Star Bulletin & Advertiser
– Sunday Edition
January 15, 1989
By Star Bulletin Staff
(View newspaper clipping)
can prevent problems
Water-related troubles are the most common cause
of home damage
Experienced home inspectors, such as
Manny Manfredi of Kailua, have seen it all when it comes
In the past 12 years, Manfredi has inspected
more than 1,000 Hawaii homes.
He said most of the major problems found
could have been easily prevented or corrected if the
homeowner knew or paid attention to these common problem:
water intrusion affecting the foundation, structural
ground termite damage, roofs at the end of their life,
improper electrical wiring, wood in contact with the
ground, structural problems such as incorrect framing
not up to building standards and dry/wet rot of exposed
Control of surface water (usually rain)
around the house is very important and usually easy
to maintain or correct. It should be checked at least
once a year, and since this is the rainy season, here
are some tips:
• On a heavy rainy day, walk around
your house and note any water that pools against the
house or reaches the exterior wall and foundations.
See whether the house is acting like a dam in a river.
• Observe where the water comes
from and runs to – side, front rear, or next door,
• If the house is elevated (post
and pier construction) and if it is safe to go under
the house, inspect for any water intrusion. Please be
very careful with the electrical wiring while you are
under the house. You are in direct contract with the
ground and any exposed wire "will curl your hair
and other part of your body very nicely," said
• No water should ever reach or
be present under the house. By far this is the most
often and common cause of structural problems found.
Water will disturb and undermine the ground around and
under the walls and supporting cement block, thus causing
sags, cracks, and settling. This is even more important
when the house is in a hill or the ground slopes toward
Control of the water may require roof
gutters, landscaping, a French drain system (in the
ground) or in some cases a masonry wall or a combination.
All depends on the amount of water and the topography
of the ground around the house. Whatever the situation
may be, fix it or have it fixed.
• While you are either under or
around the house, pay special attention to any wood,
boxes, old lumber, or anything that may be termite edible
in contact with the ground. Get rid of it or store them
above the ground level. If any section of the walls,
frame, exterior siding or supporting post is in contact
or very close to the ground you are openly inviting
termites for lunch and dinner.
• Termites will travel on the
surface of masonry-concrete and steel to reach wood
that is moist and juicy. So go around and outside and
inside – under sinks, and around shower and tub
and toilets – to look for any water stains, or
anything wet. Have it fixed.
• If you hear drops inside your
attic, have the roof checked for leaks or water seepage.
Owners may patch up or repair roof leaks to extend the
life of the roof, but water seepage is very hard to
detect and correct. If water keeps seeping on a section
of the roof, this section will more likely have the
necessary humidity and related environment for termite
intrusion. So if your roof is at the end if its life,
and you really care about your house, reroofing is the
best approach rather than patching.
• When was the last time you treated
against termites? When was the last time you called
a termite company for a full inspection and prevention
report? If you do not remember, then more than likely
it is overdue.
• Don't endanger your home by
changes to the electrical system. Manfredi has seen
people increase the size of the circuit breaker because
it was tripping or they wanted to increase the ability
of the wiring system. This is very dangerous and will
cause the wiring to overheat and possibly start a fire.
In the last four months, six homes had this problem.
• People also have ungrounded
and/or improperly wired outlets. These include outlets
with three prongs and no ground connected, reverse polarity,
open electrical junctions made outside boxes. Other
mistakes are improper wiring to fans, lights and other
weekend projects without the use of a licensed electrician.
Manfredi recommends "ground
fault circuit interrupters" for outlets in bathrooms,
garages and outdoors and one or two electrical type
smoke detectors. Installation of these devices requires
a licensed electrician.