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REPORTER Inspection News & Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors, Inc.

New Poste Classes d ASHI for the Scho P 41 ol


7 Orlando Has Countless Things to Do and See 8 Flat Roof-to-Wall Finishings 14  Sump Pump Systems: Practical Information and Tips for Inspections Embrace Your Inner Energy Auditor Testing Electrical Systems

17 2o  31 Who Moved My Code? 40 Around the Corner: Apathy—Is It Really a Bottom-up Phenomenon?

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ASHI Reporter • August 2017

9/23/16 2:23 PM



August 2017

Features 7

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Orlando Has Countless Things to Do and See



Michele George, ASHI Director of Education, Events and Chapter Relations

Flat Roof-to-Wall Finishings Alan Carson, Carson Dunlop

Sump Pump Systems: Practical Information and Tips for Inspections Rick Bunzel, ACI





Embracing Your Inner Energy Auditor ASHI Staff

Testing Electrical Systems Mike Twitty, ACI

Vol. 34, #8

Who Moved My Code? Michael D. Conley, ACI

Warning! A New Hurdle in Real Estate: The Air Conditioner Can Cause Big Repair Bills Ron Passaro Sr., ACI, and David Harter


Online Access and Changes in Consumer Behavior and in Home Inspectors Alan Carson, Carson Dunlop


6 Being Frank Frank Lesh, ASHI Executive Director 28 ASHI Community

Chapter News, Listing and Education

Membership, Endorsed Member Programs & Anniversaries

Leviton How to Operate Your Home America’s Call Center Allen Insurance Target Professional Programs Leadership Training Conference NHIE Study Guide CAHPI National Conference ASHI Online Learning Center ICHI Software Joe Ferry OREP 3D Inspection System Long Island Home Inspection US Inspect InspectorPro The ASHI School American Home Warranty Property Inspector Insurance Wagner Meters Sun Nuclear Corporation HomeGauge

2 5 5 9 11 16 19 19 19 21 23 24 27 27 516-880-5103 27 844-268-2677 33 41 43 45 45 47 48


34 Your ASHI

40 Around the CoRner

Hollis Brown, Speaker of the CoR

41 The ASHI School

Hands-on Home Inspection Training

42 Postcards From the Field

It’s Wacky Out There

46 On My Mind

By ASHI President, Howard Peglow

36 August 2017 •


ASHI National Officers and Board of Directors Educated. Tested. Verified. Certified.

A SH I M ISSIO N S TATEM ENT To set and promote standards for property inspections and to provide the educational programs needed to achieve excellence in the profession and to meet the needs of our members.

Officers Howard Pegelow, President Gilbert, AZ, 414-379-4186

Donald Lovering, Sr., Treasurer Indian Trail, NC, 704-443-0110

Tim Buell, President-Elect Marysville, OH, 614-746-7485

Mike Wagner, Secretary Westfield, IN, 317-867-7688

Scott Patterson, Vice President Spring Hill, TN, 615-302-1113

Randy Sipe, Immediate Past-President Spring Hill, KS, 913-856-4515


Main Phone: 847-759-2820, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm Mon. - Fri., CST EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Frank Lesh, Executive Director, 847-954-3182, Bonnie Bruno-Castaneda, Executive Assistant & Project Coordinator 847-954-3177, EDUCATION, CE APPROVAL, ASHI ONLINE LEARNING CENTER, INSPECTIONWORLD, CHAPTER RELATIONS

Michele George, Director of Education, Events and Chapter Relations, 847-954-3188, MEMBERSHIP, BOOTH RENTAL, PRODUCT ORDERS

Jen Gallegos, Manager of Membership Services & US DOE Home Energy Score Assessor Coordinator, 847-954-3185, Janet George, Membership Services Supervisor, 847-954-3180 George Herrera, Membership Services Assistant, 847-954-3196

Bruce Barker 2015-2017 Cary, NC, 919-322-4491

Bruce LaBell 2015-2017 Scottsdale, AZ, 602-765-2140

Michael Conley 2017-2019 Anna Maria, FL, 941-778-2385

Reuben Saltzman 2017-2019 Maple Grove, MN, 952-915-6466

James J. Funkhouser 2017-2019 Manassas Park, VA, 703-791-2360

Bob Sisson 2017-2019 Boyds MD, 301-208-8289

Bryck Guibor 2017-2019 Tucson, AZ, 520-795-5300

Tony Smith 2015-2017 Cedar Rapids, IA, 319-533-4565

Beverly Canham, Financial Assistant, 847-954-3184

Ken Harrington 2015-2017 Delaware, OH, 614-507-1061

Blaine Swan 2016-2018 Columbus, OH, 614-506-0647


Richard Hart 2016-2018 Conyers, GA, 770-827-2200

John Wessling 2016-2018 St. Louis, MO, 314-520-1103

David Haught 2016-2018 Huntington, WV, 304-417-1247

Speaker, Council of Representatives Hollis Brown, 2017-2018 Manassas, VA, 703-754-8872

Publisher: Frank Lesh Editor: Carol Dikelsky Art Director: Arlene Zapata, Designer: Kate Laurent American Society of Home Inspectors, Inc. 932 Lee Street, Suite 101 Des Plaines, IL 60016

847-954-3186 Reporter calls only

ASHI Reporter • August 2017

Michael Krauszowski, Membership Relations Administrator 847-954-3175, Mark Lester, Membership Services Coordinator, 847-954-3176 ACCOUNTING

Toni Fanizza, Accounting, Purchasing and Human Resources Manager, 847-954-3190,

Mike Rostescu, Director IT & Internet Communications 847-954-3189, COMMUNICATIONS

Dave Kogan, Director of Marketing & Business Development Advertising, Marketing, IW Expo Hall, Public Relations 847-954-3187, Arlene Zapata, Graphics Department Director & “ASHI Reporter” Managing Editor, 847-954-3186, Kate Laurent, Graphic Designer & Digital Strategist 847-954-3179,

847-299-2505 (fax) Reporter only Email:

Chris Karczewski, Social Media & Membership Relations Administrator, 847-954-3183,

Advertising: Dave Kogan Phone: 847-954-3187, Email:


ASHI REPORTER – ISSN 1076-1942 – the official publication of the American Society of Home Inspectors, Inc. (ASHI), 932 Lee St., Suite 101, Des Plaines IL 60016, is published monthly. Annual subscriptions: $44.95 to non-members. Periodical postage paid at Des Plaines, IL 60016 and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ASHI Reporter, 932 Lee Street, Suite 101, Des Plaines, IL 60016-6546. Copyright© 2017, ASHI. None of the content of this publication may be reproduced, in any manner, without the prior written consent of the publisher. Inclusion of or specific mention of any proprietary product within does not imply endorsement of, nor does exclusion of any proprietary product imply non-endorsement, by the American Society of Home Inspectors, Inc. Opinions or statements of authors and advertisers are solely their own, and do not necessarily represent the opinions or positions of ASHI, its agents or editors. See above for information pertaining to submission of articles, advertising and related materials.



Russell Daniels, ASHI Assistant Executive Director & Director of the ASHI School, 847-954-3178, Michelle Santiago, Administrative Assistant, 847-954-3198 Tracy Vazquez, Sales Representative, 847-954-3181


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Serving as a strategic partner exclusively to home inspectors since 1998 August 2017 •


Bits and Pieces From the End-of-Summer Files by Frank Lesh ASHI Executive Director

“This is not Frank Les and I did not approve this message”: About a month ago, I received several phone calls from members who had received text messages saying, “Hi, (name), this is Frank Lesh, Executive Director of ASHI.” The text went on to talk about certification and how important it was and how it separated ASHI inspectors from the rest of the pack. (Okay, so far so good). But then “my” message mentioned money and how it costs 7000$ (sic) to maintain each member and that “I” was asking for payment from the member. On closer examination, it also appeared that the language pattern used might not have come from the sort of native English speaker that I am. I assured everyone who called me that, unfortunately, they had been subjected to a scam. The same day, we sent out a note on First Thing, ASHI’s monthly newsletter, to let everyone know that the message was false. Be assured, ASHI will never ask you for money, other than when it’s time for you to pay your membership dues or, perhaps, to invite you to contribute to InspectPac to support our lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C. I think we all know by now that the Internet is full of scams and that those who produce these scams are getting more sophisticated all the time. So, please be wary and keep your radar up. If you have any inkling that an email, text or phone call from ASHI is not authentic, please send a quick note to ASHI HQ via our website contact page ( or to me directly ( We will clarify things easily. Inspectors gather for a fab FABI conference: As I write this message, I’m flying back from a wonderful conference of the Florida Association of Building Inspectors (FABI) in Safety Harbor, FL. It was great to see more than 200 inspectors learning about moisture and its effect on our housing stock. FABI leaders invited Dr. Joe Lstiburek, a renowned expert on the results of poor construction techniques and practices that plague our buildings. I first heard Dr. Joe speak in 1989, when I attended my first ASHI International Conference (that’s what InspectionWorld® was called back then). I was impressed then, and I am still impressed almost 30 years later. Dr. Joe organizes complex topics into easily digestible bites that inspectors can consume. Kudos to the FABI leaders on the commitment to put together a great educational seminar. Special thanks to Manny Gonzalez, FABI’s educational chair. Kevin Koplar, Jeff Clair, Jean Anne Baker, Ray Biron, Ralph Cabal, Randy Sipe, Frank Lesh and Manny Gonzalez at the family conference, The Safety Harbor Resort and Conference Center.


ASHI Reporter • August 2017

On to InspectionWorld®! A topic I’ve written about recently is continuing to ripen this summer and will blossom in the next few weeks. If you haven’t guessed, it’s the prized fruit of one of the main efforts ASHI produces—namely, InspectionWorld® Orlando 2018. We teased you about it in the center spread of the July issue of the Reporter. But rather than me drone on and on about how exciting IW will be, just go to the ASHI website ( and select the IW icon in the lower right corner to view something we’ve never done before. Let me know what you think. Speaking of InspectionWorld®, we have a couple of winners who will receive a fully paid registration for IW this year. Jerry Simmons from Atlanta won for sending in his bylaw change ballot, and Willie Garcia, Jr. won the drawing at the FABI summer conference in Safety Harbor, FL.

Willie Garcia, Jr. won the drawing at the FABI summer conference in Safety Harbor, FL

Last month, I mentioned that I’d talk about the disco craze, Ted Drewes ice cream and Don Norman in this issue. So, here’s the scoop…. (sorry, editorially censored). H

Frank Lesh, Executive Director American Society of Home Inspectors Direct: 847-954-3182 •

Orlando Has Countless Things To Do & See January 21-24, 2018 • Caribe Royale All-Suite Resort & Convention Center By Michele George, ASHI Director of Education, Events, Chapter Relations

IW® Registration Starts September 1 Attention IW® Attendees! Plan to arrive early to benefit from preconference courses and enjoy the ASHI Annual Luncheon. The jampacked expo hall will be an exciting gathering place. Create your own schedule and connect with the IW® app. Special networking events and Grab ’N Go, in addition to the excellent three-day educational program, truly make IW a conference that is not to be missed. Visit for details. All Work and No Play? No Way! Immerse yourself in the world’s top theme parks. From the classic Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World® to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ at Universal Orlando® Resort, there’s a world for everyone to escape into! Experience a wonderland of ocean animals at SeaWorld® Orlando. Swim all day with the dolphins and fishes at Discovery Cove. Discover fun for the whole family at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort, one of the Orlando area’s newest theme parks.

Part of Florida’s great charm is its penchant for local kitsch and Gatorland certainly fits the bill. The 110-acre theme park is the self-proclaimed “Alligator Capital of the World.” Gatorland houses hundreds of gators that you can see up close on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Alligator Breeding Marsh. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is located less than an hour from Orlando. Visit the center, tour the launch headquarters and marvel at space shuttle launch pads from a four-story observation deck. Take an educational walk through the Astronaut Hall of Fame and learn fascinating tidbits about some of America’s space pioneers. Gather up some friends and head over to explore nearby Disney Springs, a themed retail, dining and entertainment center inspired by Florida’s charming waterfront towns, historic architecture and natural beauty. Walk the sprawling promenade or take a relaxing boat ride.

Plan on experiencing a theme park or interesting location during your visit to Orlando. Order a free Orlando vacation planning kit (www.visitorlando. com/vacation-planning-kit) for more information and special offers. H

7August 2017



Flat Roof to Wall Finishings

Flat Roof-to-Wall Flashings By Alan Carson, Carson Dunlop,, 800-268-7070


here is an almost endless number of flashing situations that may arise and there are almost as many different approaches to detailing these situations. The most elegant solutions typically are not used on single-family homes. Very often, the flashing details that we see are a “minimum possible” rather than an ideal solution. Flashings on flat roofs are critical—just as critical as they are on steep roofs. Most roof leaks are at the flashings. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at flat roof-to-wall flashings.

Typically, a base flashing and counter flashing are used. If the membrane is asphalt (built-up or modified bitumen), a cant strip is recommended. This wood or fiberboard triangular piece (typically 3 inches horizontal by 3 inches tall) is used to allow the membrane to make two 45° turns rather than one 90° turn to reduce the risk of the lap joints separating or opening at the upturn. The roof membrane typically extends onto the cant strip, but not up onto the vertical wall surface.

It’s common for flat roofs to terminate against walls. For example, a one-story garage with a flat roof may be attached to a two-story house. There are several ways to address this detail; we’ll describe some of the most common approaches.

Cant strips are recommended.

A base flashing may be one of several materials, but it is often the roof membrane material itself. Typically, it is provided with protection against sunlight. The base flashing extends onto the flat portion of the membrane and is sealed to it. The flashing extends over the cant strip and up the wall surface, approximately 8 to 14 inches above the roof. The top of the base flashing is protected with a counter flashing. Typically, this is a piece of metal that is let into a reglet (a horizontal slot cut into the wall or mortar joint). The metal extends down over the top of the base flashing. In some areas, it is common for the counter flashing to cover most of the base flashing. In other areas, this is not done. The reglet can be as little as 1 inch deep. In rare cases, it extends all the way through the wall, although this would typically be two separate pieces of metal. This through-wall flashing detail suggests high-quality work. High-quality work includes a two-piece counter flashing, where the top part is permanently set into the wall, and the larger bottom part of the counter flashing can be removed to facilitate repairs, re-roofing or both. The bottom part of the counter flashing also can be replaced without having to disturb the part that is embedded in the wall. We do not see this approach regularly on single-family homes. 8

ASHI Reporter • August 2017

August 2017 •



Flat Roof-to-Wall Finishings

Good practice dictates that the bottom edge of the counter flashing is turned under to form a hem. This eliminates exposed sharp edges and makes the bottom of the flashing more rigid.

The counter flashing should be made up of pieces of metal no longer than 10 feet. Joints between adjacent pieces of counter flashing should allow for expansion and contraction, but they should be weathertight. An inferior alternative to letting the counter flashing into a reglet is to attach the counter flashing to the face of the wall with mechanical fasteners and to simply seal the top of the metal counter flashing with sealant.

This may be a common practice; however, there are at least a few weaknesses to this approach. First, in our experience, the flexible sealant (caulking) at the joints is relatively watertight for only a short period. Second, the mechanical fasteners (nails or screws) are potential leakage points.


ASHI Reporter • August 2017

Modified bitumen, EPDM and PVC/TPO may be flashed in a similar way, although cant strips are not required with EPDM and PVC/TPO. It is common to have flexible tubing laid in at the roof-wall intersection to allow for some differential movement between the roof and the wall. PVC/TPO and EPDM membranes shrink considerably under some circumstances. Thus, it is imperative to secure the membrane well at the perimeters. This can be done in a number of ways, but the flashing material should not be expected to hold the roof membrane in place. Fastening strips or termination bars may be used to pinch the membrane down to the roof deck or into the bottom of the wall before the base and counter flashings are installed.

EPDM shrinkage and tenting.

Strips of the roofing material itself sometimes are installed before the membrane, attached to the roof perimeter and the vertical surface. Then the roof membrane is adhered to this strip. As discussed with perimeter flashings, the base flashings for PVC/ TPO, EPDM and modified bitumen typically are just more of the roof membrane materials.

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11August 2017



© 2017 Target Professional Programs is a division of and operates under the licenses of CRC Insurance Services, Inc., CRC Insurance Services of CA, Lic No 0778135. No claim to an


Flat Roof-to-Wall Finishings

Flashing at Parapet Walls Parapet walls are similar to taller walls, with a couple of minor exceptions. If the parapet wall is relatively short, the base flashing may extend up and over the top of the parapet wall and drape over the outside face. The counter flashing often is extended to form a coping or cap for the top of the parapet wall. The outside face of the coping also forms the drip edge flashing. Coping also can be stone, concrete or terra cotta.

Good quality roofing work often includes a metal cladding on masonry or concrete parapet walls on the inner or roof side of the parapet. The entire height of the parapet wall is protected from wetting with metal. With single-ply roofing systems, the parapet is protected by the roof membrane itself, extended up the wall. This minimizes the need for through-wall flashings. It also may prolong the life of the masonry. Where this is seen, you usually are looking at high-quality work.

This parapet membrane flashing is not high enough, nor is it sealed properly.


Another possible difference with parapet walls is the presence of through-wall flashings. It is recognized that parapet walls are exposed to wind-driven rains from both sides and that these walls get considerably wetter than conventional exterior walls. Because most walls are porous, it is recognized that water will enter the wall system.

Inspection Tips When inspecting a roof, more time should be spent looking at the flashings than at the field of the roof. It is helpful to think of yourself as wind-driven water and see where you might be able to get into the roof through flashing details. Some defects are obvious; others are invisible.

High-quality parapet walls may feature through-wall flashings just above the counter flashings. Furthermore, through-wall flashings sometimes are provided just below the coping to ensure that any water that gets into the top of the wall cannot find its way down into the building. Note: In general, these high-quality details won’t often be found residentially.

The excessive use of roofing cement on flashings typically suggests that a leak repair has been attempted. Often, this type of lowquality repair will work only in the short term, until expansion and contraction of building materials results in gaps and cracks.

ASHI Reporter • August 2017


Flat Roof-to-Wall Finishings

As with many systems, some flashings that are installed poorly do not leak. In other cases, flashings that appear to be first class do leak. In situations for which you can find no evidence of leakage, but you can tell that the flashing work is clearly low-quality, you should tell the client exactly that. You should prepare the client to expect problems with the flashing so that you do not receive a call back about this issue. Leaks in flat roofs can be difficult to find because moisture often will show up on the interior, some distance from the failure point in the roof. Water may travel horizontally along plastic vapor barriers, for example, before coming through ceilings. Excessive roofing cement indicates prior repair.

More details about flat-roof flashings are included in the ASHI@Home Training Program ( Carson Dunlop - Consulting engineering firm devoted to home inspection since 1978.

For More Information on Flat Roofs, Visit: Flat-Roof Systems: Articles/Flat-Roof-Systems/2448 Flat-Roof Inspection, with a Focus on Modified Bitumen: Gaps eventually develop due to expansion and contraction.

Like any other part of the roof inspection, your flashing inspection is not complete until you’ve looked at the roof from below. Only from this perspective can you confirm any suspicions about weak flashings or discover problems that were not visible from above.

Flat-Roof Drainage: When Flat Doesn’t Equal Safe: HomeInspection/Articles/When-Flat-Doesn-t-Equal-Safe/485 Safety Concerns Up on the Roof: HomeInspection/Articles/Safety-Concerns-Up-on-the-Roof/14775 H

For those of you who use moisture meters, remember that a wet reading is conclusive, but a dry reading only means that it hasn’t leaked lately. Stains, crumbling or discoloration may mean an active leak, even if the moisture meter shows a dry reading during the inspection.

13August 2017



Sump Pump Systems: Practical Information and Tips for Inspections

Sump Pump Systems: Practical Information and Tips for Inspections By Rick Bunzel, ACI


ast winter, I was inspecting a home at the bottom of a hill. I already had spotted a garden hose coming out of a foundation vent, so I knew this home was going to have some water issues. When I got into the crawl space, I found a sump pump sitting in a large plastic bucket that was in a depression near the crawl space hatch (Photo 1). The areas around the depression were dry, but the rest of the crawl space was pretty wet. I wrote it up as being an amateur installation that needed a drainage system and a proper sump pit.

712.4. Sewage pumps and sewage ejectors. A sewage pump or sewage ejector shall automatically discharge the contents of the sump to the building drainage system.

Also, while I was scanning the Internet, I found that the most descriptive document related to properly configured sump pump systems was published by the Institute of Catastrophic Loss Reduction, an independent, not-for-profit research institute affiliated with Western University in London, Ontario, Canada.3 I encourage you to review this useful document to learn more about sump pump systems. In regard to the post-inspection situation I was handling, I realized that, because of the unfortunate lack of local enforcement, as well as the absence of evidence that showed the use of best practices, the contractor had gotten away with performing shoddy work. In my estimate, of every 10 sump pumps I see, eight of them are amateurish and barely function.

Photo 1. Plastic toy bucket.

A few days later, I got a call from the listing agent who berated me for referring to the sump pump installation as amateurish and needing work. The agent informed me that a licensed contractor had done the work, and that he could provide invoices and other backup information. He challenged me to prove that the sump pump system was wrong and to show him the building codes that indicated why it was wrong. I did some research and discovered that the local building department was not enforcing the following sections of the International Code Consortium’s International Plumbing Code1,2 that reference sumps and ejector pumps: 712.3. Sump design. The sump pump, pit and discharge piping shall conform to the requirements of Sections 712.3.1. through 712.3.5. (Readers should refer to the 2012 version of the ICC IPC, as cited at the end of this article, for these detailed sections regarding the sump pump, sump pit, discharge pipe and fittings, materials, ratings, maximum effluent level and the pump connection to the drainage system.) 14

ASHI Reporter • August 2017

Some Background on Sump Pumps Sump pumps are a builder’s answer to avoiding a wet basement. In many areas of the country in which basements are a standard feature, the builder always will include a sump pit that is tied to the perimeter drain tiles. The basics are pretty simple. A sump pit is installed in the lowest part of the basement or crawl space where a sump pump sits and pumps out water. As the pit fills up, the pump turns on and moves the liquid out of the pit through pipes that run away from the foundation of the home. A one-way valve (the “check valve”) keeps water from re-entering the home. The drain line goes into a storm water system or to a downslope location. Where I live and work in the Pacific Northwest, there are few basements; however, we do have an abundance of wet crawl spaces. Builders typically don’t include sump pits in crawl spaces, so when homeowners discover an issue with water, they call on a contractor, a handyman or a plumber who usually will install a sump pump. The most frequent location for a sump pump to be installed is closest to the entrance of the crawl space, where it is easy to access.


Sump Pump Systems: Practical Information and Tips for Inspections

Inspecting Sump Pumps and Sump Pits The first thing I try to determine when I’m inspecting a sump pit is what the installer intended to keep dry. I look for answers to the following questions: • I s there any way of directing drainage to the sump pit?

Photo 2. The plastic tote has collapsed, reducing its size and allowing dirt into the pit area.

I wish I could describe all of the various types of ad hoc sump pits I’ve seen over the years, but that would be an extensive list. I can tell you that the types of sump pits I have seen have ranged from a divot in the dirt to a 3-foot-deep molded plastic pit sunk into a concrete floor. In between, I’ve seen 5-gallon plastic buckets, milk crates and trash cans (Photo 2). On the high end, I’ve seen that dry basement or crawl space professionals have sealed sump pits with redundant pumps and high-water alarms (Photo 3).

Photo 3. A proper sump pit with a cover and an alarm.

Types of Pumps Two types of pumps are used in these systems: submersible and pedestal. • Submersible pumps are the most common types of pumps I’ve seen. The submersible sump pump sits in the bottom of the sump pit and it goes into action when the water level rises above it. It detects water levels by means of a floating detector that’s connected to the pump with a wire. The submersible pump is designed to handle dirt and debris through a filter, so it may not break down as much, but getting to the motor can be difficult because it’s in a sealed casing. • Pedestal sump pumps are cheaper than submersible sump pumps and they usually last longer. This is because the motor of a pedestal sump pump is not submerged in water when the sump reservoir is full, so the motor is not susceptible to water damage. In fact, pedestal sump pumps have been known to last two or even three times longer than submersible sump pumps. Pedestal sump pumps take up more space, however, so I rarely see them.

•A  re the lines that direct water to the sump pit tight or perforated? •A  re the lines pitched to the sump pit? •W  as the sump pit purposely made for its intended use? • I s there any type of screening that keeps dirt or gravel out of the sump pit? In addition, I look at several other factors related to the sump pump system. For sump pumps located in basements, I note whether there is some type of cover that prevents kids from playing or falling in it. In areas with radon, the sump pit may have a dual purpose: drawing radon out and collecting drainage water. In this case, the cover should be airtight. I also determine how the sump pump is powered. Normally, I expect to see an outlet directly over the pump. Building codes call for the use of a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet, but many inspectors (including myself) prefer to see the use of a regular outlet, because a GFCI outlet can “nuisance trip” at the worst time. Most people won’t notice this has occurred until the rising water has become a real problem. If a GFCI outlet is there, I test the outlet to ensure that it is working. If there is water in the sump pit, I lift the pump float to watch it empty the sump pit. Most areas do require backflow preventers. This is also a good time to trace the drain outlet. In most areas, sump drainage lines cannot be directed into the sewer systems. In newer homes, it is common to see a drain that runs into a downspout-tight line. In older homes, the drain may go to a dry well or drain away from the home. I am never surprised to see the drain line terminate next to the foundation wall.

There are many things to know about sump pumps and I suspect that most inspectors have seen their share of “interesting” sump pump systems (Photos 4 and 5). To add to your knowledge for future inspections, refer to the resources listed at the end of this article to learn more about the relevant codes and how sump pumps should function. Photo 4. In older basements, homeowners will break out the concrete to make a sump pit.

15August 2017




Sump Pump Systems: Practical Information and Tips for Inspections

Sources cited: 1.Full text of “ICC IPC (2012): International Plumbing Code.” Available at: Accessed June 27, 2017. 2.ICC IPC (2009): International Plumbing Code. Available at: https://archive. org/stream/ Accessed June 27, 2017. 3.Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction. Focus on sump pump systems. Available at: Accessed June 27, 2017.

Photo 5: This pump is doomed, as it is sucking up dirt every time it runs.

Rick Bunzel is the principal inspector with Pacific Crest Inspections and an ASHI Certified Inspector. He holds a BA in Business Marketing and in the past, he chaired the marketing and public relations committees for a national home inspection organization. Locally, he is active in the North Puget Sound Board of Realtor’s Communications Committee and has 42 years of experience as a firefighter. Visit his website at http://www. H

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ASHI Reporter • August 2017

Embracing Your Inner Energy Auditor

Embracing Your Inner Energy Auditor Home Energy Score shines a light on what you’re already doing. By ASHI Staff


he modern home energy audit is an impressive combination of exotic testing equipment and complicated data generation. “Blower doors,” “duct blasters,” “combustion analyzers” and other sophisticated devices generate pages of “air-changes-perhour” figures, “duct-loss-to-the-outside” coefficients and “flue-gas-analysis” graphs. If you’re the average homeowner, it’s enough to make your head spin. And that’s kind of the problem: A “fullMonty” home energy analysis from a credentialed energy auditor takes a lot of time (at least a half day), costs a lot of money ($500 on average) and delivers information and guidance that often is hard for non– energy geeks to understand and act on. Keeping It Simple Is Smart Full-fledged energy auditors serve a valuable role in the home energy efficiency industry, especially for committed homeowners who are looking to solve specific issues that they have time to carefully consider. In many cases, however, what’s even more useful is quick, accurate, clearly presented information about a home’s basic energy performance and the best opportunities for improvement. This is especially true at the point of sale, when prospective homebuyers already are burdened by a glut of new information and necessary decisions.

ASHI home inspectors can now offer those buyers a pared-down package of U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)–backed information that can open their eyes to this critical part of home ownership. And considering how buyers’ priorities are changing, that’s

starting to look like a pretty smart move. Designed with home inspectors’ broad skill sets and flexible service menus in mind, the Home Energy Score can deliver the most essential parts of a whole-nine-yards energy audit in the shortest amount of time (an extra half hour in the home for experienced assessors) and at minimal expense (most inspectors charge $100-$150 for the service) to clients.

To illustrate this point, let’s review some key components of an energy audit (in practice and in training) and compare the required processes of an Energy Auditor and a Home Energy Score Assessor. Air Leakage: The “envelope” or “shell” of the home is a critical factor in energy efficiency and comfort.

Is There a Home Energy Score Assessment Hiding in Your Inspections? We’ve established that Home Energy Score  nergy Auditor: After carefully preparing Assessors do not conduct the diagnostically • E the home, perform “blower door depresintensive energy analyses that their countersurization test” (using $5,000 worth of parts in the energy-auditing world conduct. equipment), often combined with infrared But that begs the question: What is entailed camera diagnostics. Generate data for the in delivering a Home Energy Score? homeowner, documenting “cubic feet per minute overall leakage” or “air changes For starters, assessors collect fewer items of per hour at 50 pascals pressure.” Time necessary data: specifically, 40 items in the required: 1-2 hours. case of the Home Energy Score, as opposed to 100 or more items that commonly are need for an energy audit. Furthermore, the information that assessors need is, in most cases, the same kind of information that they already collect during a standard home inspection.

August 2017 •



Embracing Your Inner Energy Auditor

• Home Energy Score Assessor: During a normal home inspection, pay attention to key areas where home air leakage has the greatest impact (for example, penetrations in attics and basements, rim joists, partition walls). Note whether professional air sealing has been done at these sites. Time required: 5 minutes. Mechanical Systems and Hot Water: These factors account for roughly one-half of the energy usage in an average home, which means that the efficiency levels of these systems have a big impact on monthly energy budgets. • Energy Auditor: Determine the airtightness of the duct system by taping and plugging all vents and using a “duct blaster” to measure air leakage in cubic feet per minute. Record information gathered from inspecting the HVAC system and perform direct testing (for example, total fan air flow, external static pressure, temperature rise). Time required: 1-2 hours. • Home Energy Score Assessor: Determine where the duct system is located (that is, in a conditioned or in an unconditioned space), whether it is insulated and if it has been air-sealed. Record the make, model and age of the HVAC system and determine whether it’s been well-maintained. Time required: 10 minutes. Training and Certification: Necessary for any credible energy evaluation, both professional services described here involve becoming trained in a DOE-approved building science curriculum and passing relevant examinations.


ASHI Reporter • August 2017

Interested? Contact Jen Gallegos ( to find out how to get started on the path to becoming a Home Energy Score Assessor.

• Energy Auditor: Find a training center that works with the Building Performance Institute or RESNET and take a course (usually several classroom days, plus days in the field) to become a HERS rater or a Building Analyst or to get some other similar certification. Time and cost: 1 week or more (away from the job), plus approximately $2,000 for tuition. • Home Energy Score Assessor: Sign up with the DOE for free, video-game-style, simulated training and complete it at your own pace. Pass the online test, then conduct your first in-field assessment with an in-person or a remote mentor. Time and cost: Time varies, from several hours to several days (but no days away from the job are necessary); average compensation fee for a mentor is $200.

Our partners at DOE are confident that the Home Energy Score is a tool that can be used to provide the right amount of information to homebuyers at the exact time this sort of information will be most useful to them. And as more ASHI members discover that they’re already assessing homes in a similar way to what’s expected, inspectors can build up their inspection businesses and guide clients toward increased energy efficiency in their homes. H

Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors

Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors

Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors


The National Home Inspector Examination (NHIE) is developed and maintained by the Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors (EBPHI). This board has received many requests over the years for a study guide to assist those taking the NHIE. This study guide, and the associated NHIE Home Inspection Manual, were developed to address this need.

The National Home Inspector Examination (NHIE) is devel oped and maintained by the Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors (EBPHI). This board has received many requests over the years for a study guide to assist those taking the NHIE. This manual, and the associated NHIE Study Guide, were developed to address this need.

The NHIE Home Inspection Manual addresses the technical aspects of the NHIE. This NHIE Study Guide addresses the non-technical aspects. Many come to the home inspection profession as a second or a third career, and may not have taken a professional entrance exam for many years, if ever. This study guide helps to familiarize the candidate with the examination itself, and with the associated administrative procedures. It also includes helpful insights into the types of questions the exam contains, and techniques for success.

This NHIE Home Inspection Manual is based on the most recent Role Delineation Study (RDS). This study surveys thousands of home inspectors in order to determine the services they provide, and the components they inspect. The questions in the NHIE are derived directly from this survey, Exam Administration and constitute the knowledge base for an entry level home inspector. This manual is the Content first of its kind to follow this Exam Outline format. It also informs the candidate about the knowledge base behind the current examination questions, and proHow to Take an Exam vides a technical reference for the experienced home inspector. $98.50


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The NHIE Study Guide and the NHIE Home Inspection Manual together contain over 750 pages of technical and administrative information and are produced by the Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors. They will benefit the exam candidate along with being a great technical reference for the experienced home inspector.

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Full details available on 19August 2017



Testing Electrical Systems

Testing Electrical Systems By Mike Twitty


ome inspectors and electricians have many test devices available to them for evaluating electrical systems. Each has a specific purpose. Understanding the proper operation and application of these instruments is imperative to using them safely and accurately. The methods used to test and evaluate electrical systems and components during a standard home inspection vary from one inspector to the next. The ASHI Standard of Practice and most (if not all) states’ standards of practice do not require measuring amperage or voltage. However, some licensed state standards include specific procedure requirements. My home state of Tennessee’s standards state that the inspector “shall describe” the voltage and ampacity of the service, and “shall inspect” the proper polarity and grounding of all receptacles within 6 feet of interior plumbing fixtures and all exterior, garage and carport receptacles. To comply with these specific standards, some form of testing and measurement must be done. I would assume that all home inspectors check receptacles with a tester that has the capablility to confirm polarity and grounding. But how would one accurately “describe” the incoming voltage without taking a measurement? One could use the rating on the panel label (if it is available) to give an estimated general description of the service voltage and, in most cases, that would be accurate. Some residential panelboard labels list ratings of both 240/120 volts and 208/120 volts, whereas others post a rating of 240/120 volts as maximum. I recommend including a statement in the report about the method used to determine the voltage (whether referencing the label data or actually measuring the voltage) and 20

ASHI Reporter • August 2017

here’s why: Most residential services in the United States are 240/120-volt systems. However, some services (particularly in urban areas and multifamily housing) could be 208/120 volts. The only way to know for sure is to measure the line voltage. Almost all appliances, HVAC units, water heaters, dryers, ovens and ranges are rated for both 240 volts and 208 volts so this is not really a big deal. It may take a little longer to dry a load of clothes or preheat the oven to bake a cake at 208 volts because the appliances will operate at a lower wattage, but the difference would be minimal. How “in-depth” should the inspector choose to go in the electrical evaluation? This is a matter of personal preference. Inspectors should obtain proper training before using more advanced test equipment. Learning how to properly use these devices is not difficult, and having knowledge of them can reveal concerns and information that might otherwise go undetected.

Always follow strict safety procedures and wear personal protective equipment when inspecting electrical systems.

Common types of testing devices.

Common Types of Testing Devices •D  igital multimeters and volt or ohm meters (VOM): These meters measure voltage (AC and DC), resistance and continuity. Higher-end models also can measure capacitance, frequency and amperage. •A  nalog volt or ohm meters: Basically, these have the same capability as the simpler digital meters. • Test coils: Test coils are used only to verify the presence of voltage. No batteries are needed. They operate as a solenoid that physically moves the indicator to an approximate voltage range. Normally, they are rated up to 600 volts and put a small load on the line, which eliminates “phantom” or “ghost” voltages that are common with digital meters. They also will accurately test the trip function of a GFCI device by reading across the hot and grounding contacts of a receptacle. A test coil is also known as a “Wiggy.” •A  mmeters (clamp-on type): These come in both analog and digital models, and measure amperage by closing the clamp around a wire.

August 2017 •



Testing Electrical Systems

• Non-contact voltage sensors or tracers: These can sense the presence of voltage through a cable, switch and even find energized wires concealed in walls. They also can give false positive or negative readings and should never be relied on for accuracy when there is a risk of electric shock. • Plug-in neon light testers: Most inspectors use these to test receptacles for proper wiring. They are handy, but can be inaccurate or inconclusive. Some have ground fault circuit interrupter (GCFI) test capability. • Circuit analyzers: These are advanced testers that can diagnose issues with loose wiring, improper wiring and voltage drop calculations. They also have the capability to test the trip function of GFCI and AFCI devices. Additional training and experience are necessary to properly interpret the information provided by a circuit analyzer. • Thermal imagers or cameras: These devices detect heat anomalies that will show up as “hot spots” at loose connections and overloaded circuits. All test devices have specific use applications. The information they provide is only useful if properly interpreted and used in the correct situation.

Measuring Voltage Measuring the incoming voltage available to a home or building is best done at the service equipment main panel, if possible. This measurement only adds a few seconds to the panel inspection process. A digital multimeter is best suited for this test. The meter should be set to AC volts on the selector and the test leads should be inserted in the proper connectors on the meter designated for voltage measurement. A line-to-line reading will show the available voltage supply. The test leads are placed on the main “hot” lugs for this measurement. Typically, the voltage range will be approximately 230 to 250 volts for a 240-volt system, and 200 to 216 volts in a 208-volt system. Low or high readings outside of these ranges could indicate a problem with the utility supply and should be further evaluated. The next two readings would be from each hot lug to the neutral lug. This reading should be roughly 115 to 125 volts. The hot-to-neutral reading should be balanced from each line. An imbalance of three or more volts could indicate a possible concern. Large imbalanced readings could mean a problem with the supply neutral, which could become a serious concern if not corrected.

Measuring Amperage Taking random amp readings is technically beyond the scope of a normal home inspection. Some inspectors will measure the amperage load on HVAC systems during operation to check for defective or failing compressors and motors. Unless one is completely familiar with this procedure, it is best left for qualified electricians and HVAC technicians. 22

ASHI Reporter • August 2017

A simple, informative test that home inspectors can do is to measure the grounding electrode conductor for current flow. This can be done with a clamp-on ammeter. There should be little or no measurable current on the GEC in a properly operating system. Small readings of 0.1 to 0.5 amps (100-500 milliamps) are common. Larger readings indicate a concern and should be checked out. Measuring Voltage Drop Voltage drop is the amount of energy that is lost between the supply voltage and the available voltage that is present at a particular point in a loaded circuit. High resistance in a circuit can be caused by long wire runs and loose connections. The combined losses (IR drops) along the circuit reduce the available voltage as the circuit continues. Circuit analyzers can calculate the voltage drop by testing at a receptacle. The tester can simulate a load of usually 10, 15 and 20 amps. The recommended maximum voltage drop by the NEC is 5% on feeders and 3% on branch circuits.

A circuit analyzer is very useful to troubleshoot and find specific problems for many applications including voltage-drop issues. However, if a home inspector decides to test for voltage drops and report on those that exceed the 3% in branch circuits, he or she is going to be doing a lot of writing! I personally have never inspected a home in which all circuits can comply within the recommended parameters. It’s just a fact of (electrical wiring) life. Keep in mind that the 5% and 3% thresholds are recommendations in fine print notes (FPN) in the NEC and are not enforceable requirements.

Continues on Page 26

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Testing Electrical Systems

Continued from Page 22

If one chooses to include this testing in their inspections, common sense should prevail. A 7% drop on a 125-volt supply would still leave over 116 volts available. That is sufficient to operate normal household appliances and devices. This would be a typical drop on a loaded receptacle that is on the opposite end of the home from the electrical panel. A large voltage drop to below 110 volts could very well be a concern and should be reported as such. Thermal IR Scanning An infrared (IR) camera is another example of a useful device in the inspector’s “bag of tricks.” Thermal scans of electrical panels can reveal potential problems. It should be understood that these imagers are not magic. They, like all instruments, have proper operating procedures and applications. Proper training is imperative to be able to accurately interpret the information. Elevated temperatures of circuit breakers and wires do not necessarily mean that there is a problem. Arc-fault breakers and dimmer switches both operate at a tem26

ASHI Reporter • August 2017

It should be noted that an in-depth comprehensive evaluation of an electrical system during a standard home inspection is not practical. Thermal scanning and other advanced testing can be offered as ancillary services for those who wish to add these services.

perature higher than standard switches and breakers and will stand out in a scan. A loaded circuit (photo) such as a running dishwasher will be evident compared with other non-loaded circuits. Uniformity of the wire temperature and terminal connection shows a normally loaded circuit. A large temperature difference (hot spot) between the wire and terminal would indicate a loose connection. Loose connections, hot spots, overloaded circuits and other thermal anomalies will go undetected if there is no load on the circuit, at the time of the scan. A thermal camera can indicate a suspected overloaded circuit but only can be confirmed by following up with an amp reading on the loaded circuit. A loose connection can reach an extremely high temperature of up to several hundred degrees Fahrenheit. A visual inspection of the hot spot usually will have discolored conductors, lugs or terminals, and sometimes, melted wire insulation. Repair recommendations and corrections should be reported when these defects are found.

The electrical system is just one of the major sections that home inspectors encounter in their job. Failing to identify possible concerns could lead to injury of the occupants or could cause damage to the home. The ASHI Standard of Practice is designed to address these concerns as thoroughly as possible in a limited-time-scope inspection. These standards are the minimum requirements that an inspector should follow. Whether or not to go beyond the minimum standards is up to the individual. Learning to take the inspection process a step further beyond the minimum standards can greatly upgrade the service that we provide to our clients. Mike Twitty began his home inspection business after retiring from Ford Motor Company, where he worked as an industrial electrician. Mike is a licensed electrician in Tennessee and holds certifications from the ICC as a residential building inspector and residential electrical inspector. Mike serves on the ASHI technical review committee and regularly teaches seminars for home inspectors. H

Correction: July 2017 Postcards, Page 44 This is the image that should have been printed with the heading “Hot Shower,”

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ASHI Chapters and Council News

NORTH CENTRAL ASHI Central PA Second Monday, 6 pm, except Jan. & July, Hoss’s Steakhouse 1151 Harrisburg Pike, Carlisle, PA Kevin Kenny, 717-226-3066

Keystone (PA) First Monday, 5:30 pm The Crowne Plaza, Reading David Artigliere, 610-220-1907

Ohio Howard Snyder, 330-929-5239

North Central Ohio William Stone, 216-308-9663

Pocono-Lehigh (PA) Third Tuesday, Tannersville Inn, Tannersville Ronald Crescente, 570-646-7546

PRO-ASHI (PA) Second Wednesday of Jan., March, May, July & Nov. Ray Fonos, 412-461-8273

Tri-State (DE, NJ, PA) Second Tuesday except April, Aug. & Dec., Dave & Buster’s Plymouth Meeting, PA Peter Muehlbronner, 215-852-7319

MIDWEST Great Lakes (IL, IN, IA, KY, MI, MN, OH, WI) For monthly meetings: schedule-of-events/ Carol Case, 734-284-4501

Greater Omaha (NE) Jon Vacha, 402-660-6935

Heartland (IA, MN, ND, SD, WI) Reuben Saltzman, 612-205-5600


ASHI Reporter • August 2017

Indiana ASHI Quarterly Danny Maynard, 317-319-7209

Iowa ASHI Fourth Tuesday, 7:00 - 9:00 pm Clarion Inn, Cedar Rapids Craig Chmelicek, 319-389-7379

Kentuckiana (IN, KY) Allan Davis, 502-648-9294 elitehomeinspections@

Mid-Missouri Second Thursday, 12:00 pm, even months of the year; Columbia Board of Realtors office: 2309 I-70 Drive NW, Columbia, MO Mark Kelsey, 573-356-5305 mark@

Northern Illinois Second Wednesday (except Dec.) 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm Crazypour, 105 E. North Ave., Villa Park, IL Jeremy Meek, 630-854-2454

OHIO SOUTH ASHI Meeting: Last Sat. every month, noon @ Frickers, North College Hill, Ohio, P.O. Box 532197 Cincinnati, Ohio 45252 Chris Green, 513-939-4036 Email

SOUTH MIDWEST Arkansas Lonnie Moore, 479-530-5792

Great Plains (KS, MO) Second Wednesday of even months, The Great Wolf Lodge, Kansas City Doug Hord, 816-215-2329

MOUNTAIN Arizona Bryck Guibor, 520-419-1313 Quarterly education on

New Mexico Bi-monthly meetings are held on the second Saturday of the month at LePeep’s Restaurant (Jan., March, May, July, Sept.) located at I-25 and Jefferson in Albuquerque. Meeting starts at 8:45 am; Breakfast starts at 8 am. Lance Ellis, 505-977-3915

Northern Rockies (ID, MT) Steve Jenicek, 406-949-6461 Secretary: Kelly Campeau 877-749-2225

Rocky Mountain Fourth Tuesday, 6:30 pm Brian Murphy, 303-791-7824

Southern Colorado Second Thursday, 6:30 pm Valley Hi Golf Club, Colo. Springs Daniel Noteboom, 719-332-9660

Utah First Tuesday, 7 pm Marie Callender’s, Midvale Fred Larsen, 801-201-9583

PACIFIC Alaska Meeting dates: Jan. 1, March 1, Aug. 1, Nov.1 Location varies each meeting David Mortensen, 907-243-4476

ASHI Hawaii

Ray Fonos, 412-461-8273 Alex Woodbury, 808-322-5174

St. Louis (MO)


Midwest PRO ASHI (KS) Second Tuesday, 6:30 pm Spazios Westport 12031 Lackland Rd. St. Louis, MO 63146 Frank Copanas, 314-456-0783

Randy Pierson, 310-265-0833

Central Valley CREIA-ASHI Peter Boyd, 530-673-5800

Golden Gate (CA) John Fryer, 510-682-4908

Inland Northwest (ID, WA) Chris Munro, 208-290-2472

Orange County CREIA-ASHI (CA) Third Monday, 5:30 pm Hometown Buffet 2321 S. Bristol, Santa Ana Bill Bryan, 949-565-5904

Oregon Fourth Tuesday, 6:30 pm 4534 SE McLoughlin Blvd., Portland Jay Hensley, 503-312-2105

San Diego CREIA-ASHI First Tuesday each month Elijah’s Restaurant 7061 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard San Diego, CA 92111 Dennis Parra II, 619-232-1100

San Joaquin Valley (CA) Third Thursday, 6 pm 1736 Union Avenue, Bakersfield, CA Raymond Beasley, 661-805-5947 Mail: 3305 Colony Oak St. Bakersfield, CA 93311

Silicon Valley ASHI-CREIA (CA) Skip Walker, 650-873-4224

Southwestern Idaho Second Monday David Reish, 208-941-5760

Los Angeles-Greater San Gabriel Valley Second Tuesday, 6 pm Old Spaghetti Factory, Duarte Larry Habben, 714-685-0321

Los Angeles-Ventura County ASHI-CREIA First Thursday, 5 pm Holiday Inn, Woodland Hills Bob Guyer, 805-501-0733

South Bay (CA) Webinar meetings Randy Pierson, 310-265-0833

Western Washington Chapter Meetings held at chapter seminars in March and September Karl Nueffer

NEW ENGLAND Coastal Connecticut Third Thursday, 6 pm, Westport VFW Lodge, 465 Riverside Avenue, Westport John Hamlin, 203-912-1917

New England (ME, MA, NH, RI, VT) Fourth Thursday, 5 pm The Lantana, Randoph, MA Michael Atwell, 617-630-5629

Northern New England (NNEC) (ME, MA, NH, VT) www. Third Thursday of Jan., April, June and Sept. Tim Rooney, 603-770-0444

Southern New England (CT) First Tuesdays, 6:30 pm Billy T’s, 150 Sebethe Dr. Cromwell, CT Richard W. Hall, 860-281-4238

NEW YORK/JERSEY/ DELAWARE Capitol Region (NY) Third Thursday, 7 pm, Doratos Steakhouse and Pub, Guilderland Robert Davis, 518-885-7949

Central New York Second Wednesday, 6 pm, Tony’s Family Restaurant, Syracuse Peter Apgar, 315-278-3143 peter@craftsmanhomeinspection. net

First State (DE) Third Wednesday, 7 pm The Buzz Ware Center 2121 The Highway, Arden Mark Desmond, 302-494-1294

Garden State (NJ) Second Thursday, The Westwood, Garwood Ernie Borsellino, 973 761 0050

Greater Rochester (NY) Second Tuesday, 6 pm, Murph’s Irondequoit Pub, Irondequoit John White, 585-431-0067

Hudson Valley (NY)


Second Tuesday, 6 pm Daddy O’s Restaurant 3 Turner Street, Hopewell Junction, NY 12533 Michael Skok, 845-592-1442 Fourth Tuesday, Associate hour 6-7 pm, Membership meeting 7-9 pm Northern Virginia Resources Center, Fairfax Tony Toth, 703-926-6213

Long Island (NY)

Piedmont ASHI (VA) Third Monday, 6 pm, Domenico’s Restaurant, Levittown Steven Rosenbaum 516-361-0658

New York Metro Last Thursday, 5pm Travelers Rest 25 Saw Mill River Road Ossining, NY 10562 Chris Long, 914-260-8571

Southern New Jersey (NJ) Third Wednesday, 6:30 pm Ramada Inn, Bordentown Rick Lobley, 609-208-9798

Western New York Second Thursday, 6:30 pm Tony Rome’s, West Seneca Andy Utnik, 716-636-9676

MID-ATLANTIC Central Virginia Second Tuesday, 6:30 pm Keegan’s Irish Pub 2251 Old Brick Road Glen Allen, VA 23060 John Cranor 804-873-8537 cranorinspectionservices

Greater Baltimore (MD) Third Thursday except Jul/Aug, 6:30 pm Maritime Institute Conf. Center 5700 N Hammonds Ferry Rd. Linthicum Heights, MD 21090 Volney Ford, 410-458-5704

Hampton Roads (VA) Second Thursday, 7 pm, Cypress Point Country Club, Virginia Beach Gregory Murphy, 757-535-4355

MAC-ASHI (MD, VA) Second Wednesday, Rockville, 6 pm Senior Center, Rockville Mark Mostrom, 301-536-0096

Robert Huntley, 540-354-2135

SOUTH ATLANTIC ASHI Georgia Shannon Cory, 404-316-4876

East Tennessee Third Saturday of Feb., May, Aug. and Nov. Paul Perry, 866-522-7708

Mid-Tennessee Ray Baird, 615-516-5511

Mid-South (TN) Steven Campbell, 901-734-0555

North Carolina Third Wednesday, 3 pm, Quality Inn at Guilford Convention Center Greensboro Andy Hilton, 336-682-2197

Louisiana Quarterly Meetings Michael Burroughs 318-324-0661

Suncoast (FL) First Tuesday, 6:30 pm, Please see our website for meeting locations. Steve Acker, 727-712-3089

Southwest Florida Serving Manatee, Sarasota & Charlotte Second Wednesday, 6 pm Holiday Inn, Lakewood Ranch 6321 Lake Osprey Drive, Sarasota Michael Conley, 941-778-2385 FLinspector@outlookcom

CANADA Home Inspectors Association BC Sean Moss, 604-729-4261

CAHPI Atlantic Lawrence Englehart 902-403-2460

CAHPI Ontario Rob Cornish, 613-858-5000

South Carolina

Prairies (Alberta) (CAHI)

First Saturday of Feb., May, Aug. & Nov., 8 am Roger Herdt, 843-669-3757

Quebec AIBQ

GULF ASHI South (AL) Chris Bottriell, 780-486-4412 Pascal Baudaux, 450-629-2038 Quarterly, Homewood Library Homewood John Knudsen, 334-221-0876

Florida Wiregrass Second Wednesday, 6:30 pm Sleep Inn Hotel, Wesley Chapel Meeting/Training Room in Lutz Nancy Janosz, 813-546-6090

Gulfcoast (FL) First Thursday, 7 pm, The Forest Country Club, Fort Myers Len Gluckstal, 239-432-0178

Lone Star (TX) Bud Rozell, 214-215-4961 August 2017 •


ASHI Chapters and Council News

Due to the size of these lists the new and move-up member lists have moved to the monthly online Reporter.

New ASHI Inspectors

New ASHI Associates




New ASHI Certified Home Inspectors


Chapter News: In Memoriam: Victor J. Faggella


Victor J. Faggella of Mahopac, NY, formerly of Yorktown Heights, NY, died April 11, 2017, at age 87. Before becoming a home inspector, he worked as a teacher for the Pleasantville Union Free School District. After retiring in 1985, Vic founded Centurion Home Inspection in Mahopac. He had a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology and a master’s degree in education, both from New York University, and he and his wife, Teresa, had four children. Vic will be remembered for his patience, kindness, mentoring and his love of the Yankees. ASHI recently presented Vic’s family with a Resolution of Respect—see image to the right: A member of ASHI for more than 35 years, Vic was an important member of the ASHI family. Through the years, he helped many inspectors become educated in the home inspection profession. From serving on the executive board of the New York Metro ASHI Chapter for more than 30 years, to running the NY Metro ASHI educational seminar with his son, Victor G. Faggella, of Woodbury, CT, for more than 20 years, to presenting at ASHI National Conferences and InspectionWorld®, to serving on the ASHI Technical Committee, Vic was all about helping others expand their knowledge and become the best that they could be. In 2002, Vic was presented with the John E. Cox Award in honor of his exemplary contributions to the NY Metro ASHI Chapter. (FYI: NY Metro ASHI is also known as “The Founding Chapter” because of its role in the early years of ASHI’s history.) According to Vic, one of the proudest days of his life was when his son, Victor G., won the Cox award in 2010. H


ASHI Reporter • August 2017

Resolution of Respect from ASHI for

Victor J. Faggella

We are  today  comforted  by  the  word  of  Our  Lord  in  Revelations  21:4  which   says:  "And  God  shall  wipe  away  all  tears  from  their  eyes;  and  there  shall  be  no   more  death,  neither  sorrow,  nor  crying,  neither  shall  there  be  any  more  pain:   for  the  former  things  are  passed  away.     Victor  affectionately  known  as  Vic  was  a  member  of  the  American  Society  of   Home  Inspectors  (ASHI)  for  over  35  years.     Vic  was  more  than  a  member  of  ASHI,  he  was  family.     He  helped  so  many  inspectors  down  through  the  years  become  educated  in   the  home  inspection  profession.    From  serving  on  the  executive  board  of  NY   Metro  ASHI  for  over  30  years,  to  running  the  NY  Metro  ASHI  educational   seminar  with  his  son  for  over  20  years,  to  presenting  at  the  National   Conference,  to  serving  on  the  ASHI  Technical  Committee,  Vic  was  all  about   helping  others  expand  their  knowledge  and  become  the  best  that  they  could   be.     In  2002,  Vic  was  presented  with  the  John  E.  Cox  Award.  He  was  honored  for   his  exemplary  contributions  to  the  New  York  Metro  Chapter,  “The  Founding   Chapter”.  One  of  the  proudest  days  of  his  life  is  when  his  son  Victor  G  won  the   Cox  award  in  2010.     ASHI  was  truly  blessed  to  have  had  Vic  in  our  lives  and  in  the  profession  and   we  will  surely  miss  him.  We  would  like  to  thank  the  Faggella  family  for   sharing  this  wonderful  dear  man  with  us.     Know  that  the  ASHI  family  will  continually  keep  the  family  in  our  prayers.    

ASHI Chapter Education OHIO ASHI: On the Road FOR EACH EVENT: • There is a $10 fee • Food and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided • Earn 2 ASHI CEUs Register and payment online at • Select Store from the left side • Then Education/Dues to get to ASHI On the Road (Dates subject to change) Forrest Lines - Ohio ASHI Chair of Education

Northern Region: September 21 Contact Persons: Rod Whittington (Ohio ASHI Northern Representative) Phone: 216-952-8500 email: George Basista (Ohio ASHI Northern Representative) Phone: 330-565-3760 email:

North Central Ohio ASHI Fall Seminar: September 23 Location: Holiday Inn, 4073 Medina Rd., Fairlawn, Ohio CEUs: 8 ASHI CE hours Speakers: Gerry Aubrey (Roofing) and class on Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors Contact: Paul Wancata at inspectionsunlimited@ Next Presentations: November 16 locations and topics TBA

Upcoming GLC Events Crawl Space and Floor Structure Defects: September 12

Southeastern Home Inspector Conference 2017

Great Plains ASHI Chapter 23rd Annual Fall 2017 Seminar

When: September 7 - 10, 2017 Location: Infinite Energy Center (previously Gwinnett Center), Duluth, GA CEUs: Earn 20 ASHI Ces And bonus classes for additional ASHI Ces Contact:

When: September 29-30, 2017 Location: KCI Expo, 11730 Ambassador Dr. Kansas City, MO 64153 CEUs: Approved for 16 ASHI CEs Speakers: Shannon Cory, Dee Goldstein, Reuben Saltzman, Jason Yacko, Tom Lauhon and Kenny Hart Contact:

ASHI New York Metro Chapter

Mid-Missouri ASHI Fall Seminar

When: September 8-9, 2017 Location: DoubleTree Hilton Hotel 455 S Broadway, Tarrytown, NY 10591 CEUs: 16 ASHI CES includes NADRA Deck Inspection Class 4 hours Contact: Website:

Year of the Mentor ASHI Western Washington Chapter 2017 Fall Seminar When: September 15-16, 2017 Location: Shoreline, WA CEUs: 15 ASHI CEs Topics: Care of Northwest Log Homes; Myths of Attic Ventilation; Story-telling and Report Writing; Foundation Inspections; IRC Structural Changes Update; Floor and Roof Truss Inspections; HighEfficiency Appliance Venting Woodstoves. Registration: go to Contact:

Rocky Mountain Chapter Seminar When: September 16, 2017 Location: Kaplan Campus, 2200 S. Monaco Parkway, Denver, CO CEUs: 8 ASHI CEs Speaker: John Bouldin Topics: Pre-Drywall, Trusses, Deck, Load Paths, I-Joists and Engineered-Wood Products Contact: Bob Kadera

When: October 6, 2017 Location: Board of Realtors Office 2309 I-70 Dr. N.W., Columbia, MO 65202 Topics: Roofing, Siding, Attic Ventilation and Exterior Walls presented by Certainteed Deck Construction and Critical Connections presented by Simpson Strong-Tie CEUs: 8 ASHI CEs Contact:

St. Louis Chapter Fall Seminar When: October 27, 2017, 8:00 - 5:00 PM Location: St. Louis Association of Realtors Conference Center, 12777 Olive Blvd, Creve Coeur, MO 63141 Speaker: Bruce Barker Topic: To Be Announced

IMPORTANT REPORTER DEADLINES: • OCTOBER ISSUE - 8/15/17 • NOVEMBER ISSUE - 9/15/17 • DECEMBER ISSUE -10/15/17 • JANUARY 2018 ISSUE -11/15/17 • FEBRUARY 2018 ISSUE -12/15/17 The Reporter is produced 6-8 weeks ahead of the week it arrives in your mailbox.

Location: Mama Mia’s, Livonia, MI

GLC Fall Conference, Essenhaus Inn and Conference Center: October 13-14 Location: Middlebury, IN

To have your chapter seminar listed in this section, email all information about your chapter seminar to: BE SURE TO INCLUDE ALL INFORMATION: seminar subject, when, where, CEUs & a link for more information or contact information.

Heat Pumps and Dual Fuel Systems: November 7 Location: Mama Mia’s, Livonia, MI

31August 2017



Who Moved My Code?

Who Moved My Code? By Michael D. Conley, ACI


here has been a lot of discussion lately—through emails, chat rooms and social media about why home inspectors should or should not quote codes when inspecting. For many years, the conventional wisdom in the industry has been not to quote codes due to the “liability” aspect of doing so. Well, let’s review some of the pros and cons of quoting code from a home inspector’s point of view.

interrupters (GFCIs), for example, to be required uniformly at the exterior, in baths and kitchens and near pools. But when were GFCIs required? Did the jurisdiction in which you work require them when they became part of the code? As the code cycles every three years, was there a delay in adoption? As a house ages over a 20-, 30- or 40-year period, who remembers this stuff? In some municipalities, a 3-, 6- or 10-year delay in adoption of the newest edition or its supplements is not unusual.

Keep in mind, this information only pertains to houses up for resale, as these homes make up the bulk of most home inspectors’ business. Building Code for commercial, industrial or new construction involves a different approach that will be explained later in this article.

• 1973: exterior receptacles (less than 6 feet from the ground) • 1976: bathroom receptacles • 1980: garage receptacles • 1986: kitchens and basements • 1990: bath lighting, pools and spas, crawl spaces, boat houses, hot tub equipment, kitchens and more

The Building Code is an interpretive set of minimum standards—“interpretive” being the operative word, as only the municipal inspector or his or her boss (the Building Official) have the right and authority to “interpret and enforce” the code. So, you see, it doesn’t matter how well-versed you are with the code, as a non-government inspector, your opinion does not matter. You may even be accurate as to what the interpretation is and how it’s spelled out in black and white—you will still lose the argument. Want to take your argument to court for the benefit of a client? Doesn’t matter, as the only recognized authority for interpretation and enforcement of the Building Code is the municipal inspector or the Building Official. Now, there are some codes that are fairly uniform and consistent with most buildings. We can rely on ground fault circuit 32

ASHI Reporter • August 2017

In most municipalities, the GFCI requirement came about in the following time frame:

These dates represent approximate estimates based on all of the codes used nationally. They vary by degree. For example, the kitchen GFCI receptacle requirement stated in 1986 was only for receptacles within 6 feet of the sink. The GFCI requirement for all kitchen receptacles, regardless of distance, came about in 1990.

So, you see, when time is added to the interpretation, the code becomes a puzzle—a puzzle that the typical home inspector has no way of unraveling. If you make a statement in reference to the Building Code, you have a better than average chance of getting it wrong. Consequently, you may

embarrass yourself and your credibility will suffer. And this is for the easy stuff that I just sampled. What about the really gnarly codes, like bearing and supports, fire blocking and loads? Once you have opened those “cans of worms,” are you willing to look in the bottom of the can? Your chances with obscure interpretations are slim, at best. Let’s not forget the exceptions to codes. All codes have exceptions, in which the information you are reading does not apply. And, to make it more interesting, some exceptions have their own exceptions. Usually, these are found in the small print somewhere toward the bottom of the code page. Did I mention market area? Most of us work an area that we consider our market area and that area may encompass multiple jurisdictions. For example, in my market area (that covers two counties), there may be as many as 25 jurisdictions. Imagine keeping up with 25 different code versions that change over the years. Who knows which version they are using at any given time? One other factor is that the typical home inspector is at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to credibility with Building Codes. But, there are ways to move up the pole. I would imagine, for example, that an inspector who is well-versed in the Electric Code [NEC], could have a voice in its interpretation and revisions. By the same token, a home inspector who has training and experience with Municipal Building Codes could have a better view from the pole as well. To have a voice in what the Continues on Page 41

August 2017 •


The Value of the ASHI Forum By Russell K. Daniels, ASHI Assistant Executive Director and Director of the ASHI School,

If you are new to ASHI, you need the forum; if you are a seasoned inspector, the forum needs you. ASHI has more than 8,000 members, but most probably have yet to use the ASHI Forum. I’d like to invite every ASHI member to visit and use this valuable resource. The forum is a fantastic part of the ASHI website but, like anything else, it is only as great as you make it. What Is the ASHI Forum? • an online portal on which members can ask questions and share information and stories about what they see in the field • an outlet for ASHI members to connect with other inspectors • a tool that allows members to swap ideas, create meaningful relationships and get a sense of belonging to the ASHI family How Does the ASHI Forum Work?

ASHI members post questions and information. Other ASHI members respond. It’s as simple as that. One reason that it’s such a great resource is because when a member answers another member’s question posted on the forum—especially with a detailed response—anyone can reference this information in the future. In other words, you don’t have to recreate the same answer every time someone asks the same or a similar question. In addition, many of the postings generate ongoing, lively discussions on topics of interest to inspectors. It’s a fairly informal forum, so many members share announcements about their own businesses. For example, sometimes members post a notice when they are looking to sell their inspection business or when they are seeking to hire or partner with another inspector. Other postings fall into the broad category of “unusual things that you come across in the field and want to share with others.”


ASHI Reporter • August 2017

Most importantly, many members post practical questions and others quickly respond, offering real-world tips and hands-on strategies. You can get ideas from many other inspectors about how you could improve your inspection reports or how to do an inspection, for example, if you just ask. The more people who use the forum, the more technical and useful content can be shared among our members. Sharing this kind of information strengthens individual members and ASHI as a whole. How Do I Access the ASHI Forum? Using your member number and password: 1. Simply log on to the ASHI website at 2. Select the Members-Only tab 3. C  hoose the Discussion Forum. Look at the postings that are there to view now or post your own question, comment or announcement.

Join us on the ASHI Forum!

ASHI Event Calendar  October 19-21, 2017 Leadership Training Conference and ASHI Board Meeting Des Plaines, IL 

January 21-24, 2018 InspectionWorld® & ASHI Board Meeting Orlando, FL


FREE ASHI Member access to past IW sessions. 1. Go to 2. U  nder Education & Training 3. C  lick on:


CURRENT ASHI MEMBERSHIP ASHI Certified Inspectors: 3,550 Inspectors: 218 Associates: 4,086 Retired Members: 106 Affiliates: 83 Total: 8,044 Members as of 7/7/2017

Aug Anni ust versa ries


Twenty-five Years

Ten Years

ASHI-ENDORSED PROGRAMS ASHI’s E&O Insurance Program: Target Professional Programs 860-899-1862

Guy Giarrano William Piar

Twenty Years

Brian Kampi Craig Chmelicek John Cauthen Tom Hardy Steven Gietzen Jim Champ Chuck Miller Dan Carson Allan Davis Erick Fiset Brad Cyrier John Hesch Russ Haynes Nashaat Roufaiel John Franzen

ASHI Personal Lines Insurance Program: Liberty Mutual ASHI’s Protecting Home Inspectors From Meritless Claims Program: Joe Ferry – The Home Inspector Lawyer 855-MERITLESS (637-4853) ASHI Service Program BuildFax Tricia Julian, 877-600-BFAX x161 ASHI Customer Appreciation Program: Brent Skidmore, 864-386-2763 Brett Symes, 913-529-2683 LegalShield Joan Buckner, 505-821-3971 Dave Goldstein, 800-882-6242

OneSource Solutions 877-274-8632 Eliab Sisay, 206-218-3920 ASHI Rebate Program Dana Fishman, 800-634-0320 x1417 ASHI-ENDORSED EXAMS ASHI Standard and Ethics Education Module Go to, click on Education and Training, then click on the link for the ASHI Standard of Practice Education Module. NHIE Exam: 847-298-7750

Gary Dingledine James Josephson Larry Smiley Harry Dawson James Doran James Spencer

Fifteen Years Thomas Owen Peter Tranchell Chad Borah John Oppenhimer Martin Blackwood J.D. Johnson Guy Anderson Troy Roarke Adam Blankenship Brian Stevens John Hill

Five Years Matt Gahagan Michael MacKay Darin Jurasevich Jan George Leenhouts Joseph Collins Chad Beisheim Chris Skoczylas Carlo Vitale Greg Newman

ASHI-ENDORSED TRAINING PROGRAMS ASHI@Home Training System 800-268-7070 The ASHI School Russell Daniels, 888-884-0440 PLATINUM PROVIDER Millionaire Inspector Community Mike Crow Mention that you are an ASHI member.

35August 2017



Warning! A New Hurdle in Real Estate

Warning! A New Hurdle in Real Estate: The Air Conditioner Can Cause Big Repair Bills By Ron Passaro Sr. and David Harter

Authors’ note: As we researched and wrote this article, we included information that was as accurate as we could determine as of June 9, 2017. As with any government regulations, interpretations can vary and changes can occur.


n 1987, President Ronald Reagan signed the Montreal Protocol,1 which regulates the future use of refrigerant chemicals such as hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), including the HCFC known as HCFC-22, R-22 or the trade name FreonTM 22. For reference, R-22 is the refrigerant that was used primarily in most air conditioning (AC) systems, heat pumps, refrigerators and freezers prior to the year 2010. This regulation may affect every piece of real estate that has a central AC system and is for sale in the United States. This regulation phases out the use of R-22 on systems that were installed after 2010.

New systems—those installed after 2010—use new, non-ozone-depleting refrigerants. However, some new systems now are being sold as “dry systems,” and after they are installed, these types of systems are charged with recycled R-22. This installation or repair practice is allowed because of a loophole in the phaseout program. We think using these types of systems is a bad idea because, by the year 2020, the manufacturing of R-22 will be discontinued. To understand the gravity of this issue, you should know a few things about home AC systems. First, there are two main parts to an AC system; both parts are needed to make the system work. •The exterior part—called the condenser—is the part that everyone sees. The compressor is located inside the condenser cabinet. This is where the magic of AC happens: turning liquids to gas and gas to liquids with the result of creating cool air inside the house.


ASHI Reporter • August 2017

• The other part of AC magic—the air handler—is not so visible. The air handler contains the fan that pushes the cooled air around the house. The air handler is where the evaporator coil is located as well. The evaporator coil is the part of the system that takes the humidity out of the air. Second, AC systems that were installed before the year 2010 most likely have R-22 refrigerant in them. The refrigerant used in the exterior condensing or compressor unit must be the same as the refrigerant used in the interior evaporator coil or air handler. The Problem: Most AC systems installed in homes or buildings in the northeastern part of the United States have a design life of about 15 to 20 years. So, if you need service on an AC system that is manufactured before 2020 and if the AC system needs replacement R-22 refrigerant to complete the service or repair, you can only use recycled or stockpiled R-22, if it is available. It’s important to understand that the price of R-22 will continue to increase as the supply decreases and eventually, R-22 will no longer be available to service the remaining AC systems that use R-22. If either the condenser or the evaporator coil needs to be replaced, then the homeowner will have to replace the entire AC system—both exterior and interior parts—with a system that uses a non-ozone-depleting refrigerant. Replacing a whole system might cost more than double the cost of restoring an AC system. This policy will affect people who have AC systems that were built before the year 2020. R-22 is one of the most popular refrigerants used in the United States for refrigeration and AC applications. Unfortunately, according to some experts, R-22 causes depletion of the ozone layer in the atmosphere. That’s why this type of refrigerant is being phased out. According to its participation in the Montreal Protocol,1 the United States is one of the countries in which the manufacturing of R-22 must be stopped in a phaseout manner and for which alternatives must be found.


Here is the general timeline for the phaseout 2: January 1, 2010: A complete ban on the production and import of R-22. There are exceptions for future maintenance needs for existing systems and equipment. January 1, 2015: A ban on the sale and use of R-22 (except as refrigerants in equipment manufactured before January 1, 2020). There are certain exceptions for maintenance of existing equipment. January 1, 2020: A complete ban on the production and import of R-22 refrigerant. No USA-produced or USA-imported R-22 refrigerant gas will be available, even for servicing existing equipment. Only stockpiled new and recycled refrigerant will be available for maintenance. After January 2020: Owners of refrigeration and AC systems using R-22 will have to depend on the stockpile of the new and recycled refrigerant available for maintenance. One can’t really predict when or for how long R-22 will be available after the January 2020 deadline. It may be available until the expiration of the equipment, but purchasing it is likely to be expensive. When the stockpiles and recycled R-22 become scarce or unavailable, consumers may have to choose one of these actions: • switch to a new refrigerant—and, perhaps, get a new AC system—that uses materials not listed on the EPA’s phaseout plan, • bear the cost of using expensive R-22, or • abandon the use of existing equipment and totally shut down the current AC system. For more information, we suggest that you review the information found in the sources cited list.

Warning! A New Hurdle in Real Estate

Ron Passaro Sr. is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Res-I-Tec Inc. and oversees all its operations. He also is a field technician and holds the first home inspection license in the state of Connecticut. Ron is the founder and first President of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI member #000001). He was selected by Governor Rowland to serve as chairman of the first Home Inspector License Board for the state of Connecticut. Ron is a seasoned national instructor and has trained numerous home inspectors in the art of home inspections. As a Real Estate Instructor, he was named Educator of the Year in 2002 by the Connecticut Association of Realtors. As spokesperson for ASHI, Ron has appeared on numerous radio and national television shows and networks, including “Good Morning America,” “CBS News,” “48 Hours,” “American Journal,” “NBC Dateline” and HGTV. Ron has been published in many publications, including The Journal of Light Construction, MOBILITY Magazine and featured in such publications as The New York Times, The Chicago Sun-Times and many local publications. David Harter is the founder and owner of Harter Home Improvements, LLC, a building and remodeling company servicing Fairfield, New Haven and Litchfield counties in Connecticut. David is also the founder and owner of iLift Training Services, a training company providing material handling operator certifications for universities, manufacturing sites and warehouse operations. David has been an operator safety trainer since 1995. He has more than 25 years of experience in residential home construction, focusing on remodeling, restorations and home repair issues. David is currently working with Res-I-Tec, Inc. as a home inspector. He holds an Associate of Science degree in Building Construction from Dean College and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Business Management from Western Connecticut State University. In addition to his passion for helping homeowners, David enjoys skiing, coaching soccer and baseball and the outdoors. David is also an advocate for the ALS Association in Milford, CT, and is a member of the Coastal Connecticut Chapter of ASHI. David resides in Southbury, CT, with his wife and two children. H

Sources cited 1. U NEP Ozone Secretariat. The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Available at: treaties-and-decisions/montreal-protocol-substances-deplete-ozone-layer. Accessed June 28, 2017.

2. U  .S. Environmental Protection Agency. Phaseout of Class II Ozone-Depleting Substances. Available at: Accessed June 28, 2017.

37August 2017



Online Access and Changes in Consumer Behavior and in Home Inspectors

Online Access and Changes in Consumer Behavior and in Home Inspectors By Alan Carson, Carson Dunlop,, 800-268-7070


hanks to the Internet, knowledge is easier to acquire than ever before. The Internet is a powerful communication tool that makes it easier and less expensive to communicate one-on-one and in groups. What are the implications for home inspectors? Clients expect us to be accessible online so they can do the following: • evaluate and compare inspection companies when deciding which one to hire; • check our availability and set up appointments online; • receive their reports online; and • receive ongoing support online. The Internet makes it easier for customers to find out about us, but it also means it is easier for anyone to challenge our position as experts because consumers can research topics quickly and easily. That’s why we suggest that you have a good online pres38

ASHI Reporter • August 2017

ence—one that’s easy to navigate and gives good information in a concise way. It’s also important that your site ranks up there on Google so that your potential clients will find you when they search for your name or your company name.

The Internet is also a powerful marketing tool. For instance, Internet-based contractor referral services have proliferated. As the name suggests, this online service offers consumers a way to connect with contractors. Many of these online referral services are trying to get home inspectors to list with them online. If you have a website and a listing with an online referral service, you will have many more opportunities for contact with your public.

In addition, there are an immense number of database capabilities online. Some say that inspection reports are a treasure chest of information about homes, to which home inspectors hold the key. Consumers Have Changed Consumers are better informed because access to information is so easy, quick and cheap. As a result, consumer behavior has become more demanding and less patient. As home inspectors, we need to keep up with expectations. For instance, in terms of response rate alone, providing a quick response to inquiries is no longer a competitive advantage; it’s a minimum standard. Knowing who your customers are—and what they want—will help you stay ahead in the business. We’ve given you a number of ways to find out what your customers want, all of which play out in a single theme: Ask.


Online Access and Changes in Consumer Behavior and in Home Inspectors

Home Inspectors Are Changing, Too Many inspectors now offer more diversification through services such as these: • termite detection; • well and septic inspections; • urea formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI), radon, asbestos and lead testing; • indoor air quality, mold and carbon monoxide testing; • swimming pool inspections; • inspections of new homes during construction or before the warranty expires; and • commercial inspections. These added services can help increase the profitability of our businesses, but in some cases, they might conflict with our code of ethics. Can we refer a responsible tradesperson? Can we form strategic alliances? In our opinion, the code of ethics guiding home inspectors needs to be revised to reflect current market realities, while still protecting consumers through proper disclosure and freedom of choice. If a home inspection company is able to establish a relationship with a home warranty company to offer warranty coverage to clients at a discounted rate, based on the prescreening afforded by the inspection, should the company be able to pass this information along to a consumer who would benefit from it? We believe that most people would say that is fine. But if the home inspector received a fee for connecting the client to the warranty company, some would see that as a conflict. The home inspector may not be sending the client to the best warranty company, but simply to the one that pays the inspector a referral fee. But if the home inspector discloses that he or she will receive a referral fee, the client can make an informed decision about whether to accept the referral or check with other warranty companies. Transparency is the key, in our opinion. As long as the client is not subject to abuse through undisclosed relationships, we do not see a problem. As home inspectors

offer more services and refer more services to their clients, this issue becomes more important.

Not only have the types of service offerings increased, but the time frame for inspections is changing as well. For instance, prelisting inspections have become popular. Prelisting inspections make great sense by facilitating the negotiation and simplifying life for buyers, sellers and real estate agents, as well as by speeding up the sale process. There are a number of benefits for inspectors as well. A detailed discussion of this issue is beyond the scope of this article, but the point is that changes to the home inspection are inevitable over time, and you will be well served to stay current with these changes and trends and to think about how you want to position your company.

You can ensure that your business stays vital by carefully choosing which roads you want to go down with respect to the services you want to offer and what type of a presence you wish to establish online. H Carson Dunlop - Consulting engineering firm devoted to home inspection since 1978.

Marlon Page, ACI, Home Inspection Providers, LLC.

39August 2017



Apathy—Is It Really a Bottom-up Phenomenon?

Around the CoRner

From the Speaker of the CoR

By Hollis Brown, Speaker of the Council of Representatives


or some reason, certain people volunteer to serve. The most common way I hear this explained is, “I get a lot from this organization. It’s now time for me to give something back.” It’s not always that positive, though. Sometimes, it sounds more like a gripe, “If I don’t do it, who will?” On the other hand, for every one person volunteering, there are a handful of people participating. “If I don’t do it, someone else will.” I guess there’s a payoff for volunteering. One could realize a sense of accomplishment and might even be appreciated if things go well.

Sometimes, though, there’s a price to pay for stepping up. Who takes the heat when things go south if not the leaders? But where do the leaders go when it comes time to shift the responsibility? They can’t put it on the members—it’s the members who elected them and it’s the members who pay the dues. It’s the membership roles that make the society exist—that give it viability, clout. No, the leaders can’t blame the members. It’s apathy, that invisible, insidious dynamic. Member apathy is the problem. If the opening paragraphs of this column seem disjointed, it’s not because I’m struggling to overcome writer’s block, but rather, it’s because this is a difficult and complex topic. The one constant seems to be that every volunteer started out as a participant and their willingness to volunteer is directly related to their experience as a participant. In fact, the very viability of the society is predicated on the member experience.

Colleagues who see value…join. Members who experience value…renew. Members who stay…create the pool from which we draw leaders. Volunteers new to leadership…stumble occasionally as they gain experience. It is with this understanding of the nature of organizations that we appreciate the wisdom of our predecessors who recognized the value of establishing the Council of Representatives (CoR) to provide a training ground for future ASHI leaders. 40

ASHI Reporter • July 2017

Here we are in the heat of the nominating season. It’s through this process that the CoR helps to steer ASHI into the future. I’ve come to believe, though, that who we pick is not nearly as important as is the pool from which we pick. The nominating committees will work with what they have. What we, the CoR, can do is to nurture a fertile environment in which strong leaders can grow.

To that end, I continue to encourage the CoR Group Leaders to develop, maintain and utilize direct lines of communication between the CoR and the chapters. Start with your own chapter. Be aware. Deliver a CoR report. Experience membership response. Recognize the interest (or the lack thereof) in what’s going on at the national level. Improve your process. With that background, then, distribute national news to your groups. These are the people who elected you. They are counting on you to lead and the best way to lead is by example. Be the representative your chapter needs you to be. Then share that with your downline so they have a model to follow.

ASHI’s future success is directly related to the CoR’s current success. The CoR’s success depends on the effort we put into it now. I’m convinced that member apathy starts at the top. People don’t join an organization planning to sit on their hands. They join in anticipation of realizing something positive. If what they discover is dynamic, positive and inviting, they will participate. If they experience leadership apathy, they might not even renew. H

ASHI Council of Representatives Speakers and Group Leaders

SPEAKER: Hollis Brown 703-856-7567 ALTERNATESPEAKER: Janni Juhasz janni.j@homtec 419-215-5505

South Atlantic Gerald Simmons Jerry@simm 404-281-3734

Gulf Craig Lemmon reioftexas@ 817-291-9056

SECRETARY: Brendan Ryan brendan@csahome 724-321-1360

South Midwest Joe Pangborn Joe@Pangborn 573-228-4509


North Central

New England/ Canada

Donald Bissex Donald@mystic 781-475-8980

New York/ New Jersey Steven Baranello 516-972-4875

Mid-Atlantic Bronson Anderson 2inspect4u@ 540-836-0256

Midwest Eric Barker Ebarker@moraine 847-408-7238

Mike Ashburn Michael@Ashburn 724-516-1665

Mountain John Thompson Shelterworksllc@ 406-360-4613

Pacific Darrell Hay 206-226-3205


Continued From Page 32 codes mean, you need training, certification, experience, prior attendance at code meetings, a familiarity with the movers and shakers of code, and a developed or developing reputation in the code community. Is it worth it to you? That brings us back to the original statement: “Who moved my code?” If you want to quote code, then you have to know where the code started, where it went, what’s changed and why. What is current and what was enforced at the time and in what context? Keep in mind that the same information can be conveyed in an inspection report using other “neutral” terms. For example, you could cite a code in your report in this way: “There is no GFCI receptacle protection in the master bathroom. This is a code requirement, as the house was built in 1978.”

Or you could state: “There is no GFCI receptacle protection in the master bathroom. Good construction practice, as well as family safety, suggests installing GFCI receptacles in all bathrooms or near water sources.”

Who Moved My Code?

report. These clients have a point of view different from a residential buyer. Codes are more easily managed with new construction, because you are dealing with today and that’s a specific code at a specific time.

Ultimately, however, whether you quote code or not is a business decision that you will make. To what degree you are willing to take on managed liability is up to you. You might be thinking, “There’s money in them thar hills!” More service means more money—and the ability to charge more, as I’m not saying that quoting code is a bad idea. it differentiates your service from that of your competition. I am saying that doing so takes preparation and when compared with other means of Michael D. Conley is owner of conveying written information, it’s not the Straight Inspection Service, Anna path that limits your liability. Maria, FL. He is a Certified Member If you follow the second option, you are done and you didn’t have to crack a book. There was no house age requirement and whether you were “code accurate” or not does not enter into the report. It’s a succinct, accurate statement that is not time-dependent.

When inspecting commercial, industrial or new construction buildings, however, I think that the code plays a more central role in your

of ASHI, a Certified General Contractor, a Code-Certified Building Inspector, a Code-Certified Coastal Construction Inspector and a former Municipal Building Code Official. He also serves on the ASHI Board of Directors. H

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NEW POSTCARDS EMAIL!! Please send your name, city, state, photos, headings & captions to:

Postcards From the Field

Note: By sending in your postcard(s), you are expressly granting ASHI the right to use the postcard and your name with it in the ASHI REPORTER and in other publications ASHI may select.

First Impression, Long Report

Inconvenient Outlet

John S. Gamache Capstone Home Inspection Service Escondido, CA

John S. Gamache Capstone Home Inspection Service Escondido, CA

Someone Got Zapped!

J.E. Hollifield Prairie Home Inspection, Inc. Dillon, MT

Maybe It’s a Log Home? Matt Steger WIN Home Inspection Elizabethtown, PA

Good Buzz: ASHI Public Relations News • Reporter, Janet Thompson highlighted ASHI in a article about home inspections tips. The article posted online on May 24. • K NXV-TV [ABC] in Phoenix featured Frank Lesh in a Facebook Live video called “Let Joe Know” about the home inspection process, including how to find a reputable home inspector and questions homeowners should ask. The video posted on May 11.


ASHI ASHIReporter Reporter •• August August 2017 2017

• Editor, Paul Hope with Consumer Reports published an article out the benefits of using a home inspector while remodeling your home, which featured an interview with Frank Lesh. The article posted online on June 1. •O  n June 28, ASHI Executive Director, Frank Lesh met with the Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary, Dr. Ben Carson in Baltimore, MD. Together they discussed the importance of quality home inspection training and the successful collaboration between The ASHI School and Baltimore Community College.


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Postcards from the Field Happiness is Finding the Clog

NEW POSTCARDS EMAIL!! Please send your name, city, state, photos, headings & captions to: Note: By sending in your postcard(s), you are expressly granting ASHI the right to use the postcard and your name with it in the ASHI REPORTER and in other publications ASHI may select.

Kick-out Flashing Would Cover PART of This

Michael Chambers BrickKicker Home Inspections St. Louis, MO

Plumber’s Crack Explained

Anatol Polillo ALP Inspections, LLC Baltimore, MD

Bucket Duct

Brett Reeder Compass Home Inspections, LLC San Jose, CA Matt Leahy The Edge Home Inspection Tucson, AZ

Should be a Sludge Pump


Randy Sipe Family Home Inspection Services, Inc. Spring Hill, KS


ASHI Reporter • August 2017

Richard Aiello I-Spy Home Inspection LLC Winthrop, MA

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August 2017 •


The Halfway Point By ASHI President, Howie Pegelow


ell, this is August, and my year as ASHI President is half over. Come January, I’ll be entering my last year of 10 years on the ASHI Board, serving as the Immediate Past-President, and then I’ll join the ranks of my predecessors in the line of Past Presidents. What have I been able to accomplish so far? Well, unfortunately, I required heart surgery and a good deal of rehabilitation during the first four months of my term. (You might recall that I wrote about my health situation in last month’s Reporter.) I thank President-Elect Tim Buell and Immediate Past-President Randy Sipe for coming together, along with Executive Director Frank Lesh, to assist in leading the goings-on of ASHI during my recovery. While I was being treated in physical therapy rehab facilities, I was still able to communicate effectively with various staff and board members. We scheduled telecommunication conferences (via GoToMeeting) as needed, and I attended those meetings as often as I could. In April, the board conducted its spring meeting at ASHI headquarters in Des Plaines, IL, and I was healthy enough to attend, accompanied by my wife, Jane. The board reviewed and discussed many items of business, including the Background Verification and Identification (BVI) program, as well as plans to offer and establish even better recognition programs among our many affiliates and multi-inspector organizations.

As far as membership programs, ASHI has established working relationships with former members of the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) to welcome everyone into ASHI’s membership. Thanks to the tireless efforts of these members, along with Director of Membership Services and Chapter Relations Russell Daniels and other staff members, our membership retention ratio is above expectations. Our new ASHI (formerly NAHI) members are most professional and a great benefit to our profession. In looking to the future, we hope to establish better working relationships with and among all of the other home inspection organizations. Working toward this goal will ensure the betterment of the home inspection profession. Last year, the board, under the direction of Randy Sipe, enacted a program known as “The Year of the Chapter,” which we are continuing this year. The program is simple: ASHI reviews the status and makeup of each chapter and develops specialized programs to assist in building a stronger chapter presence, especially for smaller chapters that face challenges with increasing their membership numbers. Several existing chapters have taken advantage of the offers, so we know the program is helping to achieve our goals.

The board is looking to the future with long-range plans to grow our membership and to offer the best educational opportunities. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact any members of the ASHI Board of Directors. We welcome your comments and feedback. H


ASHI Reporter • August 2017

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ASHI Reporter • August 2017

August 2017 Reporter  

Home inspection news and tips for inspectors, home owners and realtors.

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