February 5, 2018 | Brian Stoltz
1. Watch out for Permafrost: Some areas have permanently frozen soils  or ice below the surface of the ground called permafrost. If the permafrost melts, the soil can become unstable, endangering or damaging structures built upon it making them uninhabitable or valueless. Many of the home inspectors in town have an eye for this. The age of a structure or kind of vegetation on the property may not be reliable indicators of the presence of permafrost.

2. Test Your Water: Most of the Fairbanks Metropolitan Area is not served by city water and sewer. If the property is served by a water well, the water flow from the well may not be adequate for reasonable needs. Water depth and water flow may vary seasonally or over longer periods of time. New wells or changes in water usage may also affect water flow. There are also certain areas in the borough that have contaminated ground water.

3. Locate Old and Existing Heating Oil Tanks: Fuel oil is sometimes stored in a buried tank. Residential tanks are not presently subject to the extensive regulation of commercial storage tanks. However, while the tanks themselves are not regulated, leakage or spillage from a fuel tank is subject to regulation, and if the leakage or spillage results in the discharge of material amounts of petroleum, the property owner may be liable for cleanup expenses. Most fuel tanks are metal and they corrode with age.

4. Consider Testing for Radon: Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas. Concentrations of radon gas may be harmful. If detected, radon can usually be controlled economically and the test is relatively inexpensive. My own home tested high for radon and mitigating it was fairly easy. However if I didn't test for it, I never would have known that I had it in my house.

5. Test the Septic System: Septic systems are common throughout Fairbanks North Star Borough. Replacing an old system can be very expensive. Some loan types require that the system be inspected and tested by a professional, but not all of them. We recommend that regardless of loan type, they buyer requests the system be tested. A properly maintained system can last a long time if cared for properly.

We always recommend you hire a professional engineer to inspect your home prior to closing - see below for a few a few recommend. If you have any questions or are interested in buying a home, feel free to reach out today! To see what homes are for sale right now, click here!

Home inspectors we often use:

Midnight Sun Engineering - Bruce Dianaski
Arctic Engineering - Tim Henry
Real Good Home - Vince Meurlott



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