When to order additional inspections and testing when buying a house in Asheville

Author Jason Bellamy

Why order additional Tests/Inspections?

  • Small investment, big return
  • Findings can be used to negotiate price or repairs from seller
  • Findings can prevent further/expensive damages to home
  • Findings can prevent damage to health of occupants
  • Negative findings give buyer peace of mind


What are some examples?

  • Additional Testing:  Radon, Mold & Water
  • Additional Inspections: Well, Septic & Sewer, Wood Destroying Insect Inspection

This guide is intended to help inform buyers how to make the most of their due diligence time and money.  Everyone knows that a Home Inspection is a must when buying a house but what about some of the lesser known tests and inspections?  The lender may require the buyer to order them but what if they don’t?  Read on to learn more about Well/Septic/Sewer Inspections, Radon/Water Testing, and more…

WELL INSPECTION
Recommended for all homes with a private or shared well system.  Using a state of the art well sounder (sonar) and flow meter we run a 150 gallon pump test (to simulate normal household use) to verify pump flow and well yield (gpm)- the report includes a graph of the results.  We inspect the well head (grading, clearances, cover, insulation, etc…), the pressure system (pressure tank including air pressure and draw-down, pressure switch, pump start/run amperage, and other components) and the water filtration equipment (water softener, uv filter, filter tanks, etc…). 

SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECTION
Recommended for any house with a septic tank system- especially recommended for older systems or when there recent inspection records aren’t provided or found.
Components inspected: main waste line before and after tank, septic tank (we access both lids), distribution box, drain field, and related components if present (pump tank, control panel, etc…)

SEWER SCOPE INSPECTION
Using a push camera with sonde and locator our reports include photos/video.
Recommended for any house with older sewer lines to the street or main- older materials are cast iron, clay, Orangeburg or older plastic.  Also recommended when problems are suspected or there are mature trees/shrubs between the homes and the street.

RADON TESTING 
Most home buyers order a radon test with a home inspection. because radon gas is a concern in our region- it comes from decaying naturally occurring Uranium in our mountains.  Radon is a heavy radioactive gas that seeps up into our living area and emits alpha particles.  Almost all houses in our area have some level of radon gas in the home but we are looking for a high average– we are seeing that about 13% of the results are high.  The EPA says that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.  The repair usually costs between $1100-1500 and it is generally a good negotiating item– the seller pays for it.  We are seeing that all foundation types can have high radon but houses on slabs or with basements tend to be higher.   Testing is highly recommended if children, elderly or persons with a history of lung disease will be living in the home.

The test will be performed by us– an insured, independent and Certified Radon Testing Technician.  We do not do repairs and our results and recommendations are unbiased.  We conduct the radon tests using a RadStar Continuous Monitor device.  The testing equipment is placed in the lowest habitable space of the home for 2-4 days and takes readings every hour.  One of the advantages of the continuous monitor is that it produces 48-96 readings instead of just one with the charcoal/cartridge tests.  The additional information is used to produce graphs that show radon spike and tampering events.  Results are back in 2-4 days after home inspection.​

MOLD TESTING  (Certified, Independent Testing)
Mold testing is recommended when we suspect that moisture/fungi is located in hidden areas or inside the walls/framing– especially finished basements.  Our mold testing basic package includes an outdoor air sample (as the control) and typically a main level and basement air sample.  Add’l air samples may be needed for larger homes. Add’l tape lifts are taken if mold is visible.  The samples are sent to an independent laboratory for analyses.  A color report with graphs are provided.  We do not sell repairs– our results and recommendations are un-biased.  For best results mold testing is done with a home inspection.  

WOOD DESTROYING INSECT INSPECTION (WDIR) 
Most buyers order a pest inspection with a home inspection.  Recommended for all wood framed houses.  This includes houses with brick and stone veneer.  Highly recommended for older homes, or homes with wet basements/crawlspaces, discolored/damaged/stained sub-floors or when insect damage is suspected.

The WDIR inspector produces reports that may also contain a treatment plan and estimate.  These inspections are performed by a 3rd Party.  Reports are back the same or next day after inspection.

WATER TESTING
Recommended for any house with a well, spring or rain catchment system that supplies water to the house.  The Bacteria-only screening is the most basic test.  The Full scan screening tests for bacteria, metals, pesticides and more.  Highly recommended for older wells/older equipment or when no filtration equipment is present.

WE DO NOT SELL WATER TREATMENT SYSTEMS OR REPAIRS and our results and recommendations are unbiased.  We use an independent laboratory for analysis.  Results are back in 1-2 days after home inspection. 

Have more questions?  Contact Builder Buddy: Inspections and Testing
828-335-3930

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