Drone Technology | four point | Electrical | thermal imaging
Wind Mitigation | Mold Inspection
At Marino Property Inspections, we are certified home inspectors who follow the established standards provided by the International Association of Home Inspectors. We will perform a visual evaluation of the home systems which covers more than 400 items -- and do it with an experienced builder's eye for detail.
Please refer to Inspection Standards for details of what is part of the inspection. You will have the results presented to you in a detailed report that will help you understand the concerns that need to addressed complete with pictures.
During the inspection you are encouraged to accompany the inspector. This will give you an opportunity to ask important questions and become familiar with the systems of your potentially new home.
Glenn is a Commercial FAA Licensed Drone Pilot
We look for visual cues to determine the short- and long-term implications of property defects. Because drones provide unique aerial perspectives and the ability to conduct quick, safe, and thorough inspections, they’ve become a popular and practical tool for home inspection.
One of the significant benefits drones provide is increased visibility of the roof. A tile roof, steep pitch, or a rooftop that is too high or otherwise inaccessible are some examples of how a drone can help.
Replacing a roof is one of the most expensive property updates so it’s especially important to homeowners and prospective buyers that analysis of the roof is accurate.
Drones provide the video and photographic assets needed to document the property and write a thorough report.
Four Point Inspection
Four point inspection to Florida's standards.
According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, the inspector shall:
1. service drop
2. service entrance conductors, cables, and raceways
3. service equipment and main disconnects
4. service grounding
5. interior components of service panels and subpanels
7. overcurrent protection devices
8. a representative number of installed lighting fixtures, switches, and receptacles
9. ground fault circuit interrupters and arc fault circuit interrupters
1. amperage rating of the service
2. location of main disconnect(s) and subpanels
3. presence or absence of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms
4. the predominant branch circuit wiring method
Energy.gov explains how thermal imaging uses specially designed infrared video or still cameras to make images (called thermograms) that show surface heat variations. Energy auditors use thermography as a tool to help detect heat losses and air leakage in buildings.
The resulting thermograms help inspectors determine whether a building needs insulation and where it should go. Because wet insulation conducts heat faster than dry insulation, thermographic scans of roofs can often detect roof leaks.
In Florida, scans are usually conducted during warm weather with the air conditioner on so it might be necessary for the homeowner to create and maintain a specific inside/outside temperature difference by running the air conditioner for a period of up to four hours before the test.
You may wish to include a clause in the contract requiring a thermographic scan of the house. A thermographic scan performed by a certified technician is usually accurate enough to use as documentation in court proceedings.
Wind mitigation is the implementation of certain building techniques in order to limit damage caused by intense wind.
A Few Facts About Windstorms and Wind Insurance
- In 2006, Citizens Insurance, one of the largest property insurers in Florida, requested a 45% rate increase for wind insurance. Other insurers took similar actions.
- In Florida, the portion of a homeowner's premium covering wind damage can be up to 70% of the total, depending on location.
- Wind mitigation benefits homeowners, private insurers, and all levels of government.
Incentives for Wind Mitigation
- In some states, homeowners can benefit from reduced insurance premiums. The Gulf Coast states, which are most prone to windstorm damage from hurricanes, have each considered mandating incentives to mitigate damage due to wind. Mississippi and Texas currently do not have such legislation, although Florida has been successful. Following Hurricane Andrew, Florida passed a law requiring insurance companies to offer their customers discounts and credits for existing building features and home improvements that reduce damage and loss from wind. In order to qualify for this discount, homes must undergo a certified home wind inspection. However, many Floridians do not know of this law.
- Those with windstorm insurance can avoid a costly deductible. Deductibles for homes in hurricane-prone areas can exceed $20,000, meaning that mild to moderate wind damage might not be covered by insurance at all. If proper wind mitigation techniques have been used, these expenses can be avoided altogether.
- Wind mitigation helps protect the home from damage. Even if a home is insured, it is always costly when a house is damaged, both for the homeowner and the insurer. Repairs can take months, especially during material shortages that follow massive destruction to entire communities, as was the case after Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana.
- Lenders in Florida require homeowners to carry windstorm insurance in order to be approved for a mortgage. Insurers may not provide windstorm insurance to homes that are vulnerable to wind damage.
Checklist for Wind Mitigation Techniques:
- garage doors: These commonly fail during windstorms due to:
- inadequate door-track strength and mounting systems; and
- flimsy metal panels.
The following features can protect a garage door from wind damage:
- no windows;
- the tracks for the door that have six to nine mounting brackets, or continuous mounting;
- track brackets that are securely attached to the wall; and
- horizontal and/or vertical reinforcement on all panels.
- opening protection: Glass doors and windows should be replaced with impact-resistant glass. They should be structurally attached to the building in order to prevent the entire window from popping out of its frame. Sliding glass doors are especially vulnerable to flying debris due to their large expanse. Once an opening is created during a windstorm, the pressure within the house can rise high enough to cause the roof to fail in areas of low pressure. The picture to the right demonstrates how these areas of low pressure can form.
- roof covering: There are many kinds of roof covering materials, and some resist wind damage better than others. The most common roof covering materials in Florida are composition shingles and tiles. A key factor in roof covering performance is the method of attachment of the roof covering material to the roof deck. Nails, not staples, should be used to fasten these materials.
- roof shape: "Roof shape" refers to the geometry of the roof, rather than the type of roof covering. The end-walls of gable roofs extend vertically to the sloping roofline. These gable end-walls, if not properly built or braced, have been known to fail outward due to the negative suctions on the wall. Additionally, field testing has shown that hip roofs receive up to 40% less pressure from wind than gable roofs.
- roof deck attachment: According to insurance claim data, a house becomes a major loss once the roof deck fails, even partially. The most common roof deck types are plywood and OSB. The most important feature of the roof deck by far is the attachment to the framing compared to the deck's thickness. The following building techniques can help prevent wind damage:
- roof coverings using shingles that meet the FBC requirements;
- roof decks that have been installed with large nails and close spacing;
- hurricane clips/straps that hold the roof structure to the walls; and
- protection of windows and glass doors with impact-resistant glazing or other protection systems.
- roof-to-wall connections: This connection is a critical safeguard that keeps the roof attached to the building and acts to transfer the uplift loads into the vertical walls. This connection is crucial to the performance of the building due to the large negative pressures acting on the roof. Proper installation is essential to connector performance.
- secondary water resistance: This is a layer of protection that shields the home in the event that the roof covering fails. It will reduce leakage if the shingles are blown off. A secondary water barrier is relatively rare in homes. The two most common types are:
- self-adhering modified bitumen underlayment, which is applied to the exterior of all joints; and
- foam seal, which is sprayed onto the underside of the decking.
In summary, wind mitigation is a strategy designed to limit the amount of wind damage inflicted on a structure. Various incentives are in place to motivate homeowners to implement these enhancements, and qualified inspectors can determine which improvements are necessary.
Air Sampling for Mold Inspections
Taking air samples during a mold inspection is important for several reasons. Mold spores are not visible to the naked eye, and the types of mold present can often be determined through laboratory analysis of the air samples. Having samples analyzed can also help provide evidence of the scope and severity of a mold problem, as well as aid in assessing human exposure to mold spores. After remediation, new samples are typically taken to help ensure that all mold has been successfully removed.
Air samples can be used to gather data about mold spores present in the interior of a house. These samples are taken by using a pump that forces air through a collection device which catches mold spores. The sample is then sent off to a laboratory to be analyzed. InterNACHI inspectors who perform mold inspections often utilize air sampling to collect data, which has become commonplace.
There are several types of devices used to collect air samples that can be analyzed for mold. Some common examples include:
- impaction samplers that use a calibrated air pump to impact spores onto a prepared microscope slide;
- cassette samplers, which may be of the disposable or one-time-use type, and also employ forced air to impact spores onto a collection media; and
- airborne-particle collectors that trap spores directly on a culture dish. These may be utilized to identify the species of mold that has been found.
When and When Not to Sample
Samples are generally best taken if visual, non-invasive examination reveals apparent mold growth or conditions that could lead to growth, such as moisture intrusion or water damage. Musty odors can also be a sign of mold growth. If no sign of mold or potential for mold is apparent, one or two indoor air samples can still be taken, at the discretion of the inspector and client, in the most lived-in room of the house and at the HVAC unit.
Outdoor air samples are also typically taken as a control for comparison to indoor samples. Two samples -- one from the windward side and one from the leeward side of the house -- will help provide a more complete picture of what is in the air that may be entering the house through windows and doors at times when they are open. It is best to take the outdoor samples as close together in time as possible to the indoor samples that they will be compared with.
InterNACHI inspectors should avoid taking samples if a resident of the house is under a physician’s care for mold exposure, if there is litigation in progress related to mold on the premises, or if the inspector’s health or safety could be compromised in obtaining the sample. Residential home inspectors also should not take samples in a commercial or public building.
Where to Sample and Ideal Conditions
In any areas of a house suspected or confirmed to have mold growth, air samples can be taken to help verify and gather more information. Moisture intrusion, water damage, musty odors, apparent mold growth, or conditions conducive to mold growth are all common reasons to gather an air sample. Samples should be taken near the center of the room, with the collection device positioned 3 to 6 feet off the ground.
Ten minutes is an adequate amount of time for the air pump to run while taking samples, but this can be reduced to around five minutes if there is a concern that air movement from a lot of indoor activity could alter the results. The sampling time can be reduced further if there is an active source of dust, such as from ongoing construction.
Sampling should take place in livable spaces within the house under closed conditions in order to help stabilize the air and allow for reproducibility of the sampling and measurement. While the sample is being collected, windows and exterior doors should be kept shut other than for normal entry and exit from the home. It is best to have air exchangers (other than a furnace) or fans that exchange indoor-outdoor air switched off during sampling.
Weather conditions can be an important factor in gathering accurate data. Severe thunderstorms or unusually high winds can affect the sampling and analysis results. High winds or rapid changes in barometric pressure increase the difference in air pressure between the interior and exterior, which can increase the variability of airborne mold-spore concentration. Large differences in air pressure between the interior and exterior can cause more airborne spores to be sucked inside, skewing the results of the sample.
Difficulties and Practicality of Air Sampling
It is helpful to think of air sampling as just one tool in the tool belt when inspecting a house for mold problems. An air sample alone is not enough to confirm or refute the existence of a problem, and such testing needs to be accompanied by visual inspection and other methods of data collection, such as a surface sample. Indoor airborne spore levels can vary according to several factors, and this can lead to skewed results if care is not taken to set up the sampling correctly. Also, since only spores are collected with an air sample and may actually be damaged during collection, identification of the mold type can be more difficult than with a sample collected with tape or a cultured sample.
Air samples are good for use as a background screen to ensure that there isn’t a large source of mold not yet found somewhere in a home. This is because they can detect long chains of spores that are still intact. These chains normally break apart quickly as they travel through the air, so a sample that reveals intact chains can indicate that there is mold nearby, possibly undiscovered during other tests and visual examination.
In summary, when taken under controlled conditions and properly analyzed, air samples for mold are helpful in comparing relative particle levels between a problem and a control area. They can also be crucial for comparing particle levels and air quality in an area before and after mold remediation.
$10,000 honor guarantee
InterNACHI will pay up to $10,000 (USD; maximum collective aggregate) for the cost of replacement of personal property lost (and not recovered, restituted or insured) during an inspection and stolen by an InterNACHI-certified member who was convicted of or pleaded guilty (or no contest) to any criminal charge resulting from the member's taking of the client's personal property. Claimant agrees that the exclusive venue for any action against InterNACHI arising out of this Honor Guarantee is the District Court in Boulder County, Colorado. InterNACHI's Honor Guarantee is valid in all of the U.S. and Canada.