Our job as your professional home inspector is to alert you, to the extent possible, to unknown problems and potential
environmental hazards in your current or potential house. Ours is a non-invasive visual inspection of your property. While
we may be able to alert you to possible problems, our basic inspections are no substitutes for specialized contaminant testing.
Radon is a radioactive gaseous element produced in the disintegration
of radium, a radioactive metallic element. It cannot be detected by the senses and can be confirmed only by sophisticated
instruments and laboratory tests. The gas enters a house through pores and cracks in the concrete or through floorboards of
poorly ventilated crawlspaces, especially when wet ground allows the gas to escape easily through the soil and disperse in
the atmosphere. Radon is a lung carcinogen: the National Academy of Sciences estimates radon causes some 15,000 to 22,000
lung cancer deaths annually. The U.S. Surgeon General and the EPA recommend all houses be tested for radon. Houses with high
radon levels can be fixed.
Excerpts from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Indoor Radon”.
Termites, which play a positive role
in recycling wood and plant material, become a problem when they consume structural lumber. Every year thousands of U.S.
housing units require termite treatment. These pests cause serious damage to wooden structures and posts and can also attack
stored food, household furniture, and books. Successful termite management requires special skills, including a working
knowledge of building construction and an understanding of termite biology and identification. In most cases, it is advisable
to hire a professional pest control company for the inspection and control problem.
beetle larvae feed on wood and wood products. Adults of some species bore holes into plaster, plastic, and soft
metals. Many species cause problems when emerging from wood in newly constructed buildings because they leave small circular
or oval exit holes in the wood. To avoid these problems, infested wood must be kiln-fried before being used for lumber.
The species Deathwatch Beetles is primarily found in soft woods (girder, beams, foundation timbers, some types of furniture,
with some species attacking books). False Powderpost female beetles bore a tunnel, or egg gallery, into wood or other materials,
then deposit eggs in pores or cracks within the tunnel. Adults of some species bore through such soft metal as lead and
silver, as well as plaster and other non-wood materials. Affected structural wood should be removed and replaced whenever
Wood Wasps and Horntails. Wood wasp damage in buildings is likely to be more
cosmetic than structurally weakening. Emerging wood wasps can chew through any substance: wallboard or plaster walls, hardwood
floors, carpeting, linoleum, non-ceramic floor tiles, and other interior surfaces.
Several species can damage wood in building and other structures. Though ants don’t eat wood, they bore into it to
make their nests, sometimes causing serious structural damage. Also, they nest in hollow doors, cracks and crevices, furniture,
wall voids, and termite galleries. New building infestation occurs when land-cleaning in the area disturbs existing native
Excerpts from University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources, UCIPMOnline, “Statewide
Pest Management Program”.