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.


Fuel Oil Tanks

If you're buying a house in the Twin Cities with pipes sticking up out of the ground in the yard, heads up. You probably have a fuel oil tank somewhere at the property.


How to handle home inspections during the COVID-19 pandemic

Governor Walz allowed Minnesota's stay-at-home order to expire yesterday, replacing it with a new order called "Stay safe Minnesota". This new order allows for gatherings to not exceed 10 people. As soon as that order came, our office was flooded with calls from clients who wanted to attend their home inspections.


Sizing an air conditioner circuit breaker

For air conditioners and heat pumps, we size the wires and circuit breakers in accordance with the information printed on the label, not the simplified sizing charts that we typically rely on.


Hot water faster

Do you get annoyed with how long it takes to get hot water at your kitchen sink faucet? There's a fix for that.


Expansion tanks

As I mentioned in last week's blog post, expansion tanks are required when water in a home can't expand back into the water main. This might be caused by a check valve, a backflow preventer, or a pressure regular.


A leaking relief valve at the water heater: why it's leaking and what to do about it

Water heaters come equipped with a temperature and pressure relief valve, also known as a TPRV. This valve allows water or steam to escape from the water heater if the temperature or pressure gets too high.


Home inspector training: how to find water problems at walls (video)

This is a moisture intrusion training class for new home inspectors at Structure Tech that I've decided to make public.


COVID-19 and Home Inspections 4/7/20

I started listening to The Obstacle is the Way for the second time last week. That book was written for times like these, and I recommend this book to anyone who has had their business negatively impacted by COVID-19.


COVID-19 and Home Inspections 03-31-20

I'm sorry for turning my home inspection blog into a newsreel update or online journal on the status of home inspections in Minnesota, but that seems to be what people care about right now.


COVID-19 and Home Inspections

Things are crazy and unprecedented in the home inspection world. Last week brought some major changes to our everyday lives, and I expect to see more changes this week. To answer the #1 question that our client care coordinators are being asked, the answer is YES. We're still open for business, we're still inspecting houses.


Bedrooms don't need closets

Everyone knows that you need a closet in a bedroom to call it a bedroom, right? While this is a universally accepted de facto standard, good luck finding any type of authority that will back this up.


Expensive chimney repairs on old homes

Stucco-covered chimneys make me nervous. This all started about five years ago when one of our past clients asked us to buy him a new $20k chimney, claiming we had missed a major issue with the chimney


Two-prong outlets

What's the problem with two-prong outlets? Nothing. Lots of old homes have two-prong outlets, and this isn't a defect.


Hazardous electric panels

The most notorious electric panel is the Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok panel, also known as an FPE panel, Federal Pacific panel, or Stab-Lok.


Smoke Alarm Standards—ahead of schedule

The confusion and foot-dragging matters, and the fact that it is taking so long to get available technology in place is nothing but a shame.


Kitchen range hoods are for all kitchens, not just above gas ovens

Every home should be equipped with a ducted kitchen range hood. I recently read a great 31-page white paper on ducted range hoods, and this blog post is the CliffNotes version of that information.


Walking wet roofs

Walking a wet asphalt shingle roof isn't any more dangerous than walking a dry roof, provided it's clean. Yep, you read that right. I said it.


Moldy shower caulk... fixed!

Everyone has seen moldy bathroom caulk before, and if you've tried cleaning this stuff, you know it's impossible. Until now.


The top five places to find mold in your home

As a home inspector, I don't specifically look for mold, but when I find stuff that looks like mold, I report it as such. A mold issue is a moisture issue.


Double-Keyed Deadbolts

Are double-keyed deadbolts legal? Are they safer? More secure? Great questions. Let's dig into all of them.