Home Inspector Blog Articles

Steaming Hot Tub on Wooden Deck

How much power is needed for a hot tub?

Hot tubs and saunas are great additions to back yards, patios and decks.  But they have special power requirements and not every home’s electrical system can support them.   The purpose of this article is to outline the electrical requirements for most types of hot tubs available on the market today.  It’s not intended to be

Orchard Park, NY House

Is it smart to skip the home inspection?

The housing market has become ridiculously competitive in much of the country, leading to buyers taking extreme steps to make their offers more attractive to sellers.  One of the ways that buyer’s agents are sometimes making offers more enticing is by removing the home inspection contingency.  Is this really a good idea?   There are huge

Ice dam in Holland, NY

What causes ice dams, and can then be stopped?

What causes ice dams, and can then be stopped? Ice dams are thick, evil build-ups of ice along a home’s roofline.  They can be problematic in some homes, and in others they’re nothing more than thick glaciers of ice that sit harmlessly until the spring warmth kicks in.   The problem is that ice dams can

Home in the Village of East Aurora, Near Hamlin Park

4 Big Village of East Aurora Home Inspection Finds

As the owner of a home inspection company that’s based in Western NY’s Southtowns, I’m often asked by home buyers, sellers or their real estate agents to inspect houses in East Aurora.  The purpose of this article is to share a few of the problems that Alto Home Inspection, LLC found during this inspection so

House in Hamburg, NY

3 Issues Found During a Hamburg, NY Home Inspection

Earlier this year we inspected a smaller home near Bayview Drive in Hamburg, NY.  Our home inspections are more detailed than many, and as usual we uncovered a number of issues.   The house inspected was a “flip” house, meaning that the owner bought the house with the intention of making upgrades that appeal to the

Vintage Double Oven

Major Concerns with Carbon Monoxide in Homes

As a home inspector and and indoor air quality professional I’m interested in all things related to residential safety. This article will touch on several points related to carbon monoxide. Nothing here should be taken to be health advice. Consult with your doctor if you think you’ve been affected by carbon monoxide (or anything else,

Radon is a decay product of uranium.

Who can test for radon in NY state?

I’ve noticed a great deal of uncertainty out there about requirements for performing radon tests in my part of New York state, near Buffalo. I wanted to answer a few questions about radon testing, and clarify what New York state requires of radon testing companies. What is Radon? It’s a radioactive, invisible gas that you

Early 1900's Brick House

6 Ways to Get Ready for Your Home Inspection in Buffalo

Having a home inspection is an essential part of the home buying process.  House buying is complicated, and once your offer is accepted then it’s time to schedule an inspection with an experienced home inspector.  If you’ve already scheduled your inspection in the Buffalo area with Alto Home Inspection, LLC, then we can’t wait to

Damp Basement Wall

5 Ways to Dry Out Your Basement

As owner of a home inspection company in the Buffalo area, I can attest that there are many, many, many houses here that have dank and damp basements.  Almost all of these homes were constructed before 1970 or so, which is when residential construction standards finally reached the point that allowed for basements to generally

Mold Inspector

Does a home inspector check for mold?

This question comes up often when we’re contacted by home buyers, so I wanted to write this brief article explaining how Alto Home Inspection, LLC handles mold situations.  We encounter mold on probably 50% of our home inspections in the Buffalo area, as well as Cattaraugus and Wyoming counties. What’s the main purpose of a

Modern House in East Aurora

What is a Licensed home inspector?

Over the years I’ve been asked by many to help clarify exactly what qualifies a home inspector to perform residential inspections in Western NY.  Many buyers, sellers and even some real estate agents don’t have a good understanding of the importance of ensuring that before a home inspection is scheduled that you ensure your inspector

Licensed & Professional Home Inspector

Why choose an independent home inspector?

When I started Alto Home Inspection, I did so with the intention of helping people better understand the positives and negatives of their homes.  This understanding extends to inspecting homes for buyers and sellers, testing homes for mold and air quality problems and performing radon measurements.   I didn’t fall into the career of home inspection

Sample IAQ Report

How to improve indoor air quality?

Indoor air quality, or “IAQ”, is a term often used to describe the relative pureness or cleanliness of the air within a residence or commercial structure.  According to the EPA, “Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of

Home Inspectors FSBO Orchard Park, NY

How to find a for sale by owner home

As one of the few home inspectors that receives a lot of business from buyers looking for for-sale-by-owner houses (“FSBO” for short) I hear a lot from my clients about how they’ve come to find these houses.  Given that the Buffalo housing market is starved for inventory, hunting for FSBO homes is a great way

Unprofessional Structural Work in Crawlspace - Williamsville, NY

How to prepare your house for a buyer’s inspection

Have you accepted a purchase offer on your home?  Congrats!  Now it’s time to finalize your preparations for the buyer’s home inspection.  Home inspectors in Buffalo, Hamburg, Amherst and throughout Western New York spend time looking for the big and small problems.  Spending time preparing your home for an inspection may lead to a shorter

Roof with Multiple Problems

Should a home inspector fail a house?

I’ve learned over time that some buyers and real estate agents are expecting a grade of either “pass” or “fail” after a home inspection is over.  Maybe in years past this is something that home inspectors near Buffalo actually did, but in the year 2020 is it helpful for anyone to do this?  Let’s think

A luxury home in Hamburg, NY

Buffalo Area Real Estate Resource Guide

This guide was created by Alto Home Inspection, LLC with the goal of helping first-time home buyers, out-of-town investors and others understand the complicated process involved in closing on a home near Buffalo and Western New York.   We get so many questions about the home buying process that we wanted to take the time to

Condensate leak in this furnace has led to permanent damage

Why is your furnace leaking water?

As a licensed home inspector based in Buffalo’s Southtowns (in the Orchard Park area), I inspect several types of heating systems.  Searching for water leaks is something I do in every home I’m in, but my clients can be surprised when I report that the furnace is leaking water. But how can this happen? When

Early 1900s house in Williamsville, NY

What’s the best weather for home inspections?

Usually when you are planning to buy a house, things move along quickly and there’s a very short window of time when a home inspection can be scheduled. But if your intention is to have the home inspected prior to listing, or if you are purchasing a home from a friend or sometimes in for-sale-by-owner

Radon Testing Near Buffalo

Why have your home professionally tested for radon?

Like many home inspectors in Western New York, Alto Home Inspection offers radon testing as a service that can be coordinated to occur at the same time as a home inspection.  Even though the general public is becoming more aware of the potentially dangerous gas, I’m still surprised that more home buyers near Buffalo haven’t

Home Inspections During Covid-19 Pandemic

Home Inspections & COVID-19

As of 4/11/2020, Alto Home Inspection is actively providing all home inspection services near Buffalo and Western NY, while taking precautions to protect our clients, real estate agents and sellers. Changes to Home Inspection Attendance To help keep Western NY safe, we are making a few adjustments to our home inspection process: All home inspections

Etched Tree in Oak Door in Buffalo, NY

What do home inspectors find in Buffalo houses?

If you are researching home inspection companies near Buffalo you probably are getting your mortgage financing ready for when you find that perfect house.  We’ve been answering a lot of calls lately from buyers who are curious about what we find when we inspect homes in Buffalo and nearby towns, such as Hamburg and Amherst.  

Dirty Furnace Filter

Furnace Filter Problems

The furnace filter is most definitely the most ignored part of routine home maintenance. As a home inspector near Buffalo, I try to inform my clients about these filters. These systems make use of a square or rectangular filter that should be installed in the return air duct (also called a “plenum”), near the base

Failing foundation

What happens after a home inspection?

Many times my home buyers ask “what happens after the home inspection is over?”.   According to Redfin, it’s one of the most common questions asked by first time homebuyers. I always try to gently guide clients who ask this question to talk with their real estate agent because my role in the home buying process

Aerial View of House

The Importance of Inspecting for Mold When Buying a New Home

When you’re buying a new home, mold is probably one of the last things on your mind.  Small structural repairs, how much care the yard will need, where you might put Grandma’ heirloom bookshelves—those are the things that are probably running through your head as you wander through your new dream home.  However, if you’re

Western New York Home Inspector

Importance of a Quality Home Inspection for Buyers

When I started Alto Home Inspection, LLC my intention was to provide a high-quality home inspection that is different than many others in Buffalo and Western New York. When home buyers call and are looking for a pre-purchase home inspection, they often times aren’t aware that not all home inspections are the same. What makes

Several Plumbing Problems in Lakeview, NY Home

Common Plumbing Problems in Buffalo & Western NY Homes

As a home inspector who provides services throughout Western NY, I encounter lots of plumbing problems. The majority of the big problems are found in houses built before the late 1970s, which is when copper supply plumbing started to become standard in the Buffalo area.What are the most common problems that home inspectors in Buffalo

Taken during an inspection of a geothermal system used for heating and cooling the home, as well for producing hot water.

What do home inspectors look for in geothermal systems?

What is geothermal? Wikipedia defines geothermal energy as “…thermal energy generated and stored in the Earth”, but when it comes to residential homes, it always refers to a system that uses piping in the ground to extract heat from the earth. These systems use loop of piping that is buried outside of the home in

Recently Flooded Basement

Why does my basement stink?

Home inspections in Buffalo, Hamburg, Lancaster, Tonawanda and areas with older homes bring lots of surprises to a home inspector.  Most of these houses were built in the early to mid 1900’s, using building materials and techniques that were standard, or even cutting-edge for the time.  But the basements in these houses can be dark,

Clean & Professional Sump Pump Installation

The Importance of Sump Pumps

Home buyers rarely pay attention to the condition of a house’s sump pump.  Actually, it’s rare for a buyer to check to see if one is even present in the basement.  But, home inspectors in Western New York know very well the importance of them.  Most homes in Amherst, Williamsville, Hamburg and the town of

Unsafe Exterior Outlet

Home Inspection Electrical Nightmares

There are several common wiring problems that I come across as a home inspector in Western New York.  Several of these are safety concerns that can truly cause harm to children, and may even result in fire. Wiring and Breakers are Mismatched The residential wiring standards that we rely upon to power our homes were

Downspout Attached with Bungee Cord

Why Are Your Gutters Overflowing?

I recently inspected a house in Orchard Park for a buyer during an incredible rain storm.  The gutters were overflowing with water, both in corners and along their overall length. You would think that gutter maintenance and design is an easy subject, but it is surprising how many things can go wrong.  I referred my

2-Family Home in South Buffalo

5 Things to Look Out for When Buying a Home

Home inspections in Buffalo NY, West Seneca, and other parts of Western New York often times put me in a unique position. A home inspection is usually the first time that a buyer will step foot inside of the house after their offer was accepted by the seller.

Air Conditioner Condenser

Why is my house so muggy when A/C is on?

Summer has finally arrived here in Western New York, after what felt like one of the longest, wettest spring times ever. Air conditioner season is finally upon us! As a home inspector, I’ve been asked by a few homeowners in the Buffalo area “why does my A/C make my house so humid?”. As it turns out, there are at least 5 reasons for this common problem.

This question at first seems strange, because air conditioning by design is supposed to remove humidity from the house.

Wavy Vinyl Siding

5 Types of Problems with a Home’s Exterior

I spend a great deal of time outside of the home during my inspections. Exterior problems often are not expensive or difficult to repair, but they can lead to many annoyances, including water, bugs, critters and foundation damage. Here I’ve collected 5 of the most common problems that I encounter while inspecting homes here in Buffalo and Western New York.

New Outlet in Older House

Are Those 3-Prong Outlets Just Pretending?

So many homes in Buffalo and the surrounding towns were built in the early part of the 19th century, which brought amazing architecture into the queen city, but at the same time our electric safety standards were in their early days. What is the number one electrical safety problem that I find in almost all of these old homes? By a huge margin, ungrounded 3-prong outlets (AKA receptacles) land on top.

Cinder Block Foundation Wall

Is My Foundation Failing?

Is My Foundation Failing? My home inspection clients here in the Buffalo and Western NY area understandably have heightened senses when it comes to any problems with the major structural systems of their new home, especially when it comes to the foundation.  Major foundation repairs can be very expensive and no one wants to face

Roof with Damaged Vent

Summertime Roof Checkups

Summertime Roof Checkups in Western NY Everyone knows that winters are brutal on our roofs here in Western NY, but now that it’s summer (almost) I wanted to report on a few common problems that I often come across when inspecting roofs.  Hamburg and East Aurora are two of areas that I see with the