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Old 04-27-14, 02:03 PM   #11
Jenny
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Default earth home inspection

I'm looking to purchase at an earth sheltered home built in 1982. South side large windows. North side of house is against earth/dirt/ ??? east & west side have widows. Anyone know of a company that can inspect the home for me? Inspectors in my area have not had enough experience with these type of homes.
As far as I can tell, the house needs a new roof and some cosmetic upgrades. So that means, I know NOTHING about this type of house. I could use a professional that has built or repaired these homes to take a look at it.
South east wisconsin area
Any help would be appreciated.

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Old 04-27-14, 03:06 PM   #12
Elcam84
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I know of one drawback... I used to do the volunteer fireman thing years ago. We got a call one afternoon... The call was the homeowner was mowing the grass and fell off his roof. So yeah some sort of guardrail would be a good idea.

That house and another are right next to each other just a little bit further north on the lake from me and I knew they were there way before the call. The owner was very happy with it and he did very little in the way of cooling but more in the way of dehumidifying.
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Old 04-28-14, 08:12 AM   #13
natethebrown
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Radon is really bad in certain areas of the country, especially down here in North Alabama. Also, most contractors down here don't know how to build things below ground (including basements). Those two things combined are a big reason why we don't see many below ground houses or even basements down here.
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Old 05-02-14, 06:40 PM   #14
doug30293
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natethebrown View Post
...most contractors down here don't know how to build things below ground (including basements).
Agreed. My house was built on a slope so the first floor is a daylight basement. We have a few small windows at the upper end so it isn't dark. The problem is water ingress. I have yet to see a properly constructed basement in the South. Monolithic poured concrete walls don't exist here.

I would never recommend building below ground anywhere the ground saturates. All the French drains in the world won't keep water out.

I wouldn't build underground unless it was at the top of a hill.
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Old 05-06-14, 04:30 PM   #15
wyatt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenny View Post
I'm looking to purchase at an earth sheltered home built in 1982. South side large windows. North side of house is against earth/dirt/ ??? east & west side have widows. Anyone know of a company that can inspect the home for me? Inspectors in my area have not had enough experience with these type of homes.
As far as I can tell, the house needs a new roof and some cosmetic upgrades. So that means, I know NOTHING about this type of house. I could use a professional that has built or repaired these homes to take a look at it.
South east wisconsin area
Any help would be appreciated.
Jenny, to answer your question, any reputable home inspector should be able to inspect that property. What you are describing is basically just a finished walk-in basement with a traditional shingle roof. Typical problems to look for are water infiltration, foundation cracking, seepage around pipes (or similar) that penetrate the walls. As stated, dehumidifying can be important and necessary. There is nothing special about many of these homes, they are just a better application of existing technologies. An advantage of buying a 30 year old home is that any problems that were going to arise should have done so already.

If you buy the property, consider getting heavy curtains. Either purchase or make them. Additional insulation on windows in any home (but especially Earth sheltered homes with lots of window real estate) will benefit. Pull them closed on nights when you are heating the home. Or during the day (if you aren't around/using the room) when it's hot out. It can make a several degree difference.

I toured a home in SW Wisconsin, near UWP, and they said adding heavy, quilt-like shades allowed the house to warm the master bedroom as well as the rest of the house. Prior, it was several degrees cooler in the winter.

Radon should not be a problem in Wisconsin. It is in parts of Northern Alabama, particularly where it's mountainous. Radon can typically be remedied with better airflow turnover rates. The building I work in (in Northern Alabama) was found to have a radon problem-- in the basement only, on Mondays and early Tuesdays only. The reason was that the AC/airflow was turned off on the weekend and radon levels would build all weekend until the air turned back on Monday morning. It was Tuesday around noon before radon levels were back around "acceptable", and continued to fall until the air turned off on Friday. The remedy was to run the air full blast 24/7/365. This resulted in near unregisterable levels of radon in the basement.

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