How to Look

at a House

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More Blog Posts on Similar Subjects:

  1. Is a kitchen required to have a range hood exhaust fan?

  2. How does a home inspector inspect a refrigerator icemaker?

  3. Why is a strain relief clamp necessary for the cord connection to some electric appliances?

  4. The seller has to fix everything you find wrong with the house, right?

  5. Do home inspectors test all the appliances?

  6. Can I do my own home inspection?

  7. Are house numbers required by law in front of a house?

  8. What questions should I ask the home inspector during the inspection?

  9. Should I hire an engineer to inspect the house?

  10. Is a home inspection required?

  11. How can I tell if a house has insulation?

  12. Do you see similar problems with houses in the same neighborhood?

  13. What do I need to know about a condo inspection?

  14. Does the home inspector also check for termites?

  15. What is the best way to negotiate repairs after the home inspection?

  16. How do you inspect a dryer vent?

  17. What should I look for when buying a former rental house?

  18. What questions should I ask a home inspector I’m considering hiring?

  19. What tools do you use for a home inspection?

  20. How do sellers try to fool the home inspector?

  21. How much does a home inspection cost?

  22. What should I wear to a home inspection?

  23. What should I look for when buying a “flipper” house?

  24. Can I do my own wind mitigation inspection?

  25. What different types of specialized inspections can I get?

  26. What are the questions a home inspector won’t answer?

  27. What is the difference between a building inspector and a home inspector?

  28. What do I need to know about buying a 1950s house?

  29. Do you lift up the carpet to look for cracks in the floor?

  30. How can I know how much damage there is inside a wall if the inspector found termites in the baseboard?

  31. What are the common problems of different types of house foundations?

  32. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1970’s house?

  33. What are the warning signs of a dangerous deck?

  34. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1960s home?

  35. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1980s house?

  36. What is the average lifespan of plywood siding?

  37. What is the difference between prescriptive and performance building codes?

  38. Is painted bathroom tile acceptable?

  39. What is a “cosmetic” defect in a home inspection?

Welcome to our blog!
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.

  1. 2)Not on separate circuit - The building code requires that a microwave which is fastened in place have a separate 20-amp circuit. Depending on the size, they are rated to draw between 8 and 13 amps. Other appliances operated at the same time can overload the circuit if the microwave is on a shared circuit. We test by seeing If the microwave still works when we trip the GFCIs at the countertop or the kitchen appliance breaker(s). It is not uncommon in a remodeled older house to find that the dishwasher and microwave are both on a single countertop appliance circuit.

  2. 3)Loose mounting - Even a mounting that is slightly loose is noted because, once it begins to loosen, the mounting deteriorates progressively with usage.

  3. 4)Not functional - There are two kinds of “not functional”: a) completely dead, with unresponsive control panel, and b) sounds like it is working but does not heat a test cup of water.

  4. 5)Radiation leakage due to damaged door or handle - This is typically only a problem if there is damage to the seal around the door or the handle. We use a digital microwave leakage meter, shown below, and report if the leakage exceeds the 5.0 milliwatt threshold set by the EPA. A recent survey by appliance service technicians found that over half of the microwaves more than two years old have leakage at least 10% higher than 5.0 milliwatts.

    A separate issue that is open to interpretation at this time is the height of the bottom of the microwave above the top of the range. The IRC (Interational Residential Code) defers to the manufacturer’s installation instructions regarding the correct distance. All the manufacturer installation manuals we

have seen specify that the top of the microwave should be located 66 inches above the floor. This is, coincidentally, also the standard height of the bottom of a wall cabinet in most kitchens for installation of a range hood fan. But an over-the-range microwave/fan combo is taller, between 15 and 18 inches high. When you deduct the 36-inch height of a range, the space between the top of the range and the bottom of the microwave is between 12 and 15 inches. If the controls are at the back of the range, most people of normal height cannot see the controls while standing upright, and have to lean down and reach over the hot range—just a few inches above large, and possibly boiling, pots—to change a temperature setting. Conversely, the NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association) recommends that the bottom of the microwave be no more than 54 inches above the floor, which allows 18 inches clearance above the range. Otherwise, a shorter person would be reaching over their head to remove a hot item from the microwave—which is also dangerous. One building department jurisdiction in our area now requires an 18 inch clearance between range and bottom or microwave. We think that higher or lower should probably be determined by the needs of the occupants of the house.

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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