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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 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.


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 
  • Lead Testing (Soil / Paint) 
  • Energy Audit Inspections
  • LEED Rater
  • Energy Star Home Verifier
  • Tax Rebates
  • EEM - Energy Efficient Mortgage
  • HERS & ResNet
  • Pre Sale Inspections
  • Historical Home Inspectors
  • Property Maintenance Inspection Program 
  • Termite - SPI Licensed Structural Pest Inspector
  • EH&S Inspections
  • Home Warranty Inspections
  • FHA Inspections
  • Granite Radiation Inspections  
  • Crawlspace / Attic / Basement - Mold Condition Monitoring   Systems      
  • Ozone Treatment   
  • Ozone Air Sampling   
  • Manufactured Home Inspection
  • Structural Engineer Reports                                           

Inspection features:

  • Leading  Technology in testing equipment
  • Fully Insured Company
  • Reports Online within 24hrs of inspection
  • All Inspectors are Certified
  • State Licensed Inspectors
  • Coverage of entire Northwest
  • Onsite Video Embedded Within Inspection Report

Extensive Inspector Training:

  • Certified Mold Inspectors
  • Leading Technology
  • True onhands training that make the difference
  • Licensed Inspectors
  • Full Time Inspectors
  • Certified Pool/Spa Operator
  • Thermal Image Training
  • State Licensed WDI / SPI Specialist
  • Certified Radon Inspectors
  • Members of National Association of Certified Home Inspectors
  • Certified Home Property Inspectors
  • Asbestos Inspectors
  • Lead Risk Assessors