Tools of the Trade

By Randy Yates, Training Consultant Administrator, NPI/GPI

Tools_IMG_0601Home and commercial property inspectors need specific tools to perform certain portions of the inspection. Inspecting properties requires more than just a clipboard and flashlight — although a flashlight is one of the tools needed. An inspector’s basic set of tools includes the following:

  • Shock-resistant combination flat/Phillips screwdriver. This tool is primarily used to remove electrical panel cover screws, which is why it’s imperative that the screwdriver is shock-resistant.
  • Combustible gas detector (e.g., TIFF model 8800). This device is used to detect raw gas leaks and the presence of carbon monoxide in natural and propane gas piping systems, as well as in gas- and propane-burning appliances. This device is more advanced than a simple carbon monoxide detector, which only provides a number of parts per million and cannot detect a raw gas leak.
  • Moisture meter. This device is used to detect the presence of moisture in locations such as kitchens and bathrooms, as well as around the exterior of a house or building. A moisture meter can also be used to determine whether a water stain indicates an inactive or active leak. Whether a stain is active or inactive, it should still be listed in the report.
  • Two digital thermometers. These are used to check the air conditioning temperature differential, which should be between 14 and 22 degrees between the supply and return air for the HVAC system.
  • Inspectors use binoculars to inspect roofs from the ground when circumstances do not allow them to put a ladder at the eave or to physically walk the roof.
  • Static electrical tester. This device is used to detect stray current and live current, and it’s a good tool to use to test whether a service panel cover is energized.
  • Electrical circuit analyzer. This device is used to check electrical outlets for proper wiring, reverse polarity (hot and neutral switched), open grounds, and missing or bootlegged grounds.
  • Good quality extension and or universal ladder. If an inspector uses an extension ladder only, then the recommended length is 24 feet — that should get you up on most if not all residential roofs and some commercial roofs. We recommend using a fiberglass ladder whenever possible.
  • Various hand tools. Other tools often come in handy during an inspection, such as a tape measure, a 2- to 4-ft. level, a plumb bob or a laser level.

The cost for a property inspector’s tools can really add up, but they are crucial if you are going to perform inspections properly and expertly. If you are interested in starting your own inspection business, make sure to purchase the proper tools.

Did you know that National Property Inspections and Global Property Inspections provide every new franchise owner with the tools they need to conduct home and commercial building inspections? From the tools listed here to a tablet computer and portable printer, our franchise fee includes everything you need to start your inspection business. Learn more about our franchise opportunities:

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