While in the process of purchasing a home, you are going to want to have a home inspection performed. It's a security blanket of sorts for you to be sure there aren't safety hazards and major defects in the home. Contracts to purchase homes have clauses in them that allow buyers to have a professional inspection performed, typically within the first five to ten days of signing the contract.
There are quite a few professional home inspection companies in most markets. Buyers who choose thorough home inspectors have a better chance of protecting their home values. Be sure to ask which technologies they use as they can make a difference in how much more thorough the inspection is. Before committing to a company consider:
Common Home Inspection Tools
Most home inspectors use common tools during their home inspections. Be sure to ask the home inspectors you are interviewing which tools they will use. If the list is short or non-existent, chances of them using more advanced technological tools are not very likely. The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) states, "In theory, an inspector could perform an inspection that complies with InterNACHI Standard of Practice using only two pieces of equipment: a flashlight and an electrical tester capable of testing ground-fault interrupter (GFCI) devices."
Another common tool which is helpful in performing a more thorough inspection is a voltage indicator, which helps determine whether voltage is present in wiring or an electrical device. A combustible-gas detector is also advisable because it can detect small amounts of combustible gas in homes. Ladders are convenient for heights. Common tool kits should be readily available as well.
Here is a short list of the more technologically advanced tools some home inspectors use which make their home inspections of more value:
Drones aid in observing parts of your home that are more difficult to see such as the roof, gutters and attics. It is also much safer for a home inspector to use a drone than it is for an inspector to climb up on a ladder. Drones are also capable of taking photos and videos. Most home inspectors include photos in their reports. Some attach videos to online reports as well.
Infrared Thermal Imaging
Infrared (IR) cameras use infrared radiation to form colorful images which reveal areas in a home with hotter than normal and colder than normal temperatures. These cameras are convenient because they can help detect fire hazards behind walls if too much heat is detected. They can also detect cooler than normal temperatures. For example, a cooler-colored image may indicate that there is an area in the home that does not have adequate insulation.
Moisture meters have two purposes. They search for and detect moisture behind different materials such as walls, tile, carpeting and the like. They also measure the level of moisture if moisture is found and can help locate plumbing leaks. Some moisture meters have both features. It is best that your home inspector has the capability of both detecting and measuring moisture during the home inspection.
Carbon Monoxide Analyzer
Carbon monoxide is a gas that can be present in homes and fatal to humans and pets. It is tasteless and odorless. Carbon monoxide gas can be produced by furnaces, water heaters and boilers. A carbon monoxide analyzer can measure carbon monoxide levels to be sure the home is safe.
If you are purchasing a home, having a thorough home inspection is priceless. Buyers who have safe and defect-free homes actually preserve home values better. Here is an article from the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors on nachi.org that will give you a complete list of home inspection tools you should ask your home inspector about.