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1234 Main St.
Buzzards Bay, MA 02532
10/13/2019 9:00AM

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Agency Name
Maintenance item

INTRODUCTION: The purpose of this report is to render the inspector's professional opinion of the condition of the inspected elements of the referenced property (dwelling or house) on the date of inspection. Such opinions are rendered based on the findings of a standard limited time/scope home inspection performed according to the Terms and Conditions of the Inspection Order Agreement and in a manner consistent with applicable home inspection industry standards. The inspection was limited to the specified, readily visible and accessible installed major structural, mechanical and electrical elements (systems and components) of the house. The inspection does not represent a technically exhaustive evaluation and does not include any engineering, geological, design, environmental, biological, health-related or code compliance evaluations of the house or property. Furthermore, no representations are made with respect to any concealed, latent or future conditions. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Standards of Practice attached to this report provides information regarding home inspections, including various limitations and exclusions.

PROFESSIONAL OPINION: This report is a professional opinion but not a guarantee or warranty. The inspection is intended to add to your knowledge of the building and help you understand the risks of owning it. The inspection is not intended to and cannot eliminate all the risks of purchase. We help you assess these risks; we do not assume them for you. Warranty programs for appliance and mechanical failure and building owners insurance for unforeseen disasters are the traditional avenues available to manage the risk of property ownership.

GENERAL OVERVIEW: The inspection is complete and thorough, but it is a general overview, not technically exhaustive. Specialists in each field could provide more detailed analysis of the building systems, but at considerably more cost. This visual and limited operational inspection provides the broadest overview of the property at less cost.

DEFICIENCIES AT TIME OF INSPECTION: This report is limited to deficiencies present at the time of the inspection. Roofs, mechanical equipment, plumbing and electrical systems often fail without warning. New deficiencies can develop in buildings vacant between the inspection and closing. The pre-closing walk through is your final opportunity to confirm that all systems in the building remain operable; that no new problems have developed; and that any requested repairs have been completed to your satisfaction. The information contained in this report was prepared exclusively for the named Clients and is not transferable without the expressed consent of the Company. The report, including all Addenda, should be reviewed in its entirety.

BUILDING CODES: I do not inspect for code compliance of any type. Compliance consists of multiple jurisdictions with overlapping authority and varying levels of enforcement. Generally municipalities and towns allow the older standards under a "grandfather" provision. While I have general knowledge about building standards and can answer many related questions, this report does not attempt to list all possible building standard infractions. Any references to code contained herein is to indicate generally accepted best practices.

RATING WHAT IS THERE:  Home Inspections can be viewed as having two aspects. One is to give a professional opinion on the actual existing conditions. The second is to recommend upgrades or enhancements for energy efficiency, safety or financial reasons. These may be in different sections or tabs of the report. It is vital you do read all the report to get the most out of it

HOUSE ORIENTATION: Location descriptions/references are provided for general guidance only and represent orientations based on a view facing the front of the house. Any references using compass bearings are only approximations. If there are any questions, obtain clarification prior to closing.

PHOTOS and VIDEOS: Your report includes many photographs and videos. Some pictures are intended as a courtesy and are added for your information. Some are to help clarify where the inspector has been, what was looked at, and the condition of the system or component at the time of the inspection. Some of the pictures may be of deficiencies or problem areas, these are to help you better understand what is documented in this report and may allow you to see areas or items that you typically would not see. Not all problem areas or conditions will be supported with photos or videos. Photos and videos are taken at a high resolution, but the reporting software does compress for optimal viewing

REPORT BASICS: The report includes Informational data on various components of the home, Limitations that affected the ability to inspect certain items/areas, and Recommendations for items that require immediate or future attention.

Recommendations are organized into three categories by level of severity: 

1) Maintenance RecommendationsThese recommendations are more informational in nature and represent more of a future to-do list rather than something you might use as a negotiation or seller-repair item.  A Summary Report can be created should you choose to view a report without these minor items.

2) RecommendationsMost items typically fall into this category.  These recommendations may require a qualified contractor to evaluate further and repair or replace, but the cost is somewhat reasonable.  These recommendations may also include maintenance items that if left unattended will result in 

3) Defects - This category is composed of immediate safety concerns and/or items that could represent a significant expense to repair/replace. 


INFORMATIONAL DATA: This is information that is presented to inform or analyze on conditions in the dwelling. Sometimes this is to further expand on a condition that is present but that does not warrant any current remedial action, but that may be approached in a different manner when renewal is undertaken.

THIRD PARTIES: The report has been prepared for the exclusive use of our client. No use by third parties is intended. We will not be responsible to any parties for the contents of the report, other than the party named herein .  The report is copyrighted and may not be used in whole or in part without our express written permission.

1 - General Information

Standards of Practice in Force:

Your home inspection will be performed to Massachusetts State Standards 266 CMR, including all exclusions and limitations. A copy of these standards is provided for you as an attachment to this report. It is important that you read and understand the content of these standards. All requirements and exclusions are contained in Section 6.04: Scope of the Home Inspection. 

Note that the Massachusetts Standards meet or surpass those published and promoted by notable trade organizations such as ASHI and InterNACHI

In Attendance
Client and Sellers Agent
Age of Dwelling
Approximately 39 years old

Reported as being built in 1980

Type of Dwelling
Single Family
Style of Dwelling
Home Status
Home Faces
FOR YOUR INFORMATION: East-facing rooms get morning light, South-facing rooms get light most of the day and West-facing rooms get light in the afternoon. Moss growth is especially common on the North side of homes, as this surface receives the smallest amount of sunlight during the day. The South facing side will generally suffer the earliest degradation of the installed siding and trim due to the exposure to the harsh sun.
Weather Conditions at Inspection
Temperature at Inspection
Ground/Soil Surface Condition
Recent Precipitation
Yes, within the past 3 days
Home was occupied

Note: This home was occupied at the time of the inspection. Many areas and items were obscured by furniture and/or stored items. This often includes but is not limited to walls, floors, windows, inside and under cabinets, under sinks, on counter tops, in closets, behind window coverings, under rugs or carpets, and under or behind furniture. Areas around the exterior, under the structure, in the garage and in the attic may also be obscured by stored items. The inspector in general does not move personal belongings, furnishings, carpets or appliances. When furnishings, stored items or debris are present, all areas or items that are obscured, concealed or not readily accessible are excluded from the inspection. The client should be aware that when furnishings, stored items or debris are eventually moved, damage or problems that were not noted during the inspection may be found.

2 - Roofing

Roof Surface: Type
Cedar Shingles
Roof Surface: Approximate Age of Roof
From 15-20 years old

The age of the roof is only an approximation. It may not be reliable and is offered as a best guess. I recommend you consult a professional roofer to obtain a more precise determination

Roof Surface: Roof v's Lifespan
Last third of life

This is only an approximation meant to put the roof in some context versus its anticipated life. If you wish more detailed or accurate information, I recommend you consult a professional roofer

Roof Surface: Method used to Determine Age of Roof
Visual examination, Seller
Roof Surface: Viewed roof covering from
Ground, Roof Edge
Roof Surface: Visible Leaks
None visible

There were no external signs or indications observed of roof leaks or leak sources. See possible further analysis in Attic section.

Roof Surface: Wood shingles

Wooden roofs (cedar shingles and shakes) can deteriorate prematurely if not maintained. Recommend that a qualified contractor clean the roof surface and apply a preservative per standard building practices. For wooden roof surfaces, this should be done approximately once every three to five years. Any repairs needed for the roof surface should be done prior to applying the preservative.

Penetrations: Penetrations
Chimney, Plumbing Vent(s), Ridge Vent, Dormer, Skylight
Exposed Flashings: Flashings not visible

Flashing by its design is often installed underneath surface materials (roofing, siding etc). Its condition or functionality cannot be determined. Frequently the only method of determining same is whether or not there is visible evidence of leaks.

Chimneys: Chimney Type
Drainage System: Roof Drainage System
Metal Gutters and Downspouts, with Underground Drainage
Drainage System: Underground discharge
Downspouts discharge into an underground drainage system. Was unable to determine if underground drainage system was functional. Recommend running a garden hose into downspouts for approximately two hours to ensure that underground drainage system can handle the water flow. If it cannot, the underground drainage system should be corrected or changed. Water flow should be directed away from the foundation.
Roof Surface: Height/slope

Was unable to fully observe roof surface over the due to height and angle of roof. Type of roofing, type and number of penetrations and its condition could not be accurately determined. A professional roof inspection is recommended prior to closing as found necessary. Ratings refer to readily visible roof portion/s only.

Exposed Flashings: Not fully visible

Roof penetrations could only be viewed from the ground. Their condition is as rated from that viewpoint

Chimneys: Viewed from ground only

Due to height and slope, could only view chimney from ground. Condition of chimney structure and condition of masonry cap is not determined.

2.1.1 - Roof Surface

Fully depreciated

Your roof is at or near the end of its useful life. I do observe that it has not been maintained as is advised with these type roof, but am unable to determine if it was installed in accord with best practices - i.e. with a breathable space on the underside.

It is fully depreciated. I recommend you plan for and anticipate roof surface replacement. Recommend removing all layers of roof surface materials before next resurfacing. Recommend reflashing all roof penetrations when resurfacing roof. When the roof is replaced, recommend the use of a waterproof membrane, "Ice and Water Shield" or similar product, under the shingles for the first 5 feet of roof at eaves and in valleys. This measure will help prevent water penetration due to ice dams.

For your information: Many insurance companies are questioning roofs that are past their anticipated lifespan. You should approach your insurance agent for more details.

Roof Roofing Professional
2.1.2 - Roof Surface


Observed moss and lichen growing on the roof surface. These can cause accelerated roof wear as they are invasive. Recommend removal with a bleach and water solution or algaecide.

Lichen is found growing on many things - tree trunks are the main places it is readily visible. While not definitive and it is variable, it takes about 10 years to become the size of a quarter.

Roof Roofing Professional
2.1.3 - Roof Surface

Wood shakes/shingles worn

The wooden roof surface (shakes or shingles) was worn and weathered. Shakes can deteriorate prematurely if not maintained. 

Roof Roofing Professional
2.4.1 - Chimneys

No cap visible

I did not see a concrete chimney cap from my observation point. I recommend you determine same. If not present, recommend installation of a 4-inch or thicker reinforced concrete chimney cap by a licensed mason. This is to prevent entry of water into body of chimney.
Fireplace Chimney Repair Contractor
2.4.2 - Chimneys

Pointing required

Some portions of the chimney have missing mortar or deteriorated mortar joints. Recommend having a licensed mason point chimney.
Brick Masonry, Concrete, Brick & Stone
2.4.3 - Chimneys

Spalled bricks

Observed some spalled bricks in chimney. Recommend having a licensed mason replace all damaged bricks.
Fireplace Chimney Repair Contractor

3 - Exterior

General: General Views

Exterior views are provided for information

Grading, Drainage and Other features: Grading and Drainage
Generally Positive grading
Grading, Drainage and Other features: Grading

Exterior Grading is Crucial: At all locations around the dwelling, grades should be maintained to pitch away from foundation walls. Improper grading promotes moisture/water penetration through foundation walls and is conducive to wood destroying insect infestation and the formation on interior surfaces of mold and mildew.

As a guide, the ground should fall off 6 inches within the first 10 feet from the foundation.

Exposed Foundation: Type
Exposed Foundation: Vertical Cracks

Vertical cracks in foundation walls are common with concrete and are mainly due to shrinkage. Recommend sealing cracks with a masonry epoxy if found necessary.

Vegetation: Vegetation

Any vegetation present does not impact the health of the dwelling.

Driveways and Walkways: Driveway Surface
Driveways and Walkways: Dwelling Parking/Egress
Dedicated Driveway
Driveways and Walkways: Walkway Type
Brick walkway
Siding: Wall Cladding Material
Siding: Water penetration information

The penetration of water through to sheathing can be a sizeable issue with a modern dwelling. Traditionally older dwellings had simpler rooflines which overhung the siding affording it protection from water intrusion. These dwellings were not built to today's tight construction techniques, and 'leaked' air and heat. If any moisture did find it's way into wall cavities, it readily evaporated away. 

Today however with a modern tightly wrapped and heavily insulated dwelling, any moisture intrusion remains trapped, often resulting in hidden damage, rot, mold and mildew. 

A home inspection is a visual only inspection of the exterior surfaces. It is not unusual for such damage to remain hidden until revealed by subsequent invasive repairs or renovations.

Trim: Wood Trim

Any trim that is of wood will require constant painting/maintenance to prevent deterioration. Wood trim is susceptible to moisture absorption on the back side (often un-painted) and at cut ends (often not sealed). At any routine painting or maintenance, it can be anticipated that some replacement of such trim will occur. Replacement with plastic wood (eg Azek) is an excellent investment in a maintenance free future  

Doors: Exterior Entry Doors
Doors: Keyed lock at basement

You should ensure the key to the basement is available.

Exterior Fixtures and Receptacles: GFCI Protected Exterior Receptacle(s)

It is recommended that any external fixture or receptacle be powered by a GFCI protected circuit for electrical safety

Windows: Exterior Windows
Vinyl/Aluminum, Wood, Storm Windows
Windows: Casement information
Casement windows are typically a heavier and larger window. You are recommended to keep them locked when shut to prevent warping and preserve weather stripping
Windows: Older Less Efficient

While not exhibiting any deficiencies, the windows are an older less efficient style than currently available. It is recommended you seek guidance from MassSave as to any current energy promotions that may make it an attractive financial proposition to replace them

Landings/Stairs/Entrance Ways: Staircase view
Basement Windows and Window wells: Basement Windows
Basement Entry: Exterior Basement Entry
None present
Decks: Structure
Preservative treated wood
Decks: Surface
Preservative Treated Wood, Wood (painted)
Decks: General information

For your information: Wood can decay and degrade over time with exposure to the elements. Pressure treated wood resists decay, but any edge that has been cut is susceptible to damage and should not be placed underground. Any pressure treated wood placed underground or encased in concrete is susceptible to decay over time. Members within the deck frame that have decayed may no longer be able to perform the function for which they were installed. Paint can hide decay from an inspector. Framing members should be inspected at least annually for structural integrity.

Porches: Structure
Preservative Treated wood
Porches: Surface
Unknown - Floor covering conceals
General: Siding

Exterior siding obstructs viewing of sheathing and structure. Condition is unknown

3.5.1 - Driveways and Walkways


Asphalt paved driveway has some cracks, which is normal for a driveway of its age. Recommend sealing cracks to prevent frost damage during cold weather.

House front Driveway Contractor
3.6.1 - Foundation/Siding Penetrations

Rodent screens missing

Observed the PVC venting for the heating appliance does not have rodent-proof screens at the end of the pipes. Recommend installing same for protection against rodents and birds entering flue pipes. In many instances these pipes are not in use during the summer
Th Heating and Cooling Contractor
3.6.2 - Foundation/Siding Penetrations

Dryer vent clogged/damaged

The dryer vent has a clogged/damaged vent hood outside. Recommend repairs as needed. Note: Depending on use, dryer exhaust vents should be cleaned every 1-3 years. This is best accomplished by a licensed professional.
Tools Handyman/DIY
3.8.1 - Trim

Water damage

Throughout the exterior, observed instances of peeling paint and suspected water damage on trim and siding. This is common on wood trimmed houses. There would be no need to immediately act on this type of issue. As wood trim is painted, it is routine maintenance to repair or replace damaged areas. Recommend thorough stripping back to bare wood, examination and replacing or repairing as needed before priming and painting. Suggest when replacing using Azek or similar plastic wood as available.
Contractor Builder
3.12.1 - Landings/Stairs/Entrance Ways

Handrails - Missing

Handrails at one or more flights of stairs were missing. This is a potential fall hazard. Handrails should be installed at stairs with four or more risers or where stairs are greater than 30 inches high. Recommend that a qualified contractor install handrails where missing as per standard building practices.
Hammer Carpentry Contractor
3.15.1 - Decks

Dried wood

Exterior wood surfaces are slightly dried out and are in need of sealing and/or staining.
Tools Handyman/DIY
3.15.2 - Decks

Header lag screws not visible

I did not observed lag screws securing the deck structure to the dwelling. As a result, the deck header is not adequately secured. Many failures of decks are traceable to inadequate initial installation. Recommend the installation of 3/8-inch lag screws at 32 inch spacing by a licensed construction supervisor to prevent deck structure from pulling away from house
Contractor Builder
3.16.1 - Porches

Header lag screws not visible

I did not observed lag screws securing the porch structure to the dwelling. As a result, the porch header is not adequately secured. Recommend the installation of 3/8-inch lag screws at 32 inch spacing by a licensed construction supervisor to prevent porch structure from pulling away from house
Contractor Builder

4 - Energy Source

Energy Source
Natural Gas
Energy Source Shutoff Location
External at gas meter
Primary Heat Appliance
Hot Air Furnace
Primary Heat Delivery System
Forced Hot Air - Ducted
Supplemental Heat Type
Gas Log

5 - Attic - Structure, Insulation and Ventilation

Space/Access: Attic Space
Space/Access: Attic Access
Inaccessible Areas
Space/Access: Access Type
Pull down staircase
Structure: Roof Structure
Rafters, Collar Ties
Structure: Roof Sheathing
Structure: Wood framed

This is a wood framed attic structure using rafters. Storage is permitted where safe to walk. Todays insulation recommendations are for a higher level than will fit under attic floors.  Only closed cell spray foam applied to the rafters is likely to provide the insulation value recommended today as a standalone product.

Otherwise complex and expensive techniques (best instituted during construction) are needed.

Insulation: Insulation Type
Insulation: General Insulation Condition

Insulation must be in good overall condition to perform as designed. Poor or disturbed insulation can reduce the effective insulation value by up to 75%

Insulation: Insulation Depth
6 inches

The energy value of insulation varies. Fiberglass and cellulose are approximately R-3 to R-3.3 per inch, Open cell foam R-4 per inch and Closed cell foam R-5.5 per inch.

Insulation should be equal to at least equal to R-49 as per current guidelines. This is approximately 15" of blown in cellulose. Recommend installing additional insulation in the attic area as needed. Recommend contacting MassSave.

Note: When installing additional insulation in attic over existing insulation, a vapor barrier should not be used. Suggest the use of unfaced fiberglass batts, chopped fiberglass or cellulose.

Insulation: MassSave Recommendation

As part of efforts to reduce energy consumption, I recommend you contact MassSave to schedule an energy audit on the dwelling. This free (and obligation free) service will acquaint you with cost saving programs, rebates and discounts available to home-owners who choose to upgrade energy efficiency. The MassSave program is not restricted to just insulation. It covers windows, heating appliances and many other aspects of a dwelling. See the MassSave brochure attached to this report.

Ventilation: Ventilation type
Ridge Vents, Soffit Vents, Gable Vents, Thermostatically Controlled Fan
Ventilation: Information

In a well insulated attic, inadequate ventilation causes accelerated wear of roof shingles, reduces the R-value of attic insulation, promotes the growth of mildew on roof structure, promotes ice dam formation, and tends to raise summertime room temperatures. While it is a variable, it is good practice to provide one square inch of ventilation for each square foot of attic floor. The most effective current ventilation of today's tight buildings is provided by continuous soffit venting to allow air in at the bottom and ridge vents to allow air out at the top. The available free venting should be roughly equal at each area.

Note: Some non-continuous older soffit venting may not have sufficient free vent area, and incorrectly installed ridge venting may not function as intended. Adequacy of the ventilation system is beyond the scope of a home inspection, which may involve removal to correctly identify. No attic will stay cool during a hot summer day, but as a guide, the internal attic temperature in a well ventilated attic should equalize with the outside temperature overnight.

Ventilation: Adequate at present
The currently available attic ventilation appears adequate for the current amount of insulation. However, if installing additional attic insulation, additional attic ventilation may be required. Inadequate ventilation causes accelerated wear of roof shingles, reduces the R-value of attic insulation, promotes the growth of mildew on roof structure, promotes ice dam formation, and tends to raise summertime room temperatures. Recommend providing one square inch of ventilation for each square foot of attic floor. I recommend at the time of adding more insulation an attic ventilation specialist evaluates and makes any needed repairs
Venting - to or thru Attic: Vented House Appliances in the Attic
Uninsulated Ducting
Moisture Penetration: Evidence of Water Penetration
None observed
Microbial Activity: None observed

I did not observe any evidence of current microbial activity in the readily accessible attic spaces. Elevated levels of humidity and temperatures are conducive to mold and mildew presence. Adequate ventilation of an attic is a critical component in preventing mold and mildew. I recommend you periodically monitor the conditions in the attic.

Chimney: Chimney
Space/Access: Stored items
Due to the many stored items in the attic, some areas were not accessible.
Space/Access: Insulation/floor (part)
Attic insulation and partial floor prevented observation of some structural components
Space/Access: Inaccessible areas
Due to height and lack of secure footing, could only visually inspect parts of the attic from openings.
Ventilation: Thermostatic fan not operated

Was unable to ascertain whether the fan was working. Recommend verifying operation.

5.1.1 - Space/Access

Insulate access

Recommend insulating and weatherstripping the attic access to current best practices.

House construction Insulation Contractor
5.1.2 - Space/Access

Carpenter ants

Observed dead carpenter ants and sawdust in attic over the left side addition. Recommend further investigation and treatment by a professional

Pest control Pest Control Pro
5.3.1 - Insulation

Black air filter

Black 'staining' on insulation is as a result of air movement. In effect the insulation acts as an air filter. Such air movement decreases energy efficiency. Air sealing the attic is an important component towards an energy efficient dwelling. Recommend air sealing the attic as needed.
House construction Insulation Contractor
5.4.1 - Ventilation

Gable vents remove

Observed gable vents are installed. When ridge and soffit venting is installed, the presence of gable vents may interfere with the proper ventilation in the attic by 'short-circuiting' the air flow. It is recommended that these be blocked form inside the attic. There is no need other than cosmetics to remove externally.
Hammer Carpentry Contractor

6 - Attached Garage

General Information: Garage Description
Two Car Under
General Information: Garage Heat Type
Interior (Firewall Separation): Firewall Separation
Functional, Door not auto closing
Interior (Firewall Separation): Firewall requirements

The walls separating the garage from the home living space should meet generally-accepted current safety standards in order to be regarded as safe. Firewalls are designed to resist the spread of a fire which starts in the garage for a certain length of time in order to give the home's occupants adequate time to escape. Generally-accepted current safety standards require an intact firewall be installed between the garage and living space which meets the following requirements: 

1. Drywall joints must be taped. 

2. The firewall must be continuous between the garage and all surrounding living space (up or sideways). If so required on ceilings, it should be 5/8" drywall. If habitable space is above, the walls must also be protected.

3. Wall penetrations such as ducts must be made of metal. 

4. A door through a firewall (fire door) may be 

  • a. A solid core slab door with a minimum thickness of 1 3/8 inches or
  • b. A sheet metal door or
  • c. A 20-minute fire-rated panel door. 

5. A fire door must also be self-closing, typically with a spring-type hinge. 

6. Hatches providing access to attic spaces must conform to firewall requirements. 

Floor: Garage Floor
Poured Concrete
Floor: Garage Floor Drain
None Visible
Floor: Cracks

Garage concrete floor cracks are common and are due to shrinkage and/or settlement of the concrete. Recommend repairs as found necessary using a masonry epoxy. The floor has no significant structural function

Door Openers: Garage Door Type
Two automatic
Door Openers: Garage Door Material
Metal, Insulated, Light inserts
Door Openers: Auto Opener Manufacturer
Door Openers: Limitation of inspection
Garage doors are not tested by the Inspector using specialized equipment and this inspection will not confirm compliance with manufacturer's specifications. This inspection is performed according to the Inspector's judgment from past experience. You should adjust your expectations accordingly. If you wish to ensure that the garage door automatic-reverse feature complies with the manufacturer's specifications, you should have it inspected by a qualified garage door contractor.
Door Openers: Eye reverse information
The electric eye sensors are in place for garage door(s) and correctly reverse the door when an object moves between them. You should also note that the garage doors will not operate at all if a cloth or rag is unknowingly placed over either sensor.
General Information: Garage - Finished interior
Fixed ceiling and wall covering in garage prevented observation of structure.
General Information: Garage - Stored items
Due to the many stored items in the garage, some areas were not accessible.
6.4.1 - Door Openers

No resistance reversal

The automatic openers will not reverse when met with resistance. Doors that will not reverse when met with resistance can kill a child or pet. I recommend a qualified garage door installer correct as needed for safety,
Garage Garage Door Contractor

7 - Electrical System

External Service and Grounding: External Service Type
Overhead Wires, Conduit encased, 110/220 V
External Service and Grounding: Main Overcurrent Device Location and Type
Main Distribution Panel/Circuit Breakers
External Service and Grounding: External Service Entrance Conductors
External Service and Grounding: Grounding
Grounded at ground rod near panel

Adequate grounding provides critical protection in case of a lightning strike

External Service and Grounding: Copper
Stranded copper wire for the external service entrance conductors is rarely chosen today due to it's expense. However it is often found on older homes, and can safely carry higher current than the same size stranded aluminum in common usage today.
Internal Distribution: Grounding
Water supply entrance

Adequate grounding provides critical protection in case of a lightning strike

Internal Distribution: Type
Main Panel
Internal Distribution: Location
Internal Distribution: Ampacity
200 Amp
Internal Distribution: Manufacturer
Branch Circuit Conductors and Wiring: Type
Non-Metallic Sheathed, Armored Cable
Branch Circuit Conductors and Wiring: Interior Conductors
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) Locations
Kitchen, Bathrooms, Exterior
Test GFCI receptacles regularly
Recommend testing ALL ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) receptacles and circuit breakers (if installed) monthly. Simply press the ' TEST' button. If it is operating correctly it will audibly 'click' when it trips. Then press the ' RESET' button (or reset the breaker) to restore electricity. If the receptacle/breaker does not trip, recommend replacement by a licensed electrician for electrical safety.
Branch Circuit Conductors and Wiring: Cable/Telephone/Alarm

Note: If present, cable, satellite, telephone, inter communication and alarm systems are not inspected. Evaluating these systems are beyond the scope of a property inspection. Their condition is unknown, and they are excluded from this inspection. Recommend that a qualified specialist review these systems and make repairs if necessary.

7.2.1 - Internal Distribution

Circuit breaker brand mismatch

Observed circuit breakers of a different brand than panel manufacturer. The manufacturer requires that in order for the panel to be safe, only their brand is allowed to be used inside the panel. Even though these circuit breakers are all "UL approved," and it may be common practice, they are not approved to be used in panels of different manufacturers unless so indicated on the panel label. I recommend replacement with the manufacturer branded circuit breakers.

Electric Electrical Contractor
7.2.2 - Internal Distribution


Some of the knock-outs have been removed from the distribution panel body. Recommend installing blanks to prevent electrical shock and rodent infestation into panel.
Electric Electrical Contractor

8 - Plumbing System

Service: Entry/Shutoff
Service: Service pipe type
Service: Water Filters/Treatment
Service: Water Source
Service: Water Quality Testing
Service: Corrosion on fittings

Corrosion is often observed on pipe fittings. This is an indication of active/past water leakage whereby mineral deposits have been left behind. These commonly self seal and it is often more advisable to leave alone rather than attempt repairs. .

Service: Municipal Water Quality

For Your Information: Each local water supply authority/district should provide you with an annual report on their water quality. I recommend you ensure you are in possession of this information. You should also consider that the information so provided is only useful as a guide to what is supplied to the dwelling. Conditions may exist internally that impact the potability of the water actually available for consumption. It is recommended you privately test or monitor your water annually even though you have municipal water supply.

Water Distribution: Piping
Copper, Plastic / CPVC / PEX, Saddle Valve Humidifier
Water Distribution: Active Water Leaks
Water Distribution: Piping Insulation
Water Distribution: Piping Support
Water Pressure: Test

Water pressure was tested by running the bathroom faucets, toilet and shower head simultaneously. This tests both pressure and flow. Comments are based on shower performance under these conditions. 

Domestic Hot Water: Location
Domestic Hot Water: Type and Energy Source
Conventional Storage - Gas
Domestic Hot Water: Manufacturer
Domestic Hot Water: Capacity
50 Gallon
Domestic Hot Water: Age (years)
Approximately, 9
Domestic Hot Water: Estimated Design Life
8-12 Years
Domestic Hot Water: Age concern
Water heaters have a design life of 8-12 years. Your water heater is approaching this period. I did not see any signs of heater inadequacy. It is impossible to predict the ultimate lifespan of any water heater. As they approach the end of their design life you should be regularly monitoring them for rusting enclosures or leaks.
Drain, Waste and Vent (DWV) Piping: Drain Waste and Ventilation (DWV) Piping
PVC, Uninsulated
Water Distribution: Not all water supply piping can be inspected

The inspection was restricted because not all of the water supply pipes were exposed, readily accessible, and observed.  For example, most of the water distribution pipes, valves and connections were hidden within the walls.  

Drain, Waste and Vent (DWV) Piping: Not all DWV piping can be inspected

The inspection was restricted because not all of the pipes were exposed, readily accessible, and observed.  For example, most of the drainage pipes were hidden within the walls.  

8.2.1 - Water Distribution

Saddle valve - Humidifier

Observed a saddle-type connection in the basement for the humidifier. These connections are known to be unreliable and leak prone. Recommend a licensed plumber replace with a dedicated shut-off and new connection.
Pipes Plumbing Contractor

9 - Interior

General: Interior Views

General interior views for information

Ceilings: Ceilings
Walls: Ceramic tile caulking of joints

Recommend caulking joint where unlike surfaces (eg bathtub and tile wall or floor) meet with silicone based sealant to prevent water penetration thru to structure. Grout is inflexible and does not adequately prevent water penetration in this area due to expansion and associated movement of the structures.

Walls: Wall Insulation
Unknown/Not Visible

Insulation in outside walls is not visible except using invasive procedures. Analysis is excluded from this report

Walls: Walls
Plaster/Drywall, Ceramic Tile
Walls: Cosmetic cracking
Master Bath

I observed cosmetic blemishes in the walls. These are common in wood frame dwellings such as here. Often caused by lumber shrinkage or minor settlement, they can be more or less noticeable depending on changes in humidity. Many cracks will continually re-appear as they are often at a wallboard joint. I recommend refinishing as needed.

For recurring cracks, consider using an elastic crack covering product

Floors: Floors
Wood, Ceramic Tile
Floors: Not level - Shrinkage of lumber

Floors are not level. Suspect shrinkage of lumber. This is normal for wood frame construction as used in this dwelling.

Steps, Stairways, Balconies and Railings: Views
Doors: Interior Doors
Interior Fixtures, Receptacles and Switches: Using incandescent bulbs

Contact MassSave for an energy audit and most of the incandescent bulbs will be swapped out for LED bulbs at no cost

Windows: Branded warranty
Branded windows such as Anderson, Harvey, Marvin, Pella etc often have unpublished extended warranties on the individual components. Before undertaking any needed repairs, contact the appropriate manufacturer for more information.
Windows: Casement information
Recommend keeping casement windows locked when closed in order to help prevent warping and improve weatherstripping.
Windows: Window types
Double-hung, Thermal/Insulated, Tilt feature, Casement, Skylights
General: Appliances

Permanently installed appliances prevented viewing of some structure

General: Cabinets

Due to clutter, could not view interior condition of kitchen and bathroom cabinets.

General: Dwelling was occupied at time of inspection

The home was occupied at the time of inspection. A Home Inspector is precluded from moving personal furniture/items or any other obstructions that may restrict observation of the dwelling structure or components.

For furnished homes, access to some items such as electrical outlets, windows, wall/floor surfaces and cabinet interiors can be restricted by furniture and/or personal belongings. These items limit the inspection and may conceal defects

General: Interior Finished

The interior ceilings and walls are finished. Structure cannot be observed

General: Limitation of Interior Inspection

The following items are not included in this inspection: security, intercom and sound systems; communications wiring; elevators and stair lifts; cosmetic deficiencies such as nail-pops, scuff marks, dents, dings, blemishes or issues due to normal wear and tear in wall, floor and ceiling surfaces and coverings, or in equipment; deficiencies relating to interior decorating; low voltage and gas lighting systems. Any comments made regarding these items are as a courtesy only. 

Note that the inspector does not evaluate any areas or items which require moving stored items, furnishings, debris, equipment, floor coverings, insulation or similar materials. The inspector does not test for asbestos, lead, radon, mold, hazardous waste, urea formaldehyde urethane, or any other toxic substance. Some items such as window, drawer, cabinet door or closet door operability are tested on a sampled basis. The client should be aware that paint may obscure wall and ceiling defects, floor coverings may obscure floor defects, and furnishings may obscure wall, floor and floor covering defects. If furnishings were present during the inspection, recommend a full evaluation of walls, floors and ceilings that were previously obscured when possible. Determining the cause and/or source of odors is not within the scope of this inspection.

General: Stored items

Due to the amount of boxes, clothing and/or items stored thru-out the dwelling, all areas were not accessible.

Windows: Blinds/curtains

Home inspectors do not move curtains and blinds to check window operation. These (increasingly with age) break readily and consequently are not disturbed by the inspector. Others at the inspection may undertake such movement at their own risk. 

9.5.1 - Steps, Stairways, Balconies and Railings

Extend handrail

Contractor Qualified Professional
9.8.1 - Windows

Failed seal

The glazing between glass panes is failing at some windows. This allows moisture to condense between panes of glass (or the space becomes cloudy) and reduces energy efficiency. Additionally, if present, rainbow colored distortion is generally a failure of the low-E coating. In all cases, recommend replacement of window assembly. It may not be necessary to replace the complete window.
Window Window Repair and Installation Contractor

10 - Heating - Furnace

Main Appliance: Appliance Location
Main Appliance: Manufacturer
Main Appliance: Appliance Type
Hot Air Furnace
Main Appliance: Approximate Age of Appliance (years)

Furnaces have an approximate life span of 20 - 25 years. 

Main Appliance: Furnace Type/Efficiency
High Efficiency Condensing
Main Appliance: Furnace

The heat source in this system is a furnace. A flame acts upon a heat exchanger which in turn has house air circulated over it providing heated air to the dwelling. 

Furnaces can use natural gas, propane or oil as the fuel source.

Oil furnaces can often be converted to gas if desired, but not the reverse.

Flue Pipe: Hi efficiency appliance

Furnace is a high-efficiency, direct-vent, condensing type which does not use a chimney.

Normal Operating Controls: Operating Controls
Programmable Thermostat
Heating Distribution System: Ductwork Type
Rigid and Flexible
Heating Distribution System: Heat Delivery System Duct Insulation
Heating Distribution System: Humidifier information
A humidifier is installed on the return line in the basement. The humidifier is controlled by a humidistat, which measures the humidity of the returning air and activates an internal solenoid, allowing water to flow over the mesh/foam element. Conditioned air flows over the element, acquiring moisture in the process. Excess water drains away from the appliance. For the generally anticipated New England temperatures, indoor humidity levels shouldn't exceed 40%. Any humidifier requires annual service and monthly maintenance. At the end of every heating season recommend turning off the water supply, draining, cleaning and drying the unit, and re-assembly. Failure to perform this service will promote the growth of mold and bacteria in unit and ductwork, and rusting of the furnace during the inactive months,. Water supply should be turned back on at the beginning of the heating season. Monthly maintenance should be performed per manufacturer's recommendations.
Heating Distribution System - Filter: Air Filter Type
Electronic air cleaner
Heating Distribution System - Filter: Electronic
An electronic air cleaner is in use. It is beyond the scope of this home inspection to determine the operational condition of this type filter. It is recommended it be professionally inspected annually for correct operation. Recommend thoroughly cleaning removable elements twice per year or per manufacturer's recommendations. Elements can be run thru a dishwasher if they fit.
Main Appliance: Hi efficiency furnace - Sealed combustion chamber
Furnace is a high-efficiency, direct-vent, condensing type which have sealed combustion chambers. These require dismantling to inspect, which is beyond the scope of a home inspection
10.1.1 - Main Appliance

Furnace depreciated

Although the furnace was working at time of inspection, its age should be considered. The furnace has exceeded its life expectancy and is fully depreciated. Repairs will likely be needed in the near future. Suggest anticipating replacement of the furnace. Todays heating equipment is much more efficient and reliable and fuel consumption will be reduced considerably.

For your information: The life expectancy of a furnace is 20 years. All furnaces have a heat exchanger which is designed to keep the oil or gas fire separate from the air stream while it heats the air. Older furnaces can develop holes or cracks in the heat exchanger that can then allow smoke and combustion gases to be mixed with the heated air and be distributed thru the house. This would be an unsafe condition. Recommend having a licensed heating contractor disassemble the furnace and examine the heat exchanger. 

For your information: A consumer's rule of thumb; if a repair estimate exceeds 25 percent of the replacement cost of an item, that is, heating system or major appliance, replacement is recommended.

Fire HVAC Professional

11 - Cooling (Integrated With Heating)

External Cooling Equipment: Condenser Manufacturer
External Cooling Equipment: Approximate Age of Exterior Unit

The generally anticipated life of the external air conditioning components is from 15-20 years.

External Cooling Equipment: Approximate Cooling Capacity (Ton)
Four Ton

For optimal efficiency and performance, the capacity of the external unit should match the internal air handler.

External Cooling Equipment: Electrical Disconnect at Exterior Equipment

These are needed for safe servicing of the unit.

External Cooling Equipment: Winter Cover

Use of a winter cover is not required by any manufacturer. These units are designed for exposure. Starting the unit while covered may permanently damage the condenser.

External Cooling Equipment: Winter information
It is important to remember to shut down central air conditioning systems during cold weather. Suggest turning off electrical power/circuit breaker from November to April. The compressor may be damaged if it is operated when outside temperatures have not been above 55 degrees Fahrenheit for several days.
Internal Air Handler Equipment: See Heating

Air Conditioning distribution components are shared with the Heating System. Refer to comments and ratings in that section. This section details items exclusive to the cooling system.

Internal Air Handler Equipment: Safe Access to Air Handler
Internal Air Handler Equipment: Service Receptacle near Air Handler
Internal Air Handler Equipment: Air Handler - General information

For your information: The air conditioner's condenser coil (inside the air handler) collects dirt over months and years of service. A clean filter prevents the evaporator coil from soiling quickly. In time, however, the evaporator coil will still collect dirt. This dirt reduces airflow and insulates the coil, reducing its ability to absorb heat. To avoid this problem, visually check your evaporator coil every year and have it professionally cleaned as is necessary. 

To test the efficiency of an a/c unit, the temperature differential between the air being drawn in and the conditioned air being distributed throughout the house should be around 18 degrees (between 14 and 22 is acceptable)

Air conditioners operate best when the humidity is lower. It is sometimes more energy efficient (during spells of high humidity) to keep an air conditioner on at a slightly higher temperature than to turn it off. This allows the unit to control humidity, which enhances unit efficiency. 

Do not close off vents to unused rooms to make occupied rooms 'colder'. Closing off vents can create a pressure imbalance within the system that can reduce the effectiveness of your cooling system

11.1.1 - External Cooling Equipment

Foam sleeve inadequate

The foam sleeve on exterior lines is deteriorated and/or missing at outside unit. This can cause energy loss and condensation. I recommend service or repair as needed.
Fire HVAC Professional
11.1.2 - External Cooling Equipment

End of life

The air conditioning system has reached the end of its anticipated service life and is fully depreciated. While still operational, I recommend you should anticipate replacement. Modern air conditioning components are much more energy efficient than previously available.

For your information: As any man made appliance approaches 20 years of age, it can be considered as nearing the end of its design/service life, and replacement should be anticipated.

For your information: A consumer's rule of thumb; if a repair estimate exceeds 25 percent of the replacement cost of an item, that is, heating system or major appliance, replacement is recommended.

Fire HVAC Professional

12 - Fireplaces and Stoves

Gas Log Stoves/Inserts: Cleaning of glass

Glass will require periodic cleanings. It will typically fog from condensation for a few minutes each time the burner is turned on. The condensation will disappear as the heat builds, but it will leave behind mineral deposits. It may be possible to clean this fogging by removing the glass from the fireplace and using a specialized gas appliance ceramic glass cleaner. Ammonia-based products, such as common glass cleaners, should not be used since they can cause damage or etching to the glass, or make the haze permanent. Clean and maintain as needed.

Gas Log Stoves/Inserts: Turned off
Prefab gas fireplace was off at time of inspection. Was unable to determine its operating condition. Recommend verifying its proper operation prior to closing.

13 - Bathroom - Master

General Interior Conditions: Bathroom

Interior views for information

General Interior Conditions: Location
2nd Floor
Bathroom Electrical: GFCI Protected Receptacle
Separate Shower: Type of Shower
Custom made/tile
Separate Shower: Definitive leak testing
A definitive test for leaks in a tile shower base requires two to three inches of water left standing for up to 48 hours. There were no signs of current leaks, but this definitive test was not part of this inspection.
Ventilation: Ventilation to the Exterior
Ventilation: Fan timer

For your information - Today it is regarded as a good practice to have bathroom ventilation fans controlled by a timer so they run for a period of time after bathing/showering to remove moisture laden air that remains after normal use.

Toilet: Type
Uses approximately 1.6 gallons per flush
Toilet: Flushing
Some modern toilets that use reduced quantities of water to flush may need to be flushed during use, not only at the conclusion of use.

14 - Bathroom - Guest

General Interior Conditions: Bathroom

Interior views for information

General Interior Conditions: Location
2nd Floor
Bathroom Electrical: GFCI Protected Receptacle
Bathtub/Shower combination: Type of Bathtub
Porcelain tub
Ventilation: Ventilation to the Exterior
Ventilation: Fan timer

For your information - Today it is regarded as a good practice to have bathroom ventilation fans controlled by a timer so they run for a period of time after bathing/showering to remove moisture laden air that remains after normal use.

Toilet: Type
Uses approximately 1.6 gallons per flush
Toilet: Flushing
Some modern toilets that use reduced quantities of water to flush may need to be flushed during use, not only at the conclusion of use.

15 - Bathroom - Powder Room

General Interior Conditions: Bathroom

Interior views for information

General Interior Conditions: Location
1st Floor
Bathroom Electrical: GFCI Protected Receptacle
Ventilation: Ventilation to the Exterior
Toilet: Type
Uses approximately 1.6 gallons per flush
Toilet: Flushing
Some modern toilets that use reduced quantities of water to flush may need to be flushed during use, not only at the conclusion of use.

16 - Laundry

Washing Machine and Dryer Installation: Location
1st Floor, Bathroom
Washing Machine and Dryer Installation: Washing Machine
Age was not determined, Appliance was not operated, Top Loader, GE
Washing Machine and Dryer Installation: Washing Machine Faucets
Single Lever
Washing Machine and Dryer Installation: Laundry Pan
Washing Machine and Dryer Installation: Dryer
Age was not determined, Appliance was not operated, GE
Washing Machine and Dryer Installation: Dryer Power Source
Washing Machine and Dryer Installation: Drain Pan

Recommend installing a safety pan beneath washing machine with a drain line terminating in a conspicuous location. A burst hose can cause considerable water damage.

Washing Machine and Dryer Installation: Suggest Intelliflow

Washing machine hose valves should be turned off after every use. A burst hose can cause considerable water damage. As the lever is difficult to reach, suggest you consider installing an automatic washing machine fill valve that only opens when the washing machine requires water. Click here for more information:  INTELLIFLOW

NOTE: At this time, recommend installing new washing machine hoses of a type approved by the manufacturer of your device.

Dryer Venting: Dryer Vent
Flexible Metal
Dryer Venting: Duct cleaning information
Depending on use, dryer exhaust vents should be cleaned every 1-3 years. This is best accomplished by a licensed professional.
Electrical: GFCI Protected Receptacle - General use

Laundries are regarded as wet locations, and GFCI protection is mandated in new construction. You are recommended to provide any general (ie non appliance) outlet with GFCI protection - either at the outlet or the main panel.

17 - Kitchen/Built-in Appliances

General: Kitchen views
Informational pictures
Cabinets and Countertops: Cabinetry
Cabinets and Countertops: Countertop
Solid Surface, Quartz
Electrical: GFCI Protected Receptacle(s) near Sink

GFCI receptacles provide enhanced safety when using electrical appliances near water sources. They are recommended within 6 feet of any sink, faucet or wet location

Ventilation: Ventilation Appliance
Exterior venting, Over the Range, General Electric
Ventilation: Vent Filters

Many ventilation appliance filters - either mesh or metal baffle - are washable in the dishwasher

Range: Range
Dishwasher: Dishwasher
Dishwasher: Dishwasher operated

The dishwasher was tested. It was not monitored through a complete cycle, only as to whether it commenced operation. Unless noted, it did not present any leaks.

Refrigerator: Refrigerator
Side by Side, Bottom Freezer, Ice and Chilled Water Dispenser, Regular depth, GENERAL ELECTRIC
Refrigerator: Refrigerator Opening Width (approx)
36 inches

Most common refrigerator size at the appliance store is 36" wide,  regular depth. All others have much reduced availability

Refrigerator: Information - Modern refrigerators

For your information: Modern refrigerators draw air in at the bottom to cool the condensers and operate efficiently. General dust collection here added to by pet hair can reduce the operating efficiency of any refrigerator. You should periodically clear the cooling coils underneath with special brushes made for that purpose. If the refrigerator does not appear to cool adequately, lack of airflow across a dust blocked condenser may be the root cause.

Microwave (Built-in): Microwave (Built in)
None Installed
Food Waste Disposer: Disposer
Food Waste Disposer: Disposer with Septic Tanks

For your information: It is generally regarded as an improper practice to use a disposer with a septic tank. Septics basically can only deal effectively with human waste. Animal and raw vegetable matter is likely to interfere with the efficient operation of the septic system, leading to premature failure.

Central Vacuum: Central Vacuum
Central Vacuum: Maintenance

For your information: Central vacuums need regular maintenance of the integral or disposable filters and should be maintained on a set schedule for maximum operational efficiency.

General: Limitations

The following items are not included in this inspection: 

  • household appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, ice makers, hot water dispensers and water filters; 
  • appliance timers, clocks, cook functions, self and/or continuous cleaning operations, thermostat or temperature control accuracy, and lights.

Any comments made regarding these items are as a courtesy only. Note that the inspector does not provide an estimate of the remaining life of appliances, and does not determine the adequacy of operation of appliances. 

The inspector does not note appliance manufacturers but does not determine if appliances are subject to recalls. Areas and components behind and obscured by appliances are inaccessible and excluded from this inspection.

Central Vacuum: Could not operate

There was no means found to test the central vacuum. Recommend verifying operation before closing

18 - Basement

General: Basement views

General basement views for information

Foundation: Foundation
Poured Concrete
Foundation: Foundation movement

Despite what may be written to the contrary, all foundations move. They are buried in the ground deep to resist movement, but some movement will always occur. Some is by the very act of installing tons of concrete or stone over a concentrated area, some is by the very natural movement of the surrounding ground. What we attempt to isolate in a home inspection is untoward movement that has other explanations and potentially graver consequences. 

As a guide, cracking usually needs to be at least 1/4" to be of concern, or that cracking must be unusual in its location or description.

Foundation: Concrete cracking

It is typical for concrete to crack. It will crack in walls and slabs. Most cracks will occur as part of the curing and drying process, and it may take several months for them to develop. These cracks, for the most part, will be shrinkage or hydration cracks. Generally these cracks will be more or less vertical. They are often at window and door openings or in long walls. Any horizontal cracks need to be further evaluated should they appear. I did not observe horizontal cracks during this inspection. 

One misconception is that cracks cause basement leakage. While a crack is an entry point for moisture, the reality is that leakage is caused by inadequate drainage, which allows water to accumulate at the exterior of the foundation wall. This is why it is essential for drainage to be routed out away from the foundation. Maintaining a positive slope away from the foundation, keeping gutters clean and extending downspouts away from the foundation can best accomplish this. If cracks continue to chronically leak, epoxy injection is a good repair.

Windows: Basement Windows
Sub Floor: Basement Ceiling/Sills/Sub Floor
Frame Construction, Not visible - Insulation covering
Sub Floor: No evidence of termites
I did not observe any evidence of current wood destroying insect activity. Recommend investigating possible history and treatment of any known infestation prior to closing. If found necessary, I recommend purchasing a chemical treatment from a registered pest control company of your choice as a precaution.
Insulation: Basement Insulation
Interior Walls: Basement Interior Wall Structure
Exposed Girders: Girders
Exposed Girders: Crushing weight

Crushing weight has visibly compressed the girder over some support posts. I suspect these girders have reached a settling point at which no further movement is likely

Exposed Columns: Columns or Piers
Concrete Filled Steel (Lally) columns
Chimneys: Chimney
Concrete Block
Floor: Basement Floor
Poured Concrete
Floor: Concrete floors

It is not uncommon for concrete basement floors to develop small cracks over time, although most will occur soon after the floor is cast in place. These are due to shrinkage and/or settling of the concrete. Recommend repairs as found necessary using a masonry epoxy. The floor has no significant structural function.

External Entry: Basement Exit Door
None Present
Moisture Penetration: Moisture Penetration
None visible

Moist basements contribute to unhealthy conditions throughout the dwelling, and are a prime cause of microbial activity in the dwelling, but in particular the attic. Basement moisture is conducive to wood destroying insect infestation. Dehumidification is always recommended in this region

Moisture Penetration: No chronic moisture penetration
I did not observe any indication of chronic water intrusion in the basement
Moisture Penetration: Seepage information

BASEMENT SEEPAGE: Basement seepage is of concern to most homeowners. Seepage can create water damage, allergic reactions or worse. Testing for mold and mildew is beyond the scope of the building inspection. Following is information relative to basement seepage and associated causes and recommendations.

  1. Given the right conditions, any basement can leak.No one can predict if a basement will leak in the future and, in many cases, it is not even possible to tell if a basement has leaked in the past. The best source of information about performance is the owner/occupant of the property. The most common cause of basement seepage is poor surface and roof drainage. Stone foundations were never designed to be watertight. For that matter concrete and concrete block are both porous, as well. The best way to minimize seepage in any foundation is to keep water away from the exterior
  2. Foundation cracks do not cause basement seepage.Many cracks have never leaked. Basement seepage is the result of having water where it is not supposed to be-along side the exterior foundation wall. The crack only serves as a point of entry, not the cause of the seepage. It is essential to eliminate the cause not just to seal the entry point. If water is not routed away from the foundation adequately, seepage in the basement is likely. Gutters and downspouts must be kept clean and routed away from the foundation. This is essential both for preventing seepage as well as foundation stability
  3. Just because a basement has not leaked significantly in the past does not mean it will never leak.Conditions change. Foundations move. Gutters become blocked. Landscaping changes occur. Unusually heavy and or long-term rains occur. All of these are cause for possible basement seepage. Heavy downpours in some cases cause gutters to over flow even though the gutters are clean. This happens with particularly steep pitched or unusually large roofs. The sheer volume over whelms the gutters
  4. Certain landscaping features can also add to basement seepage. Flower beds planted adjacent the foundation can allow water entry along the foundation. All foundations crack can allow a point of entry. Brick patios and walkways serve as a direct catch basin and funnel for water to run to the foundation. Most are poorly drained and they are porous and allow moisture penetration. Concrete patios sloped to the foundation direct water to rather than away from the foundation. It is common for patios to settle along the foundation. The over dig area (working space for foundation installation) adjacent the foundation is not compacted when the home is built. It settles naturally which creates a negative slope around the foundation. Positive slopes of 6-inch in 10-feet is a desirable grade. In many homes it is quite common to have a walk or drive along the foundation. These too, settle and slope to the foundation. The joints between the foundation and the adjacent flatwork must be kept sealed. In some areas, the downspouts are still connected to the old underground drains tied to the sewers. The condition of these pipes is unknown because they are not visible. These pipes can split, collapse or become blocked. This allows water at the footing level thereby contributing to foundation seepage
  5. Should none of the common corrections eliminate continued basement seepage you may then need a mechanical system added.Interior perimeter drain tile connected to a sump pump discharging to the exterior should be the last resort to eliminate basement seepage. The discharge point for the pump should be at least three feet and preferably ten feet from the foundation.
Moisture Penetration: Seepage possible
Seepage may occur following melting snow and periods of heavy rain.
Vapor Retarders: Vapor Retarders - Information
Vapor retarders are materials that inhibit water condensation. In cold climates, water vapor collects in the attic or top level of a house as heat rises. Vapor retarders help to block water vapor from entering the attic, thus preventing or reducing this condensation. Materials used as vapor retarders in basements are usually the facing on rolled insulation, but may also include highly pigmented or specially-treated latex paint, polyethylene sheets and certain lumber. Moisture introduced in a basement will very quickly migrate up into the attic as vapor. It is not uncommon for damp basements to be a factor in the formation of attic mold and mildew. Vapor retarders are important to prevent water vapor from damaging ceiling and floor joists as well as causing mold and mildew and encouraging termite infestations. Many vapor retarders are not visible during a home inspection.
Dehumidifier: Dehumidifier
manual dumping
Dehumidifier: Dehumidifier - (Condensate pump)

New England basements are known for their higher humidity levels in Summer, and a dehumidifier is a recommended item. To avoid constant trips to the basement to empty the reservoir, it is recommended you drain the dehumidifier into the current condensate pump at the heat appliance.

Sump: Sump
None observed
General: Appliances, ductwork, plumbing and/or wiring
Visibility in basement was obstructed by appliances, ductwork, plumbing and/or wiring
General: Stored items
Due to the many stored items in the basement, some areas were not accessible.
General: Sub Floor

Basement insulation prevented observation of the sub floor.

18.6.1 - Insulation

Incorrect installation

The facing on fiberglass batt insulation in the basement is exposed. In most cases, the facing is flammable and poses a fire hazard. .

The facing also acts as a vapor barrier, which should face heated side of dwelling. Recommend reversing insulation or removing facing.

House construction Insulation Contractor
18.6.2 - Insulation

Rodent damage

Observed rodent soiled and damaged insulation in the basement. Recommend evicting all unwanted house pests, preventative maintenance to prevent future rodent infestation, removal of rodent soiled and damaged insulation, cleaning and disinfecting as found necessary and installing new insulation.
House construction Insulation Contractor

19 - Miscellaneous

Smoke/CO/Heat Detectors

Massachusetts law requires that local Fire Departments issue a certificate certifying compliance with current legal requirements (no grandfathering) concerning smoke, fire, heat and carbon monoxide detectors upon sale of any dwelling as determined by the local governing authority. 

It is the responsibility of the seller to obtain this certificate. However you should be aware that this task must be completed in a timely manner, as closing cannot proceed until the certificate is in the possession of the relevant attorney.

Once in residence, it is recommend you test all installed detectors periodically. Batteries (including those detectors hard wired using batteries as backup) are recommended for change every year. Smoke detectors and the like are regarded as having an anticipated life of 10 years, and are recommended for replacement at that time. 

You should never hesitate to ask the local fire department for advice on the latest fire prevention techniques.

Cost Estimates
Cost estimates for recommended work are not included with this written report. We find estimates vary dramatically between contractors with different methods, work habits and profit goals. This makes it important that you obtain at least three estimates for any substantial repair or home improvement and that all estimates be based on identical specifications. Please feel free to call if you have any questions regarding bids that might have been obtained because of information in this report.
Radon Test

Radon test results will be available within 48 hours of the conclusion of the test. (Weekends excepted). Radon testing is from 48 to 96 hours in duration. It measures the highest concentration detected - it is not a cumulative test. The suggested test duration is to ensure adequate exposure.

For your information: The primary health risk from long-term exposure to radon is lung cancer. The risk of developing a lung cancer from radon exposure depends both on how much radon is present and how long you are exposed to radon. The higher the radon level or the longer the time of exposure, even if the levels are relatively low, the greater the risk. Exposures up to 4 pCi/L may present some risk of contracting lung cancer to more sensitive occupants, especially children and those who live with smokers. However only levels above that are recommended for abatement. The US Congress set as a goal the lowering of radon levels in buildings to equal the levels of outside air.

It is important to understand that radon levels can change at some point in the future. Therefore, it is important to retest when there is occupancy by a new owner, before and after a new addition to the house, alterations that could alter ventilation patterns, if major cracks are noticed in foundation walls or the slab, you begin using a ground contact area of the home not previously tested, or even recent nearby construction blasting or earthquakes. EPA recommends that homes be retested every 2-3 years. If the home has been previously mitigated or alterations are made to the mitigation system, retesting should be done.

Septic Title V/Garbage Disposer

Recommend obtaining a copy of the Title V Septic System Inspection Report, including "as built" plans. Recommend reading and fully understanding the report. 

If you have any questions, call the Title V Septic System Inspector and/or the local Board of Health for clarification.Inspection of the external sewage disposal system is beyond the scope of a Home Inspections, and beyond the qualifications of your home  inspector.

Special Note: The use of a garbage disposer is not recommended with any septic system not designed specifically for their inclusion. Excess garbage may plug leaching holes and could require premature installation of a new soil absorption system. Recommend verifying if garbage disposal usage was incorporated with septic system design. If not, recommend its removal.

Dwelling sprinkler system
Sprinklers systems are complex safety devices that require periodic inspection and maintenance. Your inspection frequency will depend on the type of system you have, as well as the requirements of the local Fire Department (or other controlling authority). Be sure to consult with them (or the condominium association) before closing to find out the required inspection frequency for your system. Inspection of building sprinkler systems is beyond both the scope of a home inspection and your home inspectors expertise.
Confirm Permits

It is strongly recommended that you or your agent confirm with the municipality that all previous renovation work has been inspected by same and that all inspection, permits and repair requirements have been properly completed.

Failure to have in hand evidence of the satisfactory completion of renovations can cause significant issues with local authorities. 

Water - Public information

For Your Information: Each local water supply authority/district should provide you with an annual report on their water quality. I recommend you ensure you are in possession of this information. You should also consider that the information so provided is only useful as a guide to what is supplied to the dwelling. Conditions may exist internally that impact the potability of the water actually available for consumption. It is recommended you privately test or monitor your water annually even though you have municipal water supply.