West Bend Home Inspection

West Bend History

Before the United States claimed the Wisconsin territory in 1833, the West Bend area was home to the Potawatomi and Menominee Indians. Settlers (attracted by the Milwaukee River and the advantages it afforded industry and farming) began to make their homes in the area, and a village was established in 1845. The village – always a convenient midway stop between Milwaukee and Fond du Lac – had 30 families by 1848, and public spaces and buildings were soon established.

The arrival of the railroad in 1873 spurred a period of rapid growth and expansion, and the City of West Bend was incorporated in 1885. In 1961, the community of Barton was incorporated into West Bend’s corporate boundaries, and today’s population of over 30,000 reflects the solid community and economic base forged by West Bend’s founders.


The West Bend School District incorporates a continuous improvement process within each school to ensure student achievement is obtained. The District has six elementary schools, two middle schools and the East and West High Schools.

Thirteen parochial schools are available in the area, and the YMCA, Montessori Children’s House, Family Center of Washington County and churches throughout the community provide daycare and age appropriate development opportunities, plus private daycare facilities for children.

The West Bend Campus of Moraine Park Technical College and the University of Wisconsin-Washington County provide the resources for individuals to pursue certificates, diplomas, technical, associate and bachelor’s degrees.


The healthcare needs of the West Bend area are met by SynergyHealth (an affiliation of the West Bend Clinic and St. Joseph’s Community Hospital), Aurora Health Care and a host of health support services and practices.

West Bend is nestled in the beautiful northern Kettle Moraine region, the result of glaciers that covered Wisconsin millions of years ago. The glacial formations of rolling hills and deep kettles combine with rivers, lakes and marshlands to create a paradise for year-round outdoor activities.
West Bend is a city of parks, home to 18 developed parks that provide playgrounds for playing, pavilions for picnicking, ponds for fishing, ice for skating, and paths for jogging. Regner Park is the largest of the many splendid urban oasis’s, offering more than 79 acres for the public’s use. The park contains everything for family and individual recreation, including picnic areas, ball fields, tennis and basketball courts, biking and hiking trails, horseshoe pits, playgrounds, a swimming beach and bathhouse, a fishing pond and an enclosed pavilion.

Waukesha Home Inspection

Waukesha County is the Milwaukee Region’s second-largest county and one of its primary economic engines. It offers every type of business opportunity, from the retail and corporate offices that line Blue Mound Road to the world-class printing and manufacturing complexes in Waukesha and Sussex; from established business parks in New Berlin to the new state-of-of-the-art development at Pabst Farms.

Intersected by two interstates and served by its own general-aviation airport, Waukesha County is a logical location for businesses. Several nationally and internationally known companies are located here, including Quad/Graphics, the world’s largest privately owned printer; GE Healthcare Technologies, the global leader in medical imaging technology; and Kohl’s Corp., the nation’s fastest-growing department store chain.

Waukesha County offers a perfect blend of urban and rural living, with rapidly growing suburban communities – Menomonee FallsNew BerlinBrookfieldPewaukee,Muskego and Waukesha; the quaint lake communities of OconomowocOconomowoc Lake and Delafield; and the quiet, rural enclaves of Genesee DepotMukwonago,Dousman and EagleWaukesha, the county seat, is also one of the fastest-growing cities in the region. Its 68,000 residents enjoy their own symphony, theater groups and choral union, while the nearby Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts in Brookfield offers music, dance and other attractions in a modern and intimate venue.
The School District of Waukesha is located fifteen miles west of Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the rolling hills of Waukesha County. With over 13,000 pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students served in our 25 schools, we are the seventh largest school district in the State of Wisconsin. Our 25 schools include three comprehensive high schools, three middle schools, and 17 elementary schools. In addition, we serve students in four charter schools: Harvey Philip Charter Alternative Charter School, Charter Recovery School, Waukesha Academy of Health Professions, and iQ Academies of Wisconsin.

The Waukesha schools offer a full array of courses and activities from which students can learn and grow. The culture of our district is very school oriented and individual schools have autonomy in most operational, budget and staff areas. Our district has a well-articulated curriculum which is sequential in nature and based on Wisconsin State Standards and Benchmarks. We are proud to declare that one of our district high schools has won the State Academic Decathlon title for the past three years and was the National Academic Decathlon winner in 2002. Our district is well known for its music, art and other fine arts initiatives. Our marching bands have been state winners for the past five years in the AAAA division, our choirs and strings groups are sought to perform widely across the area, and our art students have won local, state and national awards and scholarships based on their work. The Waukesha schools also perform well in competitive sports programs and have a full complement of opportunities for students.

Radon Information for areas near Delafield Wi

Lung Cancer and Radon

Indoor Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking, according to a 1999 report (exit DHS) from the National Academy of Sciences. The United States Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Surgeon General strongly recommend that all homes be tested for radon, and if a problem exists, corrective action be taken.

Radon is not an irritant to the eyes or nose, nor is it an allergen. The only risk from radon in air is lung cancer, after many years of breathing it.

Four picoCuries per Liter (4 pCi/L) is the US EPA’s action guideline for radon concentrations in air of occupied spaces. When long-term exposures of residents are higher, action should be taken to reduce them.

Additional Confirmation of the Risk

According to a National Cancer Institute fact sheet (exit DHS): “Studies showing a link between radon and lung cancer in humans include studies of underground uranium miners and of the general population exposed to radon in their homes.”  The latter is a new, significant result, from pooled results of measurements of radon in homes of persons with lung cancer and radon in homes of matched controls.  The pooled results show statistically significant differences, confirming the  risk estimates from studies of underground miners: Darby et al (exit DHS), British Medical Journal, 2005; Krewski et al (exit DHS), Epidemiology, 2005.



The lung cancer risk, accumulated over a lifetime (75 years) from breathing four pCi/L in one’s home, depends on an individual’s smoking history:

Average Radon Lifetime Risk of Lung Cancer
(per person) from Radon
pCi/L Persons who Never Smoked Current Smokers 
8  14 in 1,000  12 in 100
4  7 in 1,000  6 in 100
2  3.5 in 1,000  3 in 100

These assume one spends 70% of the time indoors, breathing the indicated radon concentrations for many years.  The risk is proportional to the cumulative radon exposure through time.  For one year of exposure, the risk would be about 1/75th as high.

For former smokers, the risks are between those shown for smokers and never-smokers.

Because of a latency time for lung cancer to develop -and the cumulative nature of the risk, there is little chance that someone could get lung cancer from radon before age 35, although exposures before that age contribute to the risk in later ages. The average loss of life expectancy per lung cancer death is about fifteen years (out of 75).

An animated video (exit DHS) about Radon is available on the State of Pennsylvania’s website.  After viewing, please return to our site for information for Wisconsin.


Report on Radon from National Academy of Sciences Strongly Supports EPA’s Lung Cancer Risk Assessment

According to a 500-page report, “Health Effects of Exposure to Radon, BEIR VI“(exit DHS), published by the National Academy of Sciences in 1999, indoor radon is probably responsible for about 15,000 to 20,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States per year, and roughly one-third of them are preventable.

The National Academy of Sciences is an autonomous body of 1800 of the nation’s top scientists that advises the Federal government on scientific and technical issues affecting policy. This report is from their committee of 12 of the best experts, and was reviewed before publication by an equally large group. You can’t get a more comprehensive, technically-competent overall assessment of the risk from radon.

Consideration of studies, which you may have heard indicate the risk from radon is much lower than EPA says, is included in this report. Individual studies are put into context with their statistical significance and all other relevant considerations. Masses of data are assembled, and re-analyzed in some cases. No single research study is relied upon, but rather a quality- and significance-weighted overall picture of all research results is presented. Included are the epidemiology studies up to 1999, and animal, laboratory genetics and radiobiology studies.

For further information about radon and lung cancer see the EPA radon web page, http://www.epa.gov/radon/index.html(exit DHS).

High levels of radon are dangerous to you and your family. When follow-up radon measurements in occupied levels of your home confirm the radon exposures are high, you should take bids on radon mitigation work by professionals included on the lists of certified Radon Mitigation Contractors. Having this work done will protect your family and it will increase the value of your house.

Plumbing issues in Waukesha and other areas

Polybutylene for Inspectors

by Nick Gromicko, Rob London and Kenton Shepard

Polybutylene (PB) is a plastic manufactured between 1978 and 1994 for use as piping in home plumbing systems. It offered plenty of advantages over other materials such as flexibility, ease of installation, resistance to freezing, and it was inexpensive. Pipes made from polybutylene were installed in 6 to 10 million homes in the Unites States during that period. Despite its strengths, production was ceased in 1994 after scores of allegations surfaced claiming that polybutylene pipes were rupturing and causing property damage. In the homes that still contain this material, homeowners must either pay to have the pipes replaced or risk a potentially expensive plumbing failure.

 Polybutylene inspector
How Does Polybutylene Fail?
Although it has never been scientifically proven, many believe that oxides from chlorine in public water react with the polybutylene and cause it to flake apart. Small fractures deepen over time and eventually work their way to the pipe exterior, allowing the water to escape. PB manufacturers such as Shell Oil and Dupont De Nemours maintain that the leakages reported are a result of improper installation, rather than the presence of any defects in the material itself. Manufacturers cite the fact that the majority of leaks occur at joints and unions, which is where a leak would likely appear if a pipe were improperly installed. Regardless of the cause, class action lawsuits filed against PB manufacturers have been successful and resulted in immense payouts to homeowners. The largest such claim was a $1 billion settlement paid by Shell Oil to select homeowners.
Polybutylene Pipes Should Be Replaced
Although no regulations require the replacement of polybutylene pipes with those made from other materials, many plumbers recommend this action, which can cost several thousand dollars. Leakage happens without warning and results in flooding and serious damage to a home’s interior if it is not immediately stopped. PB pipes behind sheetrock can leak unnoticed for long periods of time and cause mold and water damage. It is far cheaper to replace polybutylene pipes before they fail and release their contents onto floors, appliances and furniture. They can also reduce a home’s value or prolong its time on the market. Homeowners might face higher insurance premiums or be denied coverage entirely.
Identifying Polybutylene
A Brookfield Home Inspector can use the following tips to identify polybutylene plumbing. Polybutylene pipes are:
  • usually stamped with the code “PB2110”;
  • flexible and sometimes curved, unlike rigid piping materials such as copper;
  • not used for waste, drain or vent piping;
  • most commonly grey in color, but they can also be white, silver, black or blue. Blue PB is used primarily outdoors and should only be used to carry cold water. Inspectors should be aware that black or white pipes might not be polybutylene (they might be polyethylene or PVC, respectively). Also, PB color is somewhat region-dependant. For instance, experienced Brookfield  Home Inspectors in California might never come across grey PB, while it is quite common elsewhere;
  • ½” to 1” in diameter.

Polybutylene pipes can be in a home’s interior or exterior in any of the following locations:

  • protruding from walls to feed sinks and toilets;
  • running across the ceiling in unfinished basements;
  • near the water heater.


  • entering the home through the basement wall;
  • at the water meter;
  • at the main water shut-off valve.
  • A Brookfield Home Inspector should note the presence of polybutylene, but no actual inspection for weaknesses should be performed. Any deterioration of polybutylene pipes happens from within and cannot be detected without turning off the water and dismantling the pipe, which is far beyond the standards of practice of home inspection.
  • Brookfield Home Inspectors should check an entire pipe for PB, not just a portion of it. Some copper piping systems have been found to use PB at junctures. A common example of this union is where PB pipe links with copper “stub outs” that feed bathroom fixtures.
pex inspectionOther piping materials not to be confused with PB:
  • PEX (pictured at left) – Common in radiant-heating systems, this cross-linked polyethylene can be black, blue or red. It is more easily coiled and more flexible than PB. It can withstand higher temperatures than polyethylene.
  • PVC – A popular building material commonly used in residential plumbing. CPVC is derived from PVC and is also used in plumbing. Both appear white or off-white and can be flexible or rigid.
  • Polyethylene – This material is flexible and black.
  • Copper – Copper is a metal that should never be confused with PB.

In summary, PB pipes are substandard and inspectors should note their presence within residences. Clients should be made aware of the potential hazards posed by pipes made from this chemical. It might be difficult to identify PB by its color alone, so Brookfield home Inspectors should also take into account other factors such as flexibility, location within the home, and identifying labels. If in doubt, a licensed plumber can be contacted to determine whether or not a pipe is made from PB.

This article dedicated for [Waukesha Home Inspections] [Waukesha home Inspector] [Waukesha WI Inspection]

Menomonee Falls

Wisconsin’s Largest Village” occupies a 33 square mile setting with small town charm, yet a modern convenient lifestyle. We are located in the northeastern corner of Waukesha County and just northwest of Milwaukee. Menomonee Falls friendly residents enjoy a safe, high quality of life. The Falls is linked by many roads leading to an abundant choice of shopping, cultural, entertainment, recreational and sporting activities.

I love menomonee falls clock

Within its rolling hills, crystal lakes and rivers, thick forests, and wetlands guarded by stately herons, Menomonee Falls enjoys a “real” downtown, with 100- year old buildings fronting its two main streets. The Village Centre offers shopping, restaurants, arts, and antiques. Many special events are also held in the Village Centre including farmers markets, free summer time concerts, Christmas, Memorial Day and Independence Day Parades, as well as an annual Easter Egg Hunt.

Commercial Development can be found along major arterials ranging from large department stores to independent restaurants. New Office Parks and “mixed-use developments” just off the freeway have winding, tree-lined drives and exteriorscapes designed by the region’s premier landscape architects.

New pristine Industrial Parks, with excellent freeway access provide ample opportunity for new business startups. Menomonee Falls is home to the Headquarters of Kohl’s Department Stores, Cousins’ Sub’s and Wacker Corporation’s national operations, while proudly providing manufacturing plants for Harley Davidson and Briggs and Stratton.
Menomonee Falls has many unique features that make it an attractive spot for tourists. A lovely waterfall that gives the village its name, as well as a Recreation Trail and a Riverfront Trail that visitors can hike, bike or stroll are only the beginning. Also unique to Menomonee Falls is the Old Falls Village Historical Park, which features historic homes and buildings from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s, including a schoolhouse, a barn, a railroad depot and log cabin. Other community events enjoyed by tourists and locals alike are Falls Fest, A Country Affair, Cheery Cherry Fair and Falls Harvest Fair

Only a short distance from Menomonee Falls, are many major sporting facilities, such as Miller Park, home to the Milwaukee Brewers. The Bradley Center, home to the Milwaukee Bucks, and the Pettit National Ice Center are also only minutes from our conveniently located Village. Milwaukee is also host to many music venues, including Summerfest.

menomonee big home

Menomonee Falls has several excellent golf courses sure to challenge the best golfers. Regarded as one of the state’s finest, North Hills Country Club is an 18-hole private course and host to the Lombardi Classic. Public courses are available at Arrowhead Springs Golf Club, Kettle Hills, Dretzka, Riversbend, Lake Park, Silver Spring, and Wanaki Golf Course

Hartford Wisconsin

Hartford is a rapidly growing community that has maintained its small town appeal. Additions to the city like the Schauer Arts & Activities Center, Hartford Recreation Center, and Signicast Aquatics Center exhibit the community’s growth while the historic downtown district and the Chandelier Ballroom remind us of the city’s rich past.

Hartford affords its residents the opportunity to live and work in a small community, and that gives the city a very strong sense of pride. Hartford’s schools strive to ensure that youth of the community are educated in many different areas and there are many public and private universities in Southeastern Wisconsin to continue that education.

The beautiful and majestic scenery that surrounds Hartford makes the outdoors an important part of life. Pike Lake State Park, the Kettle Moraine State Forest and the city’s extensive park system offer residents many opportunities to enjoy spending time outdoors.

Heath care is an important part of life and Hartford’s hospital and clinics provide many services to make sure that residents need not have to leave the city in order to get the medical care and procedures that they desire.

Harford is a progressive community that welcomes all so come and visit, and you will see that Hartford truly is a great place to call home.

he uniqueness of Hartford begins with the historic downtown area, the specialty shops, the enchanting Wisconsin Automotive Museum, The Mineshaft which is Wisconsin’s Largest Bar & Restaurant, and the turn-of-the-century Chandelier Ballroom. Located only a few minutes north-west of the fringes of metropolitan Milwaukee, Hartford displays the rich flavors of the county, by the natural recreation assets of Pike Lake State Park and Wisconsin’s northern Kettle Moraine Forest area. Hartford has much to offer for the visitors or the residents. The tannery at WB Place, The Schauer Arts and Activates Center, Historic Downtown, and the Shrine at Holy Hill, are all points of interest visited annually by thousands. We invite you to come visit and experience the uniqueness of the Hartford community.

We pride ourselves on a wonderful and pleasant experience for our visitors. Known for its wonderful, warm reception starting at the motels, to the friendly faces you will meet on your stay. We are a growing community with the new additions of the Hartford Recreation Center with the Signicast Aquatic Center, the Schauer Arts and Activities Center, and The Mineshaft’s newest addition of their 5,000 square foot Million Dollar Game Room. We are quiet, yet state-of-the-art community. Come and stay just a little bit longer!

Whether you are planning to visit for a day and/or a weekend, or if you are planning to relocate, you are welcome in Hartford, this site is designed to help you learn more about the community.

Hartford Home Inspector | Hartford Wisconsin Certified Home Inspectors

Grafton Home Inspection

The Grafton Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to provide you with this information on the Grafton Area. Situated at the eastern end of State Highway 60 on Interstate 43 in the heart of Ozaukee County, Grafton offers a personal and economic quality of life that draws people and businesses alike to this crossroads community of well-kept homes, tree lined streets and small town warmth.

Grafton offers a diverse array of stores, shops, restaurants and industrial enterprises along with a variety of recreational activities for the young and the young at heart. Whether its canoeing on the Milwaukee River which flows invitingly through the heart of the Village, a visit to a family farm, biking, golfing or shopping, residents and visitors aren’t at a loss for things to do.

Events sure to please residents and visitors alike are the Grafton Downriver Canoe Race, Holidaze 4th of July Celebration and the regionally famous Grafton Christmas Parade. There are also a variety of church and club festivals and celebrations throughout the year.

With an excellent public school system and three parochial K-4 through 8th grade schools and close proximity to Milwaukee’s post-secondary institutions; along with outstanding police, fire and emergency protection, Grafton is a great place for family, commercial and industrial growth!
Grafton is a dynamic community of over 11,000 in the Heart of Ozaukee County. It is a village with a historical past. The area was first explored in 1670 by two Jesuit priests from Green Bay–Fathers Allouez and Dablon. Until the late 1820’s, the area was occupied by the Potawatomi Indians. In 1839, Timothy Wooden and Jacob Eichler became the first permanent white settlers. The change from raw wilderness to pioneer civilization was accomplished by men like them.

Lime Kiln sm

By 1840, development was underway. Towering forests became lumber. Fields produced crops, mainly wheat. The river provided power for grist mill; quarries yielded stone. Hardy men and women created homes and industries and Grafton became a trading center.

Now Grafton continues to progress in harmony with its heritage. Its industries thrive, it is a community of well-kept homes on tree-lined streets; its facilities expand to meet its growing educational, business, religious and family needs. Grafton is great–for living, for working, for getting more out of life.
Grafton Home Inspector | Grafton  Wisconsin Certified Home Inspectors

Garage door safety in Germantown WI

Garage Doors and Openers

By Nick Gromicko, Rob London and Kenton Shepard
Garage doors are large, spring-supported doors. Garage door openers control the opening and closing of garage doors, either through a wall-mounted switch or a radio transmitter. Due to the strain that garage door components and openers regularly endure, they may become defective over time and need to be fixed or replaced. Defective components may create safety hazards as well as functional deficiencies to the garage door assembly. The following facts demonstrate the dangers posed by garage doors:
auto reverse test
  • Garage doors are typically among the heaviest moving objects in the home and are held under high tension.
  • Injuries caused by garage doors account for approximately 20,000 emergency room visits annually, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • The majority of the injuries caused by garage doors are the result of pinched fingers, although severe injuries and deaths due to entrapment occur as well. Sixty children have been killed since 1982 as a result of garage doors that did not automatically reverse upon contact.

Germantown Home Inspectors should not attempt to fix any garage door defects they may encounter. They should call out defects in their reports and recommend that the door be examined by a trained garage door technician. The following components should be present during inspections and devoid of defects:

  • manual (emergency) release handle. All garage doors should be equipped with this device, which will detach the door from the door opener when activated. It is vital during emergency situations, such as when a person becomes trapped beneath the door or when a power outage cuts electricity to the door opener. Germantown Home Inspectors should activate the handle to make sure that it works, although they will have to reset the handle if it does not reset automatically. In order for the handle to be accessible and obvious, it must be…
  1. colored red;
  2. easily distinguishable from rest of the garage opener system; and
  3. no more than 6 feet above the standing surface.
  • door panels. Both sides of the door should be examined for the following:
  1. fatigue;
  2. cracking and dents. Aluminum doors are especially vulnerable to denting; and
  3. separation of materials.
  • warning labels. The following four warning labels should be present on or around garage door assemblies:
  1. a spring warning label, attached to the spring assembly;
  2. a general warning label, attached to the back of the door panel;
  3. a warning label attached to the wall in the vicinity of the wall control button, and;
  4. a tension warning label, attached to garage door’s bottom bracket.
  • brackets and roller shafts.
    1. Brackets. The garage door opener is connected to the garage door by a bracket that is essential to the function of the door opener system. Placement of the bracket where it attaches to the door is crucial to the operation of its safety features. It should attach 3 to 6 inches from the top of the door. This bracket, as well as all other brackets, should be securely attached to their surfaces.
    2. Roller shafts. Roller shafts should be longer on the top and bottom rollers. The top rollers are the most important. Without longer shafts, if one side of the door hangs up, the door may fall out of the opening.
  • door operation. The door’s operation can be tested by raising the door manually, grasping the door’s handles if it has them. Inspectors can make sure that the door:
    1. moves freely;
    2. does not open or close too quickly; and
    3. opens and closes without difficulty.

Note – Germantown Home Inspectors should not operate the door until they have inspected the track mounts and bracing. Doors have been known to fall on people and cars when they were operated with tracks that were not securely attached and supported.

  • extension spring containment cables. Older garage doors may use extension springs to counter-balance the weight of the door. These require a containment cable inside the spring to prevent broken parts from being propelled around the garage if the spring snaps. Most new garages use shaft-mounted torsion springs that do not require containment cables.
  • wall-mounted switch. This device must be present and positioned as high as is practical above the standing surface (at least five feet as measured from the bottom of the switch) so that children do not gain access. In addition, the button must…
  1.    be mounted in clear view of the garage door; and
  2.    be mounted away from moving parts.

Important Note – Germantown Home Inspectors should always make sure to disable the manual lock on the garage door before activating the switch.

  • automatic reverse system. As of 1991, garage doors are required to be equipped with a mechanism that automatically reverses the door if it comes in contact with an object. It is important that the door reverses direction and opens completely, rather than merely halting. If a garage door fails this test, inspectors should note it in their reports. A dial on the garage door opener controls the amount of pressure required to trigger the door to reverse. This dial can be adjusted by a qualified garage door technician if necessary.

Methods for testing the automatic reverse system:

  1. This safety feature can be tested by grasping the base of the garage door as it closes and applying upward resistance. Inspectors should use caution while performing this test because they may accidentally damage its components if the door does not reverse course.
  2. Some sources recommend placing a 2×4 piece of wood on the ground beneath the door, although there have been instances where this testing method has damaged the door or door opener components.
  • supplemental automatic reverse system. Garage doors manufactured in the U.S. after 1992 must be equipped with photoelectric sensors or a door
    edge sensor.

    1. Photoelectric eyes. These eyes (also known as photoelectric sensors) are located at the base of each side of the garage door and emit and detect beams of light. If this beam is broken, it will cause the door to immediately reverse direction and open. For safety reasons, photo sensors must be installed a maximum of 6 inches above the standing surface.
    2. Door edge sensors. This device is a pressure-sensitive strip installed at the base of the garage door. If it senses pressure from an object while the door is closing, it will cause the door to reverse. Door edge sensors are not as common in garage door systems as photoelectric eyes.
Safety Advice for Clients:
  • Homeowners should not attempt to adjust or repair springs themselves. The springs are held under extremely high tension and can snap suddenly and forcefully, causing serious or fatal injury.
  • No one should stand or walk beneath a garage door while it is in motion. Adults should set an example for children and teach them about garage door safety. Children should not be permitted to operate the garage door opener push button and should be warned against touching any of the door’s moving parts.
  • Fingers and hands should be kept away from pulleys, hinges, springs, and the intersection points between door panels. Closing doors can very easily crush body parts that get between them.
  • The automatic reversal system may need to be adjusted for cold temperatures, since the flexibility of the springs are affected by temperature. This adjustment can be made from a dial on the garage door opener, which should only be changed only by a trained garage door technician.
In summary, garage doors and their openers can be hazardous if certain components are missing or defective. Inspectors should understand these dangers and be prepared to offer useful safety tips to their clients.

Firestops in the Jackson WI Area


By Nick Gromicko, Rob London and Kenton Shepard
A firestop is a passive fire-protection method designed to diminish the opportunity for fire to spread through unprotected openings in a rated firewall. Such openings are found around the perimeter of pipes and wiring that penetrate firewalls.

Places where firestops are required:
Firestops must seal all unprotected openings in firewalls. In homes, firewalls are found in the following locations:

  • between the garage and the living space, including the overhead ceiling;
  • between the attic and the living space. Jackson Home Inspectors should be on the lookout for fireplace and wood stove flues that lack adequate fire-rated sheetrock or metal flashing firestopping, as in the photograph at right;
  • firewalls that separate condominium units are often penetrated by utilities that serve multiple units. These utilities are sometimes contained inside chases that should be sealed where they pass through the firewall between units. Firewalls between units must be continuous, all the way to the roof. Jackson Home Inspectors should check in attics of multi-family dwellings to make sure that the firewall has not been violated in the attic space.

Common Problems With Firestops

Jackson Home Inspectors should call out any instances where firestops are missing, damaged, or otherwise inadequate. Brief explanations of firestop deficiencies commonly encountered by inspectors are listed below:
  • missing firestop:  Unsealed pipe penetrations will greatly reduce the ability for a firewall to contain a fire. This situation is more common in old buildings than in new buildings, due to changes in building code.
  • cable or pipe replacement:  Electricians and plumbers may partially remove a firestop in order to install new cables and plumbing. A firewall’s fire-resistance rating will be compromised if the opening created by this removal is not filled.
  • improper installation:  Firestops will be effective only if they are installed correctly. For instance, firestop mortars are sometimes smeared into place unevenly and lack the required thickness at certain points. Also, firestops that are installed only on one side of a penetration may not be sufficient to prevent the spread of fire through the opening.

Common Firestop Materials

  • firestop mortar:  Cements made from lightweight aggregates, such as vermiculite or perlite, can be used as firestopping. They are typically colored to distinguish them from other types of cement that lack firestopping characteristics. For example, firestopping mortar made by Nelson is colored red, and 3M Fire Barrier Mortar is colored bluish-gray.
  • intumescent:  Any substance that expands as a result of heat exposure is considered an intumescent. Intumscents used as firestops can be made from a variety of flame-retardant materials, such as graphite, hydrates, and sodium silicates. They are especially useful firestopping materials for electrical cables, which can completely melt or burn away in a fire. The expanding intumescent will partially or completely cover the exposed opening created by a melted wire.
  • firestop pillows:  These items contain various flame-retardant and intumescent substances, such as rockwool or graphite. They are filled loosely inside of a fiberglass fabric case that resembles a small pillow. Firestop pillows can be inserted into openings in firewalls and used in conjunction with other firestopping materials. Firestop Pillows
  • sheet metal
  • fire-rated sheetrock
In summary, firestops are designed to prevent the spread of fire through unprotected openings in rated firewalls. Inspectors should understand what they are and what purpose they serve.

Services in Richfield and Surrounding Areas

Pre-Purchase Inspection

A home inspection is a visual process where all of the items typically used within a home are tested and/or operated to verify proper operation or installation. Doors and windows are opened and closed, roofing materials inspected, air-conditioning and heating systems operated. The Inspector will fill the sinks and tub(s), run the shower(s), and flush the toilets. All the while making notes on the condition and operation of the components tested. Upon completion a report will be distributed to you within 24 hrs.

Radon Testing

EPA – Approved – Electronic monitor test. Ideally the monitor would be placed in the basement of the home 48 hrs. prior to the actual home inspection. Then the results can be retreived on the day of the inspection. Double canister test. Cannisters are set out for 48 hrs. Cannisters are than picked up and sent in the same day. Results in 48 hrs. of being sent in.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is a bi-product of the radioactive decay of uranium and radium, and studies of humans exposed to both high and low levels of radon have shown an increase in lung cancer. Radon gas is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, so the only way to know the level of radon in your home is to test for it. O’Keefes radon inspection service includes the placement of testing devices to measure the level of radon in the habitable areas of the home. These measurements evaluate the level of radon to determine if any form of improvement is required. Per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you should take steps to resolve the issue if the radon level is 4pCi/l or higher. The EPA document A Citizen’s Guide to Radon (Third Edition) provides the basic information everyone should know about radon. For more information on how to reduce your radon health risk, call your state radon office .

Well Testing & Septic Inspections

When buying a home with a private well, your home inspection should include a well system check up to ensure the well is in good working order and the quality of the water produced meets health standards. Well system inspections in Florida should be considered essential. A properly operating septic system is a vital part of many homes located in rural areas. However, the septic system is often the last thing on the mind of a homeowner until there is a problem with the system. When a home is purchased, the big question is. Will i have trouble with the system after I move into the home? Unfortunately there is no absolute way to predict how long a septic system will last or if it will be able to handle an increased load. A septic system inspection, however, can yield useful information on the condition of the system as it exists when the system is inspected. While predicting the future with regard to the septic system is not part of any septic inspection, the inspection often uncovers defects in the system which can save the homebuyer unexpected expense.


New Construction Inspections

New construction inspections are performed at the completion of construction, but prior to your final walk through with the Builder’s Customer Service Representative or Superintendent. It is always a good idea to verify that utilities (gas, water, and electric) have been turned on, either by you or the Builder depending on the Builder’s policy. The inspection should be scheduled just a day or two before you final walk through with the Builder. This will ensure that most, if not all, last minute items have been completed prior to your inspection. At the conclusion of the inspection a completed report will be distributed to you within 24 hrs.


Pre-Warranty Expiration Inspections

Warranty inspections are performed during the 11th month of your 1-year Builder Warranty.  The inspection will be performed to verify that proper building techniques were used and that the various components of the home were properly installed. You will be presented with a completed report within 24 hrs. of the inspection along with digital photos taken as needed.


Seller Certified Home Program
(Pre-Listing Inspections)

Listing inspections are very good for the homeowner who may not be in tune with the condition of their home. A great many sales are cancelled due to the buyer’s shock at the “functional condition” of the home. It may look great, but have serious technical, safety, or functional issues present without the owner’s knowledge. Having the home inspected prior to placing on the market is the ideal way to identify and either repair or disclose the issue found in the Inspection Report. Obviously, repairing the items would be the most beneficial towards completing the sale. However, there may be financial reasons where the owner can’t make the repairs. Disclosing them up front and pricing the home based upon that disclosure will often times produce a higher net sales price for the owner.


Maintenance Inspection

Like a regular medical checkup for your body, a home maintenance inspection discovers issues as they develop, allowing remediation rather than major repair later. This inspection is similar to a standard home inspection but with emphasis on maintaining a sound propertyy Benefits to having Maintenance Inspections:

  • Discover issues in development, prior to incurring damage.
  • Be aware in advance of approaching cost items so that proper budgeting can be done. For example, we can estimate the remaining life expectancy of the roof, furnace, water heater, etc. so you can be prepared for the expenses when they become necessary.
  • Provides a historical documentation of the home’s condition and repairs. This is a valuable tool when eventually selling the home.