We conduct home inspections on a myriad of different homes in the Southwest Washington area. And while home inspections in Vancouver WA share many of the same characteristics — here’s three things all Vancouver WA homeowners and homebuyers should look out for.

Federal Pacific Electric and Zinsco Panels

Federal Pacific Electrical panels — one of the most common electrical panel installations between 1950-1980 — and Zinsco electrical panels — also known as GTE-Sylvania after Zinsco was purchased — are two installations that have proven to have major manufacturing and design flaws that potentially put homeowners at risk.

These panels can appear to work fine for decades, but after one instance of failure, they can overheat and become fire hazards. This is especially true with the ever-increasing electrical demands of new technologies and appliances. That’s why it’s important to know what type of panel is in your home.

If you’re buying a home, make sure your home inspector includes this in their report. At Northbank Home Inspection, we will not only call out Federal Pacific and Zinsco panels and recommend their replacement, but also conduct a full visual examination of the inside of your panel looking for other electrical hazards. Replacement of panels can often be negotiated into your home sale.

Tip: Don’t forget to ask us for electrician references and re-inspections!

Polybutylene and CPVC Piping

Polybutylene (PB) is a type plastic manufactured from the late-1970s into the mid-1990s used for water-supply piping in close to 10 million homes. It was easy-to-make, light for transportation, and made for easy installation because of its flexibility. But, like a number of other building materials manufactured in the 1970s — aluminum wiring, asbestos, and galvanized piping — problems started to arise. CPVC — chlorinated polyvinyl chloride — was used for similar reasons in the 1990s.

With time, the polybutylene and CPVC piping started to leak and burst, leading to major water damage. Researchers have now proven that high pressure and household chemicals or disinfectants can erode the piping, which eventually leads to water leaks.

If you have polybutylene or CPVC piping in your home or it’s in a home your planning to buy, seriously consider replacing it.

Tip: Replacement is not something that’s required by code, but doing nothing or hiring a home inspector who doesn’t recognize PB or CPVC piping, could be an expensive mistake.


Radon gas is the second-leading cause of lung cancer. Unfortunately, elevated radon levels are found in about one in four homes in the Vancouver WA area. And, radon does not differentiate between old and new homes — it can be health hazard in both.

Certified and accurate radon testing in Vancouver WA should be conducted on every home to determine the radon levels. Buying a home is an ideal time to conduct a radon test, because a mitigation can usually be negotiated into the sale.

We offer precise, EPA-standard 48-hour radon tests that can be added to any home inspection or ordered as a standalone service. Get your home tested and help keep you and your family safe.

Tip: Check out our Radon testing page for more information.

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Radon Testing by Northbank Home Inspection in Vancouver WA Camas and Battle Ground

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