FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Ask the Inspector
From “Inspection Times” by Mike Crow
Question: Can you give me some advice about chimneys? I want to be sure mine is safe.
The “cold and flue” season is beginning, so if you haven’t checked your chimney for awhile, you should do it soon.
Because chimneys usually work in spite of problems behind the exterior, homeowners don’t think about maintenance until a problem develops. But chimneys do deteriorate from constant exposure to the weather, and they can become a safety hazard.
Whether you have a basic chimney on your home or a fireplace chimney, regular maintenance is recommended to prevent damage and future high-cost repairs. In both older and newer homes, there could be a cracked chimney crown.
Another major trouble spot is the point where the chimney connector passes through the wall. A flue that operates properly is vital to keeping fumes out of your home. It should be inspected by a professional who can recognize danger signs. If you need a new flue, you can insert a metal or masonry flue within the existing unit.
Creosote causes problems. A buildup that is only one-eighth of an inch thick should be removed. It can look like a hard tar-like glaze, a crusty type that flakes off, or a powder. It’s dangerous. Creosote buildup can ignite and cause a chimney fire.
The best advice: Contact the Chimney Safety Institute of America. They have qualified chimney sweeps who can clean your system and recommend repairs.
Q. Do you walk on roofs, go into attics, and crawl spaces?
A. Yes! We walk on 90% of all roofs, attics, and crawl spaces. Sometimes roofs, attics, and crawl spaces are not safe for inspectors to do so. We will note in our report if that is the case.
Q. When do we get the report?
A. Our goal is to get the report to you the next business day. We can sometimes finish the report at the inspection if requested.
Q. How will I get the report?
A. Your report will be emailed to you the next day. Your report can be printed and mailed to you or hand delivered if necessary.
Q. How soon can you get to the inspection?
A. Our wait time for an inspection varies. Usually the wait time is 2 to 3 days. Sometimes we can do the inspection the same day it’s ordered if an emergency comes up. .
Q. Do you do last-minute inspections?
A. Yes. We have done many last-minute inspections.
Q. Do you do inspections on weekends? Holidays?
A. Yes. Call us! We have 6 inspectors who are waiting for your order.
Q. Do you have a key to the property?
A. Yes if the house is in the Multiple Listing Service.
Q. Are there any guarantees?
A. Yes! 200% Guarantee! We guarantee, if within 14 days, that you are not happy, we will refund your money and pay another licensed inspector to do the inspection.
Q. Do you do radon, pool, pest, sprinklers, septic, and mold tests?
A. Yes. We do all of these inspections with a home inspection.
Q. Who answers the phone when we call?
A. Our office staff answers the phones; however, if they are out of the office, we have an answering service that can help you schedule an appointment or take a message. You can schedule on-line at https://www.alhomedoc.com/schedule/.
Q. Are you licensed and insured?
A. Yes. We have Worker’s Compensation, as well as Liability/Errors & Omissions Insurance.
Q. Do you do any of the repairs?
A. No. Although we are state licensed contractors, don’t do any of the repairs. This would be a conflict of interest.
Q. Can you do estimates for repairs?
A. Yes. As a state licensed contractor and a 203k FHA Consultant, we have the credentials to do so. If requested, we can give ballpark estimates to assist you.
Q. Are there any discounts?
A. Yes. We give previous customer, realtor, and military discounts. If the sale falls through, the next inspection is half- price.
Q. What kind of training do you have?
A. All inspectors are trained personally by Guinn Laxson who has been doing home inspections for 25 years. Each inspector has completed home inspector training courses to be licensed by the State of Alabama.
Q. Do you do continuing education?
A. Yes, through the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI).
Q. Who have you worked for in the past?
A. Century 21, Keller Williams, Remax, Caldwell Banker, Legend, and Dream Key, and countless others