Bat Guano Horror Story

It can be disgusting—literally—what other home inspectors miss during their “visual inspections!”

In late Spring of 2008 we were invited to inspect a large century home north of Barrie.

Everything was going very well – no asbestos, no mold, no knob and tube wiring, beautiful structure – until I went into the attic. A deep layer of newer insulation had been placed over older insulation. I dug down through the insulation to see what was there and found an eight inch deep layer of bat guano! Truly toxic stuff.

The current seller had an inspection carried out a year ago. The Standard Agreement provided by the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors clearly states that home inspectors provide a ‘visual’ inspection only. Presumably, last year’s inspector carried out only a ‘visual’ inspection.

As specialists in the assessment of century homes and cottages, we find that stipulation laughable. Old wood must be prodded to assess its solidity, whether it’s part of a floor assembly or a window assembly. It is necessary to crawl all the way through crawlspaces and prod every member of wood with a knife. Similarly, we move a ladder around the home so every window can be fully checked, even in deepest winter.

So a ‘visual’ inspection does not cut the mustard. We must rise above the legalese to protect our buyers! You can’t be squeamish and be a good home inspector. Sometimes you have to go elbow deep in bat guano. We saved our buyer thousands of dollars.