The Tools For The Job
Home inspections can vary greatly. Inspectors have minimum standards they adhere to, but the standards do little to ensure consistency. For example, the minimum standard for roof inspections in most areas across the country is inspecting the roof from the ground. Without walking on the roof, use of a drone, or even putting up a ladder, there are countless things that an inspector can miss. Personally, I walk every roof I can safely access. I have specialized shoes for safely walking steep inclines, (https://www.cougarpaws.com/products/performer-boot). I have multiple advanced drones, several ladders, and special pads to prevent slipping.
Every component of a home has specialized inspection tools. Everyone has seen the inspector with the $5 outlet tester. The standards are typically that an inspector tests a "representative" number of receptacles. Although I use one of these simple devices at all of my inspections, I also have specialized tools for further analysis. The IDEAL SureTest is a $400+ circuit analyzing tool. This tool is an extremely important tool for older homes. Before the 1960s, many receptacles were 2-prong. As these homes and receptacles were updated, often the original wiring remains. The IDEAL SureTest can recognize problems such as a "bootleg ground" that the $5 tester would register as normal.
The capability of tools can also vary widely. FLIR has designed thermal cameras that attach to smartphones for about $200. Although useful, these devices have very low resolution and limited capabilities. When inspecting homes, I use a FLIR E4. The E4 is around $1,100. FLIR offers infrared cameras in excess of $40,000. After much research, the E4 has a great balance of affordability and features for the typical home inspection. Infrared is not a minimum inspection standard. Many inspectors do not have infrared cameras, and may that do, have sub-par equipment. Infrared is very important for helping diagnose leaks, missing insulation, and electrical concerns. When testing moisture stains, I use a $700, PROTIMETER, moisture meter. This advanced tool is one of the best for analyzing leaks. There are meters available, starting at around $40.
Why a blog about inspection tools on a handyman website? Primarily, I am a home inspector. I have personally invested in over $10,000 in tools specifically to evaluate homes. As I specialize in inspection repair, having the best tools and knowledge of their capabilities, allows me to better correct issues noted by any home inspector. I approach handyman repairs the same way. I first and foremost believe that the right tools are key. My repair tools are extensive, and if not the best available, they are heavily researched for a performance/cost analysis. The average home inspector may have a few hundred dollars in tools. It is always important to ask your inspector and/or handyman what processes and tools they are using for your home.