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energy star
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Originally posted by energy star

What do you bring to an inspection as far as tools go?

Please lets leave our infrared cameras.

I only ask, Because I can make some suggestions to help you. But first I have to understand how you are evaluating the system now.

Are you wanting to know about everything we bring (it'll be a long list) or just the stuff we bring to evaluate the HVAC systems?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by energy star

I'm interested in everything. But it's not big deal.

How long do you spend on an inspection? 3hrs?

My ideal is 4 hrs alone with the house, then one hour explaining everything to the customer.

For fun, I tried to tally up my tools. Here's what I've got so far, though I've probably forgotten something:

My tools & equipment

Left pants pocket:

Custom made notepad.

Pocket mirror (backed with duct tape so that, if it breaks I'm less likely to castrate myself).

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Right pants pocket:

Cheap three light tester w GFCI test button.

Slim-bladed pocket knife for probing finished surfaces.

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Breast pocket:

Pen

Business cards

Spare camera battery

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Belt:

Flashlight holster

Camera in holster

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Slung over left shoulder:

Small hand towel
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Right Hand (when I’m outdoors)

Probe/walking stick/critter smacker made from modified ski pole
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Laptop bag:

Laptop, cords, cables, mouse, etc

Cheap thumb drives

Misc papers, forms, handouts, reference stuff, etc

Cheater adapter for houses w ungrounded receptacles

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Note: If I had to, I could do most any inspection with only the above items -- plus a flashlight, screwdriver & ladder. The following items are important for me, but not essential.

Tool bag (Large Tamrac Camera Bag):

Stinger Streamlight HP flashlight

Biosystems CO detector

Golf ball (for rapping tiles if my knuckles get tired)

Vernier Caliper

Plastic fuse puller

Electronic sling psychrometer

Laser-pointer IR thermometer

Tif combustible gas detector

Torpedo level

Canned air

Foil furnace tape

Tiny roll of duct tape

Tape measure

Wagner L606 pinless moisture meter

Delmhorst J-4 pin-type moisture meter

Clamp-on ammeter/multi-tester

Suretest ST-1D

Panasonic driver/drill

Flexible extenders for the driver/drill

Flame mirror

Set of wire gauges

Graduated steel rule (with English measurements only, no frigging millimeters)

Toilet paper

Band-Aids

Neosporin

Water pressure gauge

Bag of spare screws for electrical panels

1 fistful of dollar bills

Brass plumb bob

Bic lighter

Binoculars

Gas-leak bubble solution

Foot-inch calculator

Lumber crayons

Vinyl siding unzip tool

6-in-1 screw driver

Two UEI digital thermometers

Volt stick

Highlighter

Black sharpie

Leatherman tool

Detecto-lite neon tester

Twist drills, screwdriver bits, nut driver tips, spare batteries, etc.

Pocket watch

Magnetic compass

State of Oregon Certified Home Inspector ID tags.

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Crawlspace bag

3’x5’ waterproof baby crib liner (to use as a drop sheet in front of the crawlspace hole)

Key coveralls

Full face respirator w P-100 cartridges

Painters head socks

Nitrile gloves

Elbow pads

Waterproof diver’s shoes

Zip lock bags

Estwing Rock Pick – Ladies model (small enough to swing beside a rim joist).

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Tupperware Crate #1

Rain suit

Spare laptop

Gas wrench

Water meter key

Adjustable wrenches

Vice grip wrench

50’ of nylon rope. (for challenging roofs)

Automobile tow strap (for extra-challenging roofs)

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Tupperware Crate #2

Radon kits

Bulk panel cover screws

Bulk spare batteries

Spare flashlight

Spare flashlight bulbs

Spare camera

Spare business cards

Spare eyeglasses

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Car:

Extension ladder (usually a 24’ extension ladder, but might be a 32’ or 40’ one or a 17’ LG – depends on what I’m inspecting that day.)

Vise grip welding clamp for clamping ladders to gutters.

Six-foot stepladder.

Hardhat (For construction inspections.)

OSHA orange vest (For construction inspections)

Gas furnace mirrors – Ellis Prach style

Cell phone

Booking records

Couple of Codecheck flip books

Paper inspection forms in case both laptops crash

Krawler (crawlspace crawling device)

Big towels

Pillowcase (for snakes)

Folding Chairs

Folding table (part of the car)

Extension cord for freezers

Water hose

Corkers for shake roofs

Mud boots for new construction

Various battery chargers

Fierce tunes

Chicken jerky for dogs (or for me if I get particularly hungry)

Radar detector (custom modified for enhanced performance)

Backup radar detector

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Originally posted by energy star

I was going to ask how most carry the tools, but I thought that was a bit over the top. I'm please to see the way you answered my post. I would say from that list, I would feel very comfortable having you in my home to inspect. Very nice.

BTW, That is a killer flashlight.

It is, but I wish the batteries lasted longer. I need to keep about 3 spares with me at all times.

-Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by Brandon Whitmore

Holy crap Jim,

I can't compete with that, so I'll keep my list to myself.[:-bigeyes

Actually, I'd love to trim it down, but every time I remove something, it seems like I need it at the next inspection. I do try not to keep any single-purpose tools. I like every item to be able to pull double duty. For instance, the canned air is good for testing insulated glass panels, blowing dust out of electrical panels & furnace cabinets and, in conjunction with the Bic lighter, it makes a dandy flame thrower for those awkward moments when you really need one.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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OK Jim--

I can see a use for almost all your listed items at some point. But I have a couple of questions about the following items:

1 fistful of dollar bills

Ummm, I won't ask about strip clubs, and parking meters don't take bills. Well, not around here at least.

Pillowcase (for snakes)

Do you perform snake relocating services also? I usually just look at them and "ugly" them away.

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Originally posted by AHI in AR

OK Jim--

I can see a use for almost all your listed items at some point. But I have a couple of questions about the following items:

1 fistful of dollar bills

Ummm, I won't ask about strip clubs, and parking meters don't take bills. Well, not around here at least.

When I go in the crawlspace, I empty my pockets. Every so often, there are a few dollar bills so I stash them in one of the pockets of the toolbag. I use them for:

* Testing the tightness of weatherstrip sweeps on the bottom of doors -- you can just use a piece of paper, but dollar bills don't tear as easily.

* Emergency cash for when I *absolutely must* have a Heath bar.

* Theatrical moments -- as when a seller bitches about how I'm running up his electrical bill by filling the whirlpool bath, running the AC or turning on the lights. I reach into the bag, grab a fistful of ones and toss them on the table. "Here you go," I say, "If you need more, just help yourself."

Pillowcase (for snakes)

Do you perform snake relocating services also? I usually just look at them and "ugly" them away.

I happen to like snakes but I find that most other people don't. So no one minds when I tuck them into the pillowcase, tie it shut & toss it in my car. When I get home, I let them go in under my porch or under the plastic mulch in my garden. We have a bit of a problem with mice, voles, shrews, weasels, moles & gophers in my yard and the snakes, along with the cats, help to keep things under control.

It's also useful when I emerge from a particularly muddy, filthy crawlspace. I can toss stuff into the pillowcase before tossing it into the crawlspace bag. It keeps the crawlspace bag cleaner.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by AHI in AR

OK Jim--

I can see a use for almost all your listed items at some point. But I have a couple of questions about the following items:

1 fistful of dollar bills

Ummm, I won't ask about strip clubs, and parking meters don't take bills. Well, not around here at least.

Pillowcase (for snakes)

Do you perform snake relocating services also? I usually just look at them and "ugly" them away.

And the extension cord for freezers? Is that in case a GFCI trips and you can't find it or get to it?

I noticed the spare electrical-panel screws. What about spare 1/4" and 5/16" screws for when one of the attic heat pump screws slips out of your fingers and is lost forever in the insulation? That happened to me about a gazillion times before I wised up and began carrying spares.

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Originally posted by Jim Katen

Originally posted by AHI in AR

OK Jim--

I can see a use for almost all your listed items at some point. But I have a couple of questions about the following items:

1 fistful of dollar bills

Ummm, I won't ask about strip clubs, and parking meters don't take bills. Well, not around here at least.

When I go in the crawlspace, I empty my pockets. Every so often, there are a few dollar bills so I stash them in one of the pockets of the toolbag. I use them for:

* Testing the tightness of weatherstrip sweeps on the bottom of doors -- you can just use a piece of paper, but dollar bills don't tear as easily.

* Emergency cash for when I *absolutely must* have a Heath bar.

* Theatrical moments -- as when a seller bitches about how I'm running up his electrical bill by filling the whirlpool bath, running the AC or turning on the lights. I reach into the bag, grab a fistful of ones and toss them on the table. "Here you go," I say, "If you need more, just help yourself."

Pillowcase (for snakes)

Do you perform snake relocating services also? I usually just look at them and "ugly" them away.

I happen to like snakes but I find that most other people don't. So no one minds when I tuck them into the pillowcase, tie it shut & toss it in my car. When I get home, I let them go in under my porch or under the plastic mulch in my garden. We have a bit of a problem with mice, voles, shrews, weasels, moles & gophers in my yard and the snakes, along with the cats, help to keep things under control.

It's also useful when I emerge from a particularly muddy, filthy crawlspace. I can toss stuff into the pillowcase before tossing it into the crawlspace bag. It keeps the crawlspace bag cleaner.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Not meaning to hijack this thread further but I have to admit that I love the cash use! Fortunately, I don't usually have pesky sellers hanging around. The worst are retired engineers who want to follow me around. If they get too annoying, I gently let them know that it's not a good thing to get on my bad side since a lot of what I write up can be a judgment call. Most figure out the underlying issue pretty quickly.

As far as snakes, I like them myself. Those that aren't venomous, anyway. We live on about 3 acres where snakes are not uncommon. There is a covered deck off my office at the rear of the home, and I know there is a nest of black racers (at least that's what I think they are) about 50 yards behind the house. I have seen them a long way from there; it appears that they range a pretty good distance when looking for eats. I also know they move really quickly when you get near them. I can't catch one to save my life. The photos were taken this summer. The deck boards are 2X6's. I figure this guy had to be 42" or so if stretched out fully. The first shot was taken through the door; the second one was taken closer to the snake after I opened the door and went on the deck. He got away pretty quickly after that. He had to climb up and down a smooth 4X6 (I routed the edges) to get on and off the deck.

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I will definately be adding one of these flashlights to my tool bag. My step brother was home for the holidays from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and had one in his tool kit. He claims the base will be replacing these with a multi bulb version and that all the old ones will be destroyed, if he can get his hands on another one, it will find a final resting place in my tool bag. Nicest light I have ever had my hands on.

http://buy1.snapon.com/catalog/item.asp ... ir=catalog

Tom

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Originally posted by energy star

Jim Katen, Do you hand over a field report or do go back to the office for that and mail it in along with the invoice?

I write 90% of the report on site but take it back to the office to finish. I e-mail the finished report to the customer the night of the inspection.

They pay me at, or before, the inspection. Invoicing isn't reliable in this business.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by Jim Katen

Originally posted by energy star

Jim Katen, Do you hand over a field report or do go back to the office for that and mail it in along with the invoice?

I write 90% of the report on site but take it back to the office to finish. I e-mail the finished report to the customer the night of the inspection.

They pay me at, or before, the inspection. Invoicing isn't reliable in this business.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

+1 on that. I do the exact same thing.

The inspection agreement gets emailed to them the same day they book so they just show up with a signed agreement and a check or mail it if they are not coming to the inspection which is rare. It is best to meet your clients and bond with them.

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