In reality, home inspectors only need to use a handful of types of equipment. An inspector could theoretically perform an inspection following InterNACHI Standards of Practice by using just two pieces of equipment, a flashlight and an electric tester that can test ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) devices.
But, inspectors need the right equipment to perform inspections safely.
For those times, inspectors must be able to enter areas that contain materials that could inhale particulates; a respirator is necessary. Dust masks are not sufficient. Dust masks are not sufficient. Respirators should be equipped to filter particulates that pose biological hazards (e.g., viruses, bacteria, fungal organisms) and those that lodge in the respiratory system. While particulates small enough to be airborne are not necessarily carcinogens, they can cause other types of respiratory illnesses. Safety glasses and gloves are also useful when working with sensitive electrical components.
Inspectors may use other types of equipment to provide inspections of greater value. Infrared cameras and moisture meters are two examples. These tools allow inspectors to spot unacceptable conditions that are not visible visually. Inspectors feel that these tools are more valuable than the standard of practice and will give them an edge in the inspection market.
Certain types of equipment can make inspections easier or more efficient for the inspector. Telescoping ladders can be a great example. Telescoping ladders can be folded and carried around a house without causing damage to walls or furniture. Inspectors can use infrared thermometers to inspect the temperature of cooling and heating system registers that are hard to reach, such as under large furniture or underneath beds.
Inspectors can use any equipment they like, provided that their inspections conform to the InterNACHI Standards of Practice. These are some examples of equipment that home inspectors use.
This photo shows the typical equipment used by inspectors. Two cases are used to transport equipment to inspection. The inspectors can use a bag or a bucket to inspect the equipment.
Inspectors can choose from a range of different electrical testers depending on their preferences and what they can afford. The more expensive testers can detect more defects than the less expensive ones.
The Electric tester: This tester is used widely but only shows the most common defects. The button can be used to test GFCI devices. The three coloured lights indicate different defects. It doesn’t test for defective AFCI units that are frequently required in certain rooms of new homes. It can test 120-volt electrical outlets, but not 240-volt ones. Nearly every inspector owns one, and many inspectors only use this tester to check electrical components. It can also be seen mounted on a keychain retractable for ease of use. The price ranges from $10-15.
AFCI/GFCI tester: This tester is used to verify that both ground-fault and arc-fault circuit interrupter devices operate properly. Some inspectors use it. It is the SureTest Ideal 61-059 tester, and it costs approximately $170.
AFCI/GFCI tester to test arc-fault or ground-fault circuit interrupters: This circuit tester checks arc fault-and ground fault-protected electric circuits to verify that they are functioning properly. Some inspectors use it. The surest Ideal 61-6164 tester is about $260
Voltage indicator: This simple device can check if the voltage is present in a device. Although it is inaccurate, it may provide positive readings when no house current exists but not levels of harmless static electricity. It costs about $10.
An Electrical tester: is a tool that tests for both 120-volt and 240-volt electric current. This tester is used to test dryers’ electrical receptacles, even if there isn’t one.
Flashlights: Home inspectors always search for the best flashlight. While powerful flashlights can be used to see in dark places where it is difficult or impossible to access, the strong reflection can make photographing difficult. Many inspectors have several flashlights. For safety, inspectors should always have a spare. An inspector can be in danger if the main light goes out unexpectedly.
Full-face and half-face respirators: provide respiratory protection but are not very comfortable in hot conditions. Although many inspectors might have them, they may not use them often. Because some areas can be dangerous without protection, they are essential. The mucus membranes surrounding the eyes can allow some organisms to enter the body.
A combustible gas detector: can detect small amounts of combustible gas. Since the most common explosive gasses – propane and natural gas – are easily detected, inspectors rely on their noses. The Bacharach brand is $350.