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  • Termites Dwell in The Desert Too

    I get asked all the time if there is termite activity in Arizona. People are always surprised by the answer: “There are two types of houses in Arizona, those that have termites and those that will get termites.” It’s funny, but you wouldn’t think that those lil’ buggers would thrive out here in our “dry heat.” But they do. Boy do they ever. The ones that call the southwest their home are Subterranean Termites.

    The majority of home inspections we conduct usually include a termite inspection (and why not, we are there for 3 hours verses a typical termite inspection that usually lasts 25 minutes). Easily about 65 -70 percent of the time, our inspectors find evidence of termites or evidence of previous treatment (finding termite bait stations or drill holes that show remediation has been done). About 15 percent of the time, we observe actual termite damage.

    The silver lining with subterranean termites is that they live underground and only come up to feed on cellulose (wood or wood products). Since sub-termites live underground, they only come up to feed on the wood they damage far less and slower, as compared to other types of termites that live in the wood 24/7 and thrive in other areas of our country.

    Someone recently asked me if I have ever seen actual live termites. Yes, on a few occasions I have. I have seen them when I come in contact with a termite tube and then they came marching out. It is interestingly creepy.

    So don’t despair if you live in Arizona and find out you have termites. It happens to the best of us (including my house) and it’s a problem that can easily be fixed. Just call a reputable termite remediation company. It’s part of living in the desert, like sharing our living space with scorpions, rattle snakes, oh my!

  • What’s Wrong With This Picture?

    Do you remember the magazine “Highlights for Children?” I think they still publish it. I used to like reading it when I was waiting at the dentist’s office when I was a kid. We didn’t have a subscription at home. My favorite feature was the “What’s wrong with this picture?” page. It was a full page illustration with many mistakes in it and you had to find them all. Not to brag or anything, but I was always good at it. I would find all the mistakes and even some that were not “mistakes,” but I would still find them. No wonder I grew up to become a Home Inspector.

    Take a look at this picture. Can you find what’s wrong? I see a sight like this at least once a month. Did you find the mistake? It’s pretty obvious.

    To make room for the new HVAC system in the attic, the HVAC technician cut into the truss. Little did he know that you are NEVER to cut, notch or drill a truss. In contrast to conventionally framed homes (which are constructed with large pieces of lumber) truss constructed homes are engineered meaning they can use small pieces of lumber such as 2 x 4’s or 2 x 6’s. Whenever one of those trusses is altered, it places stress onto the remaining wood, which was not accounted for within the engineering and compromises the integrity of the structure. In short, any alteration done to a truss constructed structure should be approved and signed off by a structural engineer in order to assure for structural integrity.

    All these years later, I love to find things wrong with any picture. I still don’t like going to the dentist.

  • Go For The Gold!

    I am proud to be an ASHI Certified Inspector. I am more proud to have earned ASHI’s highest certification, the Gold Standard. I have trained hundreds of home inspectors and encourage them to “go for the gold” as part of their career plan.

    Being golden, sets us apart from everyone else. It gives home buyers and realtors more expertise, more credentials and more bang for their buck, so to speak.

    What’s ASHI? It’s The American Society of Home Inspectors . When you are hiring an inspector, it’s important to find out if they are certified with a national organization such as ASHI.

    ASHI Certified Inspectors are committed to conducting inspections in accordance with the ASHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics, and are dedicated to providing superior customer service. The American Society of Home Inspectors has received NCCA accreditation to award the ASHI Certified Inspector credential to those members meeting their highest standard.