So why do people need a home inspection when they are buying a home? The short answer is to make sure they understand to the greatest extent possible, the condition of the house they are purchasing. But why can’t a person just go look at a house and figure out where the problems are?
Well, modern houses are much more complicated. Up until World War II most houses were fairly simple. There was usually a simple electrical system with an outlet or two in each room and often times a light fixture in the center of the room. The plumbing system, if there was one, was also pretty simple with hot and cold running water in the kitchen and usually a single bathroom with a sink, tub and toilet. Heating was typically done with a gravity system and air conditioning was furnished in every room by opening a window.
In the years after the war there was an explosion in home building as the soldiers came home from the military and new technologies were being introduced. With more household appliances available the power requirements in homes grew along with the complexity of the electrical systems. Air conditioning started becoming more affordable in the 60’s so forced air heating and cooling systems gained in popularity. With this we started increasing insulation in the walls and ceilings to keep the heat in or out of the house.
Your great-grandfather from the first half of the 20th Century would not recognize nor understand most of what we now take for granted in a modern home. As is often true of most innovations, there are also downsides that accompany the advancements. Older electrical systems become overloaded and can create hazardous conditions. Tighter houses means moisture gets trapped in ceilings, walls and floors causing fungus and mold. Mechanical equipment is prone to breakdown and it has a limited life. Newly developed products such as composite sidings that aren’t fully tested can fail.
The first home inspections that I’m aware of started back in the 1950’s and began to grow through the 1960’s and 1970’s. In 1976 a critical mass was reached and the first professional association for home inspectors was formed, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). ASHI immediately went about the business of defining what a home inspection is or should be. This became the first Standard of Practice (SoP) for home inspectors.
ASHI also recognized the need to promote high ethical standards among home inspection practitioners and developed the first Code of Ethics (CoE) for the home inspection profession. Over the years other home inspection associations have come and gone and most have modeled their standard of practice and code of ethics after ASHI’s. Even some states, including Alabama have adopted the ASHI SoP and CoE in their home inspection regulations.
Because of the complexity of modern homes, it is very important that you find someone to perform your home inspection that has the proper education and experience and can help you make sense of all the issues surrounding the condition of a home you are about to purchase.
A detailed knowledge of building science is a must for a home inspector. It is not enough just to be able to recognize defects; a home inspector must also know the significance of each problem found during the home inspection. If your home inspector finds ten problems during the home inspection, he should be able to provide you with a sense of the relative importance of each issue.
We strongly encourage you to compare, not the price but the credentials of any home inspector you are considering hiring to perform your home inspection.
So are you getting a home inspection or a house inspection?
While I know a few inspectors who take exception to the term Home Inspection or Home Inspector, most folks use the term “Home” when defining the person or the process. Those who prefer the term “house,” point to the fact that the term “home” has more to do with the relationships and emotional bonds of the people who “make the house a home.”
While I can see the logic I tend to go with the flow and typically use the more widely accepted term home inspection instead of house inspection.
So why do I even bring up the whole house inspection / home inspection issue. Well, though the majority of people searching for a home inspector or home inspection will use that term in an internet search, a significant number of people performing a search will use the term house inspection or house inspector.
Now my web guy tells me that I must use both terms; home inspection and house inspection in my website to get optimal ranking on the search engines. Now I’m not trying to get tricky here by using both terms, home inspection and house inspection, I just want to make sure that if you are one of the few people who searched on the term house inspection in Alabama, that you have an equal opportunity to find my site as the person who used the term home inspection.
So whether you consider home inspection or house inspection to be the proper term we will be more that happy to perform a home inspection or a house inspection for you.
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Madison, AL 35758
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