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The Home Inspector

Like boot camp for homeowners.

Socks or shoes for the home inspector?

Should home inspectors wear socks or shoes while inspecting? I recently had a discussion about this with another home inspector on my team. We don't see eye-to-eye on this topic, so I'm blogging about it. That's what I do.

There's no right answer to this, but there are valid arguments for both sides. To be clear, when I say shoes, I'm talking about indoor shoes. No professional home inspector will wear their outdoor shoes inside of a house under normal circumstances. I have to qualify that, because I've been in many houses where I definitely wouldn't want to soil my indoor shoes by wearing them inside the house. See below.

Nasty floor

For the home inspector who wears shoes inside the house, there are three basic methods that I can think of:

  1. Indoor shoes. This has always been my preferred method. I have some Sketchers slip-on shoes that I keep in my inspection bag.
  2. Booties. Those blue things that go over your shoes. Quite the hot look. My problem with booties is that I go in and out of the house too much. I don't like having to slip these things on and off of my shoes every time I go in and out. I'd much rather slip different shoes on and off. Still, I keep a 6-pack of booties in my inspection bag for some reason, and I have a huge box of them at the office for my inspectors. No idea why.
  3. Shoe covers. This is basically a boot for your shoe. You step into the shoe cover and your dirty feet are protected. I've never tried one of these because I don't like the look and I'm pretty sure I'd end up falling down a flight of stairs. I'm sure they're fine, but still, I've never tried them. Only seen them. One such shoe cover is made by Tidy-Trax.

For the home inspector who doesn't wear shoes, you're left with socks. When I first started doing home inspections, I thought slippers would be a good idea. Thank you, Anna, for talking me out of that. Not a professional look.

Benefit of socks

You can feel with your feet. The end.

Benefits of shoes

Shoes protect your feet (duh). That's the job of shoes. I remember walking through a house once and having a screw get embedded in the sole of my shoe. I took a picture of the offending screw, of course.

Screw sticking up out of carpet

Can you believe that? I've had a few nails go into my feet while doing construction work with my dad, but thankfully never a screw.

Shoes save your socks.

Shoes keep your feet warm. Walking around on concrete floors in the dead of winter in Minnesota with no shoes just sucks. Your feet get cold very quickly.

Shoes reduce your conductivity. I've been shocked while doing a home inspection, and so have a few other people on my team. Fortunately, we were wearing rubber-soled shoes in almost every case. This made the shocks painful, but not too serious.

The only time that one of our inspectors received a serious shock was during the initial walk-through of a house. Our inspector hadn't yet brought his indoor shoes into the house, and was taking a quick walk around in his socks. He happened to touch some metal furnace ductwork that was energized. He was standing on the concrete floor with his socks on, and this gave him a pretty serious jolt. This wouldn't have been a big deal if he had been wearing rubber-soled shoes.

Shoes it is

After carefully weighing the pros and cons, I say home inspectors should wear shoes during the home inspection. If I missed any other "pros", please leave a comment to let me know. Maybe you'll change my mind.

Author: Reuben SaltzmanStructure Tech Home Inspections

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Minnesota training event with Allison A. Bailes III, PhD.

I'm delighted to announce an upcoming Minnesota home inspector training event with Allison A. Bailes III, PhD. He's the author of the Energy Vanguard Blog, a blog that I've linked to numerous times over the years, and that I read religiously. He's opinionated about energy, and he writes about a lot of interesting stuff. For this upcoming seminar, I've asked him to put together a specific list of speaking topics; mostly stuff that he has already written about, and stuff that I think Minnesota home inspectors would be interested in hearing more about.

Allison Bailes

Just go through this list of topics and try to tell me you're not interested, even if you're not a home inspector:


  • 61 things we should ban to improve homes
  • Why did painters refuse to paint insulated houses in the 1930s?
  • Tuning your home inspector goggles with building science

The Building Enclosure

  • The building enclosure is the bathtub
  • Air leakage – the oft-ignored problem
  • An air barrier is not a product
  • Don’t caulk the windows, and other winterizing myths
  • A quick look at insulation types
  • The importance of installation quality of insulation
  • A grading system for insulation installation quality
  • A fiberglass insulation manufacturer gets serious about installation
  • Is compressed insulation really so bad?
  • Understanding R-value – and the many ways it can be calculated
  • Flat or lumpy – does it matter with insulation?
  • The diminishing returns of adding more insulation
  • Four pitfalls of spray foam insulation
  • Does spray foam need a thermal or ignition barrier? And what’s the difference between them?

Heating and Cooling

  • The heating & cooling systems are the faucet
  • An overview of heating & cooling – equipment plus distribution
  • The fundamentals of good HVAC design
  • When is a high-efficiency furnace not?
  • What does a heat pump frost over?
  • Does a gas furnace dry out the air?
  • How do air conditioners and heat pumps work?
  • Heat pumps in Minnesota? Sure!
  • How NOT to use your heat pump thermostat
  • Don’t set your air conditioner’s thermostat like this
  • Do programmable thermostats save energy?
  • Does the Nest learning thermostat save energy?
  • Will shading an air conditioner save money?
  • The duct that wasn’t, and other common problems in forced air duct systems
  • Door undercuts, jumper ducts, and other ways of returning air to the system
  • Does closing vents in unused rooms save money?


  • A house doesn’t need to breathe – People do!
  • The 3 whole-house ventilation strategies
  • Do you really need to run the bath fan in winter?
  • Common problems with ventilating a house in cold weather
  • Don’t let that attic suck – the problem with powered attic ventilators

Event Details

This training event is taking place on Saturday, May 12th, from 8 am - 5 pm at the U of M Continuing Education Building, located at 1890 Buford Avenue, Saint Paul. This event is being hosted by the Heartland Chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), as well as the Minnesota Society of Housing Inspectors (MSHI). Yes, that's right, we work together. We have a common interest; excellent education for our members. Members of either organization get heavily discounted pricing for this event.

For anyone else, the cost to attend this all-day seminar, which includes breakfast, snacks, and a catered lunch, is only $100 (one hundred) dollars. No, I didn't miss a zero. Anyone is welcome to attend this seminar. It doesn't matter if you're a home inspector, home energy professional, home builder, or just a passionate homeowner, you're welcome to attend this training event to learn more about houses, building science, and energy-related questions that keep you up at night.

If you'd like to come, please save yourself a seat by registering here: We'd love to see you there. Seating is limited to the first 120 registrants, so please register early if you're planning to attend.

Author: Reuben SaltzmanStructure Tech Home Inspections

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