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PODCAST: Radon, Radon, and Radon (with Josh Kerber)

Today, Josh Kerber from the Minnesota Department of Health will talk about radon gas. He is a research scientist who does applied research in building construction, specifically with indoor air.     Tessa checks the statistics of existing vs newly constructed homes that have radon. Reuben clarifies the action level to…

Radon Testing

Radon Testing If you’re buying a home in Minnesota, get it tested for radon. Our radon testing services are designed for real estate transactions: we give a quick turnaround with 48-hour testing. We use continuous electronic monitors that give an hour-by-hour breakdown of the test results and our radon technicians…

Podcast: All about Radon

Reuben, Tessa, and Bill discuss all things radon. They cover radon conspiracy theories, health effects, test methods, mitigation systems, licensing in Minnesota, and a whole bunch of myths regarding radon. Related Links: DIY test kits for $9.95 New licensing for radon in Minnesota Minnesota Radon Awareness Act Also, please enjoy…

Podcast: All about Radon

Reuben, Tessa, and Bill discuss all things radon. They cover radon conspiracy theories, health effects, test methods, mitigation systems, licensing in Minnesota, and a whole bunch of myths regarding radon. Related Links: DIY test kits for $9.95 New licensing for radon in Minnesota Minnesota Radon Awareness Act Also, please enjoy…

Q&A: should the air exchanger be on or off during a radon test?

When conducting a short-term radon test, should the air exchanger be running or not? Great question. I've heard it argued both ways. If a home is designed to have an air exchanger running, I say it ought to run during the radon test. Here's my video discussion on the topic:…

Visible changes to radon testing in Minnesota

Licensing for radon testing has arrived in Minnesota, and with that comes a lot of red tape. A lot of these changes are boring behind-the-scenes reporting and documentation changes that only matter to radon testers. Other changes, however, will be quite visible to anyone having their home tested, and will…

Radon licensing requirements for Minnesota

It's official, radon licensing has arrived in Minnesota. As of today, January 1st, anyone who does a radon test in a building that they don't own or lease will need to be licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health. The same was supposed to go for the installation of radon…

Minnesota permit requirements for radon mitigation systems

If you want to have a radon mitigation system installed in your home, you might need a permit. As I've shown in past blog posts about hot roofs and Diamond Piers, requirements and interpretations of the building code can vary from city to city. While attending a recent meeting of…

A home inspector’s review of the Corentium Pro radon monitor

The folks at Airthings recently sent me one of their new NRPP approved Corentium Pro radon monitors to review, which currently retails for $1,499. This company had a booth at ASHI's InspectionWorld conference in January of this year and was previously called Corentium, but they re-branded about a month ago, apparently…

Minnesota Radon Licensing Act update, plus my two cents

Radon licensing is coming to Minnesota. I first shared news of the Minnesota Radon Licensing Act on my blog over a year ago, but a fair amount has changed since then. First and foremost, I'd like to thank Mike Hogenson of Standard Water Control Systems for investing his time working…

Minnesota Radon Licensing Act

I received an email this morning with an update on the Minnesota Radon Licensing Act.  This is a real thing, and it sounds like the effective date will be October 1st, 2017.  Here's the email: Dear Radon Measurement Professional. This message is to inform you of the recent passage and…

New Radon Rules for Minnesota

More updates to the new Minnesota State Building Code that was updated in January of this year.  I know I've written a number of blog posts on this topic recently, but these are the first major updates to our code since 2007, so there's a lot of stuff to discuss.…

Radon Testing Clowns

The Minnesota Radon Awareness Act went into effect on January 1st of 2014. This required home sellers to provide a lot of information about radon and radon testing to potential home buyers, making it basically impossible to buy a home in Minnesota without being told that it’s important to test for…

Radon Testing: Should You Rely on The Seller’s Test?

We routinely get requests from past home inspection clients of ours asking us to re-send the radon gas test results from testing that we conducted many years ago. We get these requests because our past clients are now selling their home, and they’re performing their due diligence attempting to gather…

Minnesota Radon Awareness Act

As of January 1st of 2014, there are new requirements for home sellers in Minnesota regarding radon disclosure.  The old disclosure form that home sellers would fill out just asked if there were any environmental concerns with radon, and the sellers would check yes or no.  It couldn't get any…

Radon in New Minnesota Homes

Starting in 2009, the Minnesota State Building Code adopted Appendix F of the International Residential Code. Since then, all new homes built to the standards of the Minnesota State Building Code have been built with at least a passive radon mitigation system, or in some cases, an active system. This was…

Vacant Houses Don’t Have More Radon

As a Minnesota home inspector who does a lot of radon testing, I hear the same myths about radon repeated over and over again.  I've actually heard other home inspectors perpetuate a few of these radon myths as well. Myth: vacant houses have high levels of radon. The idea behind…

Radon in Granite Countertops: Don’t Worry.

Back in 2008 there was a media scare related to radon in granite countertops.  The scare went something like this: radon causes lung cancer.  Granite contains radon.  Therefore, granite causes lung cancer.  There was even an article published in the New York Times, where some guy was actually quoted as saying "It's…

Why Test For Radon?

If you're buying a home in Minnesota, get it tested for radon.  There are two reasons I give for having radon tested; lung cancer and money. A few quick facts about radon Radon is a gas formed by the breakdown of uranium and radium, both of which are found in…

Could My Radon Monitor Be Broken?

One of the more awkward conversations that I had with a home seller this year dealt with a high radon test at his home in Minnesota.  We performed a radon test for the buyer, and the test came up high (over 4.0 pCi/L), so the buyer asked the seller to…

Radon Testing – What The Results Mean

You’re buying a home and you just received the results of your short term electronic radon gas test results.  Your probably have a lot of questions, so here are the answers. What type of test did you perform? We use a continuous electronic monitor.  The test gets placed in the…

This Radon Test Is Useless

 While doing a Truth-In-Sale of Housing re-inspection today, I noticed a radon monitor present in the crawl space.  This home didn't have a basement, just a trap door that led to a 5' x 5' crawl space with a water heater, water meter, and gas meter. My first thought: Huh,…

Radon Resistant Construction Is Now Required In Minnesota

It's estimated that one out of three homes in Minnesota has elevated levels of radon gas.  Because of these high numbers, the Minnesota State Building Code has adopted Apendix F of the International Residential Code, Radon Control Methods.  This means that all new homes in Minnesota must now be built with a…

How Much Radon Does Your Home Have?

Every home in Minnesota should be tested for Radon, and if you haven't had your home tested, have it done.  Radon is a gas formed by the breakdown of uranium and radium, both of which are found in high levels in Minnesota.  Radon gas is the number one cause of…

PODCAST: Hazards with lead water lines

Bill starts the show by talking about the City of St Paul’s decision to get rid of lead supply lines. Reuben shares that around 28% of the city or over 26,000 properties are using lead supply lines. Also, the city will be funding the 10-year program and will be spending…

PODCAST: Introducing Inspection Services

Today, the three-legged stool talks about Reuben's new project and side hustle. Inspection Services is a one-stop-shop solution to the service needs of home inspectors in the Twin Cities area. Reuben shares that they can do radon, sewer inspections, level 2 chimney inspections, stucco testing, and mold testing. They also…

PODCAST: Urinals, spray foam, and tiled showers

In today's show, Reuben, Bill, and Tessa talk about urinals, spray form, and tiled showers.  Bill shares that his cabin is in the phase where they are finishing the bathrooms. Reuben remembers that the urinal (http://www.structuretech1.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Urinal.jpg) he installed in the basement of his last home helped sell the house. They…

PODCAST: Why is my house crying

Today's show is about mysterious siding stains and air exchangers. Bill raises his concerns and clarifications about air quality as it is one thing that homeowners must start working with starting the fall season. Reuben names and distinguishes the three types of mechanical ventilation: positive ventilation strategy, exhaust-only or point-source…

PODCAST: Remembering Rick Norling

Today we are joined by the friends and colleagues of Rick Norling to honor and remember him. Rick Norling was one of the original founders of Structure Tech, back in 1987. Before he passed away, he was a full-time radon technician. He also founded Operation HighGround, an organization that identifies and…

PODCAST: Gas log fireplaces

Fireplaces are decorative and give beautiful ambiance, but what are the safety issues? How do we address and prevent them? How do we inspect fireplaces? Reuben mentions that gas log fireplaces are the closest to the real thing. However, he doesn't recommend this kind of fireplace. He discusses the differences…

PODCAST: Blogging and Social Media (Reuben is a guest)

Reuben Saltzman joins Waypoint Real Talk as a guest. He talks about how Structure Tech started and how its online presence since 2008 has helped the company grow. He shares that blogging on the company website allowed them to reach their market as well as other home inspectors. He also…

Five things to look for in a sump pump

This is a guest blog post by Steve Grohn, CEO of Standard Water Control Systems. We occasionally publish guest blog posts by invitation only.  Considering a new sump pump or backup system? Here’s what you need to know. Your sump pump is the heart of your basement drain tile system,…

Study Guides

Study Guides If you are looking for a specific category, click on one of the buttons below to access that category. COMPANY CULTURE ELECTRICAL ENERGY ENVIRONMENTAL EXTERIOR HVAC INTERIOR MINNESOTA CODES NEWS PLUMBING POLICIES, PROCEDURES, AND BUSINESS RADON REPORT WRITING ROOFS SAFETY TOOLS

Service Providers

Service Providers This is a list of professional service providers that is maintained by Structure Tech. Everyone on this list has been added because of personal experiences that we’ve had with these service providers. We do not accept requests from service providers to be added to this list. Appliance Repair…

How To Inspect Your Own House, Part 5: Electrical

For this mega-series in DIY home inspections, I started with the inspection of almost everything on the outside of the home. I covered roofs, chimneys, water management, siding, and everything else in-between. Today I'll cover electrical. There is a ridiculous amount of stuff that could be covered with this topic, and…

Buying homes without inspections (with Jim Starr)

Today’s episode starts off by digging into the local real estate market with our guest, a Realtor® extraordinaire at RE/MAX Advantage Plus, Jim Starr. He shares what the real estate market’s like in the Twin cities in the last week of February. He shares a couple of listings they had,…

Sewer Inspection Horrors (with Joseph Whitters)

Joseph Whitters, a second-generation sewer guy and the owner of Drain Busters joins the show to talk about the importance of maintaining sewer systems for homes. Sometimes, trouble with a sewer system can turn into a major problem that may show itself quickly and can be due to a damaged…

Home Inspection Checklist – Exterior

If you’re a home buyer or real estate agent and you’d like to conduct your own cursory home inspection, look no further. I’ve assembled a list of the largest items to look out for while house-shopping. This covers many of the largest problems that come up during home inspections. Of course,…

Andrew LaMere

I wanted to confirm receipt of the photos, and also thank you again for your work yesterday. You were very thorough and knowledgeable, and saved us from some very big potential headaches in the future. Julie and I feel a lot more “educated” after yesterday’s experience! The decision to walk…

Contact-us-1

 CONTACT US If you have any questions or you’d like to request an inspection service other than a home inspection, such as radon testing or a stucco inspection, please reach out to us. (952) 915-6466 info@structuretech.com 4205 Raleigh Avenue SouthSt. Louis Park, MN 55416 Monday - Friday: 8 am -…

2020 In Review

Since we are nearing the end of the year, today’s episode is a little bit of a recap about what the year was like here at Structure Tech. The show starts off with the gang expressing their appreciation and gratefulness that in spite of how challenging the year was, the…

What is included in Home Inspection Services

HOME INSPECTION: WHAT'S INCLUDED What’s Included All of our home inspectors are proud members of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. As such, we abide by the ASHI Code of Ethics, as well as the ASHI Standards of Practice, which sets forth the minimum requirements for a home inspection. The list below incorporates…

Infrared Inspections

INSPECT WITH THERMAL VISION INCLUDED WITH STANDARD HOME INSPECTIONS Infrared cameras show surface temperature differences, which can give clues to a host of different problems with houses. We offer infrared inspections as part of our standard home inspection, as well as for single-item troubleshooting inspections. We do not offer stand-alone…

Stucco Testing

Moisture and Stucco Testing NEWER STUCCO HOMES IN MINNESOTA HAVE HAD A NASTY HISTORY OF FAILURE. SPECIFICALLY, HOMES BUILT SINCE THE 1980S ON UP TO TODAY. While any type of exterior wall cladding can experience water intrusion, the failures that happen with stucco are far more expensive and usually far…

Level 2 Chimney Inspections

Level 2 Chimney Inspections Having an open-flame wood fire in your living room is serious business. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), nearly 18,000 fires are caused by wood-burning appliances every year. That's just crazy. Chimney fires are a very common occurrence, so we're diligent about recommending…

Contact Us

CONTACT US If you have any questions or you’d like to request an inspection service other than a home inspection, such as radon testing, walk-through consultation or a stucco inspection, please reach out to us.     (952) 915-6466 info@structuretech.com 4205 Raleigh Avenue SouthSt. Louis Park, MN 55416 Monday -…

Annual Property Reviews

Annual Property Reviews Structure Tech offers Annual Property Reviews (APR) to homeowners in the Twin Cities, starting at only $250. This service is offered during the months of November, December, and January. An APR includes: The exterior of the home, including examining the siding, windows, and doors. We inspect for signs of water…

Additional services

Additional Inspection Services Radon LEVEL 2 CHIMNEY INSPECTION SEWER INSPECTION INTRUSIVE WOOD FOUNDATION INSPECTION WITH HOME INSPECTION INTRUSIVE WOOD INSPECTION - NO HOME INSPECTION STUCCO AND MOISTURE TESTING MOLD TESTING TRUTH IN HOUSING EVALUATION TRUTH IN HOUSING PRE-INSPECTION TRUTH IN HOUSING RE-INSPECTION SINGLE-ITEM INSPECTION WITH REPORT SINGLE-ITEM INSPECTION WITH NO…

Employment

STRUCTURE TECH CAREER OPPORTUNITIES Apply Now - All Positions Yes, we’re hiring. Always. Our largest need is for home inspectors, but we’re always looking to meet highly talented, awesome people. Click this link to see the Home Inspector Job Description. WHAT SETS US APART The most highly rated home inspection…

Home Inspections Backup 1

Home Inspections Home Inspections for Any Situation A typical home inspection will take 2-4 hours to conduct, depending on the size and condition of the home, and how many questions our clients have — we love questions. For first time buyers, our home inspections provide an excellent education on ownership…

Home Backup 2

We go beyond the typical home inspection to help protect your family’s health: radon testing sewer inspection chimney inspection stucco testing Additional Services no stone unturned We're thorough so we can guide confidently We check even the places you don’t see to make sure every corner of your home is…

Home

We go beyond the typical home inspection to help protect your family’s health: radon testing sewer inspection mold inspection chimney inspection stucco testing wood foundation inspection All Additional Services no stone unturned We're thorough so we can guide confidently We check even the places you don’t see to make sure…

Pay to Play

In this episode, the team talks about home inspection ethics. This was brought up because Bill got a call from somebody in the company who had a question about doing business with a real estate agent who was hoping that we would support their business with monthly financial contributions. And…

Home Inspection Job Opportunities

HOME INSPECTION JOB OPPORTUNITIES Apply Now (Home Inspector) Yes, we’re hiring. Always. Our largest need is for home inspectors, but we’re always looking to meet highly talented, awesome people. Click this link to see the Home Inspector Job Description. WHAT SETS US APART The most highly rated home inspection company…

Client Testimonials

Client Testimonials “I want to let you and Structure Tech’s management team know what an outstanding job George has done for my husband and me!  On the first inspection, his careful work and attention to detail kept us from making a very costly mistake in purchasing a house that had…

Vision, Mission, and Culture

Vision, Mission, and Culture Established in 1987, Structure Tech is a home inspection company that delivers an unparalleled level of service, and the best inspections money can buy through high-quality inspection reports delivered in a timely manner. We were also named as Best Place to Work by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal…

Home Inspections

Home Inspections HOME INSPECTIONS FOR ANY SITUATION A typical home inspection will take 2-4 hours to conduct, depending on the size and condition of the home, and how many questions our clients have — we love questions. For first time buyers, our home inspections provide an excellent education on ownership…

Pricing

Structure Tech Pricing We offer more value. At Structure Tech, we know we charge more than most home inspection companies in Minnesota. Why? We charge more because we spend more time inspecting and writing detailed reports, we use the best tools and technology available, and we have an extremely well-trained team that…

Home – Backup

We go beyond the typical home inspection to help protect your family’s health: radon testing sewer inspection radon testing sewer inspection Additional Services no stone unturned We’re thorough so we can guide confidently We check even the places you don’t see to make sure every corner of your home is…

Stone Siding Installation Defects

This post was originally published in 2012. This is an updated version of that post. Stone siding might be the most problematic siding that we come across as home inspectors. This stuff is failing left and right all over the country, and most of time the homeowner has no idea…

Real Estate Negotiations (with Michael Bartus)

A residential Realtor® at Lakes Sotheby’s International Realty, Michael Bartus joins the show to talk about negotiations after the inspection and how to negotiate other real estate transactions. The focus of this show was to pick up on where last week’s show left off, talking about a document that Reuben…

Inspecting Permanent Wood Foundations

After attending a seminar on permanent wood foundations back in 2010, I was turned into a big fan of wood foundations. But I was also convinced that most wood foundations are built improperly. I was already suspicious about wood foundations before attending that seminar because the majority of wood foundations…

The evolution of home inspection scheduling with Lisa Ferrario

Our very own Lisa Ferrario joins the show to discuss the evolution of home inspections, scheduling, and all things related. TRANSCRIPTION The following is a transcription from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it may be slightly incomplete or contain minor inaccuracies due to…

PODCAST: Easter Eggs, Part II

The gang discusses hard-to-find home inspection discoveries, which they call Easter Eggs. Reuben talks about a recent inspection that he did, and shares some of the finds from that inspection. One of those was a blocked toe-kick register below the kitchen sink, pictured below. Reuben also discusses finding a hot…

Inspecting poor water flow

If you're buying an old house, beware of old water supply pipes; specifically, galvanized steel or lead. These pipes can lead to poor water flow in homes, to the point where you can't even run water in two places at once. WATER SUPPLY PIPES VS. WATER DISTRIBUTION PIPES For this…

PODCAST: House Timeline For Issues

Today the gang discusses a timeline of home inspection defects or issues that might come up, based on when the home was built. Reuben shared this timeline on the Structure Tech blog and on the Structure Tech YouTube channel, but we thought it would be fun to discuss these issues…

PODCAST: Fires, home inspections, and insurance

Bill opens the podcast talking about a terrifying fire that happened across the hallway in his mother-in-law's condo high-rise building, and about the damage caused by smoke and water. The gang discusses the possibility of an FPE Stab-Lok panel causing the fire, and Reuben goes on to discuss the disproportionate…

Age-related home problems

Buying a used house in Minnesota? Here's a rough timeline of potential problems to look out for. It's impossible to make a perfect chart like this because so many of these things are generalities, but I think this chart is a great starting point to knowing what types of issues…

Tired of refilling your hand soap dispenser? Do this.

One of my least favorite chores in the kitchen has always been re-filling the built-in hand soap dispenser at my kitchen sink. Through years of extensive research into this matter, I've discovered that I'm not alone. Approximately 57.3% of soap dispensers in the Twin Cities metro area remain unfilled. Sitting…

PODCAST: Air conditioning follow-up, COVID-19 protocols for home inspectors

Bill, Tessa, and Reuben start the show discussing a few minor corrections to the podcast from two weeks ago on air conditioners. Next, they discuss the new standards for home inspection attendance and safety for home inspections. Reuben also mentions a facemask that most Structure Tech home inspectors are wearing,…

PODCAST: George Floyd, commentary from Dr. Stephen Crawford

For this podcast episode, Reuben does a one-on-one interview with Structure Tech's business coach, Dr. Stephen Crawford. Dr. Crawford has been conducting weekly team huddles for his coaching clients every Friday morning, and he conducted a special meeting on May 29th to focus on George Floyd, protests, riots, racism, and…

PODCAST: George Floyd, commentary from Dr. Stephen Crawford

For this podcast episode, Reuben does a one-on-one interview with Structure Tech's business coach, Dr. Stephen Crawford. Dr. Crawford has been conducting weekly team huddles for his coaching clients every Friday morning, and he conducted a special meeting on May 29th to focus on George Floyd, protests, riots, racism, and…

COVID-19 and Home Inspections 5-19-20

Governor Walz allowed Minnesota's stay-at-home order to expire yesterday, replacing it with a new order called "Stay safe Minnesota". This new order allows for gatherings to not exceed 10 people. As soon as that order came, our office was flooded with calls from clients who wanted to attend their home…

PODCAST: Patrick Huelman, Tessa’s professor

The gang is super-excited to finally get Patrick Heulman, a leading building science expert, on the show! We've talked about having him as a guest for a long time and now that we're temporarily recording our podcasts from our homes, we were able to get Pat on the show. He's an…

PODCAST: Patrick Huelman, Tessa’s professor

The gang is super-excited to finally get Patrick Heulman, a leading building science expert, on the show! We've talked about having him as a guest for a long time and now that we're temporarily recording our podcasts from our homes, we were able to get Pat on the show. He's an…

Fuel Oil Tanks

If you're buying a house in the Twin Cities with pipes sticking up out of the ground in the yard, heads up. You probably have a fuel oil tank somewhere at the property. While most homes in the Twin Cities are heated with natural gas, there is still a small…

PODCAST: Everyone loves Milind

Milind Angolkar was the first home inspector to join the Structure Tech team after Reuben, and we love him. In fact, everyone loves Milind because he's a good, kind person. We start the show by discussing Milind's history with the company, and Milind shares some crazy home inspection fail stories.…

PODCAST: Everyone loves Milind

Milind Angolkar was the first home inspector to join the Structure Tech team after Reuben, and we love him. In fact, everyone loves Milind because he's a good, kind person. We start the show by discussing Milind's history with the company, and Milind shares some crazy home inspection fail stories.…

COVID-19 and Home Inspections 03-24-20

Update 5/17/20: Minnesota's Stay-at-Home order expires on 5/18/20, and we'll be changing our attendance policies in response to that change. We'll be allowing up to three people to attend home inspections after the first two hours; two clients and one agent. We'll have an updated post on 5/19 with the specifics.…

COVID-19 and Home Inspections

We've seen a lot of unprecedented events over the past few weeks related to the coronavirus outbreak, and we're staying current with this ever-changing situation. At Structure Tech the safety of our clients, employees and the safety of the occupants of the homes we inspect are of utmost importance. I…

Podcast: Best advice ever with Neil Saltzman

We interview Reuben's dad, Neil Saltzman, on this episode. Neil talks about doing home inspections in a suit and tie, and Reuben and Neil talk about the early history of home inspections. Reuben also shares the best advice that Neil ever gave him related to doing a good home inspection.…

Facebook Live Q&A Session #2

For this episode, we answer your questions about houses and home inspections. These include the following: Should home inspectors open Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok panels? How to deal with ice dams if you don't want to pay a professional to remove them How to best find a drain leak with…

Facebook Live Q&A Session #2

For this episode, we answer your questions about houses and home inspections. These include the following: Should home inspectors open Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok panels? How to deal with ice dams if you don't want to pay a professional to remove them How to best find a drain leak with…

Podcast: What should be negotiated after the home inspection?

Bill, Tessa, and Reuben discuss negotiations after the home inspection. Some home buyers turn to the home inspector for advice on how to negotiate with sellers after the home inspection, but this is something that we also lean on the real estate agent for. This is their realm. Nevertheless, we…

Podcast: What should be negotiated after the home inspection?

Bill, Tessa, and Reuben discuss negotiations after the home inspection. Some home buyers turn to the home inspector for advice on how to negotiate with sellers after the home inspection, but this is something that we also lean on the real estate agent for. This is their realm. Nevertheless, we…

Podcast: Mold testing with Vickie Swenson

We sit down with Vickie Swenson of Minnesota Mold Inspection, LLC to discuss mold testing in Minnesota. We discuss Vickie's background, the lack of official standards for mold testing, the health effects of mold, contractors diagnosing mold types by sight, and the #1 location to find mold in Minnesota homes. Also, for…

Podcast: Mold testing with Vickie Swenson

We sit down with Vickie Swenson of Minnesota Mold Inspection, LLC to discuss mold testing in Minnesota. We discuss Vickie's background, the lack of official standards for mold testing, the health effects of mold, contractors diagnosing mold types by sight, and the #1 location to find mold in Minnesota homes. Also, for…

Podcast: Home Inspector Training

We discuss home inspection schools, licensing for Minnesota home inspectors, and training requirements, along with the training process at Structure Tech. TRANSCRIPTION The following is a transcription from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it may be slightly incomplete or contain minor inaccuracies due…

Podcast: Home Inspector Training

We discuss home inspection schools, licensing for Minnesota home inspectors, and training requirements, along with the training process at Structure Tech. TRANSCRIPTION The following is a transcription from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it may be slightly incomplete or contain minor inaccuracies due…

Podcast: Sewers and Floor Drains

We discuss all things related to wastewater leaving Minnesota houses, and how this relates to home inspections. We discuss the importance of sewer inspections on all houses, not just old houses, and discuss what it takes to fix these issues when they occur. We discuss the mystery of floor drains…

Podcast: Sewers and Floor Drains

We discuss all things related to wastewater leaving Minnesota houses, and how this relates to home inspections. We discuss the importance of sewer inspections on all houses, not just old houses, and discuss what it takes to fix these issues when they occur. We discuss the mystery of floor drains…

Podcast: Basement Water

In Episode 2 of our podcast, Reuben, Tessa, and Bill discuss ways of keeping water out of basements. It all starts with exterior water management; roof lines, gutters, downspouts, downspout extensions, and drainage and grading. When everything has been done at the outside of the home but there are still…

Podcast: Basement Water

In Episode 2 of our podcast, Reuben, Tessa, and Bill discuss ways of keeping water out of basements. It all starts with exterior water management; roof lines, gutters, downspouts, downspout extensions, and drainage and grading. When everything has been done at the outside of the home but there are still…

Not A Flamethrower testing on intumescent firestop collars

How effective are intumescent firestop collars? Joe, Matt, and I used a friend's Not a Flamethrower to find out. The testing was fun and enlightening. How does this relate to home inspections? When we inspect the wall and ceiling that separates a garage from the living space of a home,…

Fire separation between the garage and house; don’t say firewall

The separation between a garage and a house is commonly referred to as a firewall, but that's not accurate. I hear the term firewall thrown around a lot, and it's always used incorrectly when it comes to residential construction. If you turn to the Uniform Building Code, you can find the…

The Structure Tech training process

I get a lot of training questions from aspiring home inspectors about how to get into this business and how to get trained. I have some advice for people who don't get hired by a company with an established training process, but first, I'd like to share our internal process…

Negotiations after the inspection

Negotiations often take place after a home inspection, and the home inspector frequently gets put in the middle of it. The role of a home inspector is never to decide what should or shouldn't be negotiated as part of a home purchase, assuming anything gets negotiated. That's a job for the…

Unintended consequences of attic improvements

This is a guest blog post. Scroll to the bottom for more details.  Air sealing and adding insulation to an existing house could have negative impacts on both the occupants and the house. Wait…adding insulation is supposed to be a good thing, right? If done properly, yes. Houses are complex…

Same house, second inspection… what now?

This week’s question comes from a thousand other home inspectors, including just about everyone in my company. What happens when we get a request to inspect a house a second time? The most common scenario that triggers this situation is where someone from my company inspects a home and the…

Are sewer inspections intrusive? No.

This week’s question comes from a real estate agent: “Are sewer inspections intrusive? Does the seller need to give special permission if you’re going to do a sewer inspection at the same time as the home inspection? Do you have to notify the seller first?” The answers, respectively, are no, no,…

Photos from new construction inspections, part VI

It’s once again time for my annual blog post that stresses the importance of new construction inspections. Specifically, home inspections. I still talk to home buyers, home owners, and real estate agents who have never even considered the idea of getting a home inspection on a brand new home. I…

Negotiations after the inspection, part 3: Reasonable negotiation items

In this three-part series on negotiations after the home inspection, I discussed the options that a home buyer has after getting a home inspection in part 1, and gave a list of what I consider to be unreasonable negotiation items in part 2.  For this post, I'm going to cover some…

Photos from New Construction Home Inspections, Part V

I've compiled new-construction defect photos from the past six years into this one gigantic blog post.  If you're in the market for a new home and you're not sure if a home inspection is worth doing, please look through these photos.  If you're a real estate agent who isn't sold on the…

Free Continuing Ed for Minnesota Real Estate Agents – 2.5 Hours

I've been teaching a 2.5 hour continuing ed class to real estate agents for the past two years, and I'm offering the same class again this year. The focus of this class is on some of the most mis-understood home inspection topics.  I cover a lot of common home inspection…

Top 20 Home Inspection Photos from 2014

We share our favorite home inspection photos on our Facebook page and our Google+ Page with a feature we started back in 2009, called the Photo of the Day.   Sometimes we make a game out of the photos, asking what's wrong in the photo.  Other times, the defects are quite…

Photos from New Construction Home Inspections, Part IV

It's been one day short of a year since my last post on new construction home inspections, so it's time for another.  My message is pretty simple: new homes should be inspected by private home inspectors.  Home inspections aren't just for old houses or used houses. One of the newest inspectors on…

Why Home Inspectors Should Know Building Codes

In last week's blog post I mentioned that there is an upcoming seminar for Minnesota home inspectors, being taught by building code guru Douglas Hansen of Code Check.  Minnesota currently uses the 2006 International Building Code (IRC), but we'll soon be adopting the 2012 IRC, and with that will come…

FAQ: “What’s that thing on the side of the house?”

One of the most common questions that home inspectors get when walking around the outside of a house with clients is "What's that thing?" It's called a doo-hickey. Here's my list of the most common doo-hickeys found at the exterior of homes in Minnesota, many of which are quite common…

Five Common Sump System Defects

At almost every home inspection with a sump system, I end up recommending some type of change for safety, performance, or both. Here are five common sump system defects, in no particular order. 1. A loose or missing sump basket cover This is a safety issue because a small child…

Combustion Air Ducts, Part I: Why Houses Need Them

Have you ever noticed a big insulated tube dropping down next to the floor near your furnace or boiler in the basement? If you trace this duct down, you'll find that it connects to an opening at the exterior of the building.  This is essentially just a hole in the…

Unintended Consequences of Adding Insulation 2013

This is a guest blog post by Steve Schirber, of Cocoon. Re-insulating an existing home properly is a complicated task.  A house is a system; a bunch of smaller parts that make up systems, that make up larger systems.  The tighter the house, the more a house tends to behave like…

I’m not saying they cheated, but this doesn’t look good.

I don't know how it happened, and I'm not accusing anyone of intentionally doing something that's completely despicable, but it looks like someone intentionally tampered with a radon test. I recently inspected a home that was being flipped for some young first-time home buyers.  The home had a newly finished basement,…

HRVs, Part 1 of 3: Why Houses Need Them & What They Do

On any new home built in Minnesota today, there needs to be a means of mechanical ventilation provided.  The more expensive, but far more efficient way of doing this is to install a heat recovery ventilator, or HRV.  I'm posting a three part series on HRVs - today I'll share…

Reuben Gets Passionate About Insulation On The Radio

I got to have a nice little interview with the Hittner Real Estate Team on the Patriot AM 1280 yesterday. Click below to hear me get passionate about insulation, truth in housing evaluations, reversed polarity, radon tests, and other geeky house related topics. If you want to follow along with…