Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

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DMB41
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Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by DMB41 »

Hey all,

I will be closing on a new construction home in about 3 weeks and the blue tape walkthrough is scheduled for about 2 weeks from now. Seeing as this will be my first home, I was wondering if you guys had any tips on things to check for that may no be obvious to a first-time homebuyer. We are having our own home inspection done the day before so I hope to catch any major issues, if any, at that time. My expectation and understanding is that the blue tape walkthrough will mainly be to catch cosmetic defects (crooked outlets, paint/drywall issues, scratches in the cabinets, tile/grout issues, etc). The house is pretty basic - 4 bed/3 bath single story. 3-car garage. No pool/patio/deck. Nothing crazy.

Any tips on things to look out for?
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JoeRetire
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by JoeRetire »

I assume this isn't the first walkthrough you have had?

Make sure anything you have pointed out during your previous walkthroughs has been fixed as expected. Yes, make sure there are no cosmetic issues that need attention. Make sure all appliances are connected and actually working. Check all the plumbing, heat, cooling, etc.

Keep a list of anything that isn't yet complete. Take pictures.
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snackdog
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by snackdog »

Take a good flashlight and a builder/general contractor with you, if you know one. My last new home purchase was with a realtor who also had a lot of construction experience. We blue-taped the heck out of the house - mostly issues with sheetrock, paint, floors, cabinets, drawers, trim, etc. Try every single drawer, cabinet, window, sink, tub, hvac, etc.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by Sandtrap »

AKA: punch list(ing) a project.

Hire a "pro" who does this all the time.

A licensed, experienced, reputable, General Contractor, G.C. custom home builder, Architect, that you can pay per hour or fee for this inspection will spot nearly "everything", far above what you and others will spot. (even with books and youtube).

Avoid: realtor, realtor agent, helpful uncle Frodo, handyman, carpenter wannabee, licensed after 3 seminars home inspection business person, :shock: etc.

j :D
Last edited by Sandtrap on Wed Nov 24, 2021 9:20 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Mr. Rumples
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by Mr. Rumples »

You might want to bring a level and a ping pong ball to check the floor level. Don't ignore the exterior including defects in the mortar in the foundation. A $20 moisture meter might be handy incase something feels damp when it just might be cold. A laser temp. reader to check the air temp of the heat.
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by 6U7a9Zfym64CRBB8gY3v »

- test hot and cold water in the washing machine
- test that the washing machine drains correctly when you cancel the cycle
- visibly inspect the dryer duct to make sure it is the correct length and not overly coiled around
- if you have an over the range microwave with a vent or a standalone vent hood, check that it is properly exhausting

I used to install appliances and the laundry (water hookups and drain, dryer vent) and over-the-range exhaust were things I constantly was fixing after the initial person did not install correctly. Most appliances are installed by unskilled labor and they are given very little training, so an inexperienced person can easily mess these up
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DMB41
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by DMB41 »

JoeRetire wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 8:51 am I assume this isn't the first walkthrough you have had?

Make sure anything you have pointed out during your previous walkthroughs has been fixed as expected. Yes, make sure there are no cosmetic issues that need attention. Make sure all appliances are connected and actually working. Check all the plumbing, heat, cooling, etc.

Keep a list of anything that isn't yet complete. Take pictures.
The blue tape walkthrough in 2 weeks will be the first walkthrough. The follow up walkthrough will be a week later. Assuming everything was fixed to our liking, we will also close on that day.
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JoeRetire
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by JoeRetire »

DMB41 wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 9:16 am
JoeRetire wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 8:51 am I assume this isn't the first walkthrough you have had?

Make sure anything you have pointed out during your previous walkthroughs has been fixed as expected. Yes, make sure there are no cosmetic issues that need attention. Make sure all appliances are connected and actually working. Check all the plumbing, heat, cooling, etc.

Keep a list of anything that isn't yet complete. Take pictures.
The blue tape walkthrough in 2 weeks will be the first walkthrough. The follow up walkthrough will be a week later. Assuming everything was fixed to our liking, we will also close on that day.
Okay.

When we had a new home built, we visited fairly frequently - at least every few weeks. More than once we found that they had started building a closet in the wrong location, put a door facing the wrong way, etc. It was easy to get them to fix anything we found early.

Sounds like you will be going to create a "punch list" - last minute cleanup and fixes.

Good luck!
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RetiredCSProf
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by RetiredCSProf »

6U7a9Zfym64CRBB8gY3v wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 9:15 am - test hot and cold water in the washing machine
- test that the washing machine drains correctly when you cancel the cycle
- visibly inspect the dryer duct to make sure it is the correct length and not overly coiled around
- if you have an over the range microwave with a vent or a standalone vent hood, check that it is properly exhausting

I used to install appliances and the laundry (water hookups and drain, dryer vent) and over-the-range exhaust were things I constantly was fixing after the initial person did not install correctly. Most appliances are installed by unskilled labor and they are given very little training, so an inexperienced person can easily mess these up
When I purchased my home from a builder, I hired a home inspector for the walkthrough, but he bailed when he saw that it was new construction. Laundry appliances were not included. After I moved in, I purchased a washer and dryer. On delivery day, the installers showed me that there was no dryer vent. Also, it turned out that the upstairs toilet leaked to the floor below each time it was flushed. Luckily, my builder was willing to address my punch list in the first few weeks after I moved in. The location of the dryer made the vent length longer than it should be, but was still workable.
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by Cigarman »

Turn on every faucet and run the dishwasher to make sure all the connections are correct. My first house had the lines on the dishwasher backwards and my current rental has them wrong on the bathtub.
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by renter »

Check that bathroom fans exhaust to outside and not just into the attic.
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

Open/close every window, all doors.

Make sure heating and cooling works. Make sure A/C dripline is flowing.

Hopefully builder will leave extra pieces of all tile/vinyl/wood flooring used.

Test hose bibs, irrigation system if present.

Locate main water shut-off valve.

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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by suemarkp »

Also make sure that if you asked for any customizations that they are in fact there, e.g. extra power outlets or lighting, TV or network outlets, correct tile, counter tops, carpet, ...
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by phxjcc »

Listen to/sand trap


Most of what people are saying is minor stuff.

Structural integrity of foundation and framing, proper buildout of major mechanicals, and correct sloping/drainage will cost you thousands to correct.

...and check that plumbing clean-outs are capped. :oops:
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DMB41
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by DMB41 »

phxjcc wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 2:20 pm Listen to/sand trap


Most of what people are saying is minor stuff.

Structural integrity of foundation and framing, proper buildout of major mechanicals, and correct sloping/drainage will cost you thousands to correct.

...and check that plumbing clean-outs are capped. :oops:
Like I mentioned in the OP, we are having our own 3rd party home inspector check things out the day before we do the blue tape walkthrough. It is my understanding that he will be checking on those things. I understand criticality of those items and the need for them to be checked. When we do the blue tape walkthrough it will just be my partner, myself, our agent and the builder so we want to come armed with all the information needed to check out items in the house that the home inspector wouldn't necessarily find or be looking for.
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by plannerman »

Look at your windows carefully. We had a few that had serious scratches. It didn't help that they were dirty when we did our walk through

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pizzy
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by pizzy »

DMB41 wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 2:29 pm
phxjcc wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 2:20 pm Listen to/sand trap


Most of what people are saying is minor stuff.

Structural integrity of foundation and framing, proper buildout of major mechanicals, and correct sloping/drainage will cost you thousands to correct.

...and check that plumbing clean-outs are capped. :oops:
Like I mentioned in the OP, we are having our own 3rd party home inspector check things out the day before we do the blue tape walkthrough. It is my understanding that he will be checking on those things. I understand criticality of those items and the need for them to be checked. When we do the blue tape walkthrough it will just be my partner, myself, our agent and the builder so we want to come armed with all the information needed to check out items in the house that the home inspector wouldn't necessarily find or be looking for.
I’ll say it again, because I’m not sure you understand how important this advice is.

Scroll back up and read what sandtrap wrote. And follow it exactly.
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by kelway »

DMB41 wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 8:44 am Hey all,

I will be closing on a new construction home in about 3 weeks and the blue tape walkthrough is scheduled for about 2 weeks from now. Seeing as this will be my first home, I was wondering if you guys had any tips on things to check for that may no be obvious to a first-time homebuyer. We are having our own home inspection done the day before so I hope to catch any major issues, if any, at that time. My expectation and understanding is that the blue tape walkthrough will mainly be to catch cosmetic defects (crooked outlets, paint/drywall issues, scratches in the cabinets, tile/grout issues, etc). The house is pretty basic - 4 bed/3 bath single story. 3-car garage. No pool/patio/deck. Nothing crazy.

Any tips on things to look out for?
This was my big concern when we had ours 21 years ago in our first house: what is "normal" and what is not. For example, the cosmetic issues are clear but we found things like clear framing errors in our family room where it wasn't symmetrical... twisted beams etc... a high joist in the kitchen...things that you know won't be fixed because it's far too invasive. So my only advice is to not convince yourself that they're not going to fix it and to therefore leave it off the list and instead to highlight every single thing you see that isn't somewhat perfect and leave it for them to negotiate their way out of it. Otherwise, you'll be starting at a high joist or similar two decades later and wanting to kick yourself for your naivete (perhaps ;-)
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by Ultrarunner »

I bought new construction 2 years ago. I had a home inspector who was familiar with home inspections who did 3 inspections, 1 at foundation completion, 1 before drywall and 1 right before close. He found issues at the before drywall with some sub flooring and at some other issues at the final.

For us, my wife and I brought our option sheet and found they didn’t do some things, like bench in shower and exterior flood lights that had to be corrected. We also found unpainted areas(esp behind open doors), uneven floors (bumps under carpet), bad tile installation in one bathroom, wrong light fixtures, and carpet tile transitions that were bad, crooked cabinets. Anyway, take your time and go through everything. Usually you’ll have a 1 year warranty on everything and a multi year structural. So don’t completely stress if so.
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by Tamarind »

Observe all the trim from two directions to spot gaps. Hastily finished trim is my own pet peeve.
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by Golf maniac »

Google is your friend, there are all kinds of punch lists online for new construction.
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DMB41
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by DMB41 »

pizzy wrote: Thu Nov 25, 2021 7:46 am
DMB41 wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 2:29 pm
phxjcc wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 2:20 pm Listen to/sand trap


Most of what people are saying is minor stuff.

Structural integrity of foundation and framing, proper buildout of major mechanicals, and correct sloping/drainage will cost you thousands to correct.

...and check that plumbing clean-outs are capped. :oops:
Like I mentioned in the OP, we are having our own 3rd party home inspector check things out the day before we do the blue tape walkthrough. It is my understanding that he will be checking on those things. I understand criticality of those items and the need for them to be checked. When we do the blue tape walkthrough it will just be my partner, myself, our agent and the builder so we want to come armed with all the information needed to check out items in the house that the home inspector wouldn't necessarily find or be looking for.
I’ll say it again, because I’m not sure you understand how important this advice is.

Scroll back up and read what sandtrap wrote. And follow it exactly.

I'm not sure what I am missing? Is a home inspector not recommended or something? The home inspector we hired is highly rated, 15 years experience, licensed/certified with International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), liability insurance, etc. This isn't some bubba who attended a few seminars. This person isn't a GC or a custom home builder like sandtrap mentioned, but I'm not sure how easily I could get a hold of one of those anyway. Plus, they have to have liability insurance which I'm not sure a GC who doesn't normally do inspection would have.
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DMB41
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by DMB41 »

Golf maniac wrote: Thu Nov 25, 2021 9:41 am Google is your friend, there are all kinds of punch lists online for new construction.
All those punch lists are generic, obvious things. I'm not asking for those things. I was looking for insight on some specific items that most people wouldn't think to look for or check.
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by 8foot7 »

Not quite your question, but a couple of important points:

(a) after you close, assume any punch list fixes will be done as cheaply and as shoddily as they possibly can be.

We have a nice house in an area where nice houses are a decent amount of money--the value is in the structure, not the appreciation of the land. Still two days after closing we went to vacuum the new living room and half the power in the house went out. It was reproducible, too, in that every time we turned our Dyson on some breakers would trip. We called the builder who sent the electrical sub out who then tried to convince us that our Dyson was too powerful for the electrical system and if we insisted on using it, we'd have to vacuum some areas in the dark. The guy literally tried to tell me that with a straight face, in a 750k house, that a Dyson animal overloads our circuitry. I told the guy to hold on, called the builder's GC and sales rep to come over (they were still in the neighborhood as we were some of the first ones to move in), and asked the electrician to tell them what he told me. That put an end to that nonsense.

It turned out they had wired a ceiling fan incorrectly and the vacuum was the last straw in a series of problems stemming from that fan, but of course that took them removing drywall and re-running some burnt through Romex.

(b) understand the power of delaying closing as your leverage. If you can find two dozen items for your punchlist, chances are they won't finish them all in time to close. Do not hesitate to delay closing. The paperwork sounds scary and terrible. It's not; there are defects in your home that need to be corrected.

Good luck.
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by Nate79 »

You are walking thru with your inspector, correct? If not then that's a major mistake.
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DMB41
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by DMB41 »

Nate79 wrote: Thu Nov 25, 2021 11:51 am You are walking thru with your inspector, correct? If not then that's a major mistake.
Yes, walk through with inspector the day before the blue tape walk through with the contractor.
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by four7s »

We moved into a newly built home about 6 weeks ago and found some small annoying fixes that were addressed immediately after closing. We have a one year warranty. This can be a stressful time so keep in mind you purchased a new home not a perfect home and while you paid good money for ‘perfection’ understand that probably won’t be the case. If your builder is experienced and reputable he’ll make things right. You needn’t make threats or ultimatums as it will mar the joy of your new home.
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by WhyNotUs »

Open every door, cabinet, etc. and check for door swing and closure, same with windows for ease of use and seal. Touch things- switch plates, trim boards, counter tops for proper finish. Check transitions between flooring for heights and look. Outside- ask about type of hose bib valves if in cold area, walk around siding looking for any loose or misaligned pieces. Leave the roof to the inspector.

It is a chance to ask any questions about where shutoffs are located, whether there are any pumps, special HVAC components, etc.
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by Nate79 »

DMB41 wrote: Thu Nov 25, 2021 12:57 pm
Nate79 wrote: Thu Nov 25, 2021 11:51 am You are walking thru with your inspector, correct? If not then that's a major mistake.
Yes, walk through with inspector the day before the blue tape walk through with the contractor.
Good. This is very important because you can see what he doesn't cover and then can do everything else during the blue tape walk thru.
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by mkc »

Voltage drop/arc fault/GFCI outlet testing
Thermal imaging of all exterior walls, ceiling, etc. (insulation and air sealing issues)
No "trampled" or low areas of insulation in attic or inadequate insulation on knee-wall/pop up areas
Time for hot water to reach each faucet/shower
Thermal imaging of HVAC ducting for missed sealing/leaks

Verify "specials" are actually there (such as dedicated circuits)

All appliance accessories present and accounted for

All window screens present and in good condition

Test every window, door, cabinet, drawer, faucet, toilet, etc. for operation and ease of latching/locking
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DMB41
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by DMB41 »

mkc wrote: Fri Nov 26, 2021 10:28 am Voltage drop/arc fault/GFCI outlet testing
Thermal imaging of all exterior walls, ceiling, etc. (insulation and air sealing issues)
No "trampled" or low areas of insulation in attic or inadequate insulation on knee-wall/pop up areas
Time for hot water to reach each faucet/shower
Thermal imaging of HVAC ducting for missed sealing/leaks

Verify "specials" are actually there (such as dedicated circuits)

All appliance accessories present and accounted for

All window screens present and in good condition

Test every window, door, cabinet, drawer, faucet, toilet, etc. for operation and ease of latching/locking
Thanks for the tips. The thermal imaging is a good idea.
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by runninginvestor »

OP, when you get a chance to do the walkthrough, please report back with any tips you learn or your inspector beforehand recommend, to add to the collective knowledge!
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by mary1492 »

  • Flush all the toilets
  • Turn on all the faucets, bath, shower verifying both hot and cold come out when turning the appropriate knob
  • Turn on heat, AC, any fans
  • Verify all appliances work. If washer/dryer are included, do not hesitate to run a short empty load and be sure dryer heats up
  • Test all light switches, outdoor lights, sprinkler system (if applicable)
  • Go into the attic with a flashlight if there aren't lights up there, make sure there are no broken/missing studs, any electrical is clean/neat/tidy, proper amount of insulation, no trash/debris left laying around from construction.
  • Plug into each electrical outlet and verify it's working
  • Verify that any extras you've paid for have been provided, is completed, and works properly (if applicable)
  • Check for clean/smooth finishing at transition points of flooring/carpeting, any door lips, walls/ceilings, around electrical outlets, etc.
  • Check for any painting/touch up that needs to be completed
  • Check caulking in bathrooms around sinks/toilets/baths/showers
  • Check that garage door closes flush with the ground and garage door opener (if provided) works correctly
  • If security system is included, test that it's working
  • If solar is included, test that it's working
  • Open/close all windows/screens/doors and make sure they work correctly, have no imperfections, open easily, close flush, etc.
  • Be sure all owners manuals, instructions, and warranty info is provided for all appliances and systems (heating/AC, etc.)
  • Have builder mark the property lines outside
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by Dave55 »

Sandtrap wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 9:11 am AKA: punch list(ing) a project.

Hire a "pro" who does this all the time.

A licensed, experienced, reputable, General Contractor, G.C. custom home builder, Architect, that you can pay per hour or fee for this inspection will spot nearly "everything", far above what you and others will spot. (even with books and youtube).

Avoid: realtor, realtor agent, helpful uncle Frodo, handyman, carpenter wannabee, licensed after 3 seminars home inspection business person, :shock: etc.

j :D
This ^ is the best advice.

Dave
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mkc
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Re: Things to look for during "blue tape" walkthrough

Post by mkc »

DMB41 wrote: Mon Nov 29, 2021 8:14 am
mkc wrote: Fri Nov 26, 2021 10:28 am Voltage drop/arc fault/GFCI outlet testing
Thermal imaging of all exterior walls, ceiling, etc. (insulation and air sealing issues)
No "trampled" or low areas of insulation in attic or inadequate insulation on knee-wall/pop up areas
Time for hot water to reach each faucet/shower
Thermal imaging of HVAC ducting for missed sealing/leaks

Verify "specials" are actually there (such as dedicated circuits)

All appliance accessories present and accounted for

All window screens present and in good condition

Test every window, door, cabinet, drawer, faucet, toilet, etc. for operation and ease of latching/locking
Thanks for the tips. The thermal imaging is a good idea.
At a previous home, it was part of the free energy audit done by the electric cooperative. They found a home where the insulation was missing or poorly installed in a few homes. They found massive leaks in our HVAC ducting (in the attic), including lack of any sealing at the air handler and poor mastic application on several other joints.

I suspect (hope?) the latter would now be caught in many cases as more builders are doing HERS testing/ratings
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