Recent Articles

Noise Ordinance Testing Survey

Care must be taken to locate noise-producing mechanical equipment—such as heat pumps, air conditioners, and generators—so the noise produced during its operation is not excessive for neighboring properties. The city has maximum sound levels which must be met at each property line. These apply to equipment located on the roof, on the ground, outside the building, at an exterior wall, and inside a building where noise may be transmitted to an exterior wall through a duct and/or louver. Most noise problems occur between mid-evening and sunrise when ambient sound levels in the neighborhood are low due to less outdoor activity and traffic.

Code Requirements

The City of Bellevue

The noise ordinance is located in Bellevue City Code Title 9.18, Noise Control. It restricts the level of noise at the property line in residential zoning districts to 45 dBA at night (10 p.m. to 7 a.m.) and 55 dBA during the day.

Land Use Code Section 20.20.525 requires an owner to build a new single-family home or adding more than 1,000 square feet to an existing home to locate mechanical equipment in the rear yard, placed no less than five feet from any property line.

Other mechanical equipment (not a new home, not adding more than 1,000 square feet to an existing home) placed in the side yard outside of the minimum side-structure setback must include sound screening to reduce noise impacts.

City of Seattle

Seattle Municipal Code 25.08.410 regarding exterior sound level limits, states A. The exterior sound level limits are based on the Leq during the measurement interval using a minimum measurement interval of one minute for a constant sound source, or a one‐hour measurement for a non‐continuous sound source. For sound sources located within the City, the exterior sound level limits are as follows:

District of Sound Source

Residential Commercial Industrial

District of Receiving Property

Residential (dB(A)) (Leq)

55 57 60

Commercial (dB(A)) (Leq)

57 60 65

Industrial (dB(A)) (Leq)

60 65 70

Seattle Municipal Code 25.08.420 regarding night-time noise limits, states A. Between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. during weekdays, and between the hours of 10 p.m. and 9 a.m. on weekends and legal holidays, the exterior sound level limits established by Section 25.08.410 are reduced by 10 dB(A) where the receiving property lies within a residential district of the City.

Noise Level

The nighttime noise level of 45 dBA is similar to bird calls. Manufacturer specifications for mechanical equipment typically include decibel ratings. For example, heat pumps and air conditioners are tested to a standard that gives them a manufacturer’s sound power rating usually in the 70–80 dBA range. This would require the mechanical equipment to be placed from 40 to 100 feet from the property line to meet maximum nighttime noise levels.

Contact us for a noise survey meeting City Code.

CESCL Stormwater Monitoring Inspections

CESCL certification is required by the Washington State Department of Ecology, Construction Stormwater General Permit for personnel responsible for monitoring stormwater at construction sites disturbing one or more acres of land, or are part of a larger common plan of development. Our inspectors are BMP C160 certified.

Call us for a CESCL site inspection

Home Insurance and Home Inspections

Why Home is Insurance Important for Home Inspections?


Home insurance protects one of your most important assets, your home. Should your house suffer damage, the cost of repair can be immense. A homeowners policy ensures that the repairs do not come out of your pocket. Homeowners insurance is not required by law, but there is next to no mortgage lender that will give you a home loan without one. A first step in getting home insurance is a home inspection.


What is a home inspection?


Simply put, a home inspection is an in-depth look at the current state of home and lets you know its structural integrity. It will also let you know what current and future problems can arise with it. This is a great way to make sure you’re not buying something that will cost you time and money better spent elsewhere. 


Again, home inspection is a vital part of the home buying process because most mortgage lenders will not loan you money with a homeowners insurance policy. This policy reduces the insurance companies risk and the home inspection is required before buying this homeowners insurance policy. There are many first time home buyer tips and subtleties that need to be taken account of to protect your investment.


When you hire a certified home inspector, they’ll look at the bones of the home including plumbing, wiring, roofing, and structure. They will then help you understand what problems if any, the house has. This is important when you’re insuring your home. The condition of the house is one of the key factors insurers use to calculate your premium. Not having full knowledge of your potential home’s condition could lead to not having enough insurance. Should a problem arise that an inspection could've caught, you could find yourself out a lot of money.


When you’re looking at an inspector, make sure to get one that can also do a 4-Point Inspection. Its name comes from the fact it covers looking at the visible parts of the following:


  • HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning)
  • Roofing
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical wiring


Most insurers will require a 4-Point Inspection in order to find what kind of coverage the house will need. If you’re looking at an older home, knowing the status of the home at all points is crucial. 


Keep in mind that the 4-Point inspection is for insurance purposes only. It only relies on the state of the above parts that are visible, and by no means replaces a full inspection. Better to get an inspector out once than twice. 


Roofing is a good example of why a thorough inspection is important. The roof is the shield of your home. If you want to move into an area that has a record of harsh weather, knowing the status of your roof is crucial. Rest assured, your insurer will want to know the state of your roof before they offer you a policy.


How is the roof to foundation anchoring? If there is reinforcement in the walls of the house from the roof to the foundation, the outer structure of the home will be able to withstand strong winds better.


In all, having an inspector for home buyers is essential. You want to understand what you are getting into, and your insurance company also needs to understand the value and risks in insuring you and your potential new home. 






Termites in Bellevue,WA

Ready to swarm.


Your Smoke Detector May Just KILL YOU !!!

Watch This Video BEFORE you do anything else.

How to Install Smoke Detectors

Ideal placement for smoke detectors is at bed level. (Well, specifically at the level of your nose and mouth when you’re in bed.) That’s because they’re meant to alert you to dangerous smoke when you’re sleeping. But in practice, many families cannot install their smoke alarms at bed height due to curious little hands, wagging dog tails, and other daily life that could affect a detector’s function. If that’s the case, install your smoke alarms on the ceiling or high on up the wall, within arm’s reach and at least six inches from where the wall and ceiling meet. Do not place them near air-conditioning, fans or heating ducts, since this could interrupt the air flow of smoke needed to activate the alarm.


Smoke alarms save lives, but only if they’re working properly. Test monthly!

Where to Place Smoke Alarms

The placement of smoke detectors depends on the layout of room, HVAC systems and size of your home. At the very least, you should install one detector on each floor, one near the kitchen (but not over the stove), and one in each sleeping area. That’s the bare minimum. Err on the safe side and place an alarm in each and every bedroom, even in the hallway outside each bedroom, one adjacent to the kitchen, near fireplaces and in other strategic areas of your home, depending on its size. 

Take a look at Amazon's Dual Sensor Alarm - Top Choice:


Test Your Smoke Detectors

Your alarms are pretty self-sufficient, but you should do regular testing and seasonal battery refreshes. I like to test my smoke alarms about once a month, typically in conjunction with another sporadic chore, like window washing. (Blech.) You should also swap out old batteries for new at least once a year. At our house, we do it twice a year, whenever we’re turning our clocks back/forward for Daylight Saving’s and use smoke spray to properly test every unit. The test buttons only test power to the unit. 

One manufacturer, the Pittway Corporation, which makes about 70 percent of the detectors sold in the United States, recommends that a detector be discarded after 10 years. But the Black & Decker Corporation, another leading producer, makes no recommendation.



To clean your alarm, remove it from the mounting bracket as out- lined in the beginning of this section. You can clean the interior of your alarm (sensing chamber) by using compressed air or a vacuum cleaner hose and blowing or vacuuming through the openings around the perimeter of the alarm. The outside of the alarm can be wiped with a damp cloth. After cleaning, reinstall your alarm and test your alarm by using the test button. If cleaning does not restore the alarm to normal operation the alarm should be replaced.

Keep your family safe by also installing CO alarms near ALL the bedrooms

Carbon monoxide alarms help save lives everyday. Learn what they do, how to install them, and where you should place CO detectors.

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is known as the “silent killer” because it is odorless, tasteless and colorless. It’s also toxic, since the gas can prevent your body from properly transporting oxygen. If inhaled in high concentrations, carbon monoxide poisoning can happen quickly; it can also occur slowly if toxic gas levels build up slowly over time. Just as dangerous as a fire!

What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?

People who have been exposed to carbon monoxide experience a range of symptoms that may include headaches, confusion, drowsiness, dizziness, burning eyes and loss of consciousness. An acute case can result in brain damage and death. Note that children, seniors and people who have pre-existing respiratory or heart conditions are often more sensitive to the effects of carbon monoxide. alarm are cheap so Install them!!!

What are possible sources of carbon monoxide in my home?

Carbon monoxide is a natural by-product of many home appliances. If you use charcoal, gasoline, kerosene, wood, propane, natural gas or heating oil to create energy or heat – hot water heaters, grills, furnaces, fireplaces, stoves, room heaters, etc. – then there is potential for carbon monoxide in your home. It’s important to have these products installed by a professional, since proper installation, ventilation and maintenance will reroute any carbon monoxide emissions out of your home to keep your family safe.

Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas known as the “silent killer” 

What are carbon monoxide alarms?

Carbon monoxide detectors, also known as CO alarms, function similarly to smoke alarms. If carbon monoxide levels are present in your home, the detector will emit a sharp beeping sound to alert you to the danger. Like smoke alarms, it is important to change your CO detector batteries regularly; I like to schedule new batteries for Daylight Savings time change, since they make it easy to remember this twice-yearly swap.

How do I install a carbon monoxide alarm?

Heat and smoke rise, which is why we place smoke alarms high on the wall or ceiling. Carbon monoxide, however, mixes with the air. For this reason, it is preferable to install CO alarms at knee level – the approximate height of a sleeping person’s nose and mouth. This is why combo detectors are not the best choice!!!

If you have young children or pets that could tamper (play) with your detectors, you can move them up to chest height. Another option is to place them in a hard-to-reach area, where even curious hands and overzealous tails would have a hard time reaching. Bear in mind that a CO detector should never be blocked by furniture, curtains or other objects, as restricted airflow can affect its function. Testing monthly should also be on your to do list.

A single-function carbon monoxide alarm is recommended, but if you are installing a dual smoke-CO detector ( Because You Selling your Home?!), place it on the ceiling so it can detect smoke.

Carbon monoxide detectors should be strategically placed around your home as should smoke detectors.

Where should I place carbon monoxide detectors in my home?

Since we are most vulnerable to the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning while we sleep, it is important to place alarms near all your family’s bedrooms. If you only have one CO alarm (BUY MORE), place it as close to everyone’s sleeping area as possible.

Ideally, you should have carbon monoxide detectors placed throughout your home, as you do smoke alarms. You should place a CO detector in each major area of your home: in the kitchen, in your living/dining room, in your bedrooms, and the office. If you have children or elderly family members living with you, provide extra protection near their rooms. If you live in a multi-story home, be sure to place at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level.

If your furnace is located in the basement, be sure to place a CO detector there, as well. Likewise, if you have a gas clothes dryer, put an alarm in the laundry room. Place one in the garage, if you park your cars there. Wherever you have a solid fuel-fired appliance – anything that could produce carbon monoxide – you should also have a CO alarm.


Washington State LAW:

29-3-16a. Smoke detectors in one-and two-family dwellings: residential units; penalty. (a) On or before the first day of July, one thousand nine hundred ninety-one, an operational smoke detector shall be installed in the immediate vicinity of each sleeping area within all one- and two-family dwellings, including any “manufactured home” as that term is defined in subsection (j), section two, article nine, chapter twenty-one of this code.

The smoke detector shall be capable of sensing visible or invisible particles of combustion and shall meet the specifications and be installed as provided in the national fire protection association standard 72, “Standard for the Installation, Maintenance and Use of Household Fire Warning Equipment”, 1996 edition, and in the manufacturer’s specifications. When activated, the smoke detector shall provide an alarm suitable to warn the occupants of the danger of fire.

(b) The owner of each dwelling described in subsection (a) of this section shall provide, install and replace the operational smoke detectors required by this section. So as to assure that the smoke detector continues to be operational, in each dwelling described in subsection (a) of this section which is not occupied by the owner thereof, the tenant in any dwelling shall perform routine maintenance on the smoke detectors within the dwelling.


Now you know, the rest is up to you to protect your family.


Window Wells

Requirements of Window Wells

 The IRC 2000 Egress Code which requires every home with a full basement to install window wells. The details of the Egress code for one and two families are as follows:

International Residential Code (IRC) 2000
Egress code for one and two families:

Definition of egress as described in IRC 2000 (Section R310) as it pertains to windows below ground level:

Window Wells/Area Wells:
Required where window opening sill height is below ground elevation.
Horizontal dimensions: = 9 sq.ft. (width x projection)
Horizontal projection: = 36 "

Sill height of window above floor: Not to exceed 44"
Minimum opening area: = 5.7 sq. ft.
Minimum opening height = 24"
Minimum opening width: = 20"

Required on window wells deeper than 44" and must be permanently attached.
Ladder may encroach into well up to 6".
Step distance between rungs: = 18"
Rungs:12" wide or greater and must project a minimum of 3" away from wall but maximum of 6".

Though the IRC 2000 Egress Code was formed for the general safety of home owners. It is important to install a window well cover to safeguard the window wells from unwanted entry and to prevent falling accidents. But in order for a window well cover to be effective, home owners should take note of some of the qualities or characteristics of a good window well cover.

A good window well cover should be rust-resistant. This is an important feature since rust might be a sign for decay or weakening of a window well's durability. Also window wells should be able to hold great amounts of weight since children may from time to time step on it. Hi grade window well covers do not bend nor break easily (for transparent covers). And lastly, a window well cover should fit perfectly on youre window well opening, this is why choosing a custom made well cover is always an advantage over a pre-buit cover.

Wood Rot: The Inconspicuous Threat

Wood rot is not always easy to spot, yet it's (potentially) one of the most destructive threats to the well-being of a home.

Wood rot refers to decay caused by wood-hungry fungi and can be classified into two broad categories: Wet rot and dry rot. Both require moisture in order to develop, and although dry rot requires LESS moisture, the term "dry rot" is really a misnomer. The important thing for homeowners to understand is that wherever moisture meets wood is where rot can take hold. And if not remedied, wood rot (particularly the dry rot variety) can continue to spread, causing significant damage to the home and even its structure.

Here in the damp climate of the Pacific Northwest, exterior rot issues are fairly commonplace. But the sources of moisture leading to rot can be found both outside AND inside the house. On the exterior, damaged siding or roofing can allow rain to penetrate through to the underlying wood. Water can pool up in areas where vertical and horizontal surfaces meet, such as a deck next to an exterior wall. Failing caulking can allow water to seep behind window and door frames. On the interior side, a leaking pipe or damaged seal can lead to moisture under the floor or behind a wall. Even damp air combined with poor ventilation can create an environment conducive to the formation of wood rot.

Signs that indicate the possible presence of rot:

  • •Wood has become darker, has cracked, and/or is shrinking.
  • •Wood has become so soft that you can easily penetrate it with a screwdriver, or possibly even your finger.
  • •Growth resembling mushrooms, cobwebs, or cotton has formed on wood surfaces.
  • •Floors have areas of discoloration.
  • •The air in certain areas of the house smells damp and musty.

Despite these indicators, wood rot can still be difficult (if not virtually impossible) for the average homeowner to detect, particularly if it's hiding behind walls, ceiling, or floors. As such, the eventual discovery of damage due to rot can be quite an unpleasant surprise for many. For those planning on selling their home, having a pre-listing home inspection performed by the professionals at Pacific Northwest Inspections, trained to locate signs of rot that might otherwise go unnoticed, can be beneficial in more ways than one come selling time. If rot is uncovered during the inspection, homeowners can, with help of a qualified dry rot repair contractor, have issues fixed BEFORE they're discovered by the buyer. This mitigates the possibility of the transaction being delayed (or nixed altogether!) and ensures that the seller gets full price for their home.

For home BUYERS, a home inspection is even more imperative. The last thing you want is to buy your dream home only to learn later that it's been badly damaged by rot!

Whether buying or selling, it’s always wise to contact Pacific Northwest Inspections and put any questions about the state of your home to rest.


Wood Decay Fungi

  • Wood Decay Fungi ( wood rot), are filamentous organisms which begin as microscopic spores that land on the surface of the wood and germinate to produce thin strand-like cells called hyphae. Hyphae grow through the wood and secrete enzymes which degrade and weaken the wood.

Decay requires: 

  1. adequate moisture
  2. ambient temperature (32º to 110º)
  3. oxygen
  4. a food source.

Wood moisture levels above 20-30% are considered conducive to wood fungal rot. Damaged wood typically will need to be replaced. Ultimately the source of moisture must be eliminated even if all of the fungal organism cannot be eliminated.

Common types of wood decay in buildings:

  • Brown rot: This type of decay causes the wood to break down into brown cubes that split against the grain. Advanced stages of brown decay result in dry, powdery wood that is unable to support much weight and crumbles easily.
  • White rot: This type of decay appears whitish, stringy and mushy, and tends to be more common in hardwoods.
  • Dry rot: A misnomer, this term has been used to describe decayed wood that has since dried and ceased decaying. Some people may erroneously assume that the wood is still in the process of decay. Moisture is required for wood decay to occur, so no literal “dry rot” exists.
  • Wet Rot: The two types of wet rot, brown and white can both be destructive to timber, they have a different effect upon the wood depending upon type. Generally, brown rots cause cuboidal cracking & shrinkage of the timber whilst white rots tend to reduce the timber to a stringy, fibrous texture. 

There are other things associated with wood decay such as mold. Although mold doesn't require moisture levels to be at the levels of decay it still can cause serious repair expenses and health issues. 

This is a concern for Attic moisture. Common issues with roof sheathing are wood rot due to poor building air sealing which contributes to condensation in colder months allowing the roof sheathing to reach dew point and cause mold.

Why you need a home inspection

Most people would often say that a profitable real estate property is highly determined by its location. In reality, though, the key factor which would make someone sign that check is the structural integrity of the property. Careless disregard to the need of a home inspection is like burrowing yourself into a money pit where the bottom is unknown. You owe it to yourself to learn as much as possible about the safety and operability of your home. A home inspection can provide you with an up-to-date visual assessment of the structure and systems of property. The findings are then documented in a detailed report provided by the home inspector. The benefits of a home inspection can be translated to both the seller and buyer of a real estate property.

  • Seller Pre Inspections - A home inspection is a key process in any home purchase and it is not just for buyers anymore. A home inspection will help you determine the current value of your real estate property before putting it up for sale in the market for good. A timely assessment of the physical condition of the property might uncover problems but it could also give light to past renovations which can help boost the value of the property from what you have perceived it to be. You could also come out from that process with recommendations from the home inspector on what areas need preventive repairs and aesthetic improvements. It will enable you to prioritize, whether the repairs are something that you can do yourself or just pass them to the buyer. By staging a home inspection beforehand, you are demonstrating to your potential buyers that you are honest about the condition of your property which brings trust and good faith on the negotiating table. It helps you market your property easier and stress-free. 
  •  Buyer Inspection -  A Home Inspector is that one great guy that you can trust to not have a vested interest in the closing sales of your potential home. Being a smart buyer includes investing in an independent and professional home inspection which provides a layer of protection for you as the prospective homeowner. There would be no more sellers inflating the price of a property. If you do decide to do the home inspection after contract signing, take the time to ensure that the contract has a provision which states that the sale of the home depends on the results of a home inspection. Remember that a mortgage lender may not be able to lend you money for repair costs if you encounter any issues after the sale of the property has been finalized.

Once you have received the home inspection report, you would have the confidence to take the next steps in the purchase process:

  1. For issues needing small or medium repairs, you can either request the seller to fix these issues or you can negotiate for a much lower purchase price of the property.
  2. For repairs that are too expensive to fix, you have the opportunity to walk away from the purchase.

Real Estate Inspections in Seattle

Water Heater Pressure Valve

State of Washington Hot Water Heater TP Relief Valve Requirements

608.5 Relief valves located inside a building shall be provided with a drain, not smaller than the relief valve outlet, of galvanized steel, hard drawn copper piping and fittings, CPVC, or listed relief valve drain tube with fittings which will not reduce the internal bore of the pipe or tubing (straight lengths as opposed to coils) and shall extend from the valve to the outside of the building with the end of the pipe not more than two (2) feet (610 mm) nor less than six (6) inches (152 mm) above the ground or the flood level of the area receiving the discharge and pointing downward. Flex line is not permitted for use on TP lines.

Such drains may terminate at other approved locations. No part of such drain pipe shall be trapped or subject to freezing. The terminal end of the drain pipe shall not be threaded.

Exception: Replacement water heating equipment shall only be required to provide a drain pointing downward from the relief valve to extend between two feet (610 mm) and six inches (152 mm) from the floor. No additional floor drain need be provided.

TPRV Drain TPRV Inspection

Tips for Hiring a Home Improvement Professional


Tips for Hiring a Home Improvement Professional


Whether you’ve decided to put up a fence around the backyard pool or update the guest bathroom, hiring a professional to get the job done can take away a little bit of the stress. However, actually hiring the professional will take a little bit of work on your end.


Get Project Bids


When it comes to hiring a professional, it can be easy to just hire the first person you come across to expedite the process and get the work underway, but it is important to shop around. Just like you shop around at different stores when looking to make a purchase such as a couch or dining room table, it is important to shop around when finding a professional to make sure you are getting the best deal.


Make a goal to obtain three bids or estimates. According to Angies List, by obtaining three bids you will be able to get an idea of the average price range, as well as identify any outliers such as a price that is too high or low. An effective bid should include start and completion dates, payment terms, cost of labor and materials, the cost for permits to be pulled, and proof of licensure or liability insurance if necessary. In addition to getting the bids, meeting with three professionals will give you an idea of their personalities, communication styles, and flexibility. This person will be working in your home for anywhere from a day to a few weeks depending on the extent of the project, so it is important that you feel comfortable with them in your home.


Get a Written Contract


When you hire a professional, consider getting some form of contract in writing to avoid confusion or issues. Technically, a verbal agreement or handshake can serve as a contract, but having everything in writing can ensure that everyone is on the same page and serve as a point of reference when questions come up. No matter how small or large the home project is, having a contract will lessen the likelihood of problems occurring. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says a contract should include the following:


Contractor’s name, address, phone, and license number

Estimated start and completion date

Payment schedule

Contractor’s obligation to obtain all required permits

A detailed list of all materials

Information about warranties covering materials and labor

Any promises or special requests made during phone calls, conversations, or via email/text


Keep all documents related to the project in a safe place where they can be easily located should you need to refer to them.


Consider the Type of Price Agreement


When it comes to paying a professional, it is important that the payment schedule is spelled out in your written contract. For small projects, you might consider a fixed-price agreement in which the contractor completes the project for an agreed-upon price. Spend Matters says this type of agreement makes the payment schedule easy to manage, as payments are made based on the percentage of the completed work. It also offers predictability and fosters a greater sense of collaboration with the contractor since he or she is under pressure to protect their margins by using thorough project management communication.


For projects that might run a little longer, you might consider a time and materials agreement in which the contractor determines your cost based upon an hourly rate of labor and cost of materials. This type of agreement is advantageous in situations where the project is fast-tracked since it offers a greater deal of flexibility to change scope, designs, and materials. Ask your contractor for clarification about the different contracts, and understand what limitations each hold. Although you have hired someone, you and your contractor are on the same team so communication is key for an effective home renovation.

There are plenty of reasons to hire a home improvement professional, whether you simply need something fixed or want to increase the value of your home. While there are certainly times when doing it yourself is the cheaper and even more practical option, sometimes you’re just going to need a professional to have the job done well.


Paul is the owner of, which shows off helpful DIY projects.



Sellers Discolosure Form 17 Vs. Home Inspection SOP

Form 17 is a state-mandated form, and the seller only has three options: Yes, No, and Don’t Know.

If a seller answers “Yes” to any question, they have just guaranteed that the answer is an absolute yes, which is the same in the law as an insurance policy on which you could sue them if the answer turned out not to be 100% true. If they answer “No” and the real answer is anything less than 100% no, again they could be sued.

If they answer “Don’t Know” they are answering with the safest answer, but it may also be the most truthful answer. After all who knows that a particular condition of the house is either 100% yes or 100% no? Who would be willing to be sued if they were even slightly incorrect?

When a person answers “Don’t Know” they reduce the possibility of being sued almost completely. Part of the reason is that it may be the most truthful answer, but even more importantly it would be very difficult to come up with actual evidence you could use in a courtroom under the strict Federal or State Rules of Evidence that they knew inside their head. Unless there is external evidence, there is virtually no way to prove that someone knew or didn’t know inside their own mind.

Form 17 Vs. WA State Home Inspection SOP

Form 17 Issues

Understanding what a Home Inspection covers when you should turn to Form 17 to get the answers that a Home Inspection doesn't include, based on the Washington State SOP for home inspections.

Take a look at the image to the right, we have highlighted all the areas that pertain to the limitations of a home inspection based on the WA State Standards of Practice and what a Home Inspector is required to look at under the licensed inspectors required visual inspection. (Our review of Form 17 does not suggest that areas not highlighted be ignored. The entire form should be reviewed by your Realestate lawyer prior to the signing of any legal document)


Follow along with us as we break down the highlighted areas in the Sellers Disclosure Form 17 

Section 1. TITLE

Inspectors are not required to report on any easements, property lines, right of ways, zoning etc. WAC 308-408C-030 This section is what your Title Company typically verifies.

Section 2. WATER

A (1) Private Water Systems - Inspector is not required to inspect: WAC 308-408C-100 (vi) Private water supply systems. ( Yes this is outside the scope of the WA requirements. Make sure you understand what is being inspected when buying a home with a private water supply system. Many inspectors will follow the State SOP due to insurance policy requirements)

A (2) Is there an easement for access and/or maintenance of the water source?  - This area is also outside the standards for a home inspection. Home inspectors do not verify access rights or maintenance responsibilities of the home's water source. WAC 308-408C-100 This applies to both public and private source and water wells.

A (5) Are there any water treatment systems on for the property? - Inspector is not required to inspect: WAC 308-408C-100 (v) Water-conditioning equipment, including softeners and filter systems. 

B. Irrigation Water

(1) Irrigation water rights, permits, certifications or claim? Inspectors are not required to inspect. Believe it was a few years back we did an inspection where the water service was coming from a stream along the back of the property. The home had very low pressure and was later determined that yes the home was served by the stream. So what would happen if neighboring properties cut off the stream? Is it your right to have the stream returned to its natural flow? What if flow changes? So just when you have been spoiled by public utilities it is up to the buyer to verify such cases. Think this was a Renton property if I recall...

C. Outdoor Sprinkler System

C (1) Outdoor Sprinklers - Inspectors are not required to inspect. (12) Determine the existence of or inspect any underground items including, but not limited to, underground storage tanks or sprinkler systems.


F. Defects

Some of the defects listed for the seller to check are items a Home Inspection itself is not required to inspect. Some of these items are:


Stair Chair Lifts

Hot Tub


Wheelchair Lifts

Fire Alarms



Incline Elevators

G. Structural Pest

Structural Pest inspections are not permitted by a Home Inspector unless they are a licensed Structural Pest Inspector. SPI inspection is not required and are often omitted from a Home Inspection.





A home inspection does not report on Environmental issues.

Inspectors are not required to: (3) Report the presence of potentially hazardous plants or animals including, but not limited to, wood destroying insects or diseases harmful to humans; the presence of any environmental hazards including, but not limited to mold, toxins, carcinogens, noise, and contaminants in soil, water or air; the effectiveness of any system installed or methods utilized to control or remove suspected hazardous substances.

The Home Inspection does not include investigation of mold, asbestos, lead paint, water, soil, air quality or other environmental issues unless agreed to in writing in the preinspection agreement.


Stay tuned for more....Yes, we are just getting started.


Check out this video from Dana Charter with John L Scott of Issaquah as he explains the Form 17 Sellers Disclosure Form 

Inspection Services

Pacific Northwest Inspections Group provides property inspections services for Residential and Commercial property in the State of Washington.

  • AHERA Inspections - Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act
  • All Phase Inspections
  • Certified Mold Inspections
  • Radon
  • EIFS Inspections
  • Water Test
  • Sewer Line Inspection Inline Camera (also leak detection wax ring failure)
  • Condo Property Condition Inspections
  • Condo Reserve Study Program 
  • Septic Inspections Level I and II
  • Well Inspections
  • Asbestos Testing 
  • Thermal Image Inspections
  • Roof
  • EMF Inspections (Electro Magnetic Fields)
  • IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) Inspection 
  • VOC Air Testing
  • Formaldehyde Air Testing
  • Pool Inspection / Water Testing
  • Insurance
  • Perform ASTM F2170 relative humidity test
  • Soil Testing 
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Garage Door Maintenance

The following tests and related maintenance should be performed in the following order:

  • Monthly visual inspection. Stand inside the garage with the overhead garage door closed. Look over the garage door springs, cables, rollers, pulleys and mounting hardware, such as hinges, for signs of wear or damage. Look for cable wear or fraying. Is the mounting hardware becoming loose? If something doesn’t look quite right or sounds excessively loud it could be the symptom of a more serious issue. Have your garage door system inspected by one of our trained home inspectors.
  • Monthly door balance test. If your door is equipped with an automatic opener system: close the door and disconnect the automatic opener at the door arm, this is typically a string with a red handle. Lift the door, It should lift easily with one hand smoothly with little resistance and should remain open when halfway up. If it is difficult to open or does not remain open, the door is likely out of balance and should be serviced.
  • Monthly reversing mechanism test (if your door is equipped with an automatic opener system). Note: garage door openers manufactured after January 1, 1993, are required by federal law to be equipped with a reversing mechanism and a photo eye or edge sensor as added measures of safety to prevent entrapment. If your system does not have these features, the replacement of your automatic operating system is recommended, especially if you have children in the home.
  • With the door fully open, lay a piece of wood such as a section of a 2 x 4 on the floor in the center of the garage door opening where the door touches the floor. Push your garage door opener’s transmitter or wall button to close the door. When the door strikes the wood, the door should automatically reverse. If the door does not automatically reverse, the door should be serviced for auto-reverse function.
  • With the door fully open, push your garage door opener’s transmitter or wall button to close the door. Wave an object, such as a broom, in front of one of the door’s photo eyes so it “breaks the beam.” The door should instantly reverse.
  • If it does not reverse and reopen, pull the broomstick out of the path of the closing door. Close the door. With the door in the closed position, clean the photo eyes with a soft, dry cloth. Gently adjust the photo eyes by hand until the sensor's lights turn green.
  • Open the door and repeat the photo eye test. If the door does not reverse and reopen, the door should be serviced.
  • Semi-annual lubrication. Apply a small amount of spray lubricant to the door’s hinges, rollers, and tracks. Yes, it is a DIY job.


Check out what our friends at Centurion Doors have to say about garage door maintenance.....