H&J Freile Home Inspection Services
A home inspection includes a physical examination of a dwelling and a written report that identifies the systems and components inspected and their condition. If any material defects are observed at the time of the inspection, the defect and its significance will be reported, along with recommendations to repair, replace, further evaluate or monitor.
The inspection includes a visual examination of the:
STRUCTURE including the foundation and floors, walls, ceilings, and roof framing
EXTERIOR including the siding, trim, windows, doors, and attached or adjacent decks, balconies, stoops, steps, porches, railings, walkways, patios and driveways, plus vegetation, grading, drainage, and retaining walls that have a direct effect on the condition of the dwelling
ROOF including the roof covering, drainage systems, flashing, skylights, and exterior chimneys
PLUMBING including the water supply and distribution pipes, interior fixtures and faucets, drain, waste and vent pipes, domestic water heaters, combustion vent systems, gas or oil lines, and drainage sumps and pumps
ELECTRIC including service entrance, main disconnects, main panels, sub-panels, interiors of main and sub-panels, service grounding, wiring, circuit breakers, fuses, receptacles, lighting fixtures, switches, and ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs)
HEATING SYSTEM including energy source, equipment, distribution type, combustion vent systems, chimneys, and above ground oil tanks
COOLING SYSTEM including energy source, equipment, and distribution type
INTERIOR including walls, ceilings, floors, steps, stairways, railing, installed kitchen cabinets, doors, windows, kitchen range and oven, dishwasher, and garbage disposer
INSULATION, VENTILATION and WATER PENETRATION in attics, basements, and crawlspaces
FIREPLACES, SOLID FUEL BURNING APPLIANCES and CHIMNEYS
In addition to the visual examination, the inspection also includes operation of the:
HEATING SYSTEMS except when temperatures exceed the system’s operating parameters
COOLING SYSTEMS when overnight temperatures are above 65°F
PLUMBING fixtures (sinks, bathtubs, showers, toilets, and bidets) and water heaters
ELECTRIC a representative sampling of receptacles, light fixtures, and switches
INTERIOR a representative sampling of windows and doors, overhead garage doors, automatic openers and entrapment protection mechanisms, burners or heating elements in kitchen range and oven, water supply and drainage in dishwasher, and power on/off of disposer
Additional Inspection Services
The Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. There are two types of radon tests available, passive or active. The most common way to test for radon is using a charcoal canister, which is a passive test method. We perform all of our radon tests, when possible, using a Continuous Radon Monitor (CRM), or active test for no additional charge. The CRM is a premium test that provides tamper detection circuitry and interval recordings of radon levels to help improve reliability and confidence in the test results. The radon measurement with a CRM can be obtained in as little as 24 hours and is typically available in 72 hours based on ready access to the property. If AC power is not available at the property, the radon test will be performed with a charcoal canister. Results from the charcoal canister test are typically available in 7 to 10 days.
The State of New Jersey requires that any radon test performed for a real estate transaction be conducted by a licensed radon measurement technician and evaluated by a licensed laboratory. This means that the test device must be placed and retrieved by a licensed technician. All H&J Freile home inspectors are licensed radon measurement technicians. In addition, H&J Freile has full-time environmental technicians that are also licensed for radon measurement. Be wary of anyone who conducts a radon test and asks you, the homeowner, or realtor to retrieve the measurement device. Not only will the test results be questionable; it is also against the law.
Wood Destroying Insect Inspection
Wood destroying insects, such as termites, carpenter ants, carpenter bees and powder post beetles can cause serious structural damage to your property. Most mortgage companies require a “termite” certification. Our report is issued on a NPMA-33 form, which meets the requirements of most lending institutions.
If an infestation is found, we can often provide treatment costs. If damage is discovered, the pest control company we refer and contract with will send a carpenter / repair specialist for a modest fee to provide an estimate to repair. This service will require scheduling a separate visit. If damage extends to finished areas or if hidden damage is suspected, permission must be obtained from the current homeowner prior to a more intrusive evaluation.
If you are purchasing a home with an in-ground pool, H&J Freile strongly recommends having it inspected prior to purchase. In-ground pools can be inspected most times of the year, with few exceptions. Even during winter months, approximately 80% of the pool can be inspected. One significant limitation when inspecting a closed or winterized pool is evaluating the water flow through the pipes and filter. The inspector will remove sections of the cover to evaluate the pool shell. The pool inspection includes evaluation of the shell (vinyl liner, fiberglass, or cementitious walls), pump, filter, heater, electric components, as well as fencing, latches, alarms, walkways, slide, diving board, coping, deck, rails, pool perimeter and spa (if integrated with the pool). A check for stray voltage is conducted during the pool inspection (*open pools only, **due to the insulating effects, fiberglass pools and hot tubs cannot be checked). Pools with vinyl liners are checked for leaks using an electronic leak detector. A separate report will follow the inspection.
EIFS / Stucco / Stone Inspection and Moisture Testing
EIFS (Exterior Insulating Finishing System) or Synthetic Stucco is a product that has been in use on residential homes since the late 1980s. Moisture problems related to improperly installed EIFS or unforgiving design have led to major structural problems, mold infestation, and litigation. As the industry learned more about problems with EIFS, they discovered similar problems with newer hard-coat stucco systems and manufactured stone veneer. Most times, moisture problems exist with little or no visible evidence. H&J Freile has an EDI certified inspector on staff to inspect and provide additional information on this product.
The basic inspection will include a visual examination of the condition of the stucco, exterior sealants, flashing, windows, doors, roof-to-stucco transitions, parapets, gutters, deck-to-building connections, stucco terminations, and any penetrations through the stucco. A random electronic moisture scan of the building elevations clad with EIFS will be conducted. High readings detected with the scan, as well as known vulnerable areas, will be probed and moisture levels measured. An impact resistance test will also be performed on sheathing at the probed locations. A report of our observations, including actual and potential problem areas, a record of any high readings found, and recommendations for further evaluation and repair will be provided.
Underground Oil Tank (UST) Location Service
Homes that were converted from oil to gas heat and even some homes still heated by oil may have an abandoned underground oil tank. Older properties are more likely to have underground tanks that were improperly abandoned before the present day environmental considerations, making the chance of a costly cleanup more likely. Whether or not the underground tank is still in use, it is recommended to have the tank removed and the surrounding soil evaluated for possible contamination prior to closing. If oil is still needed for heating, typically an above ground tank will be installed in the basement, garage, or even at the exterior of the house. Although not commonly seen, modern double wall tanks with integrated leak detection are available to be installed underground.
H&J Freile can schedule a tank search for you at the same time as your home inspection. This service is recommended for anyone purchasing a property that was previously heated with oil heat or a property with unknown historical use. The location service searches for the presence of an underground oil tank around the perimeter of the building and driveway using the latest electronic equipment. Special pricing is available for expanded searches and multiple buildings.
H&J Freile offers several types of mold testing to meet your needs and budget. If the mold is visible and limited to a specific area, a limited sampling, including a physical sample of the suspect mold and two air samples – one from the affected area and one from outside (to establish a baseline) – is usually warranted. If the location or extent of the mold is unknown, we offer a more comprehensive screening of the whole house by our qualified mold specialist to identify conditions conducive to mold growth and to take air and swab or lift samples as warranted based on his findings.
After the samples are analyzed, you will be provided with the lab report and an easily understood summary. If mold is present, written recommendations on how to eliminate or reduce the water and/or moisture that is conducive to the mold growth and a cleanup plan for the inspected and/or tested area is provided. The recommendations and cleanup plan can then be used to obtain quotes from mold remediation companies. After remediation, a clearance test is recommended to verify that the mold has been properly remediated.
To avoid any potential conflict of interest, perceived or real, H&J Freile does not offer or perform any mold remediation services. We are happy to provide referrals to mold remediation companies upon request.
Lead is the number one environmental health hazard to children. Lead poisoning can damage the brain, kidneys, nervous system and red blood cells. Houses built prior to 1980 have the potential of having lead-based paint. The sale of lead-based house paint was banned in 1978.
Don’t be fooled by recently painted homes! Lead can leach through the newer paint and easily become a hazard. H&J Freile can schedule lead-based paint testing for your home to occur at the same time as your home inspection. H&J Freile utilizes NJ licensed lead testing contractors who use state-of-the-art equipment to detect lead paint through up to 8 layers of paint without damaging the finished surface.
Lead-based solder, commonly used in copper water lines prior to 1988 and brass plumbing fixtures, still sold today, can contribute to lead levels found in public and private drinking water. As water travels and sits in the house’s water pipes, the water can react with the metal, and lead can leach into the drinking water. H&J Freile recommends a 1st draw water test to check for the presence of lead in your drinking water.
H&J Freile can schedule a visual and functional inspection of the private sanitary disposal system (septic system) to coincide with the home inspection. The inspection is a below ground evaluation. This inspection consists of locating, uncovering, and opening the tank lid, visually inspecting the tank baffles, liquid level, proper flow, and conveyance line. If the system is equipped with a distribution box (d-box) at a depth less than 24 inches from the ground surface, the d-box will be opened and inspected, and the laterals will be visually inspected utilizing a sewer drain inspection camera. The absorption field will be probed to monitor proper flow and determine effluent levels. Water is introduced into the system and water levels inside the tank and field are monitored. This test will give more insight into how well the system was maintained and the condition of the system and is recommended for homes of any age. Even new systems have been found to fail due to poor or inadequate fill material and/or improper installation. Repairs or renovations to septic systems are very expensive. Protect yourself by checking the system before purchase.
Every day more people are becoming concerned about the safety of their drinking water. Whether a private well or public municipality supplies the water, their concerns are real. A study conducted by Cornell University found that 63% of rural household water supplies serving more than 13 million households are considered unsafe under the standards established by the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The General Accounting Office of the U.S. Government reports that about 20% of the nation’s 65,000 community water systems do not meet these same standards. As reported in the New Jersey Bergen Record, environmental officials indicated that nearly a third of the private wells tested under a new state law are contaminated with pollution linked to cancer, breathing problems, and other serious illnesses.
Whether a private well or public authority supplies your water, H&J Freile can arrange for testing of many of the contaminants that can be found in water. The most requested water test that we offer is for the presence of lead, which is commonly introduced by the plumbing in the house, such as brass fixtures or lead solder used at pipe joints.
Although a home inspection does not include identifying environmental hazards, such as asbestos, a home inspector will often point out some insulation, flooring, ceiling tile, or duct work that may contain asbestos. The presence of asbestos in a material cannot be verified with a visual inspection only. H&J Freile can provide either bulk or air sampling and evaluation for asbestos.
If there is a question or concern whether something in your home or building is an asbestos containing material, we can take a ‘bulk’ sample of the suspect material and have it analyzed for you. After asbestos is removed or remediated from your home or building, it is a good idea to verify that no asbestos was released into the air during the remediation. In that case, air sampling for asbestos is appropriate. Whether you need a bulk or air sample analyzed, the standard turnaround for analysis is 48 hours.
If you are demolishing a building or structure, H&J Freile also offers a Demolition Inspection for asbestos. Our inspector will review the property and make recommendations on which materials should be tested for asbestos and then test those materials that you approve.
Formaldehyde is present in small amounts in nearly all homes. Higher levels of Formaldehyde are found in newly manufactured wood products, such as cabinets, furniture, plywood, particleboard and laminate flooring. Some foam insulation, glues, paints, caulks, and pesticides may also contain higher levels of Formaldehyde. Generally, you don’t need to consider testing your home for Formaldehyde unless you can smell strong chemical odors or you have symptoms, like breathing problems and irritation only when you are in your home.
H&J Freile can test the air in your home for Formaldehyde using sampler ‘badges’. Each badge can cover up to 2500 square feet of space on a single floor. We will place a badge or badges in your home and leave it for up to 24 hours. The following day, we will return to retrieve the badge for analysis. The typical turnaround time for analysis is 3 days. Testing the air for Formaldehyde cannot determine where the Formaldehyde is coming from, but it can identify its presence.
Schedule Your Inspection Today!
For inspection services in portions of north, central, and south New Jersey, including Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Somerset, Union, and Warren Counties, call H&J Freile today!
Contact H&J Freile Home Inspection, Inc. for all of your inspection needs!