A home inspector’s tool kit contains numerous items, but you’ll collect many of them after you’ve been in the business for a while. Experience is a great teacher. But some tools are important for home inspections from day one.
It doesn’t cost a fortune to get started. In fact, the basics can fit into a budget of about $200. But if you want to expand your horizons, there are more expensive tools with more options to think about.
Here are some of the most common:
You’ll Need at Least One Electrical Tester
Every home inspector needs at least one electrical tester. Some are fairly basic and straightforward, and others are more sophisticated.
Basic testers look similar to a 3-prong plug. They reveal the most common issues found in a home inspection, such whether a receptacle is operational, but they usually don’t give readings on 220 receptacles. More advanced AFCI/GFCI testers are larger, handheld devices that show whether arc fault circuit interrupter and ground fault circuit interrupter receptacles function properly.
The tester that you choose depends on your budget and how many types of defects you want to check for. The smallest tester costs less than $20, while the more sophisticated models can cost between $100 and $200.
A Simple Voltage Tester Gives Basic Information
Basic voltage testers are simple devices, shaped similar to a pen. They reveal one thing, which is whether voltage exists at a receptacle, electrical device, or in wiring. This handy little tool lets you know whether a device is hot.
A drawback to a basic voltage tester is mediocre accuracy. If one is used improperly or the battery is weak or dead, you might get a false reading on a hot device. And in the presence of static electricity, you could get a hot reading on a device that’s not.
A simple voltage tester costs $10 to $15, so it’s not a costly investment. They’re beneficial because they’re convenient, and more advanced models give better readings.
120 / 240 Voltage Testers Broaden Your Reach
If you rely on a basic electrical tester, you’ll need another device for testing 220 receptacles, such as those for a clothes dryer. A voltage tester that’s made for 110 and 220 will give you that.
The simplest style features two probes connected by wires to the housing, where indicator lights give the test results. This is a versatile tool because the separate probes allow you to test receptacles and other devices. With a plug-in style tester, you’re restricted to testing outlets only.
Some 110/220 voltage testers are expensive, but you can find models that cost $10 or less. Because of the low cost, this is a useful and practical addition to your took kit.
No Kit is Complete Without Flashlights
If there’s one tool you can’t do without, it’s a flashlight. And according to NACHI, you’ll probably have a collection of them in time.
Not only will you need a flashlight for inspecting dark areas such as crawlspaces and attics, but also for looking under and behind objects where your view is restricted.
Flashlights come in all shapes, sizes, and price points. While you can make do with an inexpensive model that costs less than $10, you’ll find that other models, such as LEDs, offer more light and a much higher price tag.
Other tools are important, and you’ll learn those as you go. For example, you’ll need a ladder, and you might want a moisture meter to determine the presence of moisture and to measure it. And a respirator, not a paper face mask, can help keep you safe from hazardous particulates such as mold spores.
Your home inspection tool kit will evolve over time. You’ll learn which flashlights you like best, and which electrical testers perform better. You might even invest in special equipment for tests such as radon, if you want to expand your business.
Getting started in the home inspection business shouldn’t cost a fortune. The basics are affordable, and you’ll use them every day. For everything else, time and experience will be your guide.
If you’re ready to start training for a new career in the home inspection business, click here and enroll now. There’s no better time to begin, and ICA School has one of the best curriculums on the market today.
“Receptacle tester demonstration” by AndrewBuck – Own work. Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Receptacle_tester_demonstration.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Receptacle_tester_demonstration.jpg
“Step ladder” by Milesbaim – own work. Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AStep_Ladder.jpg