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The Ten Most Common Home Inspection Concerns: An Interview with Doug Kaufman of Guardian Home Inspection Services, LLC

By Doug Kaufman

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

After spending many years as a general contractor, I transitioned into the home inspection industry in 1999. I've been inspecting homes for over 15 years, working with a well-known inspection firm before branching off to form Guardian Home Inspection Services.

I'm a licensed home inspector in both New York and Connecticut. I'm a graduate of the National Institute of Building Inspectors (#141901R), as well as RESNET and the Building Performance Institute (BPI), where I earned certifications as a Building Analyst Professional and an Envelope Professional.

What are some of the services your company provides?

Guardian Home Inspection Services is a full-service home inspection company. We offer inspections for potential buyers and we understand that buying a home can be one of the biggest emotional and financial decisions that one will ever make. Before making this important commitment, it's crucial that a buyer chooses the right inspector to provide a comprehensive, fair and objective evaluation of the property so they can understand and take care of this valuable investment.

We also perform pre-inspections for the seller who wants to know about issues that may need to be addressed before putting their home on the market, to help make the sales process as easy as possible.

To supplement our home inspections, we offer the following ancillary services at an additional cost:
- Radon level analysis: We place one or two activated charcoal canisters in the lowest livable area in the home. We remove the canister(s) 2-6 days later, have it analyzed by a radon testing facility and apprise you of the results.
- Septic Dye Test: We add a dye to the septic system and then run 50-75 gallons of water per bedroom through the system to check for bleed out, surface water and/or odors.
- Indoor Analysis-Available tests include: Mold, Bacteria, Lead, Asbestos, Allergens.
- Mold Scan: A screening tool for the detection of the level of microbial metabolites known as microbial volatile organic compounds or MVOCs & Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). Tests for fuel contaminants, and many common household items (14 categories)
- Water analysis: You can choose to have a sample of household water tested for various chemical compounds.
- Home Energy Audit: We determine building air leakage and ways to reduce heating and cooling costs. We depressurize the house by using a blower door to determine methods to correct these inefficiencies. We also evaluate the building's thermal envelope, moisture and indoor air quality issues, and insulation levels and efficiency.

What are the ten most common home inspection concerns found in most homes?

1. Water is by far the biggest concern that I have when I start an inspection, as there can be hidden damage not visible to the naked eye. Most homes have some degree of water stains and damage, that can be caused by interior issues (leaking pipes, fixtures, water heaters, boiler and/or appliances) or exterior issues (damaged, overflowing and/or undersized gutters or downspouts, ground sloping towards the house and/or clogged drains).

2. Mold (suspect mold until tested) that results from a water problem. Water issues should always be addressed before treating/cleaning the mold, to help prevent the mold from recurring.

3. Buried oil tanks: Both those that are in use and those that have been decommissioned.

4. The mechanics of the home:
- Age and condition of the heating and cooling systems (boilers, furnaces, air conditioning units, heat pumps, electric baseboards, and water heaters) - Distribution (how the systems work within the home) - Condition (how well they have been maintained or not maintained and how to tell when they have been properly serviced)

5. Structural issues:
- Condition of the foundation (settlement cracking, deterioration and water issues) - Framing (wood destroying insect damage, rotted, damaged/cracked and/or incorrectly altered framing members)

6. Insulation levels or the lack of insulation in the attics, crawl spaces and/or basement.

7. The age of the roof. How much life is left in the roofing materials.

8. Electrical issues in the panels such as: signs of arching, double/triple tapped breakers, incorrectly sized wires or breakers, counterfeit breakers, water issues (rust and corrosion); outlets (incorrectly wired) or missing safety (Ground Fault) outlets from required areas.

9. Water pressure in the bathrooms and kitchen.

10. Water and Air quality.

What is the best way for people to get in contact with you or your company?

Call my mobile: 914-584-6669
My office: 203-984-1929

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