Frequently Asked Questions

How long does an inspection take?

Inspection times vary depending on the size of the home, but as a general rule, you can figure anywhere from 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours. Some inspections will take longer depending on the size of the home and what is identified during the evaluation.

Do I need to be at the home inspection?

Technically no, you do not have to be there. 

It is however, strongly recommended that you do attend the home inspection. There are many aspects to a home inspection and you may not receive the full benefit of the evaluation or totally understand what is in the written report and why it was included if you aren’t there. 

How long will it take to get my report?

The written home inspection report as a general rule, will be sent out the next business day. Due the nature of Radon Tests, these results usually take about a week.

Are you licensed and insured?

YES – New Jersey Law requires that all Home Inspectors be licensed and carry insurance.

I am selling my home. Do I need a home inspection?

No, but it’s definitely a good idea to have one.    

This gives you the seller, an opportunity to be aware of what will likely come up during the buyer’s home inspection giving you a chance to repair or improve those items beforehand. Knowing ahead of time of any potential issues can help prevent any “surprises” and a possible delay in closing.    

Water Seepage

Causes of Wet Basements and Crawl Spaces

Most wet basements or crawl spaces are caused by surface water which is not adequately drained away from the foundation wall. Sources of this water include the following:

  • Roof water if no guttering is present
  • Roof water if the guttering leaks or overflows because of clogging from leaves and bird nests
  • Roof water if the downspouts (leaders) are clogged or do not have sufficient means at their outlets to drain water away from the foundation wall. Frequently, a downspout ends at the corner of the house without a splash pad (splash block) or elbow (shoe), leaving roof water to concentrate at that point and seep into the soil next to the foundation wall. A typical 2000 square foot roof can produce almost 1250 gallons of water during just 1 inch of rainfall. If the rainfall is steady and prolonged, the opportunity for this roof water to soak into the ground next to the foundation wall is high.
  • Excessive watering of flower beds and shrubbery around the foundation wall. Once the upper soil layer or mulch bed air spaces are filled with water, the excess water either runs off or seeps into the ground next to the wall. Prolonged and excessive watering can contribute a large amount of water to crawl spaces or basements.
  • Rainwater runoff from the adjacent lawn, walks, or driveway areas if the landscaping forces water to drain toward the house instead of away. If surface runoff is directed toward the foundation wall, this water will pond and eventually soak into the soil, thus becoming a potential source of basement or crawl space water. Downspout splash pads are not very effective if they drain onto a backward-draining slope toward the foundation wall.
AMK Home Inspection, LLC

Lead Paint

Many homes built before 1978 have lead-based paint. The federal government banned lead-based paint from housing in 1978. Some states stopped its use even earlier.

Effects Of Lead

If not detected early, children with high levels of lead in their bodies can suffer from:

  • damage to the brain and nervous system;
  • behavioral and learning problems (such as hyperactivity);
  • slowed growth;
  • hearing problems; and
  • headaches.

Lead is also harmful to adults. Adults can
suffer from:

  • difficulties during pregnancy;
  • other reproductive problems (in both men and women);
  • high blood pressure;
  • digestive problems;
  • nerve disorders;
  • memory and concentration problems; and
  • muscle and joint pain
You can get your home checked in one of two ways (or both):
  • A paint inspection tells you the lead content of every different type of painted surface in your home. It won’t tell you whether the paint is a hazard or how you should deal with it.
  • A risk assessment tells you if there are any sources of serious lead exposure, such as peeling paint and lead dust. It also tells you what actions to take to address these hazards.

Have qualified professionals do the work. There are standards in place for certifying lead-based paint professionals to ensure that the work is done safely, reliably and effectively.

Note: Home test kits for lead are available, but studies suggest that they are not always accurate. Consumers should not rely on these tests before doing renovations or to assure safety.

Septic Systems

Septic systems treat and disperse waste water from individual and small numbers of homes and commercial buildings.

Septic system regulation is usually a state and local responsibility. The EPA provides information to homeowners and assistance to state and local governments to improve the management of septic systems to prevent failures that could harm human health and water quality.

Information for Homeowners

If your septic tank failed, or you know someone whose did, you are not alone. As a homeowner, you are responsible for maintaining your septic system. Proper septic system maintenance will help keep your system from failing and will help maintain your investment in your home. Failing septic systems can contaminate the ground water that you and your neighbors drink and can pollute nearby rivers, lakes and coastal waters.

Ten simple steps you can take to keep your septic system working properly:
  • 1 Locate your septic tank and drain field. Keep a drawing of these locations in your records.
  • 2 Have your septic system inspected at least every three years.
  • 3 Pump your septic tank as needed (generally, every three to five years).
  • 4 Don’t dispose of household hazardous waste in sinks or toilets.
  • 5 Keep other household items, such as dental floss, feminine hygiene products, condoms, diapers, and cat litter out of your system.
  • 6 Use water efficiently.
  • 7 Plant only grass over and near your septic system. Roots from nearby trees or shrubs might clog and damage the system.
  • 8 Also, do not apply manure or fertilizers over the drain field.
  • 9 Keep vehicles and livestock off your septic system. The weight can damage the pipes and tank, and your system may not drain properly under compacted soil.
  • 10 Keep gutters and basement sump pumps from draining into or near your septic system. Check with your local health department before using additives. Commercial septic tank additives do not eliminate the need for periodic pumping and can be harmful to your system.
A Septic System is the Homeowners Responsibility

Did you know that, as a homeowner, you’re responsible for maintaining your septic system? Did you know that maintaining your septic system protects your investment in your home?

Maintaining Your Septic System

How do I maintain my septic system?

  • Plant only grass over and near your septic system. Roots from nearby trees or shrubs might clog and damage the drain field.
  • Don’t drive or park vehicles on any part of your septic system. Doing so can compact the soil in your drain field or damage the pipes, the tank or other septic system components.
  • Keep roof drains, basement sump pump drains, and other rainwater and surface water drainage systems away from the drain field. Flooding the drain field with excessive water slows down or stops treatment processes and can cause plumbing fixtures to back up.
  • You should have your septic system inspected at least every three years by a professional, and have your tank pumped as necessary (generally every three to five years).
  • Use Water Efficiently - Average indoor water use in the typical single-family home is almost 70 gallons per person per day. Dripping faucets can waste about 2,000 gallons of water each year. Leaky toilets can waste as much as 200 gallons each day. The more water a household conserves, the less water enters the septic system.
  • Flush Responsibly - Dental floss, feminine hygiene products, condoms, diapers, cotton swabs, cigarette butts, coffee grounds, cat litter, paper towels, and other kitchen and bathroom waste can clog and potentially damage septic system components. Flushing household chemicals, gasoline, oil, pesticides, anti-freeze and paint can stress or destroy the biological treatment taking place in the system, as well as contaminate surface waters and groundwater.

A good homeowners guide for Septic systems can be located here.

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Oil Storage tanks

Buried storage tanks that contain petroleum and other hazardous chemicals may pose a safety hazard to those living in homes nearby and significant financial liability to the owner. 

According to the Groundwater Protection Council, there are currently more than 640,000 buried tanks that store fuels and other hazardous substances. Of these, about 465,000 have leaked, and most have required cleanup, At particular risk are households that use groundwater, which comprise a large part of the total U.S. population, and 99% of families in rural areas.

The liability connected with leaking buried tanks can be huge for the property owner. Testing typically costs around $500 (approximately, this can vary depending on the tests), which is considerably less expensive than the amount of money required to clean up a subterranean oil spill and install a new tank. The test should show that there is no leakage.

If there has been a leak, the situation should be remedied before the property is purchased.

Testing requires one or more of the following technical measures:

  • pressure testing
  • soil testing
  • water in tank
  • other methods: Ultrasound and ground-penetrating radar can be used to create an image of the tank and identify leaks.

Tanks that show leakage must be removed from the ground or filled with a chemically inert solid, such as sand. Groundwater contaminants too must be removed by pumping air through the water, which causes volatile petroleum compounds to vaporize and biodegrade naturally. The process of treating or removing the tank, water and soil, known as remediation, costs thousands of dollars and is not guaranteed to succeed.

Many communities have been forced to find alternative sources of drinking water because of petroleum contamination. To avoid this costly and difficult mess, new installations should be buried far from potable water sources and properly maintained, once the system is in service.

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Well Water Systems

If your family gets drinking water from a private well, do you know if your water is safe to drink? What health risks could you and your family face? Where can you go for help or advice?

EPA regulates public water systems; it does not have the authority to regulate private drinking water wells. Approximately 15 percent of Americans rely on their own private drinking water supplies, and these supplies are not subject to EPA standards, although some state and local governments do set rules to protect users of these wells. Unlike public drinking water systems serving many people, they do not have experts regularly checking the water’s source and its quality before it is sent to the tap. These households must take special precautions to ensure the protection and maintenance of their drinking water supplies.