain market value) or used as a negotiating tool by both seller and buyer.
Being used more and more, a seller's inspection is helping to speed-up the sales process. When sellers can show what damage an inspector found, and how that damage was fixed, the buyer's confidence may increases enough to move the transaction forward. But, the buyer should always hire an their own inspector to perform another inspection to get a second-opinion.
Well Water Testing
Properly constructed and maintained water wells can provide many years of trouble-free service, but wells can eventually deteriorate or become damaged and allow surface contaminants to enter the water. In addition, some groundwater can contain one or more chemical substances in levels above health-based standards. In some cases, contamination of the water can be detected by sight, taste or smell; however, many of the most serious problems can only be detected through laboratory testing of the water. Public water systems are tested regularly for a variety of contaminants. However, if you have a private well, regular testing is your responsibility. Well construction inspection and improvements, such as fixing a crack in a casing, are important steps in keeping your well water safe.
Water that has become contaminated by human or animal waste can transmit a variety of infectious diseases, including dysentery, salmonellosis, hepatitis, and giardiasis. Symptoms vary, but nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, with or without fever, are most common. These bacteria do not usually cause disease themselves, but their presence indicates that surface contamination has found its way into the well and disease organisms may also be present.
In Wisconsin, it is required for Property Transfer Inspections to test for Bacteria, Nitrates and Arsenic. Depending on if it is an area where corn has been grown consistently then Atrazine should be considered.
Here is a great site with information about Wisconsin Well Water: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/wells/.
Radon Testing & Evaluation
Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas. You can't see radon, you can't smell it or taste it, but it may be a problem in your home. Radon is estimated to cause many thousands of deaths each year. That's because when you breathe air containing radon, you can get lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high. Radon can be found all over the U.S. It comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe. It can get into any type of building — homes, offices, and schools - and result in a high indoor radon level. You and your family are most likely to get your greatest exposure at home where you spend most of your time. Testing is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon. EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon, and an inspector certified to perform radon testing is one of your best sources to preventing radon contamination in your home.
Home Maintenance Inspection
Also called a "Home Health Check-up", preventative maintenance inspections are performed usually once per year simply to ensure the integrity of a home's systems and structure. Because all things have a planned obsolescence period, maintenance inspections help to make the homeowner aware of immediate and upcoming needs for replacement and repair that could save thousands-of-dollars if discovered early-on.
The inspection itself is as thorough as a Buyers Inspection and includes the same high-quality report after the inspection concludes. PMIs are especially recommended after your home has endured inclement weather such as strong winds, excessive rain, extended periods of drought, unusual freezing, or blizzard-like conditions.
Farm & Farmette Inspection
A very similar inspection to tradition "home inspections" but with a focus on your additional structures and systems related to your farm.
Small Commercial & Hotel Inspection
Business operators, commercial property managers, and commercial real estate buyers have to deal with damage and defects just like homeowners. After all, many of the systems that are in a home exist in a commercial building, too. We provide thorough inspection services for light commercial buildings such as retail stores, restaurants, government offices, and storage buildings. Every inspection includes a detailed report that covers a visual and non-invasive inspection of plumbing systems, electrical systems, heating and air systems, structural systems, and more.
Our inspectors are code-certified to inspect most types of commercial building structures. Size is not an issue. We can handle the smallest offices up to warehouse-sized spaces.
Multi-Unit inspections are designed for adjoined residencies such as those in apartment building and multiplex homes including duplex, triplex, and quadplex buildings. Town-houses would also be included in most cases.
Because many of these building structure share common systems and structural features, an issue that affects one unit has the potential to affect all other attached units.
Thus, it is vital to inspect all attached units should damage and defects be found in a single attached unit. For example, a foundation breach under one unit could cause serious foundation shifting in all adjoining units. Water damage in one unit could be leaking on interior seams to other adjoining units.
Septic Testing & Evaluation
Septic systems come in various types of designs. The purpose is to recycle waste water without contaminating our water reserves or environment.
Once you have the basic concept of a septic system, it does not matter what system is used the end result is always the same. Waste is broken down so that the environment and the water table are not contaminated. There is certain criteria that needs to be met to do this though. Because of this criteria, various types of systems may need to be installed.
Locations for the installation of the septic system will have varying soil types at various soil depths. Some soils are better suited to drainage than other soils that may hinder drainage. Some soils are shallow to bedrock as well and could allow non-treated waste-water to seep down cracks in rock strata to the water table below.
Depending on the type of system to be used there needs to be at least 36" of proper drainage soil below what is called the infiltrative surface. This means below the drainage pipe and material used such as gravel that is in the drain field area.
A soil evaluation will be performed before installing a new system by a certified soil tester to determine the soils ability to properly drain. This will indicate the type of system that will be allowed to be used. A conventional system is the least expensive, with the At-Grade next and the Mound after more costly after that. All these other systems are doing is artificially lifting the drain fields higher to meet the 36" rule.
Septic tanks do what is called anaerobic treatment, or without oxygen, plus settles out sludge to prevent it from reaching the drainage field area. It is called aerobic treatment when oxygen reaches the effluent liquid to oxidize it. The soil then filters the remaining contaminants out.
Typically septic tanks should be pumped every three years or checked as they may not be in need of pumping if not used regularly. Septic evaluations go through various components of the system to determine any visual evidence of defects.
Infrared Thermal Imaging
Infrared assists in the discovery not only of poor energy efficiency due to low insulation or poor sealing but also in the discovery of moisture laden areas.
Infrared gives the impression of seeing through solid objects, but what is seen is the differing temperatures from objects behind walls, ceilings, floors and other areas.
Moisture in these areas is in the process of evaporating so it cools the area and this is what then shows up on the camera as a slightly cooler area. It is important to then verify with a moisture meter. You can see the image that the camera produces from the various temperatures. Someone who understands this is better able to understand what then is going on from the heat signature.