The Home Inspector | Star Tribune

The Home Inspector

Reuben Saltzman is a second-generation home inspector with a passion for his work. Naturally, this blog is all about home inspections and home-related topics in the Twin Cities metro area. In addition to working at Structure Tech, he is also a licensed Truth-In-Sale of Housing Evaluator in Minneapolis, Saint Paul and several other cities.


Bath fan fire hazards

Old dirty bath fans can start fires. You take a hot fan motor and put it in contact with lint and dust, and you have a fire hazard.


Home inspection fail files: wrong house

How could a home inspector inspect the wrong house? It's not as tough as it sounds. I've done it twice myself, and at least one other person on my team did it recently.


Split-bus electric panels

Split-bus electrical panels are different from other electrical panels because they don't have a single circuit breaker to shut off all of the power.


No electrical disconnect? Not likely.

A common question that I frequently see posted in home inspector forums is about whether or not it's acceptable to have an electrical panel with no main breaker.


Knob and tube wiring concerns: safety and insurance

Buying a home with knob and tube wiring? You should be concerned with the safety of the wiring and the insurability of the home.


Drum traps

Many older houses in Minneapolis and Saint Paul have an old style of plumbing trap called a drum trap, which is no longer allowed in Minnesota.


Home inspection fail files: bathtub flood

One of my worst days as a home inspector was the day I flooded a second-floor bathtub. It made me seriously question my career as a home inspector.


Subpanels: when the grounds and neutrals should be separated

When should the ground and neutral wires be separated at a subpanel? It depends.


Q&A: should the air exchanger be on or off during a radon test?

When conducting a short-term radon test, should the air exchanger be running or not? Great question. I've heard it argued both ways.


Not A Flamethrower testing on intumescent firestop collars

How effective are intumescent firestop collars? Joe, Matt, and I used a friend's Not A Flamethrower to find out. The testing was fun and enlightening.


Inspections to consider when building a new home

There are three types of inspections associated with new-construction homes: pre-drywall inspections, final inspections, and one-year warranty inspections.


New construction inspection: trust, but verify.

The homeowner didn't get a home inspection when she purchased the home, because the builder's rep had convinced her of all the myths listed above.


Nine ways for water to enter your basement or crawl space

Wondering how that water made it into your crawlspace? Guest post by Murphy Home Inspection explains the most common ways water enters a crawlspace.


Reuben's Recommended Reading

I have a hard time remembering all of my favorites, so I put together a list of my most-recommended books. Then I decided to share it here as a blog post.


Decks attached through brick veneer

When a deck is attached to brick veneer, something probably went wrong. Today I'll explain why this is an issue and what can be done about it.


Non-contact voltage testers: tips and tricks

As a home inspector, I use my non-contact voltage detector for a variety of things, and I'm careful to avoid these pitfalls during home inspections.


Introducing the Sense Home Energy Monitor

The Sense home energy monitor is possibly the coolest tool ever invented to track home energy usage. I installed one in my own home about a month ago.


Home inspections for first-time home buyers (video post)

This is a 13-minute class on the basics of home inspections for first-time home buyers. What's a home inspection? What happens next? Etc.


Hazards with aluminum wiring

Buying a home with aluminum wiring? The seller will probably tell you it's perfectly fine, has never been a problem, and there's nothing to worry about.


How to replace a hardwired smoke alarm

Replacing a hardwired smoke alarm is a piece of cake. If you purchase a smoke alarm from the same manufacturer, you might be able to use the same wiring.