I thought I'd give you a peek inside a home inspector's tool bag. My bag has certainly changed throughout the years. I can't believe that when I first started performing home inspections in Windsor and Essex County over 25 years ago, my bag included a Polaroid Camera amongst other tools. Yup, back then, digital cameras were just starting to become available to the general public and so I'd use a Polaroid camera so my client got instant results. I thought I'd include a picture of a Polaroid camera for you young ones who don't know what it is.
Anyway, today's home inspector tool bag contains state-of-the-art equipment that helps the house inspector see and diagnose the various conditions of the home.
I come prepared with several ladders so every effort is made to reach what other home inspectors might consider inaccessible areas. Since a portion of the home inspection takes place outside, a large golf umbrella has saved many clients during inclement weather throughout the years. Once inside the house, I wear my slippers so that I can be as respectful as possible to the home-owner.
In addition to my home inspection business, I have also been doing home inspections in the Windsor and Essex County area for the Mike Holmes Group (you know the Holmes on Holmes TV personality). Mike insisted that his home inspectors get the best infrared camera to do the job right. So, that's what I did and this camera cost about half of what I paid for my first house! This thermal imaging camera reads temperature differences which can indicate a number of things including moisture, air infiltration, and missing insulation.
I like my all-weather digital camera too. It is frost-proof, water-proof and drop proof. I remember when I got one of my first digital cameras, they were really expensive when they first came out and unfortunately not waterproof. One camera met its early demise in a sump pit. :(
Another important tool for a home inspector is the moisture meter. When an area looks suspect, I pull this meter out to pinpoint the exact location of the moisture pocket. From there, I use my knowledge and experience to find out why the moisture is there and then I can provide useful recommendations.
A level comes in handy to confirm the slope of plumbing drains. Of course, a multi-head screw driver is necessary for removing the electrical panel cover. I've got my trusty hand-vac too which has been used on several occasions after removing dusty attic access doors. Binoculars come in handy when inspecting the exterior of homes, while my telescopic mirror has enabled me to see up chimneys as well as around the corner in ducts. A strong flashlight is a necessity to illuminate attics as well as all corners of the crawl space.
When inspecting a crawl space, I wear coveralls and a good face mask. I know a home inspector who was very ill for months and the doctors believe it was from breathing-in material from a crawl space.
I use a poker or awl to check for wood rot. The awl also comes in handy while making my way from one end of a crawl space to another....sometimes there are so many spider webs that I twirl it around the webs (I call this 'making cotton candy out of webs').
Lastly, my carbon monoxide detector and natural gas detector have potentially saved a lot of lives over the years.
There you have it. I might have left a thing or two out but you get the jist of it. It takes more than a screw driver and flashlight to perform a thorough, comprehensive home inspection. A home inspector's tool bag has come a long way since the Polaroid Camera days.
I've come across a lot of interesting tidbits of information during my 29 year career as a home inspector. I've been told that I'm pretty meticulous and a good 'teacher', so hopefully you'll find some interesting information here..