The Newsletter of the North Carolina Licensed Home Inspector Association

NCLHIA small logo
July 1, 2014
The mission of the NCLHIA, the premier nonprofit association of licensed home inspectors in North Carolina, is to promote excellence and exemplary practice within the profession, and to meet the needs of the home buying/selling public.


In This Issue
From The President
Don't Let the Pilot Fly
Check the MVMA Link
Washer Hose Tip
Drywall Cracks & Batteries
Smoke and CO Detectors

The Newsletter of the NCLHIA
Dave Hahn and Jamey Tippens - Editors

Join a Local Chapter

Your local chapter is where it's happening.  Meet other inspectors and share your stories and tips.

For more information, contact the chapter presidents listed below

Triangle Chapter - Wilson Fausel

Northwest Chapter - Mike Cole

Coastal Chapter - John Gainey

Charlotte Chapter - Dave Hahn 

Scheduled Events

NCHILB Board Meeting
July 11, 2014 9AM to Noon
322 Chapanoke Road, Raleigh

NCLHIA Board Meeting
September 20, 2014 - Greensboro
All NCLHIA members welcome
Contact any board member for details


President: Eric Coates

Vice President:
Wayne Mander

Jamey Tippens

and Executive Director:
Robert Wilson

Past President:

Bob Scott


 Charlotte Chapter President:

Dave Hahn


Triangle Chapter President:

Wilson Fausel


Coastal Chapter President

John Gainey


Chapter President:
 Mike Cole 

February Conference a Great Success

The NCLHIA Annual Conference was at the Blockade Runner Resort in Wrightsville Beach in February.  We had many attendees from across the state and eleven vendors that displayed their services and tools.  The weather was great for February and we all enjoyed the delicious food and ample opportunities for networking. 

Legal Shield

As part of your membership in the NCLHIA you have the opportunity for special pricing with LegalShield. LegalShield offers legal and identity theft protection for you, your family or your business at affordable monthly rates. 
Unexpected legal questions arise every day and with LegalShield on your side, you'll have access to a quality law firm for as little as $20 a month. From letters written on your behalf to document review, speeding tickets to will preparation, and more, our attorneys are here to provide legal advice - no matter how traumatic or how trivial it may be. Identity theft affects millions of Americans each year. LegalShield offers a high quality identity theft plan to help protect and restore your identity, and it covers your entire family.  We believe every business should have access to legal coverage, and with our business plans, you can lead your business with peace of mind knowing you'll have access to legal advice when you need it. For less than one hour of an attorney's time, you can have a law firm on retainer for your peace of mind.  Look for more information with the membership application, coming soon.  

Aflac provides supplemental insurance for individuals and groups to help pay benefits your major medical insurance doesn't cover.
Your NCLHIA membership allows discounted policies.
Welcome to Probings, the NCLHIA newsletter.  Like you, the NCLHIA has survived the recession, and now plans to move forward as your advocate.  Want to improve your business, learn new skills, stay ahead of the curve?  NCLHIA is here to help.  Please enjoy the newsletter, and let us know what you think. We'll soon be sending out membership applications.

Benefits of Joining NCLHIA
  • Meet and Share your experiences with other Home Inspectors at the local chapters 
  • Save on Continuing Education at the Annual Conference
  • Special Pricing for Insurance through AFLAC
  • Special pricing with Legal Shield 
  • Stay up to date with the latest developments concerning Home Inspectors in  North Carolina  
  • Inspector Directory on the NCLHIA Website helps your clients find you!  

Join the NCLHIA

For only $150.00 a year, enjoy all the benefits of membership.  Please contact Robert Wilson to join - it's easy.  Look for more information about all the benefits in the application for membership coming soon.  


From NCLHIA President 
Eric Coates


Greetings to all NC Licensed Home Inspectors. It is my hope that you are having a great year. As I talk to home inspectors in my area and around the state, they are generally busy. After many years of slow times, it is VERY good to be busy again. I can remember using my house phone to call my cell phone to make sure it still worked. Hopefully, those days are behind us and we can all grow our businesses again.  


Data from the NC Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that existing home sales grew 21% in 2013 as compared to 2012 and that sales prices grew by 5% in 2013. Hallelujah - as I said earlier, I hope you are having a great year.


It is an exciting time for the NCLHIA. As you may know, we had been using First Point Management Resources as our Executive Director but moved away from them in 2012 due to financial reasons. NCLHIA has been operating as a volunteer organization since then. Membership and revenue have increased and now we are in better shape financially.  


As of June 1, 2014, NCLHIA hired Robert Wilson as part-time Executive Director. Robert is a charter member of NCLHIA and has been a tireless volunteer over many years. The NCLHIA Board is greatly relieved to have someone in the Executive Director role that can help us move forward. You can reach Robert at 919-861-4549 or


Also, we recently hired Media Integrations to re-design our web site.  You will see a completely new web site this summer. We plan to make it a resource for many people - primarily for you, the inspector, but also for buyers, sellers, home owners, etc. It is our goal to have information on the web site that is useful to all home owners and attempt to get them looking at our site first when they look for home inspectors in North Caroina.


Please read through this newsletter. We have some dedicated volunteers on our board that have put it together for you. It is time to renew your membership or join NCLHIA. We are the largest home inspector association in NC and we are here to serve you, the home inspectors of NC. There are some benefits listed in this issue of Probings that go along with membership. Please look at them and take advantage of those. 


And, finally, it is an election year for NCLHIA.  We will be putting together a slate of officers later this year.  If you have interest in serving on the board, please contact Robert Wilson at If you want to volunteer to help with NCLHIA in any capacity, even for an hour or two a month, we would love to hear from you. 


Have a great summer and fall. If you have any questions/concerns for me directly or if you can't wait to volunteer to serve NCLHIA, please feel free to contact me at or at 919-608-3643.



I turned to see him walking on the attic insulation

The Air Force Pilot That Did Not Fly

By Maggie Bowers



He was following me, after I had told him to wait on the floored section of the attic. I walked out on the joists still talking to him with my back to him...he followed me and before I knew it I heard the gypsum board nails popping (weird sound).  I turned from inspecting the gable vent screen to find him coming toward me, silently (on the soft insulation)...probably trying to hear what I was saying.


I yelled at him like a bad little boy "Are you on the ceiling joists? Get on the joists, the wood, there! Now!"


He hopped up like a cat and landed on the joists.


I breathed a sigh of relief. He was more than 18 feet above a hardwood floor with only a few nails and some gyp board supporting him. I didn't tell him. I made a mental note:

#1. Do not turn your back and talk to a client, and

#2. Do not take your eyes off of your client around electric panels, attics, crawlspaces, and ladders, and

#3 Having the client and the Realtor there makes for the best Home Inspection because the client lets you know their priorities and lends you their eyes, and the Realtor keeps the client out of trouble while you complete the inspection.


Although he was a pilot for the air force; I had no interest in seeing him fly in person.


Using the NCHILB recommended language for Stone Veneer?  Check the link!


The link to the Masonry Veneer Manufacturer's Association on the original recommended language no longer works.  Here is the new link:


Inspection Tip - Washer Hose as Tool 

By Jamey Tippens 



A few years ago, some friends had a washing machine hose burst in their second-floor laundry that caused about $20,000 damage to their house. So I added a piece of boilerplate in my report that recommends the installation of reinforced washing machine hoses.  


When I replaced my own washer hoses, I kept the old rubber ones. I carry one in my vehicle along with a nice big fluffy towel.



If no washer is installed at the house I'm inspecting, I screw my washer hose on the washing machine faucets to test them for leaks and to make sure that the hot and cold water lines aren't reversed. I run a gallon or so from each faucet directly into the washer drain. This also will let me know if there is a leak in the drain pipe. The towel is necessary because this job always spills a little water. The towel also comes in handy when there's an unexpected leak from any part of the plumbing system.


If a washer is installed, don't even think about removing the hoses to test the system. Unless you have a truckload of towels.


Two Tips - Photographing Drywall Cracks and Organizing your Batteries  

By Wilson Fausel 


1) Highlighting Drywall Cracks
Often we need to photograph cracks in walls, above doors or windows but when using the flash on a camera, they may not show up.  I carry a small LED flashlight, and lay it flat on the wall and then take the picture without the flash.  The cracks and shadows show up quite well.


2) Keeping up with AA & AAA batteries
Keeping up with extra AA or AAA batteries for cameras and recorders can be frustrating.  They get lost in the console, glove box, between the seats or sometimes magically just disappear.  To keep up with the batteries, I use 3 prescription pill bottles.  The small one holds 4 - 5 AAA batteries, the large one holds 6+ AA batteries and the mid sized one is for discharged batteries so I know which ones need to be recharged.  On the back of each pill bottle I use 2 Velcro strips stuck to the bottle and the back of my briefcase to keep the bottles in the corner.  These pill bottles have terminated the frustrating battery hunt.


Understanding and Reporting Smoke Detectors & Carbon Monoxide Alarms in North Carolina

by Scott Hinson and Dave Hahn


The standards of practice reference the need to inspect smoke detectors and (since September 1, 2013) permanently installed carbon monoxide alarms under the Electrical section .1110 (a)(8). The standards further clarify under .1110 (d) that "The home inspector shall report in writing on the presence or absence of smoke detectors, and permanently installed carbon monoxide alarms in any homes with fuel fired appliances or attached garages, and operate their test function, if accessible, except when detectors are part of a central system."


So while we are required to inspect smoke detectors, we are only required to inspect "permanently installed" carbon monoxide alarms. This means that we are not required to inspect the plug-in type, although you may choose to do so. Per the SOP, "inspect" means the act of making a visual examination.


We are to report on the presence or absence of smoke detectors. But we are only required to report on the presence or absence of permanently installed carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in homes with fuel-fired appliances (e.g., gas furnace, gas water heater, gas logs, etc.) or attached garages.


CO alarms are one of the easier items that we can inspect and are probably one of the most important components of the inspection process. CO problems in homes are reported mostly in the newspaper or TV as cases of severe sicknesses and/or death. We are in a unique position to determine whether these alarms are in place and working (at the time of inspection). To avoid confusion or omissions, you may choose to report their presence or absence in any type of home, whether a fuel-fired appliance or attached garage is present or not since some sources of CO are from charcoal grills being used inside as well as propane appliances not rated for inside use. This $50.00 device may save a life. Note: In some areas of the state, homes used as a rental units or condominiums attached are required to have CO alarms and smoke detectors in place. Also note: The current code in North Carolina (Section R315 of the 2012 NCRC) does not require permanently installed CO alarms, but allows for battery powered, plug-in or hard-wired alarms.


We are also to operate the test function of these devices, if accessible, except when detectors are part of a central system. Per the SOP, "operate" means to cause systems or equipment to function. Also per the SOP, "readily accessible" means approachable or enterable for visual inspection without the risk of damage to any property or alteration of the accessible space, equipment, or opening. Note: There is nothing there about the use of a four-foot stepladder (that only applies for readily openable access panels).


Determining whether the detectors/alarms are actively connected to a central alarm or monitored system is important so as to prevent the fire/police department from being summoned during your inspection. It's not always easy to tell which detectors/alarms are connected to a security system, or if the system is activated. When in doubt, you should inquire with the seller and/or their agent to prevent a false-alarm charge for this test which can run up to $100 in some areas. If it is determined (or suspected) that the detectors/alarms are tied to an activated system and therefore not tested, this should be listed in your report. And while we are not required to test security alarm systems, it may be helpful to direct your client's to review/test this equipment with the sellers prior to closing to determine that these items work.


Operation of the test function (if accessible, or when not part of a central system) can be performed by pressing the test button and noting whether each alarm is audible as individually tested and/or if all alarms sound at the same time (i.e., are interconnected), as may be applicable. Remember, when reporting functionality, while we are inspecting smoke "detectors," only the "alarm" function is actually tested and not the "smoke detection" capability of any unit. On new construction, you would want to report if the debris covers have not been removed or the battery-activation strip has not been removed. Reporting that one or more detectors or alarms make a chirping sound is indicative of dying batteries which may be silent (and non-functional) by the time the client moves in.


The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requires all single-station and multiple-station smoke alarms to be replaced every ten years (NFPA 72 Section 8-3.5). This is because build-up of grease and dust, insect infestations, and normal failure rates dictate replacement. If you see some heavily discolored units, they are likely over ten years of age and you may want to recommend an upgrade to replace these units. Note: The current code requirements for smoke alarms (they don't call them "detectors") in North Carolina can be found under Section R314 of the 2012 NCRC.


CO detectors begin to lose sensitivity after five (5) years, so you may want to recommend an upgrade to replace units older than this. Beginning in March 2007, UL 2034 required that all CO alarms have an audible "end of life" warning. The end of life warning alerts you that the unit has reached its expiration and should be replaced. Some manufacturers have voluntarily included this warning on their products since 2001, but any CO alarm manufactured after April 2007 with a UL listing must include an end of life warning.