A continuation of Just ‘Looking Around’

Experience and knowledge are incredibly important when choosing a home inspector or commercial building inspector!

“It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money — that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot — it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”

A low-priced service is often a dead giveaway to inexperience and incompetence.

Caveat Emptor!

Below are some unbelievable yet TRUE examples of pretenders offering inspection services for a fee to unsuspecting clients… Click the drop downs to see for yourself!

Nah… you were actually right the first time! It’s just some COMMON insulation!

I’m SURE the unnecessary alarm you raised changed the “whole tone of the inspection…” and the transaction!

That’s because concrete stains on lumber previously used for forming concrete during the home’s original construction don’t smell like mold… they don’t even resemble it!

But a Professional Inspector would have known that.

It’s a doorbell transformer… its function is to reduce 120 volts to a much lower 8-24 volts only needed to power the house doorbell.

I like your colleague’s suggestion of adding “Doorbell Expert” credentials to your marketing. I’m sure there’s a logo for this! It will help impress future clients that you are no longer inept at identifying even the most basic of house systems.

Fundamental insulation identification seems to be a recurring theme among these folks… Makes me wonder if they attended the same school of incompetency together?

p.s. – It’s loose fill cellulose… one of the top three preferred choices of thermal insulation installed in homes across the country. But truly I understand the confusion when many of your similarly incompetent colleagues mistake it for asbestos, mold, and…. 100’s of pounds of BAT POO!!!


I’m going out on a limb here and call it a portable air conditioner not currently in service…

Or it could be HAL from ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’! Ask it to confirm its identity or “open the pod bay doors…”

I’m with your colleague on this… and certainly hope you’ve mastered the ability to determine the difference between these two foundation types! For your client’s sake.

I would hand the clients a supply of tin foil hats, and alert them to the serious nature of how the government has tapped into their phone system to record their conversations…. Careful though! The walls have ears!

Umm… I feel badly for your clients. Really… I’m so sorry.

So…. you sold your clients on a specialized service that you have no clue what it tells you? Interesting!

What are ‘Professional Home Inspectors’ supposed to already know prior to calling themselves a “Professional”?

Perhaps the word “Fuel” threw you off as being a buried Fuel tank…

Well you were close Mr. Inspector!

It’s a condensate pump. Typically used when a floor drain or sink is some distance from the appliance that needs to dispose of condensation. I don’t suppose the condensate drain plumbed into it, and the clear discharge hose out of it provided you any clues…

That “wire” is actually part of the thermocouple assembly. A necessary and perfectly normal safety component of a gas-fired water heater… That’s how I would “word it”.

Umm… pretty sure any reasonably experienced inspector would simply identify this as Vermiculite insulation but let me google that for you!

What can it cause?

Oh… I dunno… upper respiratory infections, sneezing, asthma, premature mechanical system failure, coil icing, reduced air flow… but nothing too serious.  No need to alarm your clients.

So get off that fence and open up your hand book about properly splicing circuit conductors…

And by the way… to add to your dilemma… your social media colleague is wrong.

This is called a “Dual Fuel” heat pump system. A common and effective auxiliary heat source for the heat pump when demand is too great or the heat pump can no longer provide efficient heat.

But a (ehem) ‘Professional Home Inspector’ would know this…

Yes!  Yes there is!

But first, let’s address the specific things your clients should have been made aware of about your lacking knowledge and obvious inexperience before they hired you to inspect one of the most expensive purchases in their life…

Well… one of your colleagues identified it as “hundreds of pounds” of bat poo…

Really folks!  Identifying insulation is a pretty basic and fundamental skill needed to be a home inspector… especially for insulation as common (in both new and older construction) as loose fill cellulose in the photos.

Did you inform your clients you “don’t do old homes much”? What other basic topics can the social media platforms help you with?

On direct vent high efficiency water heaters, PVC is used for the exhaust vent.

On a natural draft water heater such as the one depicted in your photo… NO… no it can’t be used. A legitimate home inspector would know this, just as a legitimate contractor who obviously didn’t install this would.

Oooooh!  I know!  I know!

It’s attic kitty litter!!!  Your colleague on social media said so!

What? This evidence of a dangerous and hazardous back draft condition at the gas-fired water heater? Nah. You said it’s working… no need to irritate the real estate agent and lose future referrals by making mention of it. (wink wink)

Better question… Anyone care to refresh your clients with a better inspector who is actually experienced, knowledgeable, and well versed in the potential concerns?

Well… experienced inspectors knowledgeable in roofing materials and their installation know this as ethylene propylene diene monomer (or terpolymer) membrane, or EPDM for short. Additionally, experienced inspectors can identify the concerns you have depicted in your photos.

But yeah… go with upside down… your clients will appreciate that.

It’s quite apparent you’ve been reading your fellow colleague’s misguided comments on social media regarding temperature limitations for testing the furnace…

Let me know how that’s worked out for you.

What? (look of shock)

Are you saying that the Certified Master Inspector® or “CMI®” designation isn’t actually earned? It’s merely paid for and fake checks for $1500.00 sent out to entice inspectors into falling for it?

For shame! Hope the general public doesn’t fall for this gimmick either!

BTW… is it just me, or does it seem that an unprecedented number of inspectors with CMI credentials are asking basic questions on social media groups?

Well… do you have a better suggestion as to where the drain and supply pipes should be routed instead of in the wall? Perhaps across the floor?



Not if your clients also used you for transportation to the property for the inspection!

But hey… don’t drop the Uber or Lyft gigs!  They’ll come in handy for you when this ‘Professional Home Inspector’ gig surprisingly goes under.


Your clients need more help than we can provide for this most basic of pressing questions.

Well… concrete laundry sinks are made out of… you guessed it!  Concrete!

And for your second question… it all depends on the severity of the rust… if it is indeed rust since you had difficulty identifying concrete.

So if this has been talked about before, why are you asking again now?

It’s a legit job request! (wink wink)

Mr. “John Smith” has used my services numerous times before… but seems he’s always in the hospital for something and his check with extra funds attached always bounces after I’ve paid the “caretaker” the earnest money with it.  Sure hope Mr. “Smith” gets better soon.

The letters “CUAL” on the circuit breakers mean the device is rated for copper (CU) wire or aluminum (AL) wire conductors to be attached…. not that the conductors are “copper-coated aluminum”.


Well… this is a tamper resistant electric receptacle. They have been required for some time in most residential applications.  Most competent inspectors know this!

Sure they are a pain sometimes… but come on man!  You’re giving the good inspectors a bad name… and the contractors over in the electrical group are laughing. I’m beginning to agree with both the comments there.

You’ll do fine young doorbell Padawan! Your Doorbell Expert merit badge is just around the corner.

By the way… these aren’t permitted to be installed within the panel enclosure.  Just an FYI

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