Q. Do I Have Vermiculite Insulation? (Bankrupcy Claims)

Q. Hey Mark!
We live in Las Vegas, NV and have lived in our home for 14 years.  Our home was built in 1978.

The only reason I am becoming more aware of Vermiculite Insulation, is because I saw an ad on TV the other night that stated there is some type of Class Action Lawsuit going on over Vermiculite.  I did not get to jot down the phone number on the advertisement, so if you know anything about this, could you please let me know who is conducting this suit and maybe a phone number to call ?

We have often wondered since we moved into this home, if it was a “sick” home…we all very frequently feel conjested, “clogged up”, …we have never been this way in any of our other homes we owned.

How can we tell if we have Vermiculite in our attic?….

Thank-You!
Alice

Hey Alice,
Thanks for your question.  We recently noticed a sudden spike in vermiculite-related inquiries at http://www.HeyMark.Info and weren’t sure why. Thanks to your question, we became aware of a bankruptcy claim concerning vermiculite insulation. Details on this can be found at http://www.graceclaims.com/index.shtml. Homeowners with vermiculite insulation should take a moment to visit that web site. I will be letting my St. Louis area home inspection clients know about this situation, as well.

To determine if you have vermiculite insulation, I’d suggest that you compare it to some photographs. Vermiculite has fairly distinctive features. Continue reading

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What Really Matters…

Hey Readers,

I had an experience during a recent inspection that got me thinking about buyers’ expectations for their home inspection. How can you know what your home inspection will include? Every individual who is hiring a home inspector should ask their inspector what “standards” he or she follows during an inspection. For example, I am a member of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, and I use the standards of practice from InterNACHI (http://www.nachi.org/sop.htm). Prior to the inspection, I discuss with my client where my standards might differ from those, and also note it in the report, if appropriate. This gives my client a clear picture of what he or she can expect to occur during the home inspection. Continue reading

Test Your Home for Radon! (My Personal Experience)

I am always very concerned when a home buyer declines having a radon test during their home inspection. I’m genuinely uneasy about the potential health repercussions of that decision. For me, I think it strikes particularly close to home for two reasons. One reason is that my wife’s grandmother, a non-smoker, passed away from lung cancer. Through that experience, we learned first-hand what an insidious disease lung cancer is. Secondly, about 15 years ago, my wife and I bought a home in St. Peters, MO. We hired a home inspector and even though radon testing wasn’t as common in those days, we asked for a radon test. Our home inspector had never performed one before, but he did comply with our request and purchased canister type testing devices to test the home. The radon gas detected by the test was at an acceptable level, and we purchased the house.

Several years later, when I started my home inspection business, I ran another radon test in my home with a continuous electronic radon monitor. We found out that our radon levels were 3 times the level at which the EPA recommends mitigation. Continue reading

Q. An Abandoned Oil Tank

Q. Hey Mark,
I was showing a home to a client, and a concern was raised about the abandoned oil tank in the basement. One of the client’s relatives said is was a potential explosion hazard, and it would cost thousands of dollars to have it removed. What do you think?
Cyndi

A. Hey Cyndi,
Frankly, I haven’t run into many oil tanks. So, I had to do a little research and enlist the help of a few “InterNACHI Certified Inspector” friends to help me out.

Here’s what I’ve learned…
First of all, the tank is not an explosion risk because heating oil will not explode unless it is either atomized or under pressure, so that isn’t much of a concern. Of course if there is oil in the tank, and it leaks, then the spill would be an environmental concern, and just an all around mess to clean up.

While the tank isn’t really a safety concern, the consensus is that it should be probably be removed all the same. Continue reading

Q. Were the radon test canisters left too long?

Q. Hey Mark,
The buyers of a home I have listed hired a company to do a radon test. The test came back a little high (4.9). I’m concerned about the test because they used canisters, and they left them in place from Wednesday through Saturday. Wouldn’t this increase the radon levels in the canisters by leaving them longer than 48 hours?
Michelle

A. Hey Michelle,
The simple answer to your question is no. The radon levels don’t increase the longer the canister is in place. However the validity of the result in this circumstance is dependent upon the type of measuring device used. Continue reading