What Is A Special Investigation?
A special investigation could be anything from checking just one item for a prospective homebuyer to checking the cause of an unusual situation / problem in a home for an existing homeowner.
What Are Some Examples Of Special Investigations?
A homeowner wanted to find out what was causing a rattling or drilling type noise that seem to vibrate throughout the house at almost the exact same time for about 15 minutes almost every morning.
A family had an on and off odor in the basement for over 4 years. They thought it was a sewage odor. A plumber didn’t find anything. I was hired to check out the odor. Using a TIF 8800A combustible gas detected, it was determined the odor was natural gas. The Gas Company was called and found gas leaking from a pipe in the street was following along the outside of the sewage pipe into the house. The street was dug up and the leaking gas pipe repaired.
The owners of a 4 year old home were getting awakened at night by a knocking noise that occurred when the heating system came on.
A homeowner wanted to find out why one particular room in the house was always extremely dry, even when a humidifier was used.
A client wanted to find out if she and her family may have been exposed to something that may have caused a rare form of cancer with one of the family members, in the house they grew up in.
A homeowner wanted to find out what was causing family members to feel weak and sickly during the winter.
A restaurant owner wanted to have his gas applianced kitchen checked for CO (Carbon Monoxide).
The owner of a townhouse needed a non-bias inspection to determine the cause and remedial action of water leakage around a chimney.
The owner of a large furniture warehouse wanted to know what was causing damage to the wood floor of his building.
A homeowner wanted to know what was causing a foul odor in her home that was making her feel ill.
A homeowner needed to determine if a water leakage problem at a window was due to a faulty window or whether the water was from another source, such as the chimney, roof or siding. This information was needed for the window warranty.
A homeowner needed to determine whether the cause of water dripping on the top floor ceilings in a 10 year old house was from faulty roof shingles or from a ventilation / condensation problem.
What A Few Clients Had To Say About Special Investigations At Their Homes:
“I hired Dennis to help me find out what was causing a strange reverberating type noise, similar to a drill going through cement. The noise seemed to vibrate throughout my house almost every morning between 5:30 and 5:45 A.M.. Dennis conducted a very careful inspection and questioned me on every aspect of the phenomenon. He eliminated all the mechanical systems as possible sources but was unable to determine at the time of the inspection an exact cause or source of the noise. He told me further research using all the facts gathered would be needed. I thought I was going to be stuck with an unsolved mystery.
A day later Dennis called back with an answer. It turned out to be a bird, a Northern Flicker (Colaptes Auratus) to be exact. It seems they like to hammer away on gutters (and in my case aluminum ones) during the mating season, possibly to attract a mate. He sent me out a complete information sheet detailing the characteristics and habits of this particular bird. I had no idea that part of Dennis’s research involved a computer network of 300 home inspectors from across the country. I paid for the work of one inspector but got the benefit of many more.”
Attorney Paul J. Petralia
One Essex Green Dr.
Peabody, MA 01960
“For the last several years, whenever sunlight hit the back of my house, a strong odor would develop inside the house, which gradually made its way into every room. The problem seemed worse on days following rain storms, but the odor would be present regardless of the season, starting around noontime, and almost disappearing as dusk approached. During the Spring and Summer, the smell could become so bad I would not even enter some rooms.
In trying to resolve this, I had one contractor tell me it was a problem with mold growing on the foundation of my house. I rented a rotor-tiller, dug a trench to the bottom of the foundation, and must have poured hundreds of pounds of lime into the trench. I mixed it into the dirt, also used TSP to scrub the entire foundation, after breaking my back for 3 days, on the next sunny day, the scent returned. Another person thought it might be the heating system, my furnace was on its last legs so I had it replaced…no luck.
I had the rugs steam cleaned, had a plumber check for water leaks, and had rotor-rooter snaked out my sewer line, still the scent would not go away. I had the roof checked, while another contractor checked for rotted wood. No matter what I did the odor came back.
Finally, in January 2001, I went on the internet and did a search on “home inspections”. This brought up the site where Dennis offers his inspection service. I read about other homeowners who had other odd problems and Dennis was able to find solutions for them, so I figured I had nothing to lose….turned out to be the best idea I’d had in a long time.
Dennis traced the odor to the window screens which were made of fiberglass. He told me that the fiberglass screens were deteriorating from the sunlight and this is what was causing the odor. For almost 4 years, the various people I had checking for the odor were not close to discovering the source, Dennis found it in less than 10 minutes. If anyone I know ever has a problem with their home and needs an experienced building inspector….call Dennis, he doesn’t miss anything.”
Salem, MA 01970
We had been experiencing a bothersome knocking noise under our bedroom, for the past four years (the age of the house), whenever our FHA heat came on. Our first attempt at correcting this problem was having the HVAC contractor who installed the system come in. His recommendation was to add another zone of heat to the area of the home that was making the noise (at a cost of $1000.) We knew that this did not seem like the correct solution. So we lived with this undiagnosed nuisance for 4 years. We recently had Dennis come in. We turned on the heat, he went to the affected room and heard the knocking noise. He then went to basement area under this room, and again heard the knocking. Within a couple of minutes Dennis surmised it had something to do with thermal expansion. After a quick adjustment to a metal strap holding up one of the duct sections, our KNOCKING NUISANCE was corrected!!! We are no longer awakened at night. Dennis corrected this very bothersome issue in a quick and effective way for a fraction of the cost the HVAC person wanted (and whose solution would not have worked.)
Melanie & Jake, Byfield, MA
Special Investigation Fees
If you have an unusual situation or problem regarding your home and don’t know who to contact for help, call (978-478-7183) or send an E-mail. I’ll let you know if I can help, if not, I can direct you to someone who can.