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Common Defects Found During Home Inspections: An Interview with John Gerardi of Inspect Savannah

By John Gerardi

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Inspect Savannah offers home inspections, consisting of a visual inspection of a home's major systems (including the plumbing, heating, roofing, electrical and internal and external structure). Mold tests of the air and surfaces in a home are also offered. Inspect Savannah is owned by me John Gerardi. I am an American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) certified home inspector and have performed over 5000 inspections in the last 20 years. My typical customer is a home buyer, but sellers also can gain a great deal from hiring me to do a home inspection to learn what may need to be fixed before offering the house for sale.

What is one of the most common defects you find when you're inspecting homes?

The most common defects I find are problems with the electrical system in the house, typically miss-wired outlets, but also defects in the electrical panel and subpanel boxes.

Is there something that most people don't know about roofing problems that they should know?

In our climate, pitched roofs have an average life of 20 years. The shorter lasting roofs usually have poor attic ventilation. Most houses require at least 1 square foot of ventilation for every 150 square feet of attic floor space. Half of that ventilation should be high in the attic like a ridge vent or gable vents. The other half of the ventilation should be low like soffit vents. The longer lasting roofs usually have this ventilation.

How common are electrical hazards in older homes? What about in newer homes?

Older homes with fuse boxes often have overrated fuses. I often see 30 amp fuses protecting 15 or 20 amp wired circuits. This is can be a catastrophe waiting to happen since the fuse won't blow until the capacity of the wire is exceeded which could cause a fire. Sometimes old knob and tube wiring is found which is improperly attached to the electrical system and sometimes dangerous solid conductor aluminum wiring is found. Homes of any age can have miss-wired outlets, usually reversed polarity. A reversed polarity outlet has the hot and neutral connections reversed therefore reversing the connection of any electrical device plugged into the outlet. Even new homes may have this problem.

What are some of the most expensive defects that are commonly found during a home inspection?

Structural problems where the house foundation is settling or the floors are sloping can be expensive to correct. Also older homes that have potentially leaking galvanized or polybutylene water supply piping can be expensive to repair.

What are the basic steps that people should take after they've received an inspection report for a house with several defects?

Home buyers should understand the costs associated with correcting the defects. I can help with some of the costs but sometimes a contractor may need to be contacted to gain a more exact cost. For major problems where the cause or solution is not clear and further disassembly or service is required to determine the cost of repair, I advise my customers to ask the home owner to have the problem fixed or at least get a written estimate for the repair. These repairs can then be negotiated between the buyer and the seller.

What's the best way for people to contact you and your company?

I can be called any time at 912-661-8705 to answer any questions or to schedule a home inspection or mold test. My website has fees listed for my home inspection services and mold testing as well as a sample report and other information useful in choosing a home inspector.

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Phone: 912-661-8705

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