Non-Invasive: What this means is that home inspectors do not open up walls, lift flooring, or displace insulation and things similar. Home Inspectors will not or rather should not potentially damage the home nor should we do anything that could reduce efficiency of systems. Home inspectors are there to evaluate the home "as is". One example of this is if HVAC duct work is wrapped in insulation, we will not remove or disturb the wrap to check the duct work. This reduces efficiency and thus creates improper installation of the wrap. Another example is blown in insulation in the attic space. Moving, displacing or stepping on blown in insulation will greatly reduce the effectiveness of the insulation, also once this type of insulation is condensed it will never be as efficient.
Visual Examination: This term somewhat is the same as non-invasive. Visual examination means that the home inspector is evaluating the home in a visual "as is" condition. Home inspectors inspect all things visual at the time of inspection. Many times while we are in the field inspecting homes the sellers have moving boxes, furniture, or other belongings that may obstruct us from inspecting walls, floors, or outlets. For us at EC Home Inspections in Fresno, California we will move small things such as a few boxes or a few personal belongings. We do not mind moving some things out of the way, but we will not move shelving or cabinets or larger items. We may ask the sellers (if they are present), to move these larger items. However, if the sellers or selling agent are not attending the inspection we will leave the items and note we could not visually inspect the area, fixture or whatever it may be that can not be visually inspected.
Accessible: Not all areas of the home are accessible for home inspectors to inspect. In areas like Fresno, California where we have a lot of older homes we can not always attics or crawl spaces. The biggest reason when out in the field inspecting is due to either attic access hatches being to small or the access area is located in a smaller closet area tucked in to the corner where it is not accessible with a ladder without moving some type of shelving. The location of the hatch may not be an issue if the hatch is expanded. Crawl spaces often have the same access issues. One thing that also may limit the inspection of the crawl space is duct work or plumbing lines in the area. It is extremely difficult for home inspectors to maneuver around these areas especially in already difficult maneuvering areas such as crawl spaces below the home.
EC Home Inspections in Fresno, California are active members of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. Our entire Standards of Practice can be viewed online at the InterNACHI website, www.nachi.org/sop.htm