Keeping an eagle eye on your house
- Scott Keith
- Lake Oswego Review - News
Staff at Eagle Eye Inspections recommends a home inspection every five years
As you're driving your car, you notice a strange squeak, rattle or jerk. You know there may be a problem under the hood, but you don't follow up with a visit to the mechanic. This kind of foot-dragging can lead to a budget-busting repair bill. The same principle applies to homes.
Sometimes you need a second set of eyes and ears to make sure your house is in top shape. One man who can help is Ken Giblin, owner of Eagle Eye Inspections in Aloha, who has spent more than 30 years in the industry, starting out as a contractor.
'It was a natural progression for me, because I was a hands-on contractor,' says Giblin. 'I did everything myself - framing, roofing, all of it.'
Giblin knows that during these multi-tasking times, it may be hard for a homeowner to take the time to check the roof, attic or basement for trouble spots. That's where home inspectors fill a need.
According to Giblin, 'Most homeowners don't really know how to do inspections. It's a job that you have to be trained to do. The more hands-on experience you have, the better you're going to be at it.'
Autumn and early winter is a great time to take steps to keep your new or older home in top shape. Moisture is a big consideration, especially in our metropolitan area.
Trouble at the downspouts
'It can take a year or two for moisture issues to show up in a new home,' says Giblin. 'You're always wanting to check your crawl space (for trapped water) every couple of months, especially during rainstorms; that's probably one of the biggest issues.'
Basements can be trouble spots in older homes. 'A lot of older homes (in our region) have a lot of issues, with water getting in the basements from down spouts; they may have broken water distribution systems underneath the ground. Eight times out of 10, I can tell you where the down spouts are from the inside of the basement. The water leaks will come in right by the down spouts,' says Giblin.
Fall and winter are good times of year to have the home inspector check your outside roofs. During periods of heavy snow, your roof could collapse. Giblin says snow, mixed with ice, can get very heavy, very fast.
'Most snow we get is light snow, you can build it up - but once you get a little bit of ice on it, that doubles the weight; that's going to be very dangerous.'
Don't think you're alone if you've noticed some termites or carpenter ants. Both of these creatures can do a lot of damage.
'Carpenter ants are everywhere. Everybody will encounter carpenter ants. Every home will have them,' according to Giblin.
Termites have an appetite for wood. A subterranean termite will consume 1/8 inch of wood a day.
'If you have one subterranean termite, chances are you have thousands of them.'
These termites will use mud tubes to transport themselves from the ground, where they live, to the wood in your house. Other pests in the Pacific Northwest include dampwood termites and wood-boring beetles.
Get regular inspections
If you're considering pesticides, Giblin says most are not as effective as those used by professional pest applicators. He says store-bought products can be effective to the point that when an ant encounters a damp pesticide, it will get sick, carry it back and die.
Another home improvement necessity is to change your furnace filters. Giblin says these need changing every 30 days - a simple tip that can prolong the life of your furnace 20 years. He calls the furnace the 'lungs' of your house. According to Giblin, you'll want your furnace serviced in the fall; you'll also need to clean your wood stoves and fireplaces. It's also wise to check your smoke detectors regularly.
Giblin recommends having your home inspected every five years.
'People are not inclined to go in their crawl spaces, where most issues are occurring. They're not inclined to go in their attics, to see if there are any leaks. Things can change dramatically in very little time.'
The cost of a home inspection can vary. Giblin says the average inspection can cost from $300 to $400. Giblin says if you would like to hire a home inspector, check around and look for references. He says a good place to start is the Construction Contractors Board, where you can find out who is certified and if there have been any claims on licences.
Working in the industry for decades, the owner of Eagle Eye Inspections (www.kenseagleeye.com) has seen just about everything. He recalls leaving a home inspection covered with fleas. Even so, Giblin, who has done more than 5,000 inspections, says, 'I love the job. It's an awesome job.'