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Who We Are ?

If you are buying an existing home or building a new one, hiring a professional home inspector is just plain smart. You need a home inspector who has the knowledge, education and the experience to meet all your needs.

Certified and Experienced

Highly trained and certified through the best and most rigorous training programs, and bringing three decades of residential building knowledge and experience to your home inspection using the latest in tools and equipment.

Quality Service

We are committed to providing the home buyer with a top quality whole Home Inspection and Radon Sampling services at reasonable rates. We stand behind our reports. We have performed over 1,500 home inspections for satisfied clients right here in the Rochester, MN area.

Allow us to perform your next home inspection.

Buy your home with Confidence

The home buyer is encouraged to attend the inspection ready to learn more about the home, such as the location of important shut off switches and valves, filters, maintenance tips, etc. Please allow at least two and one half hours, a little more if it's a larger home. The home buyer is encouraged to be observant and ask any questions in order to get the most out of your home inspection.

"Quality is our Standard"

What We Inspect

Home Inspections Plus adheres to the Standard of Practice as set forth by ASHI, American Society of Home Inspectors and are consistent with a visual General Home Inspection and Report. The systems and components that are inspected will include:

Exterior: Grading, decks, driveways, walks, siding, trim, windows and doors, etc.
Structural: Foundation, under floor areas, walls, ceiling and roof structure, etc.
Roofing: Coverings, flashings, chimneys, skylights, drainage system, etc.
Electrical: Service panels, wiring, outlets, lights and switches, GFI, fans, etc.
Plumbing: Supply piping, drain piping, faucets and fixtures, water heater, etc.
Heating: Equipment, safety controls, circulation systems, ventilation, etc.
Air Conditioning: Cooling equipment, lines, controls, temperature, etc.
Interior: Floors, walls, ceilings, doors and windows, fireplace, cabinetry, laundry, etc.
Attached Garage: Fire separation, vehicle doors, auto reverse openers, etc.
Attic Area: Insulation, ventilation, stairs and access, etc.

Findings are reviewed with the home buyer on site along with an easy to read, full Report emailed the same evening that includes photographs and recommendations.


Additional services offered by Home Inspections Plus:

Radon Testing and Measurement
Well Flow and Water Testing
Annual Maintenance Inspection
Home Warranty Pre-Expiration

The General Home Inspection can be performed on several types of homes including:

Townhouse
Condominium
Duplex
Manufactured
Vintage

"Quality is our Standard"

Radon Information

What is Radon?

Radon comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water.
The release of this radioactive gas enters the air you breathe, causing a potential health risk to you and your family.
Radon gas can be found in just about anywhere. It can get into any type of building -- homes, offices, and schools -- and build up to high levels.

What you should know about Radon

Radon is a cancer causing radioactive gas.
You cannot see radon and you cannot smell it or taste it, but it may be a problem in your home. This is because when you breathe air-containing radon, you increase your risk of getting lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.

You should test for radon.
Testing is the only way to find out about your home's radon level. The EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing of all homes below the third floor for radon.

You can fix a radon problem.
If you find that you have high radon levels, there are ways to fix a radon problem. Even very high levels can be reduced to acceptable levels.

If you are buying a home.
The EPA recommends that you obtain the radon level in the home you are considering buying. An EPA publication "The Home Buyer's and Seller's Guide" is available through most State Health Departments or Regional EPA offices listed in your local phone book. EPA also recommends that you use a certified or state licensed radon tester to perform the test. If elevated levels are found it is recommended that these levels be reduced. In most cases, a professional can accomplish this at reasonable cost or homeowner installed mitigation system that adheres to the EPA's approved methods for reduction of radon in a residential structure.

What are the Risk Factors?

The EPA, Surgeon General and The Center for Disease Control, have all agreed that continued exposure to Radon gas can cause lung cancer.
In fact, there position on the matter is that all homes should be tested for radon gas exposure, and all homes testing over 4 pCi/L should be fixed.

How Does Radon Enter the Home?

Typically the air pressure inside your home is lower than the pressure in the soil around your home's foundation.
Due to this difference, your house acts like a vacuum, drawing radon gas in through foundation cracks and other openings of your home.
Radon may also be present in well water and can be released into the air in your home when water is used for showering and other household uses.

Potential Entry Points

  1. Cavities inside walls
  2. Cracks in solid floors
  3. Construction joints
  4. Cracks in walls
  5. The water supply
  6. Gaps in suspended floors
  7. Gaps around service pipes

Septic Systems

Septic Information for Homeowners

Septic systems are being used in 25% of all U.S. homes. Poorly managed systems have been named as a concern by nearly every federal and state program that deals with water resource issues. According to various reports and studies, an estimated 10% to 20% of septic systems fail each year.
Septic systems treat and disperse relatively small volumes of wastewater from individual or small numbers of homes and commercial buildings. Septic system regulation is usually a state, tribal, and local responsibility. EPA provides information to homeowners and assistance to state and local governments to improve the management of septic systems to prevent failures that could harm human health and water quality.
Some septic systems are regulated by EPA if they receive industrial or commercial wastes and/or they have the capacity to serve 20 or more people. More information about septic systems regulated by EPA. If your septic tank failed, or you know someone who did, you are not alone. As a homeowner, you are responsible for maintaining your septic system. Proper septic system maintenance will help keep your system from failing and will help maintain your investment in your home. Failing septic systems can contaminate the ground water that you or your neighbors drink and can pollute nearby rivers, lakes and coastal waters.

Here are ten simple steps you can take to keep your septic system working properly.

Locate your septic tank and drainfield. Keep a drawing of these locations in your records.
Have your septic system inspected at least every three years.
Pump your septic tank as needed (generally every three to five years).
Don't dispose of household hazardous wastes in sinks or toilets.
Keep other household items, such as dental floss, feminine hygiene products, condoms, diapers, and cat litter out of your system.
Use water efficiently.
Plant only grass over and near your septic system. Roots from nearby trees or shrubs might clog and damage the system. Also, do not apply manure or fertilizers over the drainfield.
Keep vehicles and livestock off your septic system. The weight can damage the pipes and tank, and your system may not drain properly under compacted soil.
Keep gutters and basement sump pumps from draining into or near your septic system.
Check with your local health department before using additives. Commercial septic tank additives do not eliminate the need for periodic pumping and can be harmful to your system.

Septic Systems Frequently Asked Questions

What are septic systems?

Septic systems are used to treat and dispose of relatively small volumes of wastewater, usually from houses and businesses that are located relatively close together. Septic systems are also called onsite wastewater treatment systems, decentralized wastewater treatment systems, ON-lot systems, individual sewage disposal systems, CLUSTER systems, PACKAGE plants, AND PRIVATE sewage systems.

Why are these systems called "decentralized"?

Because septic systems do not involve central wastewater collection and treatment, they are considered decentralized.

How do septic systems work?

The typical septic treatment system includes a septic tank, which digests organic matter and separates floatable matter (e.g., oils and grease) and settleable solids from the wastewater. Soil-based systems discharge the liquid (effluent) from the septic tank into a series of perforated pipes buried in a leach field, leaching chambers, or other special units designed to slowly release the effluent into the soil or surface water.
Alternative systems USE pumps OR gravity TO help septic tank effluent trickle through sand, organic matter (e.g., peat, sawdust), constructed wetlands, OR other media TO remove OR neutralize pollutants LIKE disease-causing pathogens, nitrogen, phosphorus, AND other contaminants. SOME alternative systems are designed TO evaporate wastewater OR disinfect it beefore it IS discharged TO the soil OR surface waters.

Why do septic systems fail?

Most septic system failures are related to inappropriate design and poor maintenance. Some soil-based systems (with a leach or drain field) have been installed at sites with inadequate or inappropriate soils, excessive slopes or high ground water tables. These conditions can cause hydraulic failures and water resource contamination. Failure to perform routine maintenance, such as pumping the septic tank at least every 3 to 5 years, can cause solids in the tank to migrate into the drain field and clog the system.

What items should not be put down the drain if my house has a septic system?

Do not put the following items into sink drains or toilets: hair combings, coffee grounds, dental floss, disposable diapers, kitty litter, feminine hygiene products, cigarette butts, condoms, gauze bandages, fat, grease, oil, paper towels, paints, varnishes, thinners, waste oils, photographic solutions or pesticides.

What should I do if my basement floods?

If sewage from your plumbing fixtures or onsite system backs up into your basement, avoid contact with the sewage and the possibly harmful pathogens it might contain. Contact your local health department or regulatory agency. Cleanup personnel should wear protective clothing (e.g., long rubber gloves, face splash shields). After cleanup is complete, all equipment, tools, and clothing used in the cleanup and the flooded basement area should be washed thoroughly and disinfected with a mixture of 90 percent water and 10 percent household bleach. The area should be dried out with fans, heat lamps, or other devices and not be used until it has been completely dry for at least 24 hours.

Who do I contact if I'm having a problem with my septic system?

Contact your local health department or regulatory agency. You can find the telephone NUMBER FOR your LOCAL health department IN your LOCAL phone DIRECTORY. IF your SYSTEM needs TO be serviced, CONTACT a septic systems service provider OR the National Association OF Wastewater Transporters

Who do I contact for information on septic systems?

The National Small Flows Clearinghouse has a Technical Assistance Hotline that can be accessed toll free AT (800) 624-8301 OR (304) 293-4191. You can also CONTACT the Cooperative Extension Service Office nearest your home FOR information.

Are septic systems more prevalent in some areas of the country than in others?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 26 million homes (one-fourth of all homes) in America are served by decentralized wastewater treatment systems. The Census Bureau reports that the distribution and density of septic systems vary widely by region and state, from a high of about 55 percent in Vermont to a low of around 10 percent in California. The New England states have the highest proportion of homes served by septic systems: New Hampshire and Maine both report that about one-half of all homes are served by individual systems. More than one-third of the homes in the southeastern states depend on these systems, including approximately 48 percent in North Carolina and about 40 percent in both Kentucky and South Carolina. More than 60 million people in the nation are served by septic systems. About one-third of all new development is served by septic or other decentralized treatment systems.

Do septic systems cause health or water quality problems?

Septic systems that are properly planned, designed, sited, installed, operated and maintained can provide excellent wastewater treatment. However, systems that are sited in densities that exceed the treatment capacity of regional soils and systems that are poorly designed, installed, operated or maintained can cause problems. The most serious documented problems involve contamination of surface waters and ground water with disease-causing pathogens and nitrates. Other problems include excessive nitrogen discharges to sensitive coastal waters and phosphorus pollution of inland surface waters, which increases algal growth and lowers dissolved oxygen levels. Contamination of important shellfish beds and swimming beaches by pathogens is also a concern in some coastal regions. EPA has developed Guidelines to assist communities in establishing comprehensive management programs for septic wastewater systems to improve water quality and protect public health.

How are septic systems regulated?

In most states, local health departments issue construction and operating permits to install septic systems under state laws that govern public health protection and abatement of public nuisances. Some states are beginning to add water resource protection provisions to their septic system regulations because of the possible impacts from nitrogen and phosphorus. Under most regulatory programs, the local permitting agency conducts a site assessment to determine whether the soils present can provide adequate treatment, to ensure that ground water resources will not be threatened, and to stipulate appropriate setback distances from buildings, driveways, property lines and surface waters. Some states permit alternative systems if conventional soil-based systems are not allowable. Very few permitting agencies conduct regular inspections of septic systems after they are installed.

What can be done to improve septic system management?

EPA is partnering with federal agencies, states, tribes, local governments and nongovernmental organizations TO improve the MANAGEMENT OF septic systems. EPA’s Guidelines FOR managing decentralized wastewater treatment systems can be tailored TO meet the needs OF states, counties, tribes, cities, towns, subdivisions AND other areas WHERE septic systems might threaten PUBLIC health OR water resources. The Guidelines focus ON the following areas WHERE better MANAGEMENT can achieve significant improvements IN overall SYSTEM performance:

  • Planning TO ensure that SYSTEM densities DO NOT exceed the ability OF regional soils AND water resources TO treat AND assimilate pollutants
  • Site evaluations that characterize AND help TO protect soil, ground water, AND surface water resources
  • SYSTEM designs that provide predictable performance levels OF treatment that are appropriate FOR protecting PUBLIC health AND the environment
  • Operation AND maintenance procedures that ensure that systems are operated properly AND that maintenance tasks (e.g., septic tank pumping, inspection OF treatment units) are performed regularly
  • MONITORING AND reporting TO provide usable AND easily accessible records ON SYSTEM inventories, capacity AND performance
  • Follow-up AND corrective actions TO ensure that failing systems are repaired, upgraded OR replaced BEFORE PUBLIC health OR water resources are adversely affected

What are the Voluntary National Guidelines for Management of Onsite and Clustered (Decentralized) Wastewater Treatment Systems?

The Guidelines are presented in the form of five model management programs. Each model program includes the elements and activities needed to achieve certain management objectives. The Guidelines address the sensitivity of the environment in the community and the complexity of the system used. The five model management programs are:

  1. SYSTEM Inventory AND Awareness OF Maintenance Needs
  2. MANAGEMENT Through Maintenance Contracts
  3. MANAGEMENT Through Operating PERMITS
  4. Responsible MANAGEMENT Entity (RME) Operation AND Maintenance
  5. Responsible MANAGEMENT Entity (RME) Ownership AND MANAGEMENT

EPA developed the Guidelines TO assist communities IN establishing comprehensive MANAGEMENT programs FOR septic wastewater systems TO improve water quality AND protect PUBLIC health. The Guidelines will also help states, tribes AND communities TO develop, MODIFY AND implement laws AND regulations IN the area OF MANAGEMENT planning FOR decentralized wastewater systems.

Are the Guidelines mandatory?

No. The adoption of the Guidelines is voluntary. EPA recognizes that states, tribes and local governments need a flexible framework so they can tailor their programs to the needs of the community. The Guidelines are not intended to supersede existing federal, state, tribal, and local laws and regulations.

Why are the Guidelines needed?

Septic systems serve approximately 25 percent of the U.S. population and about 40 percent of new developments. The U.S. Census Bureau has indicated that at least 10 percent of septic systems have stopped working. Some communities report failure rates as high as 70 percent! State agencies report that these failing systems are the third most common source of ground water contamination. In EPA's 1997 Response to Congress on Use of Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Systems, the Agency determined that with the technology now available, adequately managed decentralized systems can protect public health and the environment as well as provide long-term solutions for the nation's wastewater needs. The report also cited five major barriers to increasing the use of decentralized wastewater treatment systems, and one barrier is the lack of adequate management.

Who was involved in developing the Guidelines?

EPA's Office of Wastewater Management developed the voluntary Guidelines in cooperation with staff from the Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds; the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water; the Office of Research and Development; EPA regional offices; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Significant input was received from numerous stakeholders, state health agencies, environmental groups, and national organizations. See the Partners page for a complete list.

Are there organizations that can assist my community in addressing ON-site wastewater problems?

The National Small Flows Clearinghouse has a Technical Assistance Hotline that can be accessed toll free AT (800) 624-8301 OR (304) 293-4191. The Rural Community Assistance Program provides assistance TO communities HAVING problems WITH their septic systems AND can be reached AT (888) 321-7227 OR (202) 408-1273.

Mold Information

What is Mold?

Molds are fungi. Molds grow throughout the natural and built environment. Tiny particles of mold are present in indoor and outdoor air. In nature, molds help break down dead materials and can be found growing on soil, foods, plant matter, and other items. Molds produce microscopic cells called "spores" which are very tiny and spread easily through the air. Live spores act like seeds, forming new mold growths (colonies) when they find the right conditions.

What does mold need to grow?

Mold only needs a few simple things to grow and multiply:

Moisture
Nutrients
Suitable place to grow

Controlling excess moisture is key to preventing and stopping indoor mold growth.

Should I be concerned about mold in my home?

Mold should not be permitted to grow and multiply indoors. When this happens, health problems can occur and building materials, goods and furnishings may be damaged.

Health Effects

Can mold make me and my family sick?

Mold can affect the health of people who are exposed to it. People are mainly exposed to mold by breathing spores or other tiny fragments. People can also be exposed through skin contact with mold contaminants (for example, by touching moldy surfaces) and by swallowing it. The type and severity of health effects that mold may produce are usually difficult to predict. The risks can vary greatly from one location to another, over time, and from person to person.

What symptoms might I see?

The most common health problems caused by indoor mold are allergy symptoms. Although other and more serious problems can occur, people exposed to mold commonly report problems such as:

  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Skin and eye irritation
  • Nasal and sinus congestion
  • Wheeze/breathing difficulties
  • Upper respiratory infections (including sinus)

Are the risks greater for some people?

There is wide variability in how different people are affected by indoor mold. However, the long term presence of indoor mold growth may eventually become unhealthy for anyone. The following types of people may be affected more severely and sooner than others:

  • Infants and children
  • Elderly people
  • Individuals with respiratory conditions or sensitivities such as allergies and asthma
  • Persons having weakened immune systems (HIV, chemotherapy, organ transplant)

People with these special health concerns should consult a medical professional if they feel their health is affected by indoor mold.

Are some molds more hazardous than others?

Some types of mold can produce chemical compounds (called mycotoxins) although they do not always do so. Molds that are able to produce toxins are common. In some circumstances, the toxins produced by indoor mold may cause health problems. However, all indoor mold growth is potentially harmful and should be removed promptly, no matter what types of mold is present or whether it can produce toxins.

Home Investigation

How do I tell if I have a mold problem?

Investigate, don't test. The most practical way to find a mold problem is by using your eyes to look for mold growth and by using your nose to locate the source of a suspicious odor. If you see mold or if there is an earthy or musty smell, you should assume a mold problem exists. Other clues are signs of excess moisture or the worsening of allergy-like symptoms.

  • Search areas with noticeable mold odors.
  • Look for visible mold growth. May appear cottony, velvety, granular, or leathery and have varied colors of white, gray, brown, black, yellow, green. Mold often appears as discoloration, staining, or fuzzy growth on the surface of building materials or furnishings.When mold is visible, testing is not recommended.
  • Look for signs of excess moisture or water damage. Look for water leaks, standing water, water stains, condensation problems. For example, do you see any watermarks or discoloration on walls, ceilings, carpet, woodwork or other building materials?
  • Search behind and underneath materials (carpet and pad, wallpaper, vinyl flooring, sink cabinets), furniture, or stored items (especially things placed near outside walls or on cold floors). Sometimes destructive techniques may be needed to inspect and clean enclosed spaces where mold and moisture are hidden; for example, opening up a wall cavity.

Should I test for mold?

We do not recommend testing for mold yourself. Instead, you should simply assume there is a problem whenever you see mold or smell mold odors. Testing should never take the place of visual inspection and it should never use up resources that are needed to correct moisture problems and remove all visible growth. Sometimes, mold growth is hidden and difficult to locate. In such cases, a combination of air (outdoor and indoor air samples) and bulk (material) samples may help determine the extent of contamination and where cleaning is needed. However, mold testing is rarely useful for trying to answer questions about health concerns.

Mold Clean-up and Removal

To clean up and remove indoor mold growth, follow steps 1-6 as they apply to your home.

  1. Identify and fix the moisture problem - the most important step in solving a mold problem is to identify and correct the moisture sources that allowed the growth in the first place. Common indoor moisture sources include:
    • Flooding
    • Condensation - indoor humidity that is too high or surfaces that are too cold
    • Roof leaks
    • Plumbing leaks
    • Humidifier use
    • Firewood stored indoors
    • Line drying laundry indoors
    • Overflow from tubs, sinks, or toilets
    • Improper venting of combustion appliances
    • Movement through basement walls and slab
    • Inadequate venting of kitchen and bath humidity
    • Failure to vent clothes dryer exhaust outdoors - including electric dryers
    • House plants - watering them can generate large amounts of moisture

    To keep indoor surfaces as dry as possible, try to maintain the home's relative humidity between 20-40 percent in the winter and less than 60 percent the rest of the year. You can purchase devices to measure relative humidity at some home supply stores. Ventilation, air circulation near cold surfaces, dehumidification, and efforts to minimize the production of moisture in the home are all very important in controlling high humidity that frequently causes mold growth in our cold climate.

  2. Begin Drying All Wet Materials - as soon as possible, begin drying any materials that are wet. For severe moisture problems, use fans and dehumidifiers and move wet items away from walls and off floors. Check with equipment rental companies or restoration firms to see if you can rent fans and dehumidifiers.
  3. Remove and Dispose of Mold Contaminated Materials- items which have absorbed moisture (porous materials) and which have mold growing on them need to be removed, bagged and thrown out. Such materials may include sheet rock, insulation, plaster, carpet/carpet pad, ceiling tiles, wood products (other than solid wood), and paper products. Likewise, any such porous materials that have contacted sewage should also be bagged and thrown away. Non-porous materials with surface mold growth may be saved if they are cleaned well and kept dry.
  4. Clean Surfaces- surface mold growing on non-porous materials such as hard plastic, concrete, glass, metal, and solid wood can usually be cleaned. Cleaning must remove and capture the mold contamination, because dead spores and mold particles still cause health problems if they are left in place.
    • Thoroughly scrub all contaminated surfaces using a stiff brush, hot water and a non-ammonia soap/detergent or commercial cleaner
    • Collect excess cleaning liquid with a wet/dry vacuum, mop or sponge
    • Rinse area with clean water and collect excess rinse water
  5. Disinfect Surfaces - after cleaning has removed all visible mold and other soiling from contaminated surfaces, a disinfectant may be used to kill mold missed by the cleaning. In the case of sewage contamination, disinfection must be performed. Contact your home inspector for advice.
    • Mix 1/4 to 1/2 cup bleach per gallon of water and apply to surfaces where mold growth was visible before cleaning. The solution can be applied with a spray bottle, garden sprayer, it can be sponged on, or applied by other methods.
    • Collect any run-off of bleach solution with a wet/ dry vacuum, sponge or mop. However, do not rinse or wipe the bleach solution off the areas being treated -- allow it to dry on the surface.
  6. Remain on Mold Alert - Continue looking for signs of moisture problems or return of mold growth. Be particularly alert to moisture in areas of past growth. If mold returns, repeat cleaning steps and consider using a stronger solution to disinfect the area again. Regrowth may signal that the material should be removed or that moisture is not yet controlled.

Take Steps to Protect Yourself

The amount of mold particles in air can increase greatly when mold is disturbed. Consider using protective equipment when handling or working around mold contaminated materials. The following equipment can help minimize exposure to mold:

Rubber gloves
Eye goggles
Outer clothing (long sleeves and long pants) that can be easily removed in the work area and laundered or discarded
Medium-efficiency or high-efficiency filter dust mask (these can be found at safety equipment suppliers, hardware stores, or some other large stores that sell home repair supplies) -- at a minimum, use an N-95 or equivalent dust mask

Take Steps to Protect Others

Plan and perform all work to minimize the amount of dust generated. The following actions can help minimize the spread of mold spores:

Enclose all moldy materials in plastic (bags or sheets) before carrying through the home
Hang plastic sheeting to separate the work area from the rest of the home
Remove outer layer of work clothing in the work area and wash separately or bag
Damp clean the entire work area to pick up settled contaminants in dust

When can we rebuild?

Rebuilding and refurnishing must wait until all affected materials have been cleaned, disinfected and dried completely. Be patient and provide as much ventilation as you possibly can, it can take quite some time to completely dry out wet building materials.

"Quality is our Standard"

Wells

If your family gets drinking water from a private well, do you know if your water is safe to drink? What health risks could you and your family face? Where can you go for help or advice?
The information contained in this web site will help you answer these questions.
EPA regulates public water systems; it does not have the authority to regulate private drinking water wells. Approximately 15 percent of Americans rely on their own private drinking water supplies, and these supplies are not subject to EPA standards, although some state and local governments do set rules to protect users of these wells. Unlike public drinking water systems serving many people, they do not have experts regularly checking the water’s source and its quality before it is sent to the tap. These households must take special precautions to ensure the protection and maintenance of their drinking water supplies.

Basic Information - Learn about the types of drinking water wells and guidelines for proper construction.
Where You Live - Find information about private drinking water wells in your region or state.
Frequent Questions -This page answers questions you may have about your well water.
Human Health - Learn about health risks associated with drinking water wells.
Partnerships - Several organizations are working to keep private drinking water wells safe.
What You Can Do - Learn how to do your part in keeping your drinking water well safe.
Publications -Download or order copies of brochures, booklets, posters, reports, and multi-media publications.
Related Links - Link to web sites with additional information on private drinking water wells.
Glossary - Look up unfamiliar terms in EPA’s electronic glossary.

Basic Information

There are three types of private drinking water wells: dug, driven, and drilled. See the three links below for an explaination and graphic of the types of wells.

Dug
Driven
Drilled

Proper well construction and continued maintenance are keys to the safety of your water supply. Your state water-well contractor licensing agency, local health department, or local water system professional can provide information on well construction.
The well should be located so rainwater flows away from it. Rainwater can pick up harmful bacteria and chemicals on the land’s surface. If this water pools near your well, it can seep into it, potentially causing health problems.
Water-well drillers and pump-well installers are listed in your local phone directory. The contractor should be bonded and insured. Make certain your ground water contractor is registered or licensed in your state, if required. If your state does not have a licensing/registration program contact the National Ground Water Association. They have a voluntary certification program for contractors. (In fact, some states use the Association’s exams as their test for licensing.) For a list of certified contractors in your state contact the Association at (614) 898-7791 or (800) 551-7379. There is no cost for mailing or faxing the list to you.
To keep your well safe, you must be sure possible sources of contamination are not close by. Experts suggest the following distances as a minimum for protection — farther is better

Septic Tanks, 50 feet
Livestock yards, Silos, Septic Leach Fields, 50 feet
Patroleum Tanks, Liquid-Tight Manure Storage and Fertilizer Storage and Handling, 100 feet
Manure Stacks, 250 feet

Many homeowners tend to forget the value of good maintenance until problems reach crisis levels. That can be expensive. It’s better to maintain your well, find problems early, and correct them to protect your well’s performance. Keep up-to-date records of well installation and repairs plus pumping and water tests. Such records can help spot changes and possible problems with your water system. If you have problems, ask a local expert to check your well construction and maintenance records. He or she can see if your system is okay or needs work.
Protect your own well area. Be careful about storage and disposal of household and lawn care chemicals and wastes. Good farmers and gardeners minimize the use of fertilizers and pesticides. Take steps to reduce erosion and prevent surface water runoff. Regularly check underground storage tanks that hold home heating oil, diesel, or gasoline. Make sure your well is protected from the wastes of livestock, pets, and wildlife.

For additional information see:

EPA's Drinking Water From Household Wells (EPA 816-K-02-003 January 2002)
EPA Software for Environmental Awareness -Private Water Systems - A complete minicourse in design and construction of private drinking water systems (wells and piping). Includes water quantities required, water pumps, systems controls, design considerations and piping.

Dug Wells

Dug wells are holes in the ground dug by shovel or backhoe. Historically, a dug well was excavated below the groundwater table until incoming water exceeded the digger’s bailing rate. The well was then lined (cased) with stones, brick, tile, or other material to prevent collapse. It was covered with a cap of wood, stone, or concrete. Since it is so difficult to dig beneath the ground water table, dug wells are not very deep. Typically, they are only 10 to 30 feet deep. Being so shallow, dug wells have the highest risk of becoming contaminated.To minimize the likelihood of contamination, your dug well should have certain features. These features help to prevent contaminants from traveling along the outside of the casing or through the casing and into the well.

Dug Well Construction Features

The well should be cased with a watertight material (for example, tongue-and-groove precast concrete) and a cement grout or bentoniteclay sealant poured along the outside of the casing to the top of the well.
The well should be covered by a concrete curband cap that stands about a foot above the ground.
The land surface around the well should be mounded so that surface water runs away from the well and is not allowed to pond around the outside of the wellhead.
Ideally, the pump for your well should be inside your home or in a separate pump house, rather than in a pit next to the well.

Land activities around a dug well can also contaminate it. (see our chart of activites that may contaminate a drinking water well)
While dug wells have been used as a household water supply source for many years, most are “relics” of older homes, dug before drilling equipment was readily available or when drilling was considered too expensive. If you have a dug well on your property and are using it for drinking water, check to make sure it is properly covered and sealed. Another problem relating to the shallowness of a dug well is that it may go dry during a drought when the ground water table drops.

Driven Wells

Like dug wells, driven wells pull water from the water-saturated zone above the bedrock. Driven wells can be deeper than dug wells. They are typically 30 to 50 feet deep and are usually located in areas with thick sand and gravel deposits where the ground water table is within 15 feet of the ground’s surface. In the proper geologic setting, driven wells can be easy and relatively inexpensive to install.
Although deeper than dug wells, driven wells are still relatively shallow and have a moderate-to-high risk of contamination from nearby land activities.

See our chart of activites that may contaminate a drinking water well.

Driven Well Construction Features

Assembled lengths of two inches to three inches diameter metal pipes are driven into the ground. Ascreened “well point” located at the end of the pipe helps drive the pipe through the sand and gravel. The screen allows water to enter the well and filters out sediment.
The pump for the well is in one of two places: on top ofthe well or in the house. An access pit is usually dug around the well down to the frost line and a water discharge pipe to the house is joined to the well pipe with a fitting.
The well and pit are capped with the same kind of large-diameter concrete tile used for a dug well. The access pit may be cased with pre-cast concrete.

To minimize this risk, the well cover should be a tight-fitting concrete curb and cap with no cracks and should sit about a foot above the ground. Slope the ground away from the well so that surface water will not pond around the well. If there’s a pit above the well, either to hold the pump or to access the fitting, you may also be able to pour a grout sealant along the outside of the well pipe. Protecting the water quality requires that you maintain proper well construction and monitor your activities around the well. It is also important to follow the same land use precautions around the driven well as described under dug wells.

Drilled Wells

Drilled wells penetrate about 100-400 feet into the bedrock. Where you find bedrock at the surface, it is commonly called ledge. To serve as a water supply, a drilled well must intersect bedrock fractures containing ground water.

Drilled Well Construction Features

The casing is usually metal or plastic pipe, six inches in diameter that extends into the bedrock to prevent shallow ground water from entering the well. By law, the casing has to extend at least 18 feet into the ground, with at least five feet extending into the bedrock. The casing should also extend a foot or two above the ground’s surface. A sealant, such as cement grout or bentonite clay, should be poured along the outside of the casing to the top of the well. The well is capped to prevent surface water from entering the well.
Submersible pumps, located near the bottom of the well, are most commonly used in drilled wells. Wells with a shallow water table may feature a jet pump located inside the home. Pumps require special wiring and electrical service. Well pumps should be installed and serviced by a qualified professional registered with your state.
Most modern drilled wells incorporate a pitless adapter designed to provide a sanitary seal at the point where the discharge water line leaves the well to enter your home. The device attaches directly to the casing below the frost line and provides a watertight subsurface connection, protecting the well from frost and contamination.
Older drilled wells may lack some of these sanitary features. The well pipe used was oftene ight-, 10- or 12- inches in diameter, and covered with a concrete well cap either at or below the ground’s surface. This outmoded type of construction does not provide the same degree of protection from surface contamination. Also, older wells may not have a pitless adapter to provide a seal at the point of discharge from the well.

National Secondary Drinking Water Regulations

National Secondary Drinking Water Regulations (NSDWRs or secondary standards) are non-enforceable guidelines regulating contaminants that may cause cosmetic effects (such as skin or tooth discoloration) or aesthetic effects (such as taste, odor, or color) in drinking water. EPA recommends secondary standards to water systems but does not require systems to comply. However, states may choose to adopt them as enforceable standards.

  Contaminant Secondary Standard  
  Aluminum
Color
15 (color units) Copper
1.0 mg/L Corrosivity
Fluoride
Foaming Agents
Iron
Manganese
Odor
pH
Silver
Sulfate
Total Dissolved Solids
Zinc
0.05 to 0.2 mg/L
250 mg/L
15 (color units)
1.0 mg/L
noncorrosive
2.0 mg/L
0.5 mg/L
0.3 mg/L
0.05 mg/L
3 threshold odor number
6.5-8.5
0.10 mg/L
250 mg/L
500 mg/L
5 mg/L
 

Environmental Protection Agency Part 143
National Secondary Drinking Water Regulations

143.1  Purpose 143.2  Definitions 143.3  Secondary maximum contaminant levels 143.4  Monitoring

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why do I need a home inspection?

A. A home inspection is an important step in the home buying process.
Professionally trained home inspectors assist in maintaining the health of your home and a property inspection makes home maintenance easy by catching minor problems before they become big projects.
In just a few hours you'll have a detailed report of the condition of your home so that you can plan for needed repairs and upgrades when it's time to make them. When purchasing a home, many homebuyers have saved literally thousands of dollars through information provided by the home inspector.

Homeowners who have owned their homes for several years can even benefit from a home inspector's knowledge of maintenance and repairs, and experience to avert potential problems.
Many independent and nonprofit organizations exist to promote ethical practice and professional standards throughout the home inspection industry.

We don't print our reports on site, so the inspector has a chance to think about the words used to document the defects observed.

Q. Who exactly would require a home inspection?

A. When buying a new home, new construction home or a pre-owned home, you need an inspection for your peace of mind. Sellers also benefit from home inspections by knowing the condition of their home before listing. They are spared the embarrassment of the buyer's home inspector finding major defects with their home that they were not aware of and possibly will hold up the real estate transaction. If your new home still has a home warranty through a builder it is smart to have a home inspection before it expires.

Q. I've checked this house out thoroughly myself, why do I need an inspection?

A. Home Inspectors have the training, experience and competence that comes with being in the industry and inspecting hundreds of homes. We know what to look for and what to look at. Considering the average home, there are literally hundreds items that should be inspected.

While you or someone you may know can examine the home and roughly determine the overall condition of it, inspectors inspect homes daily, each and every week throughout the year and know exactly what to look for in a home. We detect minor/major flaws, defects in workmanship, improper installation and construction parameters and unsafe conditions that the general public would miss.

Q. What makes you different from the local competition?

A. The industry is full of inspectors who neither have the training, experience or qualifications to qualify as a home inspector. A professional knows what to look for and reports the condition to their clients in a detailed report outlining the condition of the home and provides insight to the buyer regarding the actual condition of all the items in the home, so the buyer can make an informed buying decision.

Q. What is the cost of a home inspection?

A. The cost of your inspection depends on the number of bedrooms, age, and number of fixed AC units that serve the home. Testing for radon and termite inspections are additional.

Q. How long does your inspection take?

A. Every home is different depending on the number of defects observed, but the average time is 2 to 3 hours to inspect the entire property.

Q. How large is the inspection report?

A. . A completed inspection report is about 15-20 pages including graphics and based upon the state of the home inspected, the more things found in the home that are deficient, the more the report contains.

Q. Should I be at the home inspection?

A. Yes, if it is possible, you should be there at the home inspection. We recommend that you be present at your home inspection so that you can ask your inspector any questions and see first hand any areas needing maintenance or repair.

Q. Can I call you for advice after the inspection?

A. Yes, feel free to call anytime.

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Home Inspections Plus

Tom Berge 2417 22nd Ave SE Rochester, MN 55904
507-285-9212
inspectit@ymail.com
rochesterhomeinspections.net

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Saturdays: 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM
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