A home inspection is the visual survey of a home’s structure and systems, both inside and out. An inspector’s job includes the evaluation of all accessible parts of a home, educating homeowners, and reporting visible damage or potential issues. Your inspector can also recommend remedial measures when necessary.
Structural features include foundations, attics, crawl spaces, and roofs. Additionally, home inspectors look at mechanical features such as the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems in your home.
Home inspectors frequently find these items deficient or in need of improvement:
1. MISSING SMOKE & CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS
THE FIND: Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that are missing and/or removed.
THE FIX: Install detectors in these areas of your home:
- 1 Smoke Detector Per Bedroom
- 1 Smoke Detector Per Level Of Home
- 1 CO Detector Within 15 Ft. Of Sleeping Areas
- 1 CO Detector Per Level Of Home
2. DOUBLE TAPPED ELECTRICAL BREAKERS
THE FIND: Two wires (conductors) under the screw (lug) of a breaker. Because breakers are only rated for one conductor, double tapped breakers can cause overheating especially when the gauge of the wires are not the same.
THE FIX: A licensed electrician can make necessary corrections to electrical panel concerns.
3. UNGROUNDED OUTLETS
THE FIND: One or more open ground, three-pronged electric receptacles were found. This is a safety hazard due to the risk of shock and damage to equipment requiring a ground.
Note: Most modern appliances and power tools require grounding type receptacles. Grounded circuits and receptacles are recommended in locations where such appliances and equipment will be used.
THE FIX: Upgrading to grounded outlets typically requires installing new wiring from your main service panel or sub-panel receptacle(s). Consult with a qualified electrician for recommendations about upgrading your home to 3-wire circuits.
4. HVAC NEEDS SERVICING
THE FIND: The last service date was more than a year ago, or the inspector was unable to determine the last service day.
THE FIX: An HVAC professional can properly clean and service your system. To prolong the life and efficiency of your HVAC system, have your system serviced annually.
5. VERTICAL FOUNDATION CRACKS
THE FIND: Vertical cracks are commonly found in poured concrete foundation walls. Vertical cracks are generally the least severe type of foundation cracks and are usually the result of settling.
THE FIX: Luckily, this type of crack is typically the easiest and least expensive to seal. Inject urethane or epoxy into vertical foundation cracks to ensure your foundation is sealed as it continues to settle.
6. BLOCKED GUTTERS AND DOWNSPOUTS
THE FIND: Debris and/or standing water accumulation in the channel of the home’s gutters or downspouts.
THE FIX: If debris has accumulated in your gutters, we recommend cleaning to re-facilitate water flow. A great low maintenance hack after cleaning is to install gutter guards to prevent future accumulation of debris.
7. MISSING CHIMNEY CAPS
THE FIND: Missing or improperly installed chimney caps that result in inadequate protection from moisture intrusion and debris.
THE FIX: A home inspector will typically recommend you install a chimney cap with a spark arrestor (screen that wraps around the cap). Any chimney work should always be performed by a CSIA chimney contractor.
8. MOLD PRESENCE IN ATTIC
THE FIND: Microbial growth or mold due to improper ventilation, insufficient insulation, bathroom exhaust fans terminating in the attic, or some combination of issues.
THE FIX: First, identify the source of the moisture. Next, repair any holes, leaks, or ventilation issues that are allowing moisture to accumulate in your attic. Mold testing can also help you determine the concentration, type, and distribution of mold spores if present.
9. INSUFFICIENT INSULATION LEVELS
THE FIND: Common insulation deficiencies found in homes that are due to missing, compressed, and/or inadequate levels of insulation.
THE FIX: Consult with an insulation contractor about making improvements for energy-improved efficiency and for your comfort.
10. DECK ISSUES (DIY Decks/Unqualified Handymen)
THE FIND: Construction related deficiencies and safety hazards due to faulty construction practices. Deck construction practices should follow the standards and recommendations of the DCA-6.
THE FIX: A contractor who specializes in decks can perform a full deck evaluation and make safety repairs.