Page 1

MAY 2019




P 24








Mold Sampling Basic Kit $299 USD #8706301

Air-O-Cell Cassette/50 PK $199 USD #8715301B

Zefon Bio-pump Plus Kit $699 USD #8706002

FREE Swabs & Tape Lifts For EMSL Tests!



FHA/VA Water Test Kit Basic+2Day TAT Prepaid



ASHI Reporter • MAY 2019

Radon Gas Test kit Call For Pricing!

MAY 2019



On the Cover FEATURES 6

MANAGING RISK Claim 8: Wood Rot By InspectorPro Insurance


Home Energy Score UPDATE High. Energy Conversations By ASHI Staff


Life Cycle of a House: How Houses Age Gracefully By Ron Passaro



16 TECHNICAL FOCUS Service Entrance Conductor By Alan Carson, Carson Dunlop


SMART INSPECTOR SCIENCE When Fresh Paint on Windows is a Red Flag By Tom Feiza, Mr. Fix-It, Inc.



Inspecting Log Homes By Bronson Anderson


MARKETING FOCUS Starting Up & Winding Down By Alan Carson, Carson Dunlop


40 Are These Violations of the ASHI Code of Ethics?


By Jamison Brown, ASHI Ethics Committee Chair

42 Postcards From the Field

It’s Wacky Out There


Voice of the Faithful and of the CoR By Donald Lovering,

Speaker of the Council of Representatives

MAY 2019 •


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

A S H I M I S SIO N STATEM EN T 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 Scott Patterson, President Spring Hill, TN, 615-302-1113

Bruce Barker, Treasurer Cary, NC, 919-322-4491

James J Funkhouser, Vice President Manassas Park, VA , 703-791-2360

John Wessling , Secretary St. Louis, MO, 314-520-1103

Mike Wagner, President-Elect Westfield, IN, 317-867-7688

Tim Buell, Immediate Past-President Marysville, OH, 614-746-7485

Bronson Anderson 2018-2020 Waynesboro, VA, 540-932-7557

Rob Cornish 2019-2021 Ottawa, ON, 613-858-5000

Eric Barker 2018-2020 Lake Barrington, IL, 847-408-7238

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

Bob Sisson 2018-2020 Shannon Cory 2018-2020 Boyds MD, 301-208-8289 Fayetteville, GA, 770-461-3408 R. Sean Troxell 2019-2021 Riverdale, MD, 301-588-1318

Steve Cross 2019-2021 Ortonville, MI, 248-342-4205

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

Nashaat Roufaiel 2019-2021 Ottawa, ON, 613-823-7706

Lisa Alajajian Giroux 2019-2021 Milford, MA, 508-634-2010

Speaker, Council of Representatives Donald Lovering, 2019-2020 Wingate, NC, 704-443-0110

Publisher: James Thomas Editor: Carol Dikelsky Art Director: Kate Laurent Assistant Art Director: George Ilavsky American Society of Home Inspectors, Inc. 932 Lee Street, Suite 101 Des Plaines, IL 60016

847-954-3179 Reporter calls only 847-299-2505 (fax) Reporter only Email: 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© 2018, 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.


ASHI Reporter • MAY 2019

Main Phone: 847-759-2820, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm Mon. - Fri., CST EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR James Thomas, Executive Director, 847-954-3182, Bonnie Bruno-Castaneda, Executive Assistant, Human Resources & 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 & PRODUCT ORDERS Jen Gallegos, Manager of Membership Services & U.S. DOE Home Energy Score Assessor Coordinator, 847-954-3185, Janet George, Membership Services Project Coordinator 847-954-3180, George Herrera, Membership Services Coordinator 847-954-3196,


Michael Burroughs 2019-2021 Monroe, LA, 318-376-0482


Michael Krauszowski, Membership Services Administrator 847-954-3175, Gaby Nava, Membership Services Administrator 847-954-3176, ACCOUNTING Toni Fanizza, Accounting, Purchasing & Human Resources Manager 847-954-3190, Beverly Canham, Financial Assistant, 847-954-3184 WEBSITE, INFORMATION SYSTEMS, DATABASE Mike Rostescu, Assistant Executive Director & Director of IT 847-954-3189, COMMUNICATIONS Dave Kogan, Director of Marketing & Business Development Advertising, IW Expo Hall, Public Relations 847-954-3187, Kate Laurent, Design & Digital Strategy Manager, “ASHI Reporter” Art Director, 847-954-3179, Chris Karczewski, Social Media & Digital Strategist 847-954-3183 George Ilavsky, Graphic Designer & Free Logos, “ASHI Reporter” Assistant Art Director, THE ASHI SCHOOL Michelle Santiago, Education Manager, 847-954-3198 Janna Grosso, Education Coordinator, 847-954-3181 Rhonda Robinett, Marketing and Communications Specialist 847-954-3194

No matter how bad it looks, we can help. Don’t pay for it twice. We Protect. You Inspect.

Call 866-916-9419

InspectorPro’s built-in pre-claims assistance program stifles complaints before they turn into claims. Get a free quote today for better protection.

Visit MAY 2019 •


Managing Risk

Managing Risk Claim 8: Wood Rot By InspectorPro Insurance

WET ROT Note: The Managing Risk column reviews the most common allegations in the industry and provides tips to make inspectors better equipped to prevent claims.


hile renovating the deck of their recently purchased home, some home inspection clients discovered wood rot plaguing their back deck. As contractors removed the old granite countertops (presumably for an outdoor kitchen) to replace them, the deck broke, revealing the deteriorated main beams and support stringers. Rather than continue with their deck expansion, the new homeowners paid to replace the wooden deck as it was. With the repairs completed, the inspection clients contacted one of their relatives, a lawyer, to draft a demand letter to their home inspector. In it, the family demanded that their home inspector pay for the labor and materials to replace the deck. They added several hundred dollars to the bill for “inconvenience” and “loss of use” as well.


Unlike most pest claims, wood-destroying insects like termites and carpenter ants do not create wood rot. Rather, saprophytic fungi feed on dead, organic matter (in this case, wood), which causes the wood to rot or decay. There are two primary types of wood rot: wet and dry. Scotland-based building preservation company Richardson & Starling (https://www. compares the two types of decay as follows:


ASHI Reporter • MAY 2019

• Needs higher moisture content to grow • Wood likely to feel soft and spongy • May appear white and stringy like a spider’s web due to mycelium (fungus) strands • Often causes discoloration, such as darkening, of wood • Decay remains in damp area and doesn’t spread • Frequently accompanied by damp, musty smell

DRY ROT • Characterized by white mycelium (fungal) growth that has a cotton wool appearance, though it may have a yellow or gray tinge depending on its age • Will cause wood and paint to crack and when severe, to crumble • Often spreads red spore dust reminiscent of rust • Fungus may take on mushroom-like appearance when well-established • Decay can grow along and through the walls, spreading throughout the property • Frequently accompanied by damp, musty smell Wood rot is easy to conceal. In many of the wood rot claims we receive, the prior owners paint over the rot—intentionally or unintentionally—to prepare the property for sale. With the rot covered, inspectors miss the defect and the real estate transaction goes through. Only after the seasons change, thus shifting moisture levels, does the paint peel, buckle or ripple to manifest the wood rot below.

Managing Risk


As with all claims prevention, it’s important to have a thorough pre-inspection agreement ( and inspection report—with lots of pictures of defect and non-defect areas. However, to avoid wood rot claims specifically, there are certain elements you should draw particular attention to during your inspection and in your inspection report.

Start with moisture-rich areas. According to our claims team, wood rot claims occur most frequently in the natural wood and in areas subject to elevated moisture or areas that come into contact with the elements.

From plumbing problems to foundation cracks, moisture enters homes from infinite angles. Furthermore, from the roof to the ground floor, many properties have wood unprotected from the elements. However, typical moisture-rich areas subject to wood rot include the following: • CRAWLSPACES • FLOOR JOISTS • EAVES OR FASCIA BOARDS • DOOR JAMS AND THRESHOLDS • WINDOW SILLS • DECK SUPPORT POSTS • ROOF PENETRATIONS AND ATTICS •A  NYTHING IN DIRECT CONTACT WITH STONEWORK, SOIL OR EXTERIOR Our claims team recommends paying special attention to these areas to better identify wood decay.

Call out concealed or inaccessible areas. According to Section 13 of the ASHI Standard of Practice (SoP), inspections “are not required to identify and to report concealed conditions” (SoP, 13.1, B.2.a.; https:// Nevertheless, veiled defects may still result in claims. To mitigate wood rot claims in concealed or inaccessible areas, and to make such claims more defensible, home inspectors should underscore potential problem spots in their reports. Because sellers frequently conceal wood rot with paint, claims professionals recommend calling out freshly painted surfaces in your inspection reports.

Additionally, if you cannot access the entire crawlspace, attic or deck, you must say so in your report and you should document any obstructions so that you can prove inaccessibility to stifle negligence allegations that could surface later. Depending on the amount of crawlspace you cannot inspect, you may consider recommending further evaluation by a third party. Use all your senses. While home inspections are primarily visual examinations, your other senses can assist in identifying wood rot. According to Clayton Somers of A Premier Home Inspection, LLC ( in Virginia, your sense of smell and touch can play an important role in wood rot recognition.

“There’s a certain smell—very earthy, like soil and mushrooms,” Somers said. Such a stale, damp odor often indicates that there’s poor ventilation, which can promote wood rot. “[If I then see something suspect,] that’s when I probe it. I usually use a screwdriver,” Somers said.

A pick test helps Somers determine both the type of rot and its severity. Mushy, spongy wood that yields to his prods, or wood that cracks and turns powdery when pressed both suggest wood decay.

Be specific regarding your findings. When you do pinpoint signs of wood decay, describe your findings clearly. What type of wood rot have you discovered? And where did you find the decay? Somers and our claims team both agree that it’s essential to take detailed notes regarding the rot’s location to deter claims. Depending on the wood rot’s severity, Somers recommends that clients contact a moisture specialist or a carpenter for further evaluation or repair. However, regardless of severity, our claims specialists discourage inspectors against minimizing their findings.

Protect yourself from claims: After establishing that the home has wood rot issues, it’s important to effectivelly communicate your findings to the client. Inspectors recommend emphasizing the limitations of an inspection and explaining your findings in terms the client can understand. Even if you do everything right, you can still get a wood rot claim. Just take it from our home inspector in the example at the beginning of this article.

After reviewing the photographs that the claimants provided, our home inspector asserted that the deck joists were not in the same dilapidated condition six months prior when the inspection took place. During the inspection, the deck was too low to the ground to fully inspect. However, the issues were not visible either by viewing or walking on the deck, nor by viewing the deck from under the house at the time of inspection. Our claims team concluded that the joists were further damaged after they were exposed to the elements by the renovations and by weather changes. Furthermore, the claimants supported the claims team’s position in their assertion that the deck broke at the time of the renovations. The deck did not break during the inspection and, therefore, the issues were not visible at that time. Our claims team issued a strong denial of liability on the home inspector’s behalf. In it, the team argued that both the SoP and state regulations limit the inspection’s scope to readily observable conditions. Since sending the letter to the claimants, the home inspector has not received further demands. It’s essential to carry errors and omissions insurance (E&O) for defense and payout help. Contact your InspectorPro broker or submit an application ( to receive a quote at no obligation.


InspectorPro Insurance is ASHI’s one and only Premier Insurance Partner ( Through risk management education, pre-claims assistance and straightforward coverage, InspectorPro gives you peace of mind and unparalleled protection. Learn more and apply for a quote at ( MAY 2019 •




This month’s topics: New tech, unlikely advocates and national recognition greet the summer season for the Home Energy Score.… Read on to get the details! AN APP-TASTIC RECEPTION

“A definite time-saver,” “totally worth the wait,” and “it’s actually fun to use!” These are the kinds of early testimonials that an app developer dreams about, which probably means that I.D. Energy is on the right track with its new Scoring App for ASHI Home Energy Score Certified Assessors™. Released in April 2019 and debuted at the National Home Performance Council Conference in Chicago, the app is the brainchild of a team at I.D. Energy that has firm footing in both the home inspection and the energy modeling camps. With their background, the team designed a tool that is perfectly suited to an inspector’s particular needs. They were able to reverse-engineer the sometimes clunky, often redundant U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Scoring Tool in favor of a pared-down interface that makes data collection a snap, and lets inspectors plug into the I.D. Energy compliance system without having to jump from camera to browser to calculator to email. All of these functions and more are now wrapped up into one intuitive package.

According to early adopters, assessors who’ve been waiting for the app are in for a life-changing (or at least an inspection-enhancing) experience. New inspectors coming on board will start right out of the gate with access to a tool that reminds us that sometimes technology actually does make our lives easier and our businesses more profitable. The App is available right now—free of charge—to all ASHI Certified Assessors through I.D. Energy.


Yes, you read that correctly: REALTORs® have just announced a program in which they will pay $250 to inspectors who deliver a Home Energy Score to their homebuyer clients. Okay, the hard dose of reality is that the program is only currently available in California since it’s being run through the California Association of REALTORS®. The REAP, or REALTORs® Energy Audit Program, is obviously great news for ASHI members, many of whom are already in the early stages of taking part in this generous policy.

For those who don’t serve homebuyers in California, however, we’re hopeful that REAP will mean that the message we’ve been hearing from agents across the country—that energy-informed buyers are more satisfied and confident buyers—makes its way back to the National Association of REALTORs® so that energy disclosure through the Home Energy Score is recognized at the national level as the true homebuyer benefit that it is. ASHI inspectors in California who want to take part in REAP should contact Brent Loya at I.D. Energy to get in on the action.




ASHI Reporter • MAY 2019

Home Energy Score Update


We are proud to report that our faithful partners at I.D. Energy have racked up back-to-back awards from the DOE for their visionary work with ASHI inspectors and the Home Energy Score. At last month’s National Home Performance Coalition Conference, Michael Rowan and Brent Loya received the DOE’s coveted “Innovation Award” for the second time in a row. This status situates I.D. Energy at the forefront of a group of dozens of big-name national partners in the program. We see this as a win for both ASHI members and for the inspection industry as a whole. Joan Glickman, acting Program Manager for Residential Buildings Integration at the DOE, echoed this perspective as she delivered the award. She cited I.D. Energy’s leadership in inspector-driven pilot programs like the ongoing initiative in Denver, CO, as well as the ground-breaking programs that I.D. Energy has developed around training, mentorship and quality assurance that have made delivering “the Score” an approachable and affordable possibility for inspectors around the country, from single operators to multi-inspector firms to national franchises.

Glickman also noted that I.D. Energy’s leadership and outside-the-box thinking have made it possible for 2019 to become the year that the Home Energy Score will become mainstream in the inspection industry, a year when home inspectors will take their rightful place as the trusted and highly trained providers of the full picture of what it’s going to mean for American families to actually live in their homes. She closed by saying that it’s especially rewarding for the agency when businesses of all sizes benefit from a program that better serves homebuyers, and that I.D. Energy’s suite of business-building services has allowed the market to react to viable customer demand rather than to rely on heavy-handed, top-down regulations.

Michael Rowan and Brent Loya received the Department of Energy Innovation Award, delivered by Maddy Salzman and Joan Glickman.


Jen Gallegos ( at ASHI HQ is always on hand to answer questions and to give encouragement to inspectors looking to get started using the Score. Or you can head right to ID Energy and get signed up at



Life Cycle of a House



Ron Passaro is the founder and first President of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). He founded RES-I-TEC, Inc., a home inspection company, in 1973 and has since served as inspector, president and CEO. He has personally conducted more than 15,000 home inspections, and he voluntarily served for 15 years as ASHI’s National Spokesperson for news media interviews and meetings with home inspectors. He was a senior trainer for American Home Inspection Training Institute, teaching new home inspectors nationwide. He teaches continuing education and other programs throughout the country, and conducts educational programs for home inspectors, real estate professionals and homebuyers. He has been a speaker at the Connecticut Association of Realtors conference, Northern Fairfield County Association of Realtors conference, National Association of Realtors conferences in California and Washington, and the “Triple Play” conferences in Atlantic City, as well as national conferences for ASHI, the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) and others. Contact Ron at (203) 948-7953.

I’ve been inspecting homes for more than 45 years. During that time, I’ve noticed many things about the way homes age, and I’d like to share some of my thoughts with you.


o doubt, no matter what your age, you are familiar with the aging process. When I reached 40 years old, my body started to change. My chest dropped down to my stomach, and I must have started to grow again because my head poked through my hair. These are but a few of the changes that a human body may go through as it ages.

Houses, like people, go through an aging process as well. If the home is cared for, the aging process can be both normal and graceful. If the house is not cared for, the aging process can be abnormal and unattractive. 10

ASHI Reporter • MAY 2019


In the early life of a house, nail pops may become visible on the walls and ceilings. For the most part, this is a cosmetic issue, but if this damage is not repaired properly, it will reappear. Today, screws, instead of nails, are primarily used to secure the drywall materials. In addition, some drywall taping may pull loose and give the appearance of a settlement issue, but this issue is also mostly cosmetic. Fractures may become visible above doors and windows and in the corners of a room.





IN GIFT CARDS WITH EACH NEW MEMBER TO REFER A MEMBER: Download the Membership Application form, have the new member fill it out (including his/her member number in the referral field). І 800-745-6126 • Unique screen design is familiar, saves clicks and time • Touch & Swipe navigation is quick and easy to use • Photos insert into reports automatically • Free to install on as many devices as you'd like • 3D converts mobile field data into your preferred style of report • Try it free for 30 days! Contact us for more information



Questions? Contact Jen Gallegos,

MAY 2019 •


Life Cycle of a House

Sliding doors that settled poorly. Nail pop.

In addition, there may be some settlement of the soil around the foundation perimeter, which can create a negative pitch, directing surface water toward the foundation of the house. This is one of the leading causes of water seepage into the basement area. Adding soil against the foundation to restore the positive pitch and direct water away from the building is a preventive measure that can be used to help keep water from seeping into the basement.

Loose drywall tape.

Doors and windows may not work as smoothly as they once did. Sliding patio doors may rub along the top due to settlement of the header above. Some interior doors may have to be refitted. Keep in mind that some of these early signs may be the beginning of more serious issues.

Soil settlement.

Gutter downspout and extension Edging to contain the ground cover

Ground cover using mulch or gravel

Geotextile fabric membrane Weep hole with 1/2-inch spacing

Ill-fitting doors represent excessive settlement issues in a house that is just five years old. 12

ASHI Reporter • MAY 2019

Soil settlement.

3 inch drop over 5 feet for proper drainage

Life Cycle of a House

There can be a lot of moisture entrapped in the building materials of a new home and this moisture must dry out until the building materials reach the ambient level of moisture in the new environment. During this period, homeowners may see some of the wood joinery shrink and open a little. If the humidity level gets too low, other items (for example, flooring, furniture, cabinetry and other wood items) may shrink. Homeowners may get an electrical shock when they touch metal objects and their hair may stand up. In general, people feel comfortable with about 30% to 50% humidity, but if a home could feel, it would likely prefer that the humidity would be a little lower than that. Among other things, high humidity levels can cause decay and mold problems.

In general, electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems should still be in good condition, assuming that proper installation and maintenance work was conducted. This work includes cleaning or changing the filters on the air handlers, as well as cleaning or changing the filter for the fan in the exhaust hood of the stove in the kitchen.

The five-year mark is a good time to check and clean all exhaust fans in the bathrooms and other areas. The clothes dryer vent should have been inspected and cleaned every year because built-up lint in the vent pipe and exterior exhaust damper is a leading cause of fires. The basement and garage floors may show signs of settlement cracks, but it could be a latent sign of something to come. This is usually cosmetic and of no structural consequence. If cheaper grades of appliances were used or if they were not properly installed, service calls may be required. In general, most repairs and maintenance work needed during the first five years of a home’s life can be done at a minimal cost.

The first five years of the home’s aging process is like the break-in period of a car. In the home, any major issues that are going to occur will have, by now, poked their head out of hiding. In the next five years, there should be no unexpected surprises.


When a home is five to 10 years old, signs of major settlement will become evident. If abnormal movement has occurred, it should be visible by now on the foundation and interior walls. Most major settlement should have subsided, and what you see is what you get. Depending on the severity of any movement, major structural repairs may be needed, but typically this does not occur very often, and homeowners can get away with covering it up in some cosmetic way. Panel movement due to moisture issues.

During its first five years, a home goes through many “tests of time.” Rain gutters and leaders are important components for keeping water seepage out of the basement. Rain gutters may have to be reset and rain leaders should be extended as far away from the foundation as possible. Also, rain gutters and leaders should be kept clean and free flowing at all times.

It’s important to remove any dead trees or limbs that threaten the home if they were to fall. Siding materials might require some minor adjustments. Patios, masonry entrance walks and retaining walls may start showing signs of settlement and may need adjustments or repairs. The house will probably need repainting at the end of the first fiveyear cycle. Decks will probably also need refinishing during this time. Cabinetry doors and drawers may need some adjustments, as well as the interior doors, windows and window locks.

Any minor electrical and plumbing problems should have surfaced by now. These problems should need only a limited amount of maintenance. By this point, homeowners also have become aware of any flaws in the heating and air conditioning systems, and if the home uses well water, the homeowner should be aware of any issues with water flow or capacity.

Repairs or replacement of certain smaller items may be required, but likely nothing major. Of course, this assumes that the homeowners have been diligent about maintenance, such as changing or cleaning filters, servicing equipment and repairing minor plumbing as needed. Homeowners should not experience any issues with on-site sewage disposal systems during this time. Once again, however, this assumes that the homeowners have kept up the required care of the system. Also, homeowners will know by now if there is any chronic water seepage condition in the basement area. Depending on the type of water heater that was installed, the homeowner may be looking at replacing it soon if it has not already been replaced. Electric water heaters have a shorter life span than gas or oil-fired water heaters.

If a well is present, the well pump should still have some useful life left, but it may require replacement in the near future. Homeowners should plan ahead and put some money aside for this future maintenance issue. Some minor repairs to the plumbing system will be required in the form of leak and fixture repairs. Ongoing maintenance is a must, but major systems and components should still be functioning properly.

MAY 2019 •


Life Cycle of a House


Ten to 20 years represent several milestones in a home’s aging process. Most systems and many components of the home have a design life of about 20 to 25 years.

tight that the home could no longer breathe! The problem with this is that could cause condensation to form in wall cavities and under roof structures, which then could cause heavy decay and mold to occur.

In many homes that are currently 20 to 30 years old, we often find decay in exterior wood trim such as window frames. The wood used in these components, especially during those “building boom” years in the 1990s and 2000s, is more porous than the type used in older homes; therefore, it’s important to keep these components well painted to prevent problems later. Any noticeable decay should be addressed as soon as possible.

The use of solar energy became popular and the U.S. Government even gave tax credits to install solar equipment. Much of the early solar technology did not prove to be practical in colder climates. Solar technology has improved over the years, however, and some government subsidies still exist to encourage its use.

By the end of this time frame, roof coverings will show wear and will be approaching the need for resurfacing. Homeowners should consider putting money aside for this significant expense.

Heating systems should still be operational, but at the end of this time frame, they may be approaching the end of their design life and will require more frequent repairs. Obtaining replacement parts may become difficult. Replacement is inevitable, particularly if the system has not been regularly maintained. Most central air conditioning systems will need major repairs or replacement.

ON GOING MAINTNANCE IS A MUST. If a private, on-site sewage disposal is present, some repairs might be needed to that system, although most will continue to function, if the system was adequately designed and maintained. During this time frame, a homeowner may already be using the house’s second generation of water heaters. If the well pump has not been replaced, it may be time to set money aside for a new one.

Some minor repairs to the plumbing system (for example, fixing leaks and fixtures) will be required. During this period, ongoing maintenance is a must. The major components should be functioning properly, however.

Electrical systems, although probably still safe (assuming “Uncle Louie” has not done any work to the system), might need some upgrading. The good news for a home of this age is this: If proper maintenance, repairs and replacements have been done, the inspector might be looking at an older home with everything in new or like-new condition—a home that is passing the test of time!

Other elements beyond our control can influence the value of a home as well—these include changes in building codes, new government regulations, new technology and special interest groups, to name a few. For example, in 1973, energy conservation took on a whole new meaning to Americans and their living environments. In the 1970s, almost-daily media messaging encouraged people to save energy by tightening up their homes. In some cases, people made their homes so


ASHI Reporter • MAY 2019

Around the 1950s, the installation of underground fuel oil storage tanks became popular. Now, we are going through the expense of removing these underground tanks and installing new ones underground that are designed for this purpose, or installing different types for above-ground use.

High-efficiency furnaces, boilers and heat pumps were also developed many years ago. This technology has improved over the years, and today we have some of the most efficient heating and air conditioning equipment available. With the use of high-efficiency equipment and fewer air changes per hour in our homes, our consumption of energy has lessened significantly. Whether this has improved indoor air quality, however, is questionable.


If the home has been properly maintained, many of the systems mentioned already will have been replaced or repaired at least once by the 20-year point. Basically, the “replace and repair” cycle repeats itself every 20 to 30 years.

After 20 years, the following major components can be expected to fail:

• Galvanized and brass plumbing, if present, will most likely wear out after about 30 to 40 years. • Copper pipe will have some life left if the water supply has not been too aggressive. • Masonry work, particularly brick, may begin deteriorating. • Mechanical and electrical systems may be outdated or inadequate in relationship to new standards. • Middle-age “sag” in the structure will be more evident. Having gone through the aging process, older homes should be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. The occupants of older homes have been given a stewardship of trust to look after them properly so that future generations can enjoy their beauty and architecture.

Like people who have increased in age (and wisdom, of course), these more “seasoned” homes also have passed the test of time and should be considered to be the senior citizens of our housing stock. Treat them gently and enjoy them!

Inspect Our New Home NEW WEBSITE. NEW TOOLS FOR YOUR TRADE. • NHIE Study Curriculum • NHIE Exam Registration Information • Professional Inspectors Database • Communications & Marketing Toolkit MAY 2019 •


Technical Focus



Alan Carson is a Past President of ASHI and President and co-founder of Carson Dunlop ( Thank you to ASHI member Roger Hankey for his invaluable contributions to this article.

The electrical system is a critical part of a home. The home inspection should include the overhead service drop or underground service laterals and the service entrance conductors. The utility company is responsible for the overhead service drop or underground service entrance (service laterals). The homeowner is responsible for all electric components beyond the connection of the laterals or the service drop. In this article, I will focus on overhead services rather than service laterals, and I will address service entrance conductors rather than service drops. The service entrance conductors connect with the overhead service drop wires, typically at the drip loop. The transition from utility responsibility to homeowner responsibility is called the service point. The service entrance conductors extend down to the service equipment (main disconnect, service panel, service box, distribution panel). The electric meter is typically the first component between the service point and the main disconnect. The service conductors for a typical 240-volt service include two black wires, each energized at 120 volts. These are often referred to as hot or ungrounded. There is also a white wire, which is neutral (grounded). They may be part of a service entrance cable (SEC) or they may be in a service entrance conduit, which is known as the service mast. Many jurisdictions require the service entrance wires to extend at least 30 inches out of the service cap (entrance cap) at the top of the SEC or masthead. This gives the utility enough room to make their connections and leave a drip loop. The drip loop is simply a low point in the wires where water can drip off rather than run down inside the conduit or masthead and into the service box. A drip loop also shows that the service drop wires are supported properly, and that there is no tension on the splices between the service drop and service entrance wires. A service cap at the top of the mast provides a weather-resistant point for the service conductors to enter the conduit or mast. (See illustration top of column to the right.) The service cap may also be called a weather head, entrance cap or gooseneck in the case of an SEC. A drip loop should be provided whether there is a mast above the roofline or a conduit or cable below the roofline. The minimum height of the drip loop above a roof may be 18 inches to 10 feet, depending on several criteria and on jurisdiction. 16

ASHI Reporter • MAY 2019

Where an SEC is used without conduit or masthead, the cable itself is bent downward (like a candy cane or gooseneck) before connecting to the service drop wires. This discourages water entry into the cable between the wires and the exterior sheathing. The service entrance conductors may be in a conduit on the outside of the building or there may be a special SEC that does not require a conduit. Either situation is acceptable.

Technical Focus


No Drip Loop: This is usually an installation problem, although it may be the result of a failed support for the service drop. The implications are water entry into the electrical system and possible mechanical stresses on the wires and splices. Look for the service entrance wires to have a low spot where they connect to the service drop wires. The wires should be visibly slack. See Photo 1.

Some service drops are attached to the side of a building. Here, the conduit will extend up the building and terminate in a service cap below the roofline. Where the service drop wires are above the roofline, a service mast is required. This mast extends up through the roof and terminates in a service cap. This mast is often a conduit that contains the service entrance wires. It is also the mechanical support for the service drop wires. Depending on the height of the mast, guy wires may be necessary to hold the mast straight. The weight of the service drop wires is significant and poorly supported masts can be bent or even broken. The mast must be properly flashed where it penetrates the roof. The service drop conductors are typically attached to the mast within about 12 inches of the top. The service conductors should not be too close to the roof, as previously mentioned.

Photo 1. No drip loop. Š 2019

No Masthead or Service Cap (Entrance Cap): This is usually an installation defect and the implication is that water can get into the electrical system. Make sure there is a weather-tight cap on the conduit or mast. This should be arranged so that conductors enter the underside of the cap. See photo 2.

Standards of practice typically require the inspector to report the service size (amperage and voltage rating). Based on the gauge of the conductor, you may be able to determine whether you have conductors rated for a 60-amp, 100-amp or 200-amp service, for example. Note: The gauge of the service drop conductors may not be a good indicator of the service size because they are often smaller than the service entrance conductors. Meters are nearly always sealed by the utility to reduce the potential for tampering or theft of power by jumpering the meter. Home inspectors should not break utility seals. It is important to examine the connections above and below the meter to determine if they are secure and weathertight. Water making contact with electrical equipment can create several problems, including corrosion, overheating and fire. Furthermore, a loose or damaged mast increases the potential for damage to the insulation on the conductors caused by movement.

Photo 2. Missing service cap at the top of the service entrance conduit, a taped repair to the service drop anchor at the point of attachment to the home and a loose grommet on the service entrance conductors. Š 2019 MAY 2019 •


Technical Focus

Masthead Not Weather-tight: Sometimes a masthead (service cap) is present, but loose or at an improper angle. It should be weather-tight. This is usually an original installation problem, although mastheads may have worked loose or out of position. These conditions increase the potential for water entering the electrical system. See Photo 3.

The conductors may sag, reducing overhead clearance, or they may fall, creating a dangerous situation. Weather-tightness may also be lost.

Photo 3. Masthead is not weather-tight.

Conductors Too Close to the Roof: The bottom of the drip loop should be well above the roof. In the United States, the requirement is at least 18 inches. In Canada, it is 24 inches. Local authorities may require more height where snow and ice occur, for example. The mast is too short in Photo 4; notice that the conductors are laying on the roof.

Make sure the masts and conduits are not bent or pulled out of position. Look at clamps for evidence of movement. Masts taller than 5 feet should have guy-wires. Where there is a mast, look at the roof-flashing connection to see if it has been displaced. See Photo 5.

Photo 5. Bent Mast.. Mast or Conduit Rusted: Rust may be the result of age or the use of inappropriate materials. The implications are mechanical failure, allowing wires to fall and water entry into the electrical system.

Mast or Conduit Bent: The masts or conduits should be straight and, in most cases, vertical. Masts or conduits may be bent by the stresses exerted by service drops. If the service drop wires are not well secured by the building, they may pull the mast or conduit. Where the service drop wires are supported by the mast, failures may occur if the mast is not properly secured with a guy (guy-wires). Masts or conduits may be loose because the mechanical fasteners or clamps have failed. There are many reasons for this, including rust, rot and inappropriate connectors. 18


Look for rust at electrical connections. Rust is most likely to occur at horizontal surfaces where water may collect. Pay particular attention to threaded connections where the pipe walls have been made thinner by cutting threads into them. It’s helpful to distinguish between surface rust and rust that compromises the strength of the mast or conduit. Surface rust may be identified by flaking rust that reveals sound metal below. In some cases, scraping and coating with a rust-preventive paint may be adequate. Don’t touch the systems or probe with a screwdriver during a home inspection. Recommend further investigation and improvement as necessary.

Technical Focus

Photo 5. Rusted mast or conduit.

Mast Rotted: Rot is common on wooden masts, particularly near horizontal surfaces where water may accumulate and near roof flashings. Wood masts are not allowed on new work in many areas. The implications are a loss of strength of the mast and collapse of the wires. Look carefully at wooden masts for rot or insect damage.

Service Entrance Cable Frayed, Damaged or Covered by Siding: Cable or conduit should not be frayed, damaged or covered by siding. The cable may be damaged or frayed if it is allowed to move in the wind or if tree branches rub against the cable. These cables are also vulnerable to mechanical damage by ladders, for example.

Mast, Conduit or Cable Not Well Secured to the Building: Depending on the material, conduits are usually secured to the building every 5 to 6 feet along the building wall. Masts extending more than 5 feet above the roof are typically secured with a guy-wire. SECs should be secured every 30 inches to 5 feet, depending on the cable type (and according to the manufacturer’s recommendations).

Cable covered by siding is an installation problem. This can create a dangerous electrical condition. Anyone touching the cable could get a shock. If live portions of the cable touch metal siding, the entire skin of the building could become electrically charged. If the cable is covered by wood siding, for example, driving nails through the siding creates a shock hazard.

A poorly secured mast, conduit or cable may be an installation issue or the result of a fastener failure. The mast, conduit or cable may pull away from the building, resulting in fallen wires and a dangerous situation. Open joints will allow moisture into the electrical system. Look for evidence of movement or failure of connectors. Conduit or Cable Not Well Sealed at House Wall Penetration: This may be a maintenance problem or the result of poor installation. The implications are water getting into the electrical system. If it’s visible, make sure the wall or conduit junction is well sealed. In rare cases, the conduit or cable may enter the house below grade. You won’t be able to see whether the conduit is well sealed where it goes through the wall. You’ll have to look for evidence of leakage inside when looking at the service equipment.

Where an SEC is used, carefully check its condition. Make sure it is accessible and visible over its entire length. Some authorities allow conduit to be run behind brick siding, for example, because the wires are protected from damage. Cable, however, should never be buried.


The service entrance conductors and ancillary equipment are the responsibility of the homeowner rather than the utility company. As with all electrical components, the potential for shock, flash or electrocution exists. Careful inspection is required and inspectors should take care to avoid touching energized portions of the system. When in doubt, recommend a specialist. For more information on electrical systems and all things home inspection, refer to the ASHI@HOME training program. MAY 2019 •





ou pull up to inspect a house. From a distance, it looks great (Photo 1). There’s fresh paint on the trim and siding. Most people would guess that the exterior finishes and cladding don’t have any major problems. But as a smart inspector, you know better.


Looking even closer at the lower edge of the window, you push lightly on the surface and it flexes. You resist the temptation to probe further with your finger or a screwdriver, which would cause additional damage.

Photo 3. Paint over window trim rot. Photo 1. Home looks good.


You notice problems right away during your exterior inspection (Photo 2). There’s wood rot at the window sill, brick molding and trim (Photo 3). In fact, part of the wood was removed and patched; the new wood is not a good match, and caulk and fresh paint fill the gaps. You imagine that the painter and the homeowner might be deliberately hiding major damage.

Photo 2. Window rot patched and painted.



You can see the outer edge of the cap or “Z” flashing from the ground, but you want to see the top of the flashing, too. You set up your ladder. At the top of the window, the siding is caulked to the cap flashing and the flashing tips back into the wall (Photo 4). This may have worsened the problem of water getting trapped behind the siding and trim.

Cap flashing should be installed behind the siding and the water barrier, then over the top of windows and horizontal trim. This directs water to the outside, but only if the joint is not caulked (Illustration).

Photo 4. Cap flashing caulked.

Focus on Ethics and Morals Tom Feiza has been a professional home inspector since 1992 and has a degree in engineering. Through, he provides high-quality marketing materials that help professional home inspectors educate their customers. Copyright © 2019 by Tom Feiza, Mr. Fix-It, Inc. Reproduced with permission.

By Tom Feiza, Mr. Fix-It, Inc.


This home has major defects that need further evaluation: rotted windows, rotted trim and improper flashing.

Major rot and water issues can hide beneath a great-looking surface; all it takes is a tube of caulk and a few chunks of wood. Train yourself to be skeptical. What’s going on behind the fresh paint and caulk? Always take your time to get a good look at finishes.

ONE FINAL TIP: The back side of windows in the garage are visible

if the walls haven’t been finished. This shows whether there’s house wrap and flashing and whether leaks are occurring behind the windows.


ATTEND TOM’S TECHNICAL PRESENTATIONS AT EDUCATIONAL SESSIONS FOR ASHI CHAPTERS. Tom can also provide his knowledge for your educational event; contact him at

NEW! 2018 $295

• Over 1800 Illustrations • 300+ Color Illustrations • JPEG Digital files • Dowload, Flash Drive or DVD • 368 Page Reference Book • 400+ NEW Illustrations of decks, stairs, railings, siding, flashing and structural details | 262-303-4884

Marketing products that help your customers... and boost your business! NATIONAL HOME INSPECTION MONTH •


Call 866-916-9419


Keep a good roof over your head.

Don’t settle for patchy coverage. Our pre-claims assistance works to decrease how often claims arise. And when claims do occur, our comprehensive insurance policies cover and close them quickly.

Call 866-916-9419


We Protect. You Inspect.

Inspecting Log Homes

I N S P ECTING HOM ES By Bronson Anderson

This year marks my 15th year as an ASHI inspector. I’m a second-generation inspector and ASHI member. My father, Bob Anderson, ACI, and 2018 Cox Award winner, was an advocate for ASHI and the stellar education it offers. He urged me to join ASHI years ago and thus began my journey with this fine society. Living in Virginia has afforded me many opportunities to inspect unique properties, including homes built in the early 1700s and homes owned by Thomas Jefferson. Out-of-the-box inspecting is normal here. One type of construction in Virginia is the log home. For me, stepping foot into a log home feels a bit like coming home—the warmth and coziness of the construction floods over me like a handmade quilt. My love for log homes started in 2001 when my father and I inspected a log home built in 1750 in Waynesboro, VA. The hand-hewn logs connected with mortise and tenon joinery, all notched and labeled with Roman numerals at the connections, made for a very memorable experience! I hope you’ll get the opportunity to inspect a log home during your career. I’ve found that it’s helpful to be familiar with some history, basic terminology and common defects to watch for. Let’s get started!


ASHI Reporter • MAY 2019


Log cabins are usually one-room buildings that were originally used as shelter by settlers and trappers. These shelters were basic, constructed from timber felled from the immediate area This timber was stripped of bark (using a draw knife) and hand-hewn (using adzes and broad axes) to fit and stack. Twigs, straw and wood scraps mixed with mud (called chinking) filled the space between the logs. Log cabins built using these methods have uneven walls, logs and widths between the logs. These cabins were highly susceptible to settlement, moisture and wood-destroying insects. Historians believe that log cabins were first built in America between 1638 and 1643 in the Swedish colony of Nya Sverige near the Delaware River in what is now New Jersey. The Braman-Nothnagle Log House has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1976. Log cabins are not unique to America, however; they have been traced to the Bronze Age (about 3500 B.C.) in Northern Europe.

Today, computer engineering, modern technology and imagination have transformed simple log cabins into masterpieces. Today’s log homes can cost as little as a few thousand dollars to a whopping $40 million! For example, there’s an ultra-expensive, 26,000-square-foot log home marvel, located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, that took four years to construct and was designed by 22 architects.

Typical 1700s log home

The love affair with log homes doesn’t stop with adults. Kids are also keen to the idea of building and imagination. In 2016, the building toys “Lincoln Logs” celebrated their 100th anniversary. This classic construction toy was developed by John Lloyd Wright, son of Frank Lloyd Wright, in 1916.


How a log is graded: Logs are graded by visual inspection. The strength-altering factors, or “defects,” found during visual inspection result in the assigned grade. Defects include (but are not limited to) checks, compression wood, decay, edge, holes, knots, manufacturing imperfections, slope of grain and splits. Each grade has an “allowed design stress value,” which is used by engineers to choose the appropriate species, size and grade of log for the application being considered. This system is also used by local code officials to assure them that the logs meet building code requirements.

What are the grades and what do they mean? Timber Products Inspection (, a national grading agency, established a grading program that indicates grade restrictions for each grade of wall logs. The grades are from highest to lowest: Premium, Select, Rustic, Wall Log 40, Wall Log 30 and Wall Log 27.

“Slope of grain” is one of the restrictions used when determining the grade. Slope of grain is the degree of twist evident in the log, which is measured by determining the amount of grain twist in a given distance down the length of the log. For example, a slope of 1 in 12 means the grain moved away from the axis of the log 1 inch over a distance of 12 inches.

Early 1800s log home

Using this factor as an example of the progressive relaxation of the restriction, you’ll find the following pattern: In a Premium grade log, the restriction for slope of grain is 1 in 12; however, in a low-grade log, Wall Log 30, the grade is 1 in 5.

Because slope of grain measures the twist that developed in the log while it was alive and growing, it does, in effect, predict the level of risk that the log will “untwist” and the degree to which it will untwist. A slope of grain of 1 in 12 indicates a low risk that the log will untwist and, if it does, the movement will be minimal. On the other hand, a slope of grain of 1 in 5 indicates a higher likeliness to untwist and the chance that the log will move considerably while doing so. If a log like this is in the middle of your living room’s great wall, the movement may cause unwanted settlement, opening of butt joints and potential for leaks.

Energy Efficiency

The R-Value of logs: A material’s thermal resistance or resistance to heat flow is measured by its R-value. In a solid log wall, the logs provide both structure and insulation. The R-value for wood ranges between 1.41 per inch (2.54 cm) for most softwoods and 0.71 for most hardwoods. Ignoring the benefits of the thermal mass, a 6-inch (15.24-cm) softwood log wall has an R-value of just over 8 for a clearwall (that is, a wall without windows or doors).

Compared with a conventional wood stud wall (with 3½ inches [8.89 cm] of insulation, sheathing and wallboard, for a total R-value of about R-14), the log wall is apparently a far inferior insulation system. Based only on this, log walls do not satisfy most building code energy standards. However, to what extent a log building interacts with its surroundings depends greatly on the climate. Because of the log’s heat storage capability, its large mass may result in better overall energy efficiency in some climates than in others.

Logs act like “thermal batteries” or “thermal mass” and can, under the right circumstances, store heat during the day and gradually release it at night. This generally increases the apparent R-value of a log by 0.1 per inch of thickness in mild, sunny climates that have a substantial temperature swing from day to night. Such climates generally exist in the Earth’s temperate zones between the 15th and 40th parallels (Source: MAY 2019 •


Inspecting Log Homes

Types of Logs

Contractors generally use several types of logs to construct the load-bearing walls of a log home.

• Kiln-dried logs: Logs from trees that have been felled, bark removed, cut into proper lengths and placed in a kiln to remove moisture at around 6% to 10%. Most of today’s modern log homes are constructed using kiln-dried wood. Almost all kit-style log homes are constructed using kiln-dried logs. • Green wood: Technically, any wood above fiber saturation moisture content (28%) is considered green, regardless of the time since it has been cut or milled.

• Green logs: These are logs from trees that have been felled and installed shortly thereafter (often within weeks or days). These logs are highest in moisture content and have generally not been treated for wood-destroying insects.

• Dead-standing logs: Trees that have died naturally and remain standing until felled for use. These logs have a slightly lower moisture content (18%-20%) than that of green logs, but higher than kiln-dried logs. This method of log harvest is rare; however, some log companies build homes strictly with these logs (for example, Satterwhite Log Homes). • Air-dried logs: These logs are felled, graded, sorted and cut, then stacked in the open (with overhead cover) with spaces between the logs to allow air flow. The drying process takes 6 to 18 months to complete, depending on the regional humidity. This time allows the log to reach its moisture equilibrium of approximately 10% to 18%.

Special considerations for green logs: Over a short time, green logs will reduce in size (both in length and diameter). This can be problematic if, during construction, these variances have not been worked into construction plans. As an example, on average, a 10- to 12-foot green log wall can shrink 5 to 10 inches during the process of drying and settlement. Two log homes: one addition showing saddle corner, and the other showing an interlocking corner.


ASHI Reporter • MAY 2019

The log home contractor should account for these potential movements and build in safeguards to prevent structural failure. Oftentimes, the contractor will add a space above doors and windows to allow for the “green” wall to settle and shrink, and not pose a threat to these areas. A door or window that does not have these variances built in can stick, bow and, in extreme cases, break.

Screw Jacks

Center beams and vertical-center posts or beams will often contain screw jacks at the connections and load-bearing points. These are in place to adjust for movement in walls and shrinkage in logs. Oftentimes, these screw jacks are hidden or concealed to improve the wall’s cosmetic appearance.

Posts that support upper floors, lofts and roof outcroppings are great places to look for these screw jacks. I’ve personally found them near the sill plate in the basement, but they can be located at the base or top of a post. These screw jacks should not be loose to touch or altered in any way. Defects to screw jacks include added shims, removed jacks, broken jacks, welded sections and noticeable field repairs to the jacks. Report any alterations to the screw jacks that are visible.


Settlement is a natural process in log homes. Throughout the seasons, the logs will expand and contract according to the climate in the geographical location. Often in rainy and high-humidity areas of the country, the climate can change the equilibrium of the logs, which will allow the logs to retain more moisture than in other areas of the country. If you are inspecting a newly constructed log home, it is important to inform your clients that settlement will happen and that it is normal. It is important that the log home builder has added some allowances for movement and settlement. It might be helpful to explain that screw jacks allow the log walls and posts to move without causing any structural fatigue.

Other areas to look for moisture penetration: Windows are common areas of moisture penetration and a great area to spend time during your inspection. Look for any staining at the base of the window stool and the butt joints below the window. A standard moisture meter with a probe is an essential tool for inspecting these areas.


Moisture is one of the greatest threats to a log home. Because the house is built with logs, the wood has a natural capillary effect when water is introduced. Even though the log is dead, its natural ability to draw in water remains active and alive. The ends of the logs are some of the most vulnerable points in a log wall because they are often exposed to the elements and may extend past the roof overhang. As a result, you should spend some quality time inspecting the “log ends� (that is, the corners of the home) during your inspection. When inspecting a log end, you should pay attention to the checking in wood. Upward-facing checking (either at the log end or the in-log field) can be problematic, as water can enter the top of the log and be directed toward the center of the log. Once the water enters the check, it travels to the center of the log, and rot and deterioration will begin from within. Repairing log ends can be costly and the cost to replace log ends can range from $400 to $800 (or more) per log. Repairing a log within the field can cost even more than this estimate.

Butt joints in the field: Moisture has the potential to enter the log home through the butt joint during wind-driven rains. Look for signs of moisture penetration inside the home at all joints. Moisture can be identified easily by dark streaks at and below the joints.

First course of logs: Often, log homes do not have gutters or downspouts installed. As a result, water from the roof hits the ground and splashes back onto the house and the first course of logs. You should thoroughly inspect log ends, butt joints and checks on the lowest course of logs.

Moisture entering interior via butt joint.

Moisture around windows. MAY 2019 •


Inspecting Log Homes

Penetrations in logs: Test for moisture in all areas where pipes, wires or any added penetration is visible. These areas often are sealed with caulking and can separate over time, allowing an opening for moisture.

Flashing around chimneys and dormers: These are high-priority areas for inspection and often points of interest regarding moisture penetration. Most log home owners want stone or stone veneer chimneys that are difficult to flash around, which can lead to moisture penetration. Also, some chimneys on the outside of the great or tall log wall can wick moisture into the dwelling via the butt joints. Pay special attention to these areas during your inspection.


As with any home, it is paramount to pay attention to the presence or evidence of wood-destroying insects. Common types of wood-boring insects associated with log homes include the following:

• Powder post beetles leave a small hole, often a bit larger than a pit head. There can be bits of fine, light dust below these holes. They generally do not cause structural damage; however, they are an indication of rotting or decaying wood. • Carpenter ants can move into a home without notice and can be associated with moisture. The ant is larger, often deep black in color, with large visible mandibles. The holes left by these ants are approximately ¼-inch in diameter (about the size of a pencil). They don’t generally cause rot in wood, but the holes are large enough that water can penetrate and cause rot from within. • Carpenter bees are large, dark-colored bees that look like bumblebees. They bore into the wood and create a nest chamber. The holes they create may allow water and fungus to attack the wood, causing rot. Also, woodpeckers often seek out these nest chambers in an effort to eat the larva. Woodpeckers can cause great damage to the logs and trim. • Longhorn beetles generally prefer fresh wood and will normally not attack wood from which they hatch, which limits their potential damage. Flathead beetles do not re-infest the wood from which they hatch or emerge. The holes they create can be round or oval and other insects can use these holes once the beetles have emerged.

• Termites are generally associated with moisture and are often noticed well after infestation.

COMMON TERMINOLOGY CHINKING: Filling used between rows of logs to close the gaps. Tradi-

tional chinking is mortar-based. Modern chinking is synthetic, pliable, longer-lasting and more durable to sunlight. Log cabin chinking consists of straw, mixed in mud.

CHECKING: Natural cracks in the wood. Checking can be vertical, hor-

izontal, upward-facing (at the top of the round side of the log) and downward-facing (at the bottom of the round side of the log). Cracks are common characteristics of the wood and most are not of concern; however, if a check is large or downward-facing, pay more attention to inspecting that area.

KERF: A deep cut running the length of the log that helps prevent log-checking and splitting.


A groove cut, the length of the log, to help prevent


LOG SHELL: The outer four walls of a log home. 28

ASHI Reporter • MAY 2019

TAPER: Logs are naturally thicker at one end than the other. T&G: The grooves cut in the top and bottom of the logs to properly fit

one log on another. This allows a secure fit, preventing moisture and air to pass from outside in.

CORNER NOTCHES: There are a few types of corner notches. • Butt and pass corners

are formed when one log stops where it meets the intersecting log, and the other log extends past the corner. This notch is used mainly with green logs.

• Saddle-notch corners, also known as saddle copes or round notches, get their name from the saddle-shaped notch cut into the bottom of each round log. This notch on the bottom of the top log straddles the top of the log that comes from the perpendicular wall. Both logs then extend past the corner. Constructed correctly, the stacked logs should fit tight, allowing very little gap for chinking, which is ideal for moisture and energy efficiency.

New-log home construction using old-world methods. Example of butt and pass log ends.

Mud and straw chinking.

• Dovetail corners are used mainly with square or rectangular logs. The end of each log is cut to produce a fan-shaped wedge. As the logs are stacked, the ends of one wall’s logs lock into the perpendicular logs. This is the tightest and most secure method of notching. Note: This method is mainly used on kiln-dried logs as there is little variance for movement once the logs are in place.

• Interlocking corners

are cut from the four sides of the log, recessing an area to lock into the intersecting log and hold both logs rigidly in place and in all directions (similar to Lincoln Logs construction toys). This is a secure, ridged method; however, it is time-consuming and labor-intensive.

• Corner posts are vertical posts at each corner, which have a mortise along the length into which the logs lock in place.


There are several variations of these profiles, but those listed below are the most common in the United States.

• Square and rectangular logs

are cut with four square corners. These logs can be uniform in width and height or rectangular.

• Round logs are cut circular with no angles or corners except the notches on the top and bottom for T&G.

• Swedish cope logs are cut circular with a crescent removed from the bottom of the log so that each log can stack on top of another.

• D-Logs are cut with one round side (often facing the exterior) and one flat side (often facing the interior). D logs are very popular, as the interior walls are flat for hanging art and televisions.

• DD-logs are cut on two round sides and are flat on the top and bottom of the log. This allows a round look, both inside and out.

• Hand-crafted logs are debarked by hand using a standard draw knife, allowing each log to retain its natural shape (this is a more rustic look).

Note: Both D-logs, DD-logs and square logs normally have visible

grooves cut in the top and bottom of the log to allow for backer rods and caulking to ensure water- and air-tightness when logs are stacked. MAY 2019 •


Inspecting Log Homes


the checking of the log or the openings of the log to view potential rot. I use the Fenix TK20R.


I often use a 3-foot level to evaluate lateral movement in load-bearing log walls. If there is significant movement to the baring wall, this can be visible by placing a level against the tallest wall or wall that shoulders the weight of the roof. Because the logs are naturally uneven, I often place a 3-foot level against the door or window trim. This gives me the most constant surface to test.


I use a moisture meter that has a probe with external electrodes. This allows a deeper probe into the checking or log end, which can make for a better understanding of the extent of the moisture penetration. I use the Protimeter Timbermaster.


I try not to inflict any damage to the logs during my inspection. If I suspect rot, I may probe this area (lightly) for rot or deterioration. I also tap the wood with the base of a screwdriver (again, not so much as to cause dimples in the wood). I listen for the dense sound of healthy, hard wood or the dull, hollow sound of rot. I tap any discolored area of the wood and evaluate it for moisture and rot. For this, I use an extra-long screwdriver that I’ve ground down to a point similar to an icepick.

FINAL THOUGHTS Once you know the common problem areas to look for in a log home, you will be better equipped to inspect the home with confidence. A log home is living and breathing, and it requires continual love and care. The more it is loved, the happier it will be. Contact your local log home contractor or log home restoration company for even more useful, region-specific information. 30

ASHI Reporter • MAY 2019

MASKING TAPE: I use tape to perform a sim-

ple lift test on the finish of the wood surface. If the finish is older or weathered, I can easily lift it using masking tape. I place the tape on the log surface and rip it off like a bandage. If much of the finish is removed and remains on the tape, I advise my client to consider refinishing the area. Often, the southern or western-facing log walls suffer significant weathering and require more frequent finishing and sealant.


I spray water on the logs to determine if water beads up and runs off. If the sealant finish is poor, the water will soak into the wood and discolor (temporarily) the wood. A well-sealed and finished log will bead water quickly.


I check out the orientation of the log home before starting my inspection. This will allow me to zero in on problem areas, such as the southern or western-facing walls, and gives me a chance to figure out from which direction the majority of storms would originate in the area.

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES • Manufacturer of log home maintenance products, including caulking, chinking, sealants and finishes. They have YouTube videos regarding log home inspections. • Build your own log home site.

Bronson Anderson ACI, is a secondgeneration inspector and ASHI member. He is the owner of Inspector Homes, Inc., in Waynesboro, VA. He is licensed through the Commonwealth of Virginia as a home inspector, with a New Residential Construction endorsement. Having built log homes himself, he inspects historic log homes for the state and historical preservation organizations. Anderson also co-created a class for real estate agents regarding home inspections in Virginia. He is a former team and squad leader in the U.S. Army Infantry and has had tours in Afghanistan. Bronson joined ASHI in 2003, has served on ASHI’s Council of Representatives, and has been a Council Group Leader and a CRC member. He is the founder and chair of the ASHI Young Professionals task force. He is a past-president of the Central Virginia and Blue Ridge Chapters of ASHI, and a current member of the ASHI Board of Directors (2018-2020) and a trustee of the ASHI Foundation. He is the Board Liaison for the Education committee and ASHI Reporter Task Force Chair.


17 Years Over 100,000 Policies Issued COVE RAG E S n E&O, General Liability, termite/pest/rodent, radon,

n n n n

commercial, lead paint, pool/spa, EIFS/stucco, indoor air quality, infrared thermography, mold, septic/water testing and more (training required for certain coverages). Claims Prevention and Risk Management Included Competitive Premiums, Easy Financing (Low Monthly Payments) Coverage just for you or for all inspectors employed in the firm, Additional Insured for Agents and Referring Parties. Free on-demand expert support for your tough inspection questions, savings on defensible contracts, discounted stateapproved education, Working RE Magazine, savings on office supplies, technology & more.

“I collected many estimates but the combination of value, flexibility and knowledge was unsurpassed by OREP.” -Henry “Sonny” Toman, 1st American Home Inspections, LLC

Shop today! (888) 347-5273 OREP—Organization of Real Estate Professionals Insurance Services, LLC. Calif. Lic. #0K99465 • Fax: (708) 570-5786 • • E&O Insurance Experts (

Marketing Focus


STARTING UP & WINDING DOWN By Alan Carson, Carson Dunlop,

Over the course of my almost 41 years in the home inspection profession, my thinking keeps evolving as I see and learn new things. It has been an amazing journey, and no two days have been the same. I have met some awesome people and made lifelong friends who have influenced me and shaped my perceptions. This article brings together ideas that I have discussed with a number of people in many places.

ASHI Past-President Alan Carson is President of Carson Dunlop, the creators of the ASHI@HOME Training Program, the Home Reference Book and Horizon Inspection Software (

A Different Kind of Growth Marketing articles are supposed to be about growing your business and I will address that, but not from a conventional perspective. I’m sure you already know there are lots of coaches, programs and organizations out there to help you with marketing and growth, and there are some new and very interesting approaches, including Inspector Empire Builder, for example. However, in this article, I’d like to address something different. 32

ASHI Reporter • MAY 2019

What Problems Are We Trying to Solve?

• The first generation of home inspectors is retiring or getting ready to retire and many don’t have a post-retirement revenue stream.

• M ost new inspectors struggle to get the experience, as well as the business volume and knowledge that they need to succeed.

Marketing Focus


The first generation of home inspectors, mostly Baby Boomers like me, are getting close to the end of their careers. They have survived and flourished and are now ready to enjoy a different lifestyle. They have acquired incredible knowledge and a unique skill set. Many have built professional relationships throughout the real estate community. For most, their home inspection practice does not have much cash value and that’s okay. Lots of professional consulting practices don’t have residual value. But I see an interesting opportunity here.

The Learning Begins

The next generation of home inspectors is arriving, full of enthusiasm and ready for success. There are more educational opportunities than ever before and that’s good. However, home inspection is a complex professional consulting practice that cannot be mastered in a couple weeks, irrespective of one’s background. To those of you who are getting started, don’t skimp on your education. There is much to learn: technical information, report writing and verbal communication, as well as all the complexities of operating a business. Even intensive introduction courses are just that— an introduction.

Here is where I see an opportunity: Veteran inspectors have the inspection know-how, the local knowledge about homes in their area, the relationships built over a lifetime and enough business acumen to have survived. What if they could transfer all that wisdom and experience, and all those connections, to others? I see a win-win. New inspectors need help in all these areas. Seasoned inspectors can provide that help. What’s missing is the model. Can we connect old and new inspectors? The world has never been more connected. Can the new inspector learn and flourish, dramatically reducing the risk of failure, with a motivated mentor? Can the veteran inspector create a revenue stream and receive some value for their life’s work?


With few exceptions, home inspection does not offer much in the way of internship, apprenticeship or mentoring. It’s hard for new inspectors to get the experience they need to hone their craft by working alongside a veteran. Traditionally, sole practitioners have avoided taking on trainees or hiring more inspectors. In general, they have not been inclined to train the competition. I have seen far too many inspectors and inspection businesses fail. Our firm has been very fortunate to have had some wonderful inspectors join us after struggling to maintain their own business. Small business failure rates are typically high and home inspection does not defy the odds. Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers: The Story of Success, maintains that mastery requires 10,000 hours of effort. That may be right, but it is not encouraging.

Can the new inspector intern for three to six months (or some other amount of time) and learn the business? I can’t see why not. This strikes me as a wonderful opportunity for both sides. There is an investment required to start any business. New inspectors should be willing to intern for very little compensation, if any, recognizing the value of the experience they are acquiring. Seasoned inspectors should be motivated to share everything they know, especially if they work out an agreement to receive a portion of the new inspector’s fees for a period of time after completing the training.

The goals are to have the new inspector take over the business, giving them a running start, and to have the retiring inspector be paid over time for the value given. There are lots of ways to crunch the numbers. It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss formulas, especially since every relationship may be different. At a high level, 250 inspections a year at $400 per inspection generates $100,000 per year. That may not be enough to take care of two inspectors, but it allows for a sensible, methodical transition, with perhaps some revenue going to the new inspector during the internship (although unpaid internships are common), and revenue going to the retiring inspector on the back end. Perhaps the business will not only survive, but grow with the new inspector—an exciting potential outcome for sure. Continued on Page 34 MAY 2019 •


Marketing Focus


People are living longer. Might the retired inspector be willing to offer long-term counsel and advice to the new inspector, especially if the senior does better financially when the junior succeeds? I would be very willing if I were the outbound inspector. The new inspector gets a ton of value—knowledge, experience, relationships, business operating knowledge with a stable business. The odds of business survival and success would seem to be significantly better in this scenario than when starting a new business without guidance. The mature inspector gets to leave a legacy and get paid something for his business over time.

What’s the Downside?

The worst-case scenario is that it does not work. If that happens, both people will be in the same position as if they had done nothing. The risk is very low and the return may be high.

How Do We Get People Together?

Social media is one opportunity—LinkedIn, Facebook and the others I don’t know about. Could ASHI help put people together? I believe there are already models like this in place in some chapters. At the national level, ASHI connects volunteer mentors with new inspectors. Send a message to for more information. Another option is that new inspectors could conduct a simple web search, identifying and reaching out to inspectors in their area. Veteran inspectors could also approach schools and offer to connect with graduates. There are undoubtedly other ideas to explore.

A Call to Action

To my fellow home inspectors of a certain age, I say this: Let’s not lose the decades of knowledge we have acquired. Let’s help the next generation of home inspectors elevate our profession to levels we have not imagined. Let’s leverage the human capacity to teach, to learn and to share. It’s great when doing the right thing makes logical business sense. The essence of home inspection is to improve people’s lives. This simple model captures that essence and helps strengthen the profession. People have been passing knowledge from one generation to the next since we have been walking the earth. Let’s follow our roots, do what it takes and share the wisdom of the elders.

Coverage Features PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY HIGHLIGHTS: PII Pro Plus and PII Pro offer two tiers of coverage. Automatic coverage includes lead paint, termites, radon testing, mold defense and coverage for real estate referring parties. Experienced claims counsel driving better outcomes. Policy limit option from $100k to $3m.

GENERAL LIABILITY HIGHLIGHTS: Stand alone or shared limit option. Premiums starting at $320.

866.268.1327 | Scott Burns 34

ASHI Reporter • MAY 2019

MAY 2019 •


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 Double Tree, 10 N. 5th Street Reading, PA 19601 Robert H. Conner, 610-375-9675

Ohio Ken Harrington, 614-507-1061 Jon Vacha, 402-660-6935

Heartland (IA, MN, ND, SD, WI) Second Monday, 6:30 pm, except Nov. & April. Frankie’s Pizza 3556 Winnetka Ave. N. New Hope, MN Reuben Saltzman, 612-205-5600

Indiana ASHI Quarterly Bill Halstead, 765-465-6185

Iowa ASHI Paul Wancata, 216-571-1074 Fourth Tuesday, 6:00 - 8:00 pm Iowa City Area Assoc. of Realtors Education Center 847 Quary Road, Coralville, IA Craig Chmelicek, 319-389-7379


Kentuckiana (IN, KY)

North Central Ohio

Meeting: Third Tues. every month, 6:30pm @ Kriemer’s Bier Haus, OH-128, Cleves, OH 45002 P.O. Box 532197 Cincinnati, OH 45252 Chris Green, 513-939-4036 Email

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

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

Tri-State (DE, NJ, PA) Second Tuesday except April, Aug. & Dec., Dave & Buster’s Plymouth Meeting, PA Jules Falcone,

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


Greater Omaha (NE)

ASHI Reporter • MAY 2019 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

Northern Illinois Second Wednesday (except Dec.) 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm Allegra Banquets, 237 W. St. Charles Rd. Villa Park, IL 60181 Joe Konopacki, 630-283-2248

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

Midwest PRO ASHI (KS) David Mason, 316-393-2152,

St. Louis (MO) Second Tuesday, 5 pm Creve Coeur Government Center Multi-Purpose Meeting Room 300 N. New Ballas Creve Coeur, MO 63141 Mark Goodman, 636-391-0091

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

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 Drury Hotel (Jan., March, May, July, Sept.) located at 4630 Pan American Freeway NE in Albuquerque. Meeting starts at 8:30 am. Lance Ellis, 505-977-3915

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

ASHI Hawaii Oscar Libed, 808-330-2302

California Randy Pierson, 310-265-0833

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

Golden Gate (CA) Brian Cogley, v 510-295-8021 f 510-355-1073

Inland Northwest (ID, WA) Vince Vargas, 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 Jon Nichols, 503-324-2000


Fourth Tuesday, 6:30 pm Bob Kadera, 303-588-2502

First Tuesday each month Elijah’s Restaurant 7061 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard San Diego, CA 92111 Ray (Cliff ) Sims Jr., 619-334-1138

Southern Colorado

San Joaquin Valley (CA)

Rocky Mountain Second Thursday each month, 6:30 pm Valley Hi Golf Club, 610 S. Chelton Rd. Colorado Springs, CO 80910 Aaron Hunt, 719-334-5455 aaron@huntproperty

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

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) Tammy Nicholas, 408-771-4939

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

Los Angeles-Ventura County ASHI-CREIA Third Wednesday, 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 Sept. 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) Third Thursday (usually), 5 pm Hilton Garden Inn, Waltham, MA Alex Steinberg, 617-924-1028

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

Greater Rochester (NY) Second Tuesday, 6 pm Jeremiah’s Tavern, 2200 Buffalo Rd. Gates, NY 14624 Jim Brennan, 585-520-5575

Hudson Valley (NY) Second Tuesday, 6 pm Daddy O’s Restaurant 3 Turner Street Hopewell Junction, NY 12533 Michael Skok, 845-592-1442

Long Island (NY) Third Monday, 6 pm, Domenico’s Restaurant, Levittown John Weiburg 516-603-5770

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)

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

NOVA-ASHI (MD, VA) Fourth Tuesday, Associate hour 6-7 pm, Membership meeting 7-9 pm, Northern Virginia Resources Center, Fairfax Tony Toth, 703-926-6213

Piedmont ASHI (VA) 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 Third Wednesday, 6:30 pm Ramada Inn, Bordentown Rick Lobley, 609-208-9798

Ray Baird, 615-371-5888

Capitol Region (NY)

Western New York

North Carolina

Central New York

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

NEW YORK/JERSEY/ DELAWARE Richard W. Askew, 518-383-4804 Third Wednesday each month, 6 pm Tony’s Family Restaurant, Syracuse Richard Alton, 315-415-4847

MID-ATLANTIC Central Virginia Third Wednesday, 7 pm The Buzz Ware Center 2121 The Highway, Arden Mark Desmond, 302-494-1294 Second Tuesday, 6:30 pm Independence Golf Course 600 Founders Bridge Blvd. Midlothian, VA 23113 John Cranor, President 804-873-8537 cranorinspectionservices

Garden State (NJ)

Hampton Roads (VA)

First State (DE) Second Thursday The Westwood, Garwood Ernie Borsellino, 973-761-0050

Second Thursday, 7 pm, Cypress Point Country Club, Virginia Beach Gregory Murphy, 757-535-4355

Mid-South (TN) Steven Campbell, 901-734-0555 Meeting TBA Bruce Barker, 919-322-4491

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

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

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 CAHPI Atlantic Lawrence Englehart 902-403-2460

CAHPI Ontario Rob Cornish, 613-858-5000

Alberta Professional Home Inspectors (APHIS) Meetings held 3 times a year Alan Fisher, 403-248-6893

Quebec AIBQ Pascal Baudaux, 450-629-2038

GULF ASHI South (AL) Quarterly, Homewood Library Homewood John Knudsen, 334-221-0876

Florida Wiregrass Second Wednesday, 6:30 pm Sleep Inn Hotel, Wesley Chapel Nancy Janosz, 813-546-6090

MAY 2019 •


ASHI Chapters and Council News




When: September 20-21, 2019 Where: H  oliday Inn Akron West, 4073 Medina Rd. Akron OH, 44333 CEUs: F riday Radon, 16 CEs (home and in-class study) for license renewal Saturday 8 ASHI CE’s

When: November 3-4, 2018 CEUs: ASHI 16 CEs The commercial inspection class is an ASTM/ASHI hybrid commercial inspection class taught by David Goldstein.


When: November 2, 2018 CEUs: ASHI 8 CEs Topics / Presenters: Moisture, Fire Damage and Heat Loss 3-hour block Presented by David Goldstein

Contact: Mark Goodman (314) 409-3991

Defensive Report Writing 1-hour block Presented by David Goldstein Street Creep – 2-hour block Presented by David Birenbaum, PE & ASHI ACI New Construction – 2-hour block Presented by David Goldstein

IMPORTANT REPORTER DEADLINES: • JUNE 2019 ISSUE - 4/7/19 • JULY 2019 ISSUE - 5/7/19 • AUGUST 2019 ISSUE - 6/7/19 The Reporter is produced 6-8 weeks ahead of the week it arrives in your mailbox.




ASHI Reporter • MAY 2019


Twenty Years

Ten Years

John M. Simler

Faz Farahani Steven Hassenstab Lawrence Klock John Koch Bill Pappas Michael J. Stephens Jove Tweddle Roger Williamson

Walter L. Backeroff G. Kelly Beveridge Richard Bunzel Mark Chaffee Chuck Fehr Robert Flaherty Dennis Harnishfeger Steve Maurer Linda St. George Matthew Steger

Thirty Years Craig Streed

Twenty–five Years Joseph P. Arnone Paul Cornell Victor G. Faggella Jack Fehlandt Mark Garland Geoffrey Greer David Grossman Bruce Kelly Mike Kimble Robert Lemoine Thomas Maloney Gary Mashburn Lewis Nelson Clifford G. Neyedli Thomas Paluzzi John Romano Laurence (Laurie) B. Smith Jay Womack

Fifteen Years Eric Applegate Stephen Bonesteel Aaron P. Branem Dylan Chalk Michael Conroy Dan Crocker Scott Del Monte Justin Erdman Chuck T. Evans Jim Fogarty Robert Godwin Paul Hollup William Lambert Brad Lane Craig D. Limbach David Mortensen Bob Murphy Paris Pressley Stephen J. Schneuer Francis Silveira

CURRENT ASHI MEMBERSHIP ASHI Certified Inspectors: 3,460 Inspectors: 227 Associates: 3,763 Retired Members: 111 Affiliates: 76 Total: 7,637 Members as of 4/5/2019

Five Years Mark Adair Christian Behan Grant Blackwell Bill G. Burross Pete Busch William J. Forrest Roger C. Frommer Donald L. Goode Walter Grabowski Bruce A. Illausky Michael P McBride Brett Moore Todd Myers Chad Rheaume Harold David Sfreddo James Shields Thomas Stangroom Steve Stenros Alan Swack Ian Trefzger Brian Wade

FREE ASHI Member access to past IW sessions. 1. Go to 2. Under Education & Training 3. Click on:


ASHI MEMBERSHIP BENEFIT PROGRAMS ASHI-ENDORSED PROGRAMS ASHI’s E&O InsuranceProgram: InspectorPro Insurance 866-916-9419 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 Brett Symes, 913-529-2683 LegalShield Joan Buckner, 505-821-3971 buckner.legalshieldassociate. com 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, then click on the link for the ASHI Online Learning Center. NHIE Exam: 847-298-7750

PLATINUM PROVIDER Mastermind Inspector Community Mike Crow Mention that you are an ASHI member.

ASHI-ENDORSED TRAINING PROGRAMS ASHI@Home Training System 800-268-7070

MAY 2019 •


Request for Interpretation: Ethics for Home Inspectors In this column, ASHI’s Ethics Committee addresses dilemmas faced by home inspectors.

Are These Violations of the ASHI Code of Ethics? By Jamison Brown, ASHI Ethics Committee Chair

Jamison Brown is the owner of Home Inspections by Jamison & Company, Poquoson, VA. Before becoming an ASHI member in 1988, Jamison was a project manager, and supervised the construction and remodeling of more than 10,000 housing units for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Jamison is a former member of the Carpenters and Joiners of America, and a former licensed plumber in the state of Virginia. He is a member of the International Code Council, International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI) and a certified member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). He has been a member of ASHI’s Technical and Membership Committees, and was chair of the CEPP Committee. Currently, he chairs the ASHI Code of Ethics Committee. Jamison has personally inspected more than 18,000 residential and commercial properties. Contact him at


Does an ASHI member violate the ASHI Code of Ethics by being named a “Preferred Vendor” on a real estate firm’s website and by having a direct link on the real estate firm’s website to the ASHI member’s home inspection company website? Interpretation by the ASHI Code of Ethics Committee: No, unless the inspector has control over the link, pays for either the link or for being named a “Preferred Vendor,” or if the relationship between the inspection company and the real estate firm conflicts with the Code by being a quid pro quo.

A real estate agent in my area has been diagnosed with a serious illness and the family has no insurance. A gathering has been planned to raise money for her medical bills. I was asked if I would be willing to donate an inspection to be auctioned off at the event, with the proceeds going to the agent’s medical bills. Also, I was considering running a promotion during the next month in which I would donate $20 of every home inspection I do to this same cause. Do either of these violate the ASHI Code of Ethics? Interpretation: Donations to charitable events organized by real estate brokers do not constitute direct or indirect compensation to real estate agents. Although this particular donation would benefit a real estate agent, it would not violate the Code because it is not connected to a referral from the agent. 40

ASHI Reporter • MAY 2019

Does an ASHI member violate the ASHI Code of Ethics by advertising in a real estate agency’s publication or a real estate broker−specific publication? Interpretation: No, purchasing advertising is not, in and of itself, a violation of the Code of Ethics. It is not improper to advertise in a publication unless the content of the advertising or the relationship of the inspector and the sponsor(s) of the publication violates the Code.

Can a home inspector offer to sell a carbon monoxide detector to a homeowner? Interpretation: The ASHI Code of Ethics does not prohibit inspectors from selling products to homeowners, as long as the inspector has not inspected the home. However, Section 1.F. of the ASHI Code of Ethics states: “Inspectors shall not repair, replace, or upgrade, for compensation, systems or components covered by ASHI Standard of Practice, for one year after the inspection.” This provision of the Code helps ensure the objectivity of the inspection by forbidding the inspector from profiting from the finding of defects. If the carbon monoxide detector, or any other component, is included in a home inspection, selling such an item would represent a potential conflict of interest in violation of the Code. Inspectors should be careful to avoid any activities that could be perceived to compromise their objectivity. Know the Code: The ASHI Code of Ethics can be found at this link:











If homeowners could see radon gas, you wouldn’t need us.







Are you testing with the most trusted name in continuous radon monitors? lab-certified, guaranteed test results 1-hour report turnaround after upload * highly accurate, proven technology full-service equipment maintenance

We want your radon inspection business to thrive. So, we’re here for you at every step. Our monitor program includes test report processing by experts at our certified lab, and are accompanied by complimentary repair and annual calibration services. With our helpful staff, online tools, and apps for mobile devices, you will find working with us to be a breeze.

Call or visit us online today! * 1-hour turnaround during most business hours. High volume times may take up to 2 hours.

Call 1-800-295-4655 or visit

MAY 2019 •


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

Postcards from the Field nder Boiler Blu

TEGER MATTHEW S ection sp In e om WIN H A P r, te as nc La

Roof flashing held together by hopes, dreams and imagin ation.

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.

How’s it “Hanging” ?

MIKE LUBER At Home Insp ec Potomac, MD tions, LLC

OOM! Drain of D

O TERRY PEIRAN ns tio ec sp e In American Prid innati, OH Cinc

CHRIS MCDOUGALL Apex Home Inspection Aromas, CA

yer Making sure the bu doesnt get BURNED on this deal.

DARRELL DENNISON pections DD Professional Home Ins Cortez, CO




ALVIN MILLER Hawkeye Home Inspection s, LLC Iowa City, IA

American Home Warranty Company

FOR THE HOME INSPECTOR! A Highly Ef fective Advertising and Promotional Tool ENHANCE YOUR SERVICES: • Affordable addition to your inspection services • Differentiate yourself from other inspectors • Unique "gap" coverage for 90 days after inspection • As low at $13.95 per limited e-Warranty


Sign up today for FREE at MAY 2019 •


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.

Postcards from the Field TIMBRRRR!

I was inside inspecting the house with the buyer a heavy wind snapped this tree and it fell on s... the house with us inside! Luckily, no one was injure d.

NICK OSTR tions Home In OWSKI spections Spring City, PA

Strong Founda

Topshelf Toilet Boo!


DER DREW BEN e om H W PN LLC , s n o ti c e Insp OR , d n la Port

WILLIAM SIGNORE House 2 Home Property Inspections Pittsburgh, PA

Who was here first? 44


MATT GRIGG eTech Inspec tions, Inc. Springdale, AR

Arkansas Hom

• Drone Roof Inspections - NEW!

• Sewer Line Inspections - NEW!

MAY 2019 •


Around the CoRner

Around the CoRner:

VOICE OF THE FAITHFUL AND OF THE COR By Donald Lovering, Speaker of the Council of Representatives

Last September, I was approached to undertake the responsibilities of Speaker of the Council of Representatives (CoR). I was told it was a “smooth-sailing and high-profile dream job.” I indicated that if it was such a breeze, I would undertake the slot since my longevity on the Board of Directors was coming to an end. Come December, I was excited to be nearing the start of my appointed position, but I had a health downturn that resulted in surgery. As a 29-year member of ASHI, I am here to tell you to never leave the room, get sick or take a break when a meeting is going on. For when you return, you will have new responsibilities that you never dreamed of. But I digress. In January, the outgoing Speaker of the CoR was generous enough to step up and run the annual meeting of the CoR in my place. At some point in the meeting, there was discussion about how the selection of the new speaker was accomplished, and the Secretary of the CoR asked if anyone else wanted the job. (Dead silence. I’ve been told that even the crickets were quiet. And I was not in attendance.) So, here we are, months later, and I’m writing my first column for the Reporter as Speaker of the CoR.

What has the Council done recently? • The CoR Group Leaders have undertaken roles with which they are unfamiliar, as sort of a challenge to encourage adaptability and flexibility in their leadership roles. • We have managed to assist the CRC committee. • We have started the process of planning Council Rep Training, which is set for October 2019. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend. • We have been investigating the tangible ASHI member benefits that are paid for with dues. We encourage member input. • We are digesting changes anticipated by the Board of Directors. • Finally, we are conducting our meetings in an orderly, informative and timely manner. All in all, not so bad or painful. 46

ASHI Reporter • MAY 2019

Don Lovering was an ASHI Board Member and the Chief Inspector at Advantage Home Inspection, Inc., in Auburndale, MA. He still has a hard-line telephone (617-928-1942) and is an active member of ASHI locally and nationally. Don has been a Chapter President and National Committee Chair, as well as a college professor. He is also a past-president of the Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors (EBPHI). He has been published in the ASHI Reporter and testified on home inspector licensing in six states. Don’s leisure activities rotate around his farm and working with Vermont Fish and Wildlife as a volunteer instructor.

IMPORTANT DEFINITIONS • PROFESSION: A paid occupation, especially one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification. •  INDUSTRY: Economic activity concerned with the processing of raw materials and manufacture of goods in factories. • PROFESSIONAL: Relating to or connected with a profession; “young, professional people.” Synonyms: white-collar, executive, nonmanual; “people in professional occupations.”

Last time I checked, ASHI members are not factory workers. You are professionals. Share the knowledge with everyone you meet, greet or do business with. Donald Lovering is the Speaker of the ASHI Council of Representatives for 2019-2020. Email him at


New AD coming BOSS. Standout reports

Customize reports to reflect your unique value, and bring them to life with expandable videos and 360° images.

A better buyer experience Impress clients with branded reports delivered on your site, the ability to create a repair addendum right from the report, and timely notifications.

Hello, cash flow Stay organized with business management tools that make scheduling and invoicing more efficient.




Let’s do this. Download a free 30-day trial at

Profile for ASHI

May 2019 Reporter  

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

May 2019 Reporter  

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

Profile for ashi932