Vantage Property Inspections LLC
Services & Information
Home Inspection
Wood Destroying Insects
Radon
Water Quality
Septic System
Buried Oil Tank


Home Inspection

A home inspection is a visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a house, from the roof to the foundation, followed by a report that describes the condition of the home and any systems or components that need repair or replacement.

 
The inspection covers the condition of the home’s:
  • heating system
  • central air conditioning system
  • plumbing
  • electrical system
  • roof
  • exterior components
  • attic
  • visible insulation
  • walls, ceilings and floors
  • windows and doors
  • foundation
  • basement and crawl space
  • structural components
Attendance at the inspection is recommended in order to learn as much as possible about the home and any issues that need to be addressed.  A verbal summary is provided to the client during the  inspection. The report includes photos and is typically sent via e-mail within 24 hours. Follow up phone calls are encouraged for clarification and to answer any additional questions.

 

Take the ASHI Virtual Home Inspection Tour now to see and hear what a professional home inspection is all about. Learn about some common problems discovered during the home inspection with our virtual home inspection tour.
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Wood Destroying Insects

Also referred to as a "termite inspection", the wood destroying insect inspection reports on visual evidence of activity by wood destroying insects which include:
  • termites
  • carpenter ants
  • powder post beetles
  • carpenter bees
Subterranean termites are of concern because they can cause significant hidden damage to a home before they are discovered.

Wood Destroying Insect Infestation Inspection Report

Many banks and other lending institutions require that any property of which they are going to lend money against must be inspected for wood destroying insects prior to closing. If termites or other wood destroying insects are discovered during an inspection, they will require the home be treated and any structural damage repaired prior to closing.

A qualified inspector can provide the Wood Destroying Insect Infestation Inspection Report (Form NPMA-33) as needed by the buyer and/or lending institutions.


Radon

What Is Radon

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and moves up through the ground into the air. It typically enters the home through cracks and other openings in the foundation, basement or crawl space.

Health Risks

Although radon gas is found everywhere, increased health risks occur when radon accumulates to higher levels in some homes. Exposure to radon increases the risk of lung cancer and is believed to be the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.  Health Risks (US EPA)

Testing for Radon

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that if you are buying a home, you should have it tested for radon. Typically a qualified radon professional will perform a short term test (48 hours or longer) to measure the level of radon gas in the home. EPA protocol states that the measurement device be placed at the lowest level living space and that "closed-house" conditions be maintained during the test.

Radon gas concentration is measured in units of picoCuries per liter (pCi/L):

 0.4 pCi/L  Average outdoor level of radon in the US
 1.3 pCi/L  Average indoor level of radon in the US
 4.0 pCi/L  or higher  "Action Level" at which the EPA recommends that steps be taken to reduce the level of radon gas in the home
Radon Mitigation

Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the United States is estimated to have an elevated radon level of 4 pCi/L or more. At typical radon mitigation system uses a vent pipe and fan to depressurize the area under the slab and allow the radon gas to escape to the outside. The estimated average cost of installing a radon mitigation system is $800 to $2,500.

More Information 


Home Buyer's and Seller's Guide to Radon (US EPA)


Water Quality

Westchester County Private Well Water Testing Legislation

The Westchester County Private Well Water Testing Legislation became effective in November 2007 and requires that  requires that "a water test be conducted upon the signing of a contract of sale for any property served by a private well". The seller is responsible for having the water tested by a NY State Certified Laboratory registered with the Westchester County Department of Health.

The regulation states that wells must be tested for
total coliform, bacteria, nitrate, arsenic, lead, all primary organic contaminants (POCs), vinyl chloride, methyl-tertiary-butyl-ether (MTBE),  pH, iron, manganese, sodium and chloride.

For more information see
Water Quality (Westchester Dept. of Public Health)

Wells in Putnam, Dutchess, Rockland, Fairfield Counties

In most areas outside of Westchester County the cost of any well water analysis is typically paid for by the buyer. Water samples are tested by a certified lab for total coliform and any additional contaminates that may be of concern. A "Basic Profile" tests for water for Conductivity, Total Dissolved Solids, pH, Hardness, Lead, Copper and Iron, in addition to Total Coliform.

Well Water Testing Guidelines

The National Ground Water Association
  recommends well owners test the water annually for bacteria, nitrates/nitrites, and any contaminants of local concern. You should check with your local health department for recommendations regarding the type and frequency of testing specific to your location.

For more information and guidelines for Well Water Testing see:
Publication No. 24: Residential Well Water Testing (CT Dept of Public Health)
Recommended Residential Water Quality Testing (NY State Dept of Health)

For more information regarding drinking water visit your local health department website:

Westchester Dept of Health
Putnam County Health Department
Connecticut Dept. of Public Health
Rockland County Dept. of Health


Municipal or "City" Water:

While the homeowner is responsible for monitoring their "private" or well water, the municipal water water supplier ("city" or "public" water) must routinely test their water for a range of contaminates and notify homeowners of any problems.

Lead in Drinking Water:

Lead is rarely found in source water. Once water enters the home, however, lead can be introduced into tap water through corrosion of lead found in pipes, solder or fixtures in homes with either well or municipal water supply. Lead solder used to join copper pipes was banned in 1986 and homes built before then are more likely to have lead pipes, fixtures or solder. For this reason, homeowner may decide to test their tap water for lead. Lead levels may be reduced by running the water before drinking and through filtration. For more information see: Actions You Can Take to Reduce Lead In Drinking Water  (EPA)


Septic System

Gathering Information:

When buying a property with a septic system your should get as much information as possible about the system and maintenance from the current owner and if possible from the septic service company and/ or local board of health.  The property owner may have records regarding maintenance of the system, how often the tank has been pumped, and who the pumping contractor is. The septic service contractor may be able to provide information on how often the tank has been pumped and the general condition of the septic tank and leach field. Town records may confirm information about the installation and design capacity of the system.

Load and Dye Test:

A load and dye test may be used to help determine if there is a major failure or "break out" in the septic system. A measured amount of water is run into the septic system along with a tracer dye. Water with tracer dye visible at the surface or the smell of the effluent confirms a failed septic system. A dye test is a relatively low cost, non-invasive method for testing of private sewage treatment systems, however it only detects major "breakouts" or failures in the septic system. If dyed effluent does not break out on the surface, this does not necessarily rule out other problems with the septic system. In some cases effluent may take days to surface, and there are other defects not detected by the load and dye test that may lead to the failure and expensive repair or replacement of the septic system.

Below Ground Evaluation:

An evaluation of the system performed by a septic system contractor involves uncovering the tank, physically inspecting the interior of the tank and condition of the baffles. This type of evaluation provides more information about the condition of the septic system, however no evaluation can accurately predict the life of the septic system.

For more information see Septic Systems on the Links page.


Buried Oil Tanks

Heating oil storage tanks may be located in the basement, garage, or other area within the home. They may also be found outside of the home above ground, or buried in the ground. Any "active" oil storage tank that is buried in the  ground  should be tested for "tightness" by a tank testing company using specialized equipment.

If there is reason to believe that an abandoned oil tank may be present or was previously removed, further investigation is needed. Documentation regarding the removal of a previously buried tank may be available from the property owners. If the proper documentation is not available, it may be recommended to have a specialist perform a tank search using specialized equipment, or test the soil for contamination.

For more information see Underground Heating Oil Tanks: A Homeowner's Guide (NYS DEC)
  
    Vantage Property Inspections LLC
  
      P.O. Box 681

      Yorktown Heights, NY 10598

NY 914-514-8111

CT 203-652-1329



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