Here are some eye-opening issues found on my home inspections:

Inspection Surprises! – Gallery 5

You never know what will turn up on an inspection:

Photo #1: Creosote buildup…big time!

You’re looking at about 2.5″-3″ of creosote buildup in a wood burning fireplace’s clay-tile lined chimney. This is a fire waiting to happen. Creosote can burn upwards of 2,000 degree F and can engulf an entire home in minutes.

Photo #2: Cisterns

This active cistern was unusually deep at about 14′-15′. The thin metal lid on top could have been easily removed by any curious kid. These need to be filled with sand and capped off with concrete to ensure nobody falls into it and drowns.

Photo #3: Defective shingles

Back in 2002-2003, thousands of Omaha roofs were replaced due to the major hail storm. I’ve ran across numerous roofs where the shingles were replaced from the hail storm, but were so worn out they look to be 20-30 years old. The shingles cup and then large chunks of granules fall off leaving only the backing and underlying felt paper to protect the roof. The manufacturer’s warranty that came with the shingles unfortunately usually only covers the materials…which is pro-rated. Labor, which makes up the bulk of the cost of a new roof, was not covered so the Seller usually ends up taking a huge blow in the wallet to cover this huge expense. This is my #1 reason for pleading for Sellers to have their homes pre-inspected. If they find out before listing the property, then they can correct the problem and adjust the listing price to help cover the cost.

Photo #4: Drywall mud…

…dumped down the toilet. Better than concrete I guess;-)

Photo #5: Gotta love the Federal Pacific Stab-Lok breaker panels

This is the 2nd one this year I’ve found where the service entrance cable was burnt at the main lug. Typically found in homes built in the 1970’s to mid-’80’s, these systems have been documented to have their breakers come loose on the buss bar, fail to trip, overheat, and lead to house fires. Regardless if you can see burnt wiring or not, these panels should simply be replaced. They’re not worth risking someone’s life.

Photo #6: Backed up sewer line

If the sewer line has collapsed or if there are tree root problems, then you might be looking at installing a new sewer line. Normal costs are around $3,000 from the house out to the street.

Photo #7: Driveway slopes to foundation

This is not a cheap fix either…usually in the $3,000-$6,000 range depending on the size of the driveway.

Photo #8: Major settlement sometimes isn’t easy to spot

This house had the gable roof extend out over the front porch that wasn’t properly resting on footers. The porch sunk a good 6″ and pulled the walls, attic, and roof down with it!

Photo #9: Something missing?

Photo #10: Street creep haunts another Seller

Missing expansion joints and the normal movement from the street expanding and contracting can cause some major damage.

Photo #11: Deck failure

Notice how the deck is sinking and pulling off of the house.

Photo #12: Deck failure from the underside

This is what happens when you don’t have the kick out flashing installed to protect the ledger board from water penetration. The ledger board and walls take on water and can rot pretty good. There’s other problems here too, but we won’t go into that here.

Photo #13: Hot wired A/C sub-box

I should have cleaned my camcorder’s lens before I took this photo, but what you’re looking at is the wiring bypassing the pull fuse disconnect on this sub-box. This could electrify a technician with 220 servicing the unit if they pulled the fuse and believed the power to be off.

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Greg Wayman


Our Home Inspection Area
Omaha, NE/Council Bluffs, IA and surrounding cities/towns within a 1 hour radius.
In Nebraksa, that includes Arlington Nebraska 68002, Ashland Nebraska 68003, Bellevue Nebraska 68005, Bennington Nebraska 68007, Blair Nebraska 68008, Craig Nebraska 68019, Elkhorn Nebraska 68022, Fort Calhoun Nebraska 68023, Fremont Nebraska 68025, Gretna Nebraska 68028, Herman Nebraska 68029, Hooper Nebraska 68031, Kennard Nebraska 68034, LaVista Nebraska 68128, Lincoln Nebraska 68508, Louisville Nebraska 68037, Nickerson Nebraska 68044, Omaha Nebraska 68154, Papillion Nebraska 68127, Plattsmouth Nebraska 68048, Ralston Nebraska 68127, Scribner Nebraska 68057, Springfield Nebraska 68059, Tekamah Nebraska 68061, Valley Nebraska 68064, Wahoo Nebraska 68066, Washington Nebraska 68034, Waterloo Nebraska 68069, & Waverly Nebraska 68462.
In Iowa, that includesCouncil Bluffs Iowa 51503, Crescent Iowa 51526, Glenwood Iowa 51534, Hastings Iowa 51551, Logan Iowa 51546, Magnolia Iowa 51550, Malvern Iowa 51551, Mineola Iowa 51534, Missouri Valley Iowa 51555, Modale Iowa 51556, Mondamin Iowa 51557, Tabor Iowa 51653, & Underwood Iowa 51576.