Meet The Infrared

Our FLIR Infrared Camera is crucial for every aspect of the inspection. We use it to check for:

  • Moisture staining that has damaged ceilings and walls
  • Testing the temperature of the hot water
  • Checking the HVAC system, ensuring that it has the proper temperature splits
  • Observing the panel box breakers and wires for overheating components
  • Checking the roof deck to see signs of previous leaking or to check how well insulation appears to be working

What’s going on in your drain lines?

Being a high tech company, we utilize several tools to enhance our senses. We have infrared cameras for inside the home, but what about what lies in your back yard.

The SeaSnake septic inspection camera by Ridgid has helped us locate and evaluate various components of septic systems. It is a simple to use, and easy to read, system that gives our clients more information than some standard inspection methods. Below are several pictures of common, and not so common, issues we run into using our inspection camera.

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Rocks and dirt have breached through the side of the drain line. Preventing proper drainage.

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Here we see another pipe crossing into, and through, our drain line.

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Roots are a common issue in drain lines


With the camera we can locate the distribution box of septic systems.


Root masses can block drainage.

This camera has saved us a significant amount of time during the septic inspection. Not only that, but our clients benefit substantially from knowing all this “hidden” information.

CSST Piping


CSST Piping ( Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing ) is used for gas lines in homes and commercial structures.  This line is flexibly, light weight, easy to store, transport, and takes less time and skill to install. This makes this product much less expensive to use, it can be identified by the yellow plastic coating surrounding it.

The CSST gas lines are thin-walled Stainless steel and is prone to damage from lighting strikes.  If lightening were to directly strike the home or even indirectly (several miles away in some cases),failure of the CSST pipe my occur.

Starting in 2009,CSST should be bonded to reduce the risk of damage from lighting strikes or other faulty electrical issues as stated by the National Fuel Gas Code.  It needs to have a separate ground wire connected directly to rigid gas piping, or a manifold, before the CSST pipe, but after the gas meter. This ground wire should be connected to the homes electrical ground and not a ground used by the gas company. For details on properly bonding CSST gas pipe we suggest contacting a licensed electrician. The following links provide details for acceptable grounding techniques.

Panel Box Safety!

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Cooked mouse!!!

Flammable Material!!

Flammable Material!!

Open knockouts!!

Open knockouts!!








While performing a home inspection in Bethany Beach, DE some bad practices were observed in the panel box. These issues increase the risk of a fire. During the home inspection several issues were found in the panel box.  There should never be combustible material inside of a panel box including cardboard, paper and wood debris.  Knockouts inside of a panel box were designed to easily run electric wires in and out of the box.  Open knockouts should be properly sealed to keep debris and critters from entering the panel box.  The Bethany Beach home owners were very lucky that the cooked mouse did not catch fire and ignite the pieces of cardboard. Home inspectors should be on the look out for open knockouts to help prevent these types of problems.

Eastern Shore Radon Levels

How often do our clients ask about Radon? Here is some news you can share with them. These maps will be posted on our website for your future use and as a resouce for our clients.
What is Radon?

Radon is a cancer-causing natural radioactive gas that you can’t see, smell or taste. Its presence in a home can pose a danger to the occupents health. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America and claims more than 20,000 lives annually. Radon comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe.

Maryland Radon LevelsDelaware radon

What do the colors mean? Good news – the Lower Eastern Shore of MD, DE, and VA has a low potential for Radon.


 Zone 1 counties have a predicted average indoor radon screening level greater than 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter) (red zones) Highest Potential

 Zone 2 counties have a predicted average indoor radon screening level between 2 and 4 pCi/L (orange zones) Moderate Potential

 Zone 3 counties have a predicted average indoor radon screening level less than 2 pCi/L (yellow zones) Low Potential

In case you have a client who insist on testing here are some options:
NEHA Certified Radon Measurement Specialists

Company, Inspector, Phone, City & County
US Inspect, Frank DiFazio, (302) 540-2070, Lewes, Sussex

Cornerstone Home Inspection Service, Russell Sutton, (302) 537-6214, Ocean View, Sussex

Radon Detection & Consulting Services, James G. Stromberg, (410) 804-6924, Ocean View, Sussex

Rehoboth Roulette…Mold or Wood Destroying Fungus?

In our last blog we mentioned the while at a Rehoboth Beach, Delaware home inspection a customer mentioned wanting to treat his own mold problem. We thought it necessary to follow up with a blog on wood destroying fungus which many times gets mistaken for mold, leading to even more serious problems for the homeowner. Sussex County home inspectors run into this issue quite often.

When dealing with bio-growth in your home it is of the utmost importance to be sure to test the fungus to determine if you have mold or a wood destroying fungus. While both are serious threats, wood destroying fungus can actually jeopardize the structural soundness of your home. Wood destroying fungi causes more damage to structures than all the fires, floods, and termites combined!

Wood decaying fungus requires four fundamentals to survive which are oxygen, favorable temperatures, water, and food. However, since fungus is a plant that lack chlorophyll, it is unable to make its own food and so it feeds off of cells in the wood. The fungus secretes enzymes that break down the wood into usable food. Fungi will significantly reduce the strength of the wood, if untreated for a long period of time.


Once you have determined whether your home is suffering from a case of mold or a wood destroying fungus you can then proceed to treat. If you do find out that it is simply mold, you are not out of the woods yet. It must be treated immediately as the presence of mold indicates moisture levels sufficient enough for the growth of a wood destroying fungus. (Tips for treating mold)

There are different types of wood destroying fungus, each with identifying characteristics.

  • White rot – breaks down all major wood components and commonly causes rotted wood to feel moist, soft and spongy, or stringy and to appear white bleached.
  • Brown rot – leaves a brown residue of lignin and the affected wood is usually dry and fragile, and readily crumbles into cubes. Brown rot is generally more serious than white rot.
  • Soft rot – typically occurs in wood of high water content and high nitrogen content. Soft rot fungi look like brown rot. They are most commonly found in rotting window frames, wet floor boards and fence posts, etc.

Treatment of wood destroying fungus requires borates. Borates are highly destructive to all wood destroying organisms and, unlike other wood preservatives, they are non-volatile, odorless, and are less toxic than table salt. They do not discolor the wood, are non-corrosive, environmentally safe and effective in controlling more than 45 different species of wood destroying fungi.
After treatment has been completed the fungi will begin to die and dry up. Occasionally the dead fungi will emit an unpleasant odor as it decomposes. This will only last a couple of days and may be minimized with the circulation of fresh air.

Although borates will kill wood destroying fungi, it will not add strength to the damaged wood. The most effective and common method for moderate to severe damage is to replace the damaged wood. However, if only a small area is affected, borates and reinforcing the damaged wood are a cost-effective alternative.

Knob and Tube Wiring Found in a Salisbury Home Inspection

Knob and Tube (K&T) wiring was an early standardized method of electrical wiring which was extremely prevalent in the 1920’s and 30’s. While prevalent in the early part of the 20th century K&T was installed in some locations as late as the 1970’s. It was known that other methods such as better insulated wiring was safer and more effective but K&T could be installed for less.

There are several ways of detecting K&T wiring. One sign is that the circuit will have no electrical ground path. Also where ever the wire passes through lumber ceramic tubes are installed to insulate the wire from the wood. Ceramic knobs, which are displayed in the image, are also used as an insulator when the wiring is surface mounted in a building. The illustration displays the way K&T wiring is usually connected to homes. The best place to look for these signs is where ever the homes wiring is visible such as in the basement or in the attic rafters. Another sign that your home may have K&T wiring is the presence of old push button switches and two pronged outlets with no ground.

K&T wiring is insulated with a rubberized cloth. This insulation is prone to damage and was designed to be suspended in the air. The insulation breaks easily and deteriorates when over heated by modern appliances which expose the wire to damage. The insulation is also highly flammable. I have provided a link below that goes in to greater detail about the insulation of K&T wiring.




<——- Damaged insulation and wiring in contact with other material.

Rehoboth Beach Man Wants To Clean Up His Own Mold…A good Idea??

While at a home inspection in Rehoboth Beach we noticed some mold spots on the walls of the basement. The buyer stated that he would just take a rag with bleach to the area. In areas of wide spread bio growth this could be a big mistake.

Dealing with large areas of mold is no DIY project. It is a serious problem that if not properly treated can lead to severe health consequences. So how do you know if you need to call in a specialist to deal with your mold problem or if it’s something you can take on yourself? Well if the moldy area is 10 sq ft or less you can probably tackle the problem yourself but be sure to follow the proper guidelines.

  • First be sure to fix any plumbing leaks and other water problems that could be causing the mold as soon as possible and be absolutely sure to area is completely dry as the mold will continue to grow if there is moisture present. (This can be a big challenge for those in Rehoboth Beach, Bethany Beach, Lewis, Ocean City etc. as moisture issues are prevalent on the Eastern Shore) High Tech Home Inspections uses the latest technology to help our clients locate areas of un seen moisture.
  • Next wash the mold with bleach and water and dry completely. Never mix chlorine bleach solution with other cleaning solutions or detergents that contain ammonia because toxic fumes could be produced. Be sure to follow the EPA suggested guidelines while cleaning small areas of mold.
  • You may not be able to rid mold completely from some absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles and carpets since mold can grow in the tiny crevices making it impossible to remove. As a result you may have to replace certain affected areas.
  • It is important to always wear the proper protection when dealing with mold. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) suggest that you wear an N-95 respirator that fits properly to avoid any mold spore inhalation, as well as gloves and goggles.

You may suspect hidden mold if a building smells moldy or like mildew. Mold can hide in many places such as the backside of drywall, wall paper and paneling as well as under carpets and inside walls around leaking pipes. If you think you may have a hidden mold problem it is important that you call in a specialist. Removing materials with hidden mold is very dangerous as the mold spores can be made airborne.

It is also important to note that dead or dormant mold may still cause an allergic reaction in some people, therefore it is suggested to remove all mold, just killing it may not solve the problem.
Some things are just better left to the professionals and dealing with large areas of mold is definitely one of them.

New Voluntary Rule in Fireplace Safety to Take Effect January 2015

Fireplace manufacturers have agreed to add screens to the glass doors of gas fireplaces to prevent serious burns to an estimated 200 children ages 5 and younger each year. The new voluntary rule doesn’t come into effect until January 2015 yet companies are stepping up and providing customers with screens that can be purchased long before then in order to keep their children safe this winter season. Contact your gas-fireplace manufacturer to see if they sell a screen that fits their fireplace or if they can recommend one from an aftermarket maker.

 Safety consultant Carol Pollack-Nelson got the ball rolling on this when she sent the CPSC a petition asking them to require the industry to protect consumers from the glass. Approximately 11 million homes in the United States have gas fireplaces yet almost 6 million of these households were unaware of the doors’ burn risks.

 Always keep in mind these safety tips when around gas fireplaces, stoves or inserts

 • Supervise children, the elderly, disabled and pets when around a fireplace, stove or insert that was recently turned off
• Keep any remote control out of the reach of children
• Install a switch lock to prevent children from turning it on
• Make sure family members and guests are aware a gas fireplace, stove or insert’s glass panel can be very hot
• Wait for the appliance to cool down before allowing anyone near it (cooling down can take an hour or more)
• Be aware that metal surfaces, including door frames and grills, can also get hot
• Read the owner’s manual and follow instructions

Mold and Moisture on the Eastern Shore

Mold can be a big problem for many homeowners on the Eastern Shore. Many cases are never completely fixed because people don’t know the proper steps to take for treatment and removal. It is important to understand what mold is and how it thrives in order to properly protect your home.

Molds are forms of fungi that are found naturally in the environment. They produce tiny spores to reproduce which waft through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When these spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.

When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, or in your crawl space, mold growth will often occur, especially if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or un-addressed. This can be a big problem for those living in the Rehoboth, Ocean City, Bethany Beach and Salisbury areas where moisture and high humidity is often present. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the only way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.

It is important to dry water-damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth. If mold is a problem in your home, clean up the mold and get rid of the excess water or moisture. Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water. Wash mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely. Absorbent materials that become moldy may have to be replaced such as ceiling tiles and carpet. Have your crawl space inspected annually to detect plumbing leaks, clogged condensate lines, or damaged duct work.

Crawl space moisture often goes undetected for years. This client had annual HVAC services and was never told the condensate line should drain to the exterior.

Water in your home can come from many sources. Water can enter your home by leaking or by seeping through basement floors or foundation walls. Showers or even cooking can add moisture to the air in your home. Reduce indoor humidity to decrease mold growth by venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and de-humidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.

Open doors between rooms to increase circulation, as circulation carries heat to the cold surfaces. Increase air circulation by using fans and by moving furniture from wall corners to promote air and heat circulation. Be sure that your house has a source of fresh air and can expel excessive moisture from the home. Proper attic venting is a key in allowing your home to breathe.

With out proper attic venting moisture can become trapped in the building envelope. In the cooler months condensation occurs and bio growth may follow.

Living with mold can be detrimental to your health. Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints. It is important to regularly check for signs of mold and immediately address any problems you may find.