Home Inspections

Very often I hear people say: “my furnace is broken” or “the furnace is new”,  but it’s not a furnace they are talking about at all.  Most of the time they are talking about a Boiler.  Some people just call everything that creates heat in the home a furnace and this is not true.  Let’s do a comparison and see the differences and how to spot them…

BOILER: AKA Forced Hot Water.  Pushes hot water through the home inside pipes and radiates heat through the home using baseboards or radiators.

Above is a boiler in the basement.  It pushes hot water through copper pipes like these below…

The heat gets into the rooms above through baseboards or radiators like these below…



FURNACE:  AKA Forced Hot Air.  Forces hot air through the home using a fan and ducts.

The air gets pushed up through ductwork like this…

It comes through the floor, wall or ceiling through duct covers like this…









The fastest way to tell what which kind of system you have is by walking in the front door and looking around the outside of the room.  Heat supplies are always on the exterior of the home and if you see air duct covers you know it is a furnace, if you see baseboards or radiators you know it is a boiler.

There are many more differences and pros and cons to each kind of heating system but that is for another blog.  When purchasing a home make sure that you know which system you have and how to maintain it.  In case you are having problems you want to know what to tell the HVAC person you are on the phone with so they know what they need to fix it.

If you have any questions about your heating system feel free to reach out to us and ask.

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What the heck is Knob and Tube wiring?

The short answer is it is something that you do NOT want in the home you are buying, or any home.

Knob and Tube was the first kind of electrical that was used from about 1880 to 1930-ish.  It looks like this…


The Knobs hold the wires in place and the tubes protect the wires when they go through joists and wall cavities.   There are only 2 wires, a hot and a neutral, no grounding and they are both covered in a cloth sheathing so it is hard to tell which is which.  A non contact voltage tester is the best way to tell if this wiring is still in use or not.  Sometimes the wiring is cut and not in use but the wires are left in place.  Sometimes it is still in use.

If you are purchasing a home and there is LIVE knob and tube you want to get an electrician out to take it out and replace it right away.  Knob and tube is no longer the electrical standard and poses a fire risk.  Especially when it is buried in old cellulose insulation up in the attic or behind the walls.  Not only is this a safety issue but it can be a homeowners insurance issue.  If you own a home with knob and tube and a fire is caused by it, you may not be covered.

The best places to spot knob and tube wiring is in the basement (look up) and in the attic (look up and down).  Also these old light switches are commonly wired with Knob and Tube…

Gently take the cover plate off, NOT the switches!  Look on the side for the cloth wiring.  If you see cloth wiring call an electrician.

Knob and Tube wiring should be removed in all homes.  Make sure to share this with anyone you know that has this type of wiring in their home still.  If you’re not sure snap a picture and send it over to your electrician, or send it to us here at Knox Home Inspections and we can help you out.

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Typically when buying a home people are always worried about service size for their electrical systems?  Do we have 100 amp or 200 amp?  That is how much power is coming into your home and how much your main panel can safely handle.

One thing that people don’t often think about is WHAT BRAND is my main panel?  There are a bunch of different kinds…. Cutler Hammer, Crouse Hinds, Square D, General Electric, ITE, Siemens, etc.  Then there is FEDERAL PACIFIC.

Federal Pacific was a company that started in 1950 and was very popular all the way up to 1988 in some areas, including America and Canada.  Over time these panels had a higher failure rate than other panels.  Studies were performed and it was found that these panels had several different problems.  Mainly with the inability to trip the breaker off when necessary.  Other breakers will shut off and stop the flow of power and prevent a fire.  The failure rate on other brands of breakers is much much less than a Federal Pacific breaker.

It is estimated that Federal Pacific Panels are responsible for 2000 fires ANNUALLY.

Luckily an FPE panel is very easy to identify.

  1. Look for the bright RED tabs on the breaker fronts.  No other brand uses this style of breaker size indicator.  Think red = danger / red = STOP
  2. There may be a sticker with the company name still on it, either inside the panel cover or near the top.
  3. The breakers are BACKWARDS!!!!!  On any other panel the breakers are pointing towards the center when they are switched ON and they are pointing to the outside when they are OFF.  FPE breakers are opposite and it makes the cover difficult to remove.

When shopping for a new home make sure to look at the BRAND of panel that you are buying and discuss it with your Home Inspector.  If you see the warning signs above you should plan on a full panel replacement.  May as well call an electrician for a quote right away and save time, your home inspector will recommend a replacement anyways.

If you know anyone with one of these panels in there home, please, urge them to replace it.  Or at least call an electrician to tell them more about the danger.

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When I tell people what I do: ” Oh you must see some crazy stuff during Home Inspections…”

Me: “You have no idea…”

This conversation happens pretty often so this blog is for that. I will add good ones as I find them. Do NOT keep scrolling if you are a first time home buyer.

14. Mold in the attic. All ventilation had been covered up.

13. Nobody mentioned a fire in the property disclosure.

12. Caught you red handed squirrel…

11. I don’t even know what this roof is doing. Not much really.10. Gutter or planter???

9. Messy electric work.

8. 2 different roofs, pretty common problem.

7. Another…

6. Roof leak


5. Lites. 😂

4. Wooden panel cover?

3. Why the extra long gutter?

2. Worlds smallest gutter.

1. Hole in the roof

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If you are buying a home with a well system and not public water you should absolutely be doing a water quality test.  It is best to test the water during the due diligence period you have as a buyer so that if anything comes up in the test results you will have time to consider your options and work out a solution if there is a problem.  Filtration systems can be expensive depending on what you need to remove.

The most common water quality issue that I encounter during the Home Inspection process is Coliform Bacteria.  Coliform is a required test for VA (Veteran Affairs) mortgage loan.  If Coliform is present in a home being bought with this type of loan it will need to be removed prior to purchase.

Coliform bacteria is referred to as an “indicator” organism.  Not all Coliform will carry diseases but they can indicate the presence of other bacteria and viruses that can cause illnesses, such as E. Coli.

If your water test comes back with Coliform present you will want to treat your well system.  This can be done by installing a whole house Chlorination System, Open Air Chlorination System or a UV filtration system.  Each home is different and a water quality and filtration professional should be consulted before investing in a system by yourself. 

If a filtration system is out of your price range another option is “Shocking” the well.  This is a process that involves putting a bleach solution down the well and flushing out the system.  There is a chance that the bacteria can return and you should test your water regularly if you do not have a filtration system in place.

If you are a home buyer and your potential home has coliform present you will want to have a professional shock the well.  Unless you plan on doing it yourself.  You do not want the current homeowners to shock the well on their own.  They may have a friend do it that doesn’t have any experience or know what to do.  They also may not even do it at all and tell you that they did.  I bring up this possibility because I have seen it before.  If you are going to have the sellers correct the issue make sure that you get receipts from a professional well company and follow up with another test to ensure the bacteria is gone.

Here is a basic guideline on shocking a well.  Keep in mind that every system is different and may need different procedures.

  • A typical solution for shocking a well requires 2 cups bleach and 10 gallons of water.
  • Dump the solution into your well.
  • Run a hose from the home to the well and run the water into the well to promote mixing of the solution. When you smell bleach coming out of the hose, shut it off.
  • Allow the well to sit for a few hours.
  • Run the exterior hoses away from the home and any plants and vegetation.
  • Run all the interior faucets and flush the toilets.
  • The flushing process can take a few hours or repeated flushing over a few day.
  • You may see brown water coming out of the faucets during this process.  This is common and is from sediment breaking up from the bleach solution.  Keep running the water and it should work itself out.
  • When you no longer smell bleach at the faucets you should be all set.  Chlorine test strips can also be used.
  • You should re-test your water about a week after shocking to ensure the bacteria is removed.

During the shocking process you should NOT use your water supply.  Here are some other things that you should NOT do during this process:

  • Drink the water
  • Shower
  • Give water to your pets
  • Water your plants
  • Do Laundry (the bleach may discolor your clothes and the rust deposits may stain your clothes)

Like any issue found during a Home Inspection, Coliform bacteria is easily fixed if handled properly.  If shocked properly the water may remain clean for a long time or it may not.  Most experts will advise that you test your well water once a year, while some say every other year.  If you have a shallow dug well you may want to test your water twice a year or more.  Especially if you live a quarter mile from a dairy farm with 100 cows.


I have also seen coliform form inside of a water softener brine tank.  The salt had not been filled and the tank had filled up with water which had a nice thick layer of growth on top of it.  A plumbing cross connection can also back flow waste water back into the system causing contamination.

There are many different ways that Coliform and other bacterias can enter your water supply and several different ways to treat it.  Obviously a high quality filtration system is the ideal solution but if that is not in the budget than hopefully a bottle of bleach is and you can clean your system.

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The Home Inspection process can be a stressful time for any home buyer.  My goal is to make this time stress free and smooth as possible for you and your real estate agent.  I am writing this piece to prep you as the buyer for your home inspection.

Let’s assume that you have finally found “The One” and your offer has been accepted.  Your next step is to find an inspector and get your inspection scheduled.

  1. Scheduling the Inspection.  Your agent should be there so communicate with them and your inspector to make sure you pick a day and time that works for everyone (you most of all). Your agent has done many of these, and having them with you is a great resource.  They will help you along the way if anything comes up.  Couples should BOTH be there, it makes things much easier and keeps everyone on the same page.  You normally have 7-14 days to do your inspections, this is called your “due diligence period”.
  2. Do you want to test the water?  If you have a well you MOST DEFINITELY want a water test.  If  you have an FHA or VA loan and your home has a well, you may be required to get a test.  It is best to know what condition your water is in before you start drinking it. “Buy a filter or be a filter…” I hear that saying a lot.  There are many different contaminants that can get in your water.   Here’s more info about Water Quality and contaminants. 
  3. Radon air testing?  The EPA requires a 48 hour minimum test because radon levels can fluctuate from hour to hour.  Things like temperature and humidity can affect the levels. Knox Home Inspections uses specialized equipment to get your results immediately after the required 48 hours.  Our equipment will give you the most accurate reading possible with over 200 data points. Other inspectors may use a lab which can take 2-3 days longer.  Let us know and we can set the test ahead of time saving you and your agent valuable time.  More info about Radon Air right here.
  4. Septic Evaluation?  It is a CRAPPY job, literally.  We leave that to the septic evaluation companies that are licensed specifically for that.  If you want a septic evaluation we can coordinate with a few qualified companies to get it done at the same time as your inspection.  They will provide you a separate report that will show you more than you probably want to know about what goes down the toilet.
  5. Inspection Day.  Your inspection will take 2-3 hours depending on the size and condition of the home.  Make sure you block off enough time to be present the whole time.  You will be glad that you did.  You are about to learn A LOT about your new home.
  6. Bring a Tape Measure.  Bring your camera too.  The inspection is a great time to take your own pictures of the rooms and to measure for things like fridges, couches, beds, dressers, etc.  Your inspection report will have a bunch of pictures, but not the kind that will help you plan out your new home office layout.
  7. Dress For Success.  Wear something comfortable and that you don’t mind getting dirty.  Sneakers or boots are good.  Dress warm or bring an extra layer.  The weather doesn’t always cooperate and sometimes the houses can be cold if they nobody is living there.

The next 2 blogs will focus on the DURING and AFTER parts of the inspection process so look out for those very soon.  Thank you for reading and feel free to comment.  I love feedback and will edit this blog if anything good comes up.  For updates and more information connect with us on Facebook right here!

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End of blog.

Jk, here are some reasons why you absolutely should inspect your potential new condo.

Condos can be a great option for first time home buyers, or people that don’t want to mow the lawn, or maintain a pool, etc.  There are many benefits to owning a condo, there are also some cons.  Every condo association has a set of rules, and fees.  You will want to get a hold of these documents before putting in an offer on your new condo.  Having a good real estate agent will help a lot with this process.

The rules are laid out in what is called a Master Deed, or the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R).  The master deed will lay out how the condo association is governed and the policies for how things run.  The CC&R will lay out rules ranging from: Pets, parking, outdoor grills, hanging laundry, changing exterior designs, roofing, maintenance, quiet hours, etc.  There can be many rules.

With almost all Condos there are monthly fees.  These fees go into the budget for maintaining certain things around the common areas of the condos.  Landscaping, plowing, roof replacement, decks, balconies, siding, etc.  Most associations want the units to all look great which will keep the value of the units up and the tenants happy.  If the roof on one condo has seen the end of it’s days, the association will replace it and use the money from everyones monthly fees to do it.  This can be a great thing for a condo owner.  If the roof leaks and damages the inside of your attic and the insulation, most of the time that is covered.  However, if the pipes burst in your upstairs bathroom and damage the ceiling in your kitchen, that is not the responsibility of the Condo association.  This is why you want a home inspection.  Having an inspection will help you to determine what is and is NOT covered by the HOA and what issues may be inside your condo, or what issues may come up in the future.  Repairs are not a matter of if, but when.

Here is a leak that was found inside a Condo using thermal imaging.  

Without thermal imaging this leak would never have been seen, it cam from the refrigerator water line from the unit up above.  Without an inspection this buyer could have bought this unit and walked into a condo with an active leak above head and a bill to fix it right away.

Knowing what is and is not covered by the HOA (Home Owners Association) is not the job of a home inspector.  A good inspector will inspect the roof of a condo and the common areas associated with the unit being inspected.  Knox Home Inspections treats a condo the same as any other house.

Here’s an example…


That is the main entrance to a 6 unit, garden style condo building.  There are 2 electric code violations going on here and these people walk by, and over it every day.  The junction box directly below the door should not be in an area that has foot traffic, it should be off to the right and out of the walkway.  This is for safety.  The second violation is the circuit that is running into the gutter and up to the 3rd story flood light above.  The gutter is acting as a conduit for the circuit, it is also draining all of the water from the roof above.  Water and electricity DO NOT mix.  This whole situation should be re configured by an electrician ASAP.  This is a tricky situation for my client who is buying this unit.  My recommendation to them was to have this corrected by a professional.  Is this the responsibility of the buyer or the HOA?  That is where you want to read all of that paperwork we mentioned above and determine what to do from that.

Some HOA’s have zero fees.  Maintenance on these units can fall on the owners themselves and can be tricky with repairs and the cost of those repairs.  See the picture below of a Condex split down the middle.

All new vinyl siding on the right, and original wood siding on the left that is peeling badly.  The roof has been replaced on the right side and they wove it right into the old side on the left.  There is a lot of moss and lichen on the left side and that whole side needs to be replaced.  Also the dryer vent has no cover on it, it’s between the AC unit that is leaning over and the bulkhead.  That is direct access for critters and moisture, which can lead to damage.  The deck on the left is the original wood and the deck on the right is all new Trex material and is very nice.  This is clearly a situation where the HOA does not cover repairs on the exterior of the units.  Again you must read the CC&R to determine what is an is not covered for repairs.  Inspecting this unit was tricky because we could not inspect the other half of the house.  All we could do was inform them of what was seen from the outside and how that may effect there side.

Arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible before buying your condo.  Get a copy of all of the documents you can and read them all.  And don’t forget the home inspection…

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If your water comes from a well ANYWHERE in New Hampshire you should do a water quality test before purchasing.  Water quality is so important.  Poor water quality is a health concern and a problem for the pipes and systems of your home.  Knox Home Inspections is here to help.

We will test your water for you even if you are not buying a home, just give us a call and we will come right over.  The test only takes 1-2 days and the knowledge of what you are drinking is worth way more than the cost of the test.

What to Test for?

Total Coliform & E.coli Bacteria 

The organisms in the total coliform group are called indicator organisms. That is, if present, they indicate that there is a possibility, but not a certainty, that disease organisms may also be present in the water. When absent there is a very low probability of disease organisms being present in the water. The ability of the total coliform test to reliably predict the bacterial safety of water relative to the hundreds of possible diseases that might be present is critical since it is impossible, in a practical sense, to check separately for every disease organism directly on a monthly or quarterly basis. The presence of only Total Coliform generally does not imply an imminent health risk but does require an analysis of all water systems facilities and their operation to determine how these organisms entered the water system. Escherichia Coli (E.coli). This is a specific species (subgroup) within the coliform family. They originate only in the intestines of animals and humans. They have a relatively short life span compared to more general Total Coliform. Their presence indicates a strong likelihood that human or animal wastes are entering the water system, and have a much higher likelihood of causing illness.

Iron & Manganese (Limits = 0.3 & 0.05 mg/l respectively)

Iron and manganese occur naturally in New England’s geology. They dissolve into groundwater as acidic rainfall percolates through the soil and rock. In higher concentrations, they can cause staining on laundry and water fixtures Elevated concentrations can also cause the water to have a metallic or vinyl type taste in the water Their appearance can also give an oily “crusty” sheen to the water’s surface. The non-health related iron bacteria can clog strainers, pumps, and valves.

NH Department of Environmental Services (DES) is in the process of establishing an enforceable standard of 0.3 mg/L for manganese for all NH public water systems. The effective date is currently July 1, 2022. EPA, at present, has not set health standards for either iron or manganese in drinking water, both are considered aesthetic concerns only.


The presence or absence of conventional hardness in drinking water is not known to pose a health risk to users. Hardness is normally considered an aesthetic water quality factor. The presence of some dissolved mineral material in drinking water is typically what gives the water its characteristic and pleasant “taste”. At higher concentrations however, hardness creates the following consumer problems:

  1. Produces white mineral deposits on tubs, showers, and dishes
  2. Reduces the efficiency of devices that heat water. As hardness deposits build in thickness,

    they act like insulation, reducing heat transfer.

  3. Can reduce the ability of soaps to create suds, thus reducing the efficiency of cleaning

    ability. Can cause problems with laundry.

Nitrate & Nitrite Nitrogen (Limits = 10.0 & 1.0 mg/l respectively)

Nitrate is a component in fertilizer, and both nitrate/nitrite are found in sewage and sanitary wastes from humans and animals. Nitrate/nitrite concentrations are not normally high in New England’s wells or surface waters. When elevated, the surrounding area is often heavily developed, used for agricultural purposes, or subject to heavy fertilization. Excessive levels of these nitrogen compounds in drinking water have caused serious illness and sometimes death in infants under six months of age. Symptoms include shortness of breath and blueness of the skin (methemoglobinemia).

Sodium & Chloride (Limit Chloride = 250 mg/l )

The compound known as “salt” consists of the elements sodium and chloride. Substantially higher levels of Sodium and Chloride tend to imply contamination by activities of man including road salt storage, use of road salts, and discharges from water softeners. Typical background levels of Sodium and Chloride for pristine locations in New England’s are generally less than 15 mg/L and 30 mg/L respectively.

pH (Acceptable Range = 6.5 – 8.5)

The pH of water is a measure of its acidity or alkalinity. A low pH indicates acidic water, which is therefore likely to be corrosive to household plumbing such as copper pipes. In older homes (prior to mid to late 1980’s) the plumbing may also contain Lead in the soldered joints. Corrosive water will dissolve these metals from the plumbing into the water. Dissolved Copper & Lead in drinking water can be a health concern, and can also be a maintenance concern as the water corrodes the plumbing in the home eventually causing water leaks.

Lead & Copper (Limits = 0.015 & 1.3 mg/l respectively)

Found in water with corrosive tendencies (see pH). There is an extremely low occurrence of naturally occurring lead & copper in water. It is nearly always from plumbing systems with copper lines and/or lead solder. Levels are highest after water has been stagnant in the pipes. The recommended method for testing of Lead & Copper when plumbing is a concern is to sample water after it has been sitting in the pipes for 6 – 10 hours, without running the water at all prior to filling the bottle. This is called a “first draw” and simulates a worst case test.

Radioactivity (Limit = 15 pCi/L for Gross Alpha)

New England’s bedrock contains naturally occurring radioactivity. A few examples include Radon, Radium 226, Radium 228 and Uranium. Radon is a gas (see separate description); the others are minerals. The basic test to determine the total radioactivity from all these sources is Gross Alpha.

Alkalinity: A measure of water’s acid neutralizing capacity. A low alkalinity in combination with low hardness may increase corrosive tendencies, especially in water that already has a pH below or at the low end of the acceptable range.

Arsenic (NH Limit = 0.005 mg/l EPA Limit 0.010 mg/l)

Arsenic occurs naturally in New England. In fact, arsenic was mined commercially in New England during the 1800s. Arsenic also occurs as a result of human activities. Activities that could have left arsenic residuals include apple orchard spraying and coal ash disposal. Generally it is not possible to predict if a well will have elevated arsenic. Arsenic has no smell, taste or coloration when dissolved in water, even at high concentrations. Arsenic has been classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a human carcinogen (cancer causing agent). Long term exposure to arsenic has been linked to cancer, cardiovascular disease, immunological disorders, diabetes and other medical issues. The NH DES has established a NH Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for arsenic of 0.005 mg/l, which took effect for July 1, 2021 for all NH public water systems. The federal EPA Safe Drinking Water Act MCL for arsenic is 0.010 mg/l. NH DES recommends that at least two tests be processed before concluding the well’s arsenic concentration, as well water quality can change due to many factors.

Radon (No EPA regulated limit)
IMPORTANT NOTE: Radon levels may test significantly different when collected from a well that is not in a normal pattern of use, compared to Radon levels from the same well when in normal daily use.
Radon gas is normally found in all well water. Bedrock wells typically have much higher levels then dug or point wells. The most significant concern is the inhalation of Radon from the air. Radon typically enters air via two common pathways:

  1. Migration (up from the soil) into the house air through cracks and/or other openings in the foundation.
  2. Release of dissolved radon gas into the air from water usage in the home.

In New England’s, the migration of radon up from the soil contributes the largest percent of radon found in the average home. Radon from a groundwater type water supply source, particularly a bedrock (artesian, drilled) well, contributes the next largest percentage of radon in the home. The US EPA has set an advisory “action level” of 4 pCi/L for radon gas in indoor air. Studies show that high levels of radon gas in the air increase the risk of developing lung cancer. At present there is no federal or state regulated standard for radon in drinking water. In 2016, the NH DES and the Maine Radon Program recommended that private wells with radon concentrations at or above 10,000 pCi/L be treated to reduce radon levels. Treatment for water with concentrations between 2000 and 10,000 pCi/L (in NH), or 4000 and 10,000 (in ME), may be advisable if the air concentrations in the home exceed 4 pCi/L. The EPA has proposed a limit of 4000 pCi/L, but this has never been enacted. Massachusetts recommends 10,000 pCi/L and V ermont 4,000 pCi/L. A useful equation developed by the EPA to determine the seriousness of Radon in water is that 1 pCi/L of Radon will develop in air for every 10,000 pCi/L in water.

Fluoride (Limit = 2.0/4.0 mg/l secondary/primary)

Fluoride occurs naturally in New England’s bedrock. Fluoride has no taste, color or odor. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have recommended 1.0 to 1.2 milligrams per liter (mg/L) as the optimum beneficial concentration of fluoride in drinking water for dental protection. In the range of 2.0-4.0 mg/L of fluoride, staining of tooth enamel is possible. At concentrations above 4.0 mg/L, studies have shown the possibility of skeletal fluorosis as well as the staining of teeth.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s)

Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) are a class of chemicals that are carbon containing and vaporize easily into air at normal air temperatures. VOCs are found in a variety of commercial, industrial, and residential products, including gasoline, solvents, cleaners, degreasers, paints, inks and dyes. Many of these compounds are also known human carcinogens. Benzene, for example, may enter groundwater from gasoline or oil spills on the ground surface. Other examples of commonly detected VOCs are trichloroethylene, used in septic system cleaners; and tetrachloroethylene, used in the dry-cleaning industry. MtBE is the abbreviation for the compound “methyl tertiary butyl ether”. This compound is a former addititive to gasoline.The NH. Department of Health and Human Services developed a health-based drinking water standard for MtBE of 13 micrograms per liter (ug/L).
Sulfide (Rotten Egg Odor) Sulfide can be formed naturally as a by-product of the decomposition of organic material possibly aided by the presence of non-hazardous sulfur reducing bacteria, or by chemical reactions of soil and bedrock minerals containing sulfur. At the concentrations typically found in drinking water, it is not hazardous to health. It is also important to note that the odor threshold for sulfide is considerably lower than the point at which our laboratory test detects it. So you may smell it before we can find it.

Conductivity: A very basic test measuring the total dissolved mineral content of water. Includes all individual minerals separately listed on this page.

Per- and Polyfluoralkyl Substances (PFAS)
(NH Limits PFOA=12 ng/L, PFOS=15 ng/L, PFNA=11 ng/L, PFHxS = 18 ng/L) PFAS are a group of various man-made compounds. These chemicals include PFOA, PFOS, and other chemicals which are used in the manufacturing of many every day products. Examples of products containing PFAS include food packaging, fire fighting foam, non-stick pans, stain resistant fabrics, microwave popcorn bags, and numerous other common household products. The two most studied compounds of the full list of PFAS chemicals are PFOS and PFOA, which have been given a combined limit of 70 ng/L by the EPA.

For any questions about water testing call anytime, for pricing click the price list below.

2019 Price List

More Water Quality Information

For more information check out the NHDES website about PFOA’s and check out Nelson Analytical’s website for more information about water quality.

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Radon is a dangerous gas that comes from the decaying of Uranium in the ground. It is naturally a gas and can be inhaled, eventually leading to lung cancer. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer behind smoking and ahead of second hand smoke. Radon is especially dangerous in residential housing because it can concentrate in basements and crawlspaces. The scariest part is that it is odorless, colorless and tasteless. The ONLY way to know if you have Radon is to test specifically for it.  Radon can also be in your well water which can lead to higher levels in the air.  This blog focuses on radon in the air, for radon in the water read my water blog...

Knox Home Inspections uses the BEST radon measuring devices on the market.  These machines will give you much more data than any other Home Inspectors out there and your results will be available much quicker than our competition.  

In New Hampshire we have a higher concentration of Radon than in other parts of the country, especially Carroll County.  For this reason I recommend an air test in every house that I inspect.  Radon can be in all the houses in your neighborhood or in just a few, the only way to know if it is in your home is to have it tested by a professional.  The results will tell you the Radon level and you can decide if you need to mitigate or not.

The EPA recommends action be taken if you have over 4.0 pCi/L. I have performed a lot of Radon tests in New Hampshire and  keep very detailed records. The average Radon level in a basement with NO mitigation system is 5.2 pCi/L.  So some are higher and some are lower. The average radon level with a system in place is 1.2 pCi/L. These systems work, and they can save lives.

In 2016 alone I came to FIVE separate homes with Radon mitigation systems that were turned OFF! If you have a system in place it needs to be ON at all times. The fan does not use a lot of electricity, about the same as a bathroom fan and it should also be as quiet as one. If it is louder than a small fan you should replace the fan unit. The fans are around $125 a piece.

Radon mitigation is not as expensive as some people fear it is. A basic, full system normally starts around $1000. Depending on the layout of the house they can be installed easily. Here’s one that runs out the side of the basement: 


The fan above is one of the systems I found that was OFF. Please make sure if you are buying a home that the system is ON before you even schedule a home inspection. I could not test this system that day because it would accomplish nothing. Instead the buyers Real Estate Agent had to contact the seller, get them to turn it on, and then I went back and did the test. This cost the home buyers valuable time during the closing process and was an unnecessary delay and added stress for everyone involved.

Knox Home Inspections is certified by the International Association of Certified Indoor Air Consultants for Advanced Radon Air Measurement. We guarantee an accurate Radon test for all of our customers for just $125. It is worth every penny to know that your home is free and clear of radon.

If you have any Radon Air questions feel free to contact us at anytime.

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That’s not a new Snapchat filter. That’s Thermal Imaging with a professional FLIR Infrared camera.  There are many different uses for an infrared camera like this.  It allows the user to capture differences in temperature, the dark purple is cold and the bright yellow is hot.  When choosing a Home Inspector make sure to choose one that uses this technology. Many areas of the home are inaccessible to the eye and without thermal imaging a lot of issues can go un checked.

This tool can help to identify air intrusion and extrusion, moisture intrusion, plumbing leaks, roof leaks, insulation gaps, overloaded electric circuits, HVAC leaks, and much more.  A quick scan with the thermal camera is a great addition to any Home Inspection.

Some people seem to think that a thermal camera can “see” through the wall or through clothing.  This is NOT true.  The camera captures radiation from whatever it is looking at. For example, thats me in the picture at the top.  It was a cold day and I took my jacket off and all the heat radiated off my body and was captured by the camera, but you can’t see through my shirt.

Above you can see a missing section of insulation in the wall and heat is escaping.  This day was very cold and the heat loss really popped off the camera screen.

From the inside of another house.  To get the best thermal images I turn the heat way up to get a better Delta T (Difference in Temperature).  Windows lose a lot of heat, but those cold spots creeping up the wall from the ground are moisture.  This is called “Rising Damp”.  Moisture rises up the siding and causes damage and possibly mold.

Lastly is a heat lamp in an attic directly above a bathroom.  There is so much heat it looks like it is on fire!  There is zero insulation around the lamp which is leaking very warm air into the cold attic.  Warm air + Cold Air = Moisture.  Not good for an attic without proper ventilation.

These are just a few of the things I have seen using Thermal Imaging.  I use the thermal camera on every home inspection because it allows me to see things that I could never have seen with my naked eyes.

Energy Efficiency is a breeze with a thermal camera.  You can hunt for heat loss and gaps in heat supply piping.  A quick scan of a home on  very cold or very warm day can narrow down areas where small improvements can make a big difference on the heating and electric bill.

If you have questions about thermal imaging just contact us and we will be glad to help.

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