Free Termite Inspections Can Indeed Bring Value
Termite control can be lucrative, which makes it a very competitive industry. It’s so competitive, for companies to ensure they’re included in potential job opportunities, they must offer free termite inspections.
As consumers, we’ve learned that free isn’t always a good thing; in fact, the words “free” and “cheap” are often thought to be one in the same.
So is it possible to receive a quality termite inspection, even when it’s free?
The answer to the question above is yes, but it can be a challenge. With the help of this article, however, you can increase the likelihood of a good, thorough inspection.
What you need to know:
Let’s say you don’t have an active termite bond on your home. When you request an inspection from a termite control company, there’s a high probability the inspection will be performed by a sales representative. It should be pointed out that while many sales reps are outstanding termite inspectors, they are not compensated for long, thorough inspections.
Most sales reps are paid solely on sales commission, meaning it’s of their financial interest to sell you a termite treatment. This type of pay structure could lead to some inspectors/sales reps providing a very basic or quick inspection, followed by a much longer “sales pitch”.
The essentials for a good inspection:
A good inspection should consist of three parts: the interior, exterior and outlying areas of your home.
During the interior inspection, all windows, doors, trim, baseboards, windows, doors, bath traps, sinks, garage, and attic should be inspected. The inspector is looking for signs of termite activity, such as mud tunnels, exit holes, and swarmer wings.
They will also be looking for advanced activity such as damaged window seals, baseboards or door trim. If your home is built on a slab foundation, the interior portion of the inspection is vital. Termites will frequently enter a home from the small void between two adjacent slabs or a settlement crack in the foundation, so it’s important to give these “hot spots” a great deal of attention.
For areas where the exterior walls are adjacent to the garage or patio, it would be well served to remove baseboards or peel back any carpet obstructing the view. These actions may sound extreme, but it’s important to note that termites can enter your home through an opening of only 1/32 of an inch.
If your home has a crawl space, the area must be inspected. Ask the representative to tap on your floor joists as they perform their inspection from underneath. This doesn’t ensure the inspector is looking as closely as they should, but it does let you know they are traveling through the crawl space.
This is important because too often, reluctant inspectors only crawl a limited portion of the home. These types of inspectors rely on a strong flashlight beam and the hope that any termite activity is easily visible from a distance. This is, of course, an improper method for termite inspections as veteran inspectors live by the phrase, “If you can’t reach it, you can’t inspect it”.
For the perimeter of your home, the inspector should check all attached slabs and any wooden parts of your home that come within six inches of the soil. The inspector should also check the door frames, window seals, wood siding, garage door trim, exposed slabs, settlement cracks, and landscaping mulch.
Proximity of the nearest termite activity is good to know, but not vital. Since termites are blind scavengers, their food selection can seem unpredictable and/or sporadic.
It’s not uncommon for termites to obliviously pass by a perfectly good food supply while in route to a food source much further from their colony. In other words, termites could be infesting your home, while seemingly ignoring the firewood just six feet away.
More often than not, however, the termites simply have yet to discover the firewood (in due time, they will). Regardless of this fact, it’s a good idea to ensure your inspector checks storage buildings, woodpiles, stumps or any other wood debris around your home.
Ask for recommendations:
A good inspector will not only locate live or previous termite activity, they will also point out areas of high probability for termite infestation (often called conducive conditions).
In most cases, the inspector will be able to offer non-chemical suggestions that will help make these areas less attractive for our wood destroying friends.
The termite control industry has many qualified termite inspectors that are capable of providing top-level service. Armed with the small bit of knowledge shared in this article, you should be able to recognize and praise these top performers.
You also have the information needed to assist inexperienced or less-willing inspectors. By doing this, not only will you ensure your home is properly inspected, you could quite possibly be helping the homeowners of future inspections as well.