Michael Chodzin

How to Look

at a House


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HOME INSPECTION
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We want you to be an informed homebuyer, and each blog post is a question that we have answered for our friends and customers over the years. Hope they help you make a good choice for your next home.

   And finally, there is water vapor to consider. House-wrap material, which is applied over wall sheathing of a house under construction before the siding is applied, is specifically designed to deal with the perplexing issue of water vapor movement through walls and it’s tendency to condense back to liquid form when it reaches a colder surface. Modern house-wrap allows water vapor to pass through, but not liquid water, because trapped water vapor that condenses inside a wall can be an insidious mess.

   In our job as home inspectors, what we call “water intrusion” (water that gets into a home at a place it’s not supposed to be) is the one defect that can cause the most expensive repairs. Mold, wood rot, crumpling drywall, electrical shorts, and a myriad of other problems follow. A good roof is the first line of defense against water, but well-sealed exterior walls and good plumbing are important too.

   One of the tools we use to look for water in the home’s envelope is an infrared camera. Unlike a regular camera, which sees light, it sees heat in the form of the temperature of the surfaces it scans. Because water that gets into a concealed  area of the home will start evaporating almost immediately, and the evaporation cools the area around it, the camera is able to spot abnormally cool areas for further probing and evaluation.

   After a scan with this hi-tech tool, the next weapon in our water-fighting arsenal is our fingers, which, like everyone else’s, are sensitive to moisture at a touch. Then there’s our moisture meter, an electronic device that measures the percentage of water in a material.

   Finding water intrusion is difficult, but figuring out how it got there is sometimes even more complicated. Michael Chodzin always had amazing stories about how he tracked a roof leak back to it’s source that had stumped lesser tradesmen.

   Being “smarter than water” is a big job, but we’re on it. And Michael is retired now. But we remember him fondly, always with a laugh, and talk about him often.


While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
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