Top Ten Home Inspection Problems
For more than two decades, SUREHOME Inspection Services has inspected thousands of homes in the Omaha area. Over the years, we have been asked on multiple occasions, what do Home Inspectors look for? What should I as the home owner look for? We have identified the top ten areas in a home that are most likely to have problems.
- Drainage: Concrete work and foundation grading can settle over time. If the settlement is significant, water may drain toward the house, causing water seepage into the basement and foundation damage.
- Wiring: Wiring installed by home owners is normally the cause for concern here. Exposed romex wiring, improperly wired outlets and double tapped or oversized circuit breakers are common conditions found in older homes. Insurance companies are concerned with older knob and tube wiring and fused panels.
- Leaking Roof: Improper flashings are the cause of most roof leaks. Improper attic ventilation can contribute to ice damning during winter months.
- Furnace and Air Conditioning: The average life span of a gas furnace is about 25 years. The furnace is checked for gas leaks and abnormal carbon monoxide levels. Dirty filters and humidifiers are common minor conditions. A cracked heat exchanger is a significant concern. The average life of an air conditioner is about 20 years. An air conditioner that is not cooling properly is referred to a heating contractor for repairs. The exterior and interior components are checked as part of the inspection.
- Maintenance: If regular maintenance is neglected for too long, problems will occur. Peeling paint and loose caulk lead to wood rot on the exterior. Foliage in contact with siding keeps siding damp and contributes to deterioration.
- Minor Structural: Cracked and shifted foundation walls are typically caused by poor foundation drainage or improper construction. “Street Creep” is also an easily diagnosed condition that can cause foundation problems.
- Plumbing: Most plumbing problems are found in older homes. Corrosion at cast iron drain lines are identified by “blisters” on pipes. Galvanized steel water supply lines clog over time, causing low water flow. A dielectric union should be used when connecting newer copper pipes to the older steel pipes. “S” traps at sinks and improper venting are not unusual in older homes. Is that drain stack clean out cap original or has it been replace with a newer plastic cap? A plastic cap could indicate repeated “roto-rooting” of the main sewer line.
- Leaking Doors and Windows: The culprit here is normally flashing or lack of caulking. Severe wood rot can also cause leaking. If leaks continue for a long period of time, wood rot at the house framing, as well as mold, will become a problem.
- Ventilation: Proper attic ventilation is necessary for air quality in the house. Inadequate ventilation can leave the attic too hot in the summer, as well as too warm and moist in the winter. Interior rooms with an exterior wall normally have a heat vent. The heat vent is not always present if the room is finished by the homeowner.
- Environmental: Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer, after smoking. Testing is becoming more popular. The cost of the radon test is about ten percent of what it will cost to correct a high radon level. Mold has been with us since the beginning of time. Some types of mold are more dangerous than others. Significant levels of mold occur when a water leak of any kind keeps an area damp for a period of time.