arcing: the passage of electrical current through a normally non-conductive medium, such as air.


asbestos: a naturally occurring mineral with high heat resistance and insulating properties. As it is known to cause mesothelioma cancer, its use is banned in most industrialized countries, and restricted in most others. Inspecting for and testing of asbestos is outside the scope of a standard home inspection. As a result, when we discover material that appears to be asbestos during …


auto-reverse: a pressure sensing safety feature, installed on most modern garage door openers that detects when the closing garage door strikes something or something walks across the opening, stopping and reversing the closing door.

Back flow

back flow: the situation in which water from one plumbing system (typically dirty water from the drain lines) backs up into another plumbing system (typically the potable water supply lines), usually occurring due to siphoning.

Back flow preventer

back flow preventer: a mechanical device installed to prevent a back-flow situation from occurring. It is typically required to be installed in exterior hose bibs (faucets), sprinkler systems, swimming pool fillers, kitchen spray wands and spraying faucet pull outs and some handheld showers.


Also called a spindle, this vertical piece is responsible for supporting the top handrail of a staircase or balcony.

Bath-trap access panel

bath-trap access panel: an opening cut in the wall next to the point where a bath-tub or shower drain line passes through the house foundation. It is typically installed by the pest control company for access to the exposed area of soil below the tub/shower, to allow the application of pesticide. A removable access door is typically installed.


Electrical bonding occurs when all exposed metal parts/equipment are connected together, typically by using copper wire, in an attempt to minimize the potential for hazardous shock due to electrical current taking a non-intended path.


breaker: also called a circuit breaker; an automatic switching device that is designed to protect its electrical circuit from the damage that can be caused by a short circuit or overload situation. Breakers function similarly to fuses, but unlike fuses, which must be replaced once overloaded, a breaker typically can be reset with the flick of a switch and will continue …


busbar: in the home electrical panel, the busbar is a piece or strip of metal (bar) that carries electricity, distributing the electricity to circuit breakers, fuses and wires inside of the electrical panel.