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.

Should you install heat cables to prevent ice dams?

Heat cable has a dubious reputation in the ice dam prevention world. It's a topic few understand in-depth, both in terms of functionality and installation.

Frost-free faucets are now required in Minnesota

Frost-proof faucets are now required by the Minnesota State Plumbing Code, which says "A listed self-draining frost-proof hose bibb shall be used."

Animals, skeletons, and creepy home inspection stuff, 2019

Most of the stuff that we post is educational, but this one isn't. This is pure eye-candy for the season. If you follow our Facebook page, you've surely seen most of these photos, but not all of them. These are our favorites from 2019. Warning: Several of these photos are gross.

Ready for winter? A fall maintenance checklist for Minnesota homeowners

Gutters and downspouts clogged with leaves and other debris can cause the rainwater to overflow - and that can lead to costly repairs.

If you haven't finished your fall maintenance list, it's time to get on it. This is a comprehensive list of fall maintenance items for Minnesota homeowners.

Are gutter guards worth it?

Are gutter guards worth it?

Are gutter guards worth it? I like good gutter guards, and they certainly help to reduce home maintenance, but none of them are maintenance-free.

How to fix double-tapped circuit breakers

Double-tapped circuit breakers are one of the most common electrical defects that home inspectors find.

Orangeburg Pipe? What is Orangeburg Pipe?

"Man, that sure looks like Orangeburg to me!" Then, looking at it closely, he added, quietly, "Boy, I sure hope that's not Orangeburg."

Seek Thermal ShotPRO camera review

Seek Thermal has a relatively new pocket-sized infrared camera called the ShotPRO, which retails for $699. I did a bunch of testing against the FLIR E6.

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.