Home Inspector Joseph Tribuzio 450.003128 Serving the greater Chicago area of Illinois
• A/C Condenser: The outside fan unit of the air conditioning
system. It removes the heat from the Freon gas and turns
the gas back into a liquid and pumps the liquid back to the
coil in the furnace.
• Alarm Systems: Warning devices, installed or freestanding,
including but not limited to: carbon monoxide
detectors, flue gas and other spillage detectors, security
equipment, ejector pumps and smoke alarms.
• Algae: Microorganisms that may grow to colonies in damp
environments, including certain rooftops. They can discolor
shingles. Often described as "fungus."
• Amps (AMPERES): The rate at which electricity flows
through a conductor.
• Anti-Scald: A valve that restricts water flow to help prevent
burn injuries. See Pressure Balancing Valve and
Thermostatic Valve. In some areas, plumbing codes require
anti-scald valves. Speak to a professional in your area for
more information and help with code requirements.
• Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter: A device intended to provide
protection from the effects of arc faults by recognizing
characteristics unique to arcing and by functioning to de-energize
the circuit when an arc fault is detected.
• Asbestos: A common form of magnesium silicate which
was used in various construction products due to its stability
and resistance to fire. Asbestos exposure (caused by inhaling
loose asbestos fibers) is associated with various forms of
lung disease. The name given to certain inorganic minerals
when they occur in fibrous form. Though fire-resistant, its
extremely fine fibers are easily inhaled, and exposure to
them over a period of years has been linked to cancers of
the lung or lung-cavity lining and to asbestosis a severe lung
impairment. A naturally occurring mineral fiber sometimes
found in older homes. It is hazardous to your health when a
possibility exists of exposure to inhalable fibers.
Homeowners should be alert for friable (readily crumbled,
brittle) asbestos and always seek professional advice in
dealing with it.
• Attic Ventilators: In houses, screened openings provided to
ventilate an attic space. They are located in the soffit area as
inlet ventilators and in the gable end or along the ridge as
outlet ventilators. They can also consist of power-driven fans
used as an exhaust system.
• Automatic Safety Controls: Devices designed and installed
to protect systems and components from unsafe conditions.
• Backflow Preventer: A device or means to prevent backflow
into the potable water supply.
• Balusters: Usually small vertical members in a railing usedbetween a top rail and the stair treads or a bottom rail.
• Batt Insulation: Strips of insulation, usually fiberglass, that
fit between studs or other framing.
• Branch Circuit (Electrical): Wiring that runs from a service
panel or sub-panel to outlets. Branch circuits are protected
by fuses or breakers at the panel.
• BX Cable: Armored electrical cable wrapped in galvanized
steel outer covering. A factory assembly of insulated
conductors inside a flexible metallic covering. It can be run
anywhere except where exposed to excessive moisture. It
should not be run below grade. It must always be grounded
and uses its armor as an equipment ground. It is difficult to
pull out old wires or insert new ones.
• Carbon Monoxide: a colorless, odorless, very toxic gas CO
that is formed as a product of the incomplete combustion of
carbon or a carbon compound.
• Cast-Iron Pipe (Plumbing): Drain and vent lines. Most older
drain-waste venting systems are made of cast-iron pipes.
Now increasingly supplanted by ABS and PVC. Pipes were
originally joined with molten lead, but most plumbers now
join them with no-hub couplers.
• Ceiling Joist: One of a series of parallel framing members
used to support ceiling loads and supported in turn by larger
beams, girders or bearing walls. Also called roof joists.
• Circuit Breaker: A protective device which automatically
opens an electrical circuit when it is overloaded.
• Class B Door: A fire resistant rating applied by the
Underwriters Laboratories Classification for a door having a 1
to 1 1/2 hour rating.
• Cleanout: A plug in a trap or drain pipe that provides
access for the purpose of clearing an obstruction.
• Clearance: The minimum distance through air measured
between the surface of something heat-producing and the
surface of something combustible.
• Client: A person or person who engages or seeks toengage the services of a home inspector for an inspection
• Component: A part of a system.
• Condensate removal pump: are small pumps that are used
to remove condensate formed by normal operation of a
heating, air-conditioning appliance or gas condensing
• Contractor: An individual licensed to perform certain types
of construction activities. In most states, the general
contractor's license and some specialty contractor's licenses
don't require compliance with bonding, workmen's
compensation and similar regulations. Some of the specialty
contractor licenses involve extensive training, testing and/or
insurance requirements. There are various types ofcontractors: General Contractor - responsible for the
execution, supervision and overall coordination of a project
and may also perform some of the individual construction
tasks. Most general contractors are not licensed to perform
all specialty trades and must hire specialty contractors for
such tasks, e.g. electrical, plumbing. Remodeling Contractor
- a general contractor who specializes in remodeling work.
Specialty Contractor - licensed to perform a specialty task
e.g. electrical, side sewer, asbestos abatement. Sub
Contractor - a general or specialty contractor who works for
another general contractor.
• Corrosion: The deterioration of metal by chemical or
electrochemical reaction resulting from exposure to
weathering, moisture, chemicals or other agents or media. • Counter Flashing: The formed metal secured to a wall,
curb, or roof top unit to cover and protect the upper edge of
a base flashing and its associated fasteners. This type of
flashing is usually used in residential construction on
chimneys at the roofline to cover shingle flashing and to
prevent moisture entry.
• Cripple walls- A cripple wall is a short stud wall that
extends from the top of the perimeter foundation upward to
carry the floor joists. The danger comes from the fact that
these components are in the seismic load path and are often
inadequately braced. They can collapse like dominos in a
large earthquake. Take care; not all homes have cripple
walls, but that won't stop some contractors from offering
bracing for them.
• Cross-Bridging: Diagonal bracing between adjacent floor
joists, placed near the center of the joist span to prevent
joists from twisting.
• Cross Connection: Any connection between two otherwise
separate piping systems, one of which contains potable
water and the other which contains something which could
contaminate the potable water.
• Decorative: Ornamental; not required for the operation of
the essential systems and components of a home.
• Describe: To report a system or component by its type or
other observed, significant characteristics to distinguish it
from other systems or components.
• Dismantle: To take apart or remove any component,
device or piece of equipment that would not be taken apart
or removed by a homeowner in the course of normal and
routine home owner maintenance.
• Diverter: Valves which have a single inlet and direct water
to one of two outlets. Diverters are used with handshowers,
shower risers, tub & shower combinations, and kitchen
• Dormer: A converted attic with windows projecting through a sloping roof.
• Double Hung Window: A window with sashes that slide
vertically and allow opening from the top and bottom.
• Downspout: The pipe that carries water down from the
gutter or scupper. Also called a leader.
• Drip Edge: A device designed to prevent water from
running back or under an overhang.
• Drip leg at gas piping : "drip leg" is located at the lowest
point in the gas line system, and there may be more than
one "lowest point" in that it is seldom that the gas piping is
run horizontally or at a continuous slope, meaning the gas
piping is usually run up and around things, then back down
and around things, then back up, and each low point would
require a drip leg IF the gas was considered to be wet gas.
• Dry rot/ Fungal Wood Rot: A common wood destroying
organism which develops when wood containing material is
exposed to moisture and poor air circulation for a long (6
months +) period of time. Often and incorrectly referred to
as dry rot.
• Drywall Construction: A type of construction in which the
interior wall finish is applied in a dry condition, generally in
the form of sheet materials or wood paneling as contrasted
• DWV (Drainage, Waste & Vent): The pipes in a plumbing
system that remove waste water.
• Eaves Flashing: Additional layer of roofing material applied at the eaves to help prevent damage from water backup.
• Efflorescence: A white powder on the surface of walls due
to evaporation of water. It forms on the surface of bricks.
• ef-flo-res-cence (ef? le res?ens), 1. a change on the
surface to a powdery substance upon exposure to air, as a
crystalline substance through loss of water. 2. to become
incrusted or covered with crystals of salt or the like through
evaporation or chemical change
• EMT (Electrical Metallic Tubing): Electrical pipe, also called
thin-wall conduit, which may be used for both concealed and
exposed areas. It is the most common type of raceway used
in single family and low rise residential and commercial
• Evaluate: To assess the systems, structures or components
of a dwelling.
• Fascia: the vertical "fascia board" which caps the end of
rafters outside a building, which can be used to hold the rain
gutter. The finished surface below the fascia and rafters is
called the soffit . The general term for the roof overhang is
• Fire Stop: A solid, tight closure of a concealed space,
placed to prevent the spread of fire and smoke through such
a space. In a frame wall, this will usually consist of 2x4s cross blocking between studs.
• Fire Wall: Any wall built for the purpose of restricting or
preventing the spread of fire in a building. Such walls of solid
masonry or concrete generally sub-divide a building from the
foundations to two or more feet above the plane of the roof.
• Flatwork: Common word for concrete floors, driveways,
basements, and sidewalks.
• Flue: A pipe used to exhaust smoke, gas or air.
• Flue Collar: Round metal ring which fits around the heat
flue pipe after the pipe passes out of the roof.
• Flue Damper: An automatic door located in the flue that
closes it off when the burner turns off; its purpose is to
reduce heat loss up the flue from the still-warm furnace or
• Flue Lining: Fire clay or terracotta pipe, round or square,
usually made in all ordinary flue sizes and in 2-foot lengths,
used for the inner lining of chimneys with the brick or
masonry work around the outside. Flue lining in chimneys
runs from about a foot below the flue connection to the top
of the chimney.
• Footings: Wide pours of cement reinforced with re-bar
(reinforcing bar) that support foundation walls, pillars, or
posts. Footings are part of the foundation and are often
poured before the foundation walls
• Forced Air Heating: A common form of heating with natural
gas, propane, oil or electricity as a fuel. Air is heated in the
furnace and distributed through a set of metal plastic ducts
to various areas of the house.
• Foundation: The supporting portion of a structure below the first floor construction, or below grade, including the
• Frostline: The depth of frost penetration in soil. This depth
varies in different parts of the country. Footings should be
placed below this depth to prevent movement.
• Fully Tempered Glass: Flat or bent glass that has been
heat-treated to a high surface and/or edge compression to
meet the requirements of ASTM C 1048 kind FT. Fully
tempered glass, if broken, will fracture into many small
pieces (dice) which are more or less cubical. Fully tempered
glass is approximately four times stronger than annealed
glass of the same thickness when exposed to uniform static
• Functional: Performing, or able to perform, a function.
• Furnace: A heating system that uses the principle of
thermal convection. When air is heated, it rises and as the
air cools it settles. Ducts are installed to carry the hot air
from the top of the furnace to the rooms. Other ducts, called
cold air returns, return the cooler air back to the furnace.
• Further Evaluation: Examination and analysis by a qualified professional, tradesperson or service technician
beyond that provided by the home inspection.
• Gable: The end of a building as distinguished from the
front or rear side. The triangular end of an exterior wall from
the level of the eaves to the ridge of a double-sloped roof. In
house construction, the portion of the roof above the eave
line of a double-sloped roof.
• GFI or GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters): Special
devices capable of opening a circuit when even a small
amount of current is flowing through the grounding system.
• Ground: Refers to electricity's habit of seeking the shortest
route to earth. Neutral wires carry it there in all circuits. An
additional grounding wire or the sheathing of the metal-clad
cable or conduit protects against shock if the neutral leg is
• Habitable Space: Space in a structure for living, sleeping,
eating or cooking. Bathrooms, closets, halls, storage areas
and utility spaces are not considered habitable spaces.
• H Clip: Small metal clips formed like an "H" that fits at the
joints of two plywood (or wafer board) sheets to stiffen the
joint. Normally used on the roof sheeting.
• Hearth: The inner or outer floor of a fireplace, usually
made of brick, tile, or stone.
• Hip Roof: A roof that rises by inclined planes from all four
sides of a building.
• Hose Bib: An outdoor faucet with hose threads on the
spout. Also commonly used to supply washing machines and
• Household Appliances: Kitchen, laundry and similar
appliances, whether installed or free-standing.
• HVAC: Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning.
• Infestation: The presence of insects, rats, vermin, or other pests.
• Inspection: The process of an inspector collecting
information through visual observation during a walkthrough
survey of the subject property, conducting research
about the property, and then generating a meaningful report
about the condition of the property based on the
observations made and research conducted by the inspector.
A commercial inspection requires the inspector to make
observations, conduct research, and report findings.
• Installed: Attached in such a manner that removal
• Jack Post: A type of structural support made of metal
which can be raised or lowered through a series of pins and
a screw to meet the height required. Basically used as a
replacement for an old supporting member in a building.
• Joist Hanger: A metal "U" shaped item used to support the end of a floor joist and attached with hardened nails to
another bearing joist or beam.
• Landing: A platform between flights of stairs or at the
termination of a flight of stairs.
• Lath and Plaster: The most common wall finish prior to the
introduction of drywall. Thin wood strips (lath) were nailed
onto the framing as a base for the sand/lime plaster.
• Lead Based Paint: Lead is a highly toxic metal that was
used for many years in products found in and around our
homes. Lead may cause a range of health effects, from
behavioral problems and learning disabilities, to seizures and
death. Children 6 years old and under are most at risk,
because their bodies are growing quickly.
• Load Bearing Wall: A wall which is supporting its own
weight and some other structural elements of the house such
as the roof and ceiling structures.
• Masonry: Stone, brick, concrete, hollow-tile, concrete
block, gypsum block, or other similar building units or
materials or a combination of the same, bonded together
with mortar to form a wall, pier, buttress, or similar mass.
• Modified Bitumen Roof: A roof covering that is typically
composed of a factory-fabricated composite sheet consisting
of a copolymer-modified bitumen, often reinforced with
polyester and/or fiberglass, and installed in one or more
plies. The membrane is commonly surfaced with field-applied
coatings, factory-applied granules or metal foil. The roofing
system may incorporate rigid insulation.
• Neutral bus bar : A grounded metal bar in a breaker box to
which all neutral and grounding wires are connected.
• Normal Operating Controls: Devices such as, but not
limited to, thermostats, switches or faucets intended to be
operated by the homeowner.
• Overhang: That part of the roof structure which extends
horizontally beyond the vertical plane of the exterior walls of
• Oxide jacking: When a metal lintel rusts it expands and
can make the masonry shift, step crack, etc. " As ferrous
metals oxidize they rust, this rust converts the iron or steel
surface into an oxide scale that can reportedly grow up to
ten times the thickness of the original structural element.
In other words, a steel lintel embedded in a masonry wall
and supporting the brick above a window or door header can
grow in height from
.375 (3/8) inches to nearly 3.75 inches.
• Perimeter Drain: 3" or 4" perforated plastic pipe that goes
around the perimeter (either inside or outside) of a
foundation wall (before backfill) and collects and diverts
ground water away from the foundation. Generally, it is
"daylighted" into a sump pit inside the home, and a sump pump is sometimes inserted into the pit to discharge any
accumulation of water.
• Plumbing Stack: A plumbing vent pipe that penetrates the
• Pointing: The process where joints between masonry units,
brick, etc., are ground out and filled with mortar. Not to be
confused with tuck pointing which is a a more superficial
application of mortar often without any preparation of old
mortar joint ( no grinding).
• Post & Beam Construction: Most common type of wall
framing, using posts which carry horizontal beams on which
joists are supported. It allows for fewer bearing partitions
and less material.
• Radiant Heating: A method of heating, usually consisting of
a forced hot water system with pipes placed in the floor,
wall, or ceiling, or with electrically heated panels.
• Rafter: A sloping roof member that supports the roof
covering which extends from the ridge or the hip of the roof
to the eaves. A common rafter is one which runs square with
the plate and extends to the ridge. A hip rafter extends from
the outside angle of the plate towards the apex of the roof.
They are 2" deeper or wider than common rafters. A valley
rafter extends from an inside angle of the plates toward the
ridge of the house.
• Rake: Trim members that run parallel to the roof slope and
form the finish between the wall and a gable roof extension.
The angle of slope of a roof rafter, or the inclined portion of
• Readily Accessible: Available for visual inspection without
requiring moving of personal property, dismantling,
destructive measures, or any action that will likely involve
risk to persons or property.
• Readily Operable Access Panel: A panel provided for
homeowner inspection and maintenance that is within
normal reach, can be removed by one person, and is not
sealed in place.
• Receptacle: An electrical outlet. A typical household will
have many 120 volt receptacles for plugging in lams and
appliances and 240 volt receptacles for the range, clothes
dryer, air conditioners, etc.
• Recreational Facilities: Spas, saunas, steam baths,
swimming pools, and exercise, entertainment, athletic,
playground or other similar equipment and associated
• Relative Humidity: The amount of water vapor in the
atmosphere, expressed as a percentage of the maximum
quantity that could be present at a given temperature. (The actual amount of water vapor that can be held in space
increases with the temperature.)
• Report: To communicate in writing.
• Representative Number: One component per room for
multiple similar interior components, such as windows, doors
and electric outlets, and one component on each side of the
building for multiple similar exterior components.
• Ridge Board: The board placed on edge at the ridge of the
roof into which the upper ends of the rafters are fastened.
• Roof Drainage Systems: Components used to carry water
off a roof and away from a building.
• R-Value: The thermal resistance of a glazing system. The
R-value is the reciprocal of the U-value. The higher the R
value, the less heat is transmitted throughout the glazing
• Scupper: An outlet in the wall of a building or a parapet
wall for drainage of water from a flat roof.
• Sealant: An elastomeric material with adhesive qualities
applied between components of a similar or dissimilar nature
to provide an effective barrier against the passage of the
• Sediment Trap in gas line: a sediment trap is a section of
gas pipe extending down from a t connection - it is located
just before each appliance and each appliance requires a
• Settlement: Shifts in a structure, usually caused by freeze thaw
• Sewage "Ejector Pump": A pump used to 'lift' waste water
to a gravity sanitary sewer line. Usually used in basements and other locations which are situated bellow the level of the
• Shake: A thick handsplit shingle, resawed to form two
shakes; usually edge-grained.
• Sheathing: The structural covering, usually wood boards,
plywood, gypsum or wood fiber, used over studs or rafters of
framed buildings as the first layer of outer wall covering
nailed to the studs or rafters.
• Shutoff Valve: The valve that allows water supply to be cut
off to one fixture without affecting the water supply to the
entire house or building. Common for use with clawfoot tubs,
sinks, and toilets.
• Sill: The lowest member of the frame of a structure,
resting on the foundation and supporting the floor joists or
the uprights of the wall. The member forming the lower side
of an opening, as in a door sill, window sill, etc.
• Slab, Concrete: Concrete pavement, i.e. driveways,
garages, and basement floors.
• Slab on Grade: A type of construction in which footings are needed but little or no foundation wall is poured.
• Solid Fuel Burning Appliances: A hearth and fire chamber
or similar prepared place in which a fire may be built and
that is built in conjunction with a chimney; or a listed
assembly of a fire chamber, its chimney and related factorymade
parts designed for unit assembly without requiring
• Spalling: The chipping or flaking of concrete, bricks, or
other masonry where improper drainage or venting and
freeze/thaw cycling exists.
• Step Flashing: Individual small pieces of metal flashing
material used to flash around chimneys, dormers, and such
projections along the slope of a roof. The individual pieces
are overlapped and stepped up the vertical surface.
• Storm Sewer: A sewer system designed to collect storm
water and is separated from the waste water system.
• Sump Pump: A submersible pump in a sump pit that
pumps any excess ground water to the outside of the home.
• System: A combination of interacting or interdependent
components, assembled to carry out one or more functions.
• Technically Exhaustive Inspection: An investigation that
involves dismantling or the extensive use of advance
techniques, measurements, instruments, testing,
calculations or other means.
• Three-Phase: In electrical contracting, a wiring system
consisting of 4 wires and used in industrial and commercial
applications. This system is suitable for installations
requiring large motors. It consists of three hot wires and one
ground wire. The voltage in each hot wire is out of phase
with the others by 1/3 of a cycle, as if produced by 3 different generators.
• Trim (Exterior): The finish materials on the exterior of a
building, such as moldings applied around openings (window
trim, door trim), siding, windows, exterior doors, attic vents,
crawl space vents, shutters, etc. Also, the physical work of
installing these materials.
• Trim (Interior): The finish materials in a building, such as
moldings applied around openings (window trim, door trim)
or at the floor and ceiling of rooms (baseboard, cornice, and
other moldings). Also, the physical work of installing interior
doors and interior woodwork, to include all handrails,
guardrails, stairway balustrades, mantles, light boxes, base,
door casings, cabinets, countertops, shelves, window sills
and aprons, etc.
• Under-floor Crawl Space: The area within the confines of
the foundation and between the ground and the underside of
• Underlayment: A material placed under finish coverings,
such as flooring, or shingles, to provide a smooth, even surface for applying the finish.
• Unsafe: A condition in a system or component that poses
a significant risk of personal injury or property damage
during normal, day-to-day use. The risk may be due to
damage, deterioration, improper installation or a change in
accepted residential construction standards.
• Vapor Barrier: A membrane which is placed between the
insulation and the roof deck to retard water vapor in the
building from entering the insulation and condensing into
• Venting: The process of installing roof vents in a roof
assembly to relieve vapor pressure. The process of water in
the insulation course of the roof assembly evaporating and
exiting via the roof vents.
• Water Table: The location of the underground water, and
the vertical distance from the surface of the earth to this
• Wax Ring Job: Removing a toilet from the floor so that a
blockage can be manually removed or to replace a degraded
wax ring. Replacing a new wax ring on the bottom of the
toilet to create a seal.
• Weep Hole: A hole which allows for drainage of entrapped
water from masonry or glazing structures-(windows).
• Wiring Methods: Includes identification of electrical
conductors or wires such as, but not limited to, non-metallic
sheathed cable (Romex), armored cable (BX) or knob and
• Z-bar Flashing: Bent, galvanized metal flashing that's
installed above a horizontal trim board of an exterior
window, door, or brick run. It prevents water from getting
behind the trim/brick and into the home.