Buying and maintaining a home is one of the largest and more significant investments in most people’s lives. Whether you’re in the preliminary stages of buying a home or just want to better understand risks and potential problems in your home, having an understanding of home inspection procedures can be hugely beneficial. The good news is that you don’t need to acquire an expertise in everything involved in home inspections, but learning to recognize potential problems and parts of your home vulnerable to costly damages is always a good idea.
Gutters and Foundations
Both the top and bottom of your house present some of the heaviest risks for damage and long-term problems. Interestingly, the two often affect one another. Clogged gutters prevent rainwater from draining away from the foundation. Regular accumulation of water on the foundation of your house can cause leaks in the interior of the house, foundation damage, and soil erosion around the foundation over time.
Examining how level the house appears to be and if there is any leaning or bowing in the foundation will tell you a lot about any shifting or other serious foundational problems. Also look for evidence of soil touching siding or trim–particularly wood. This poor grading of the soil could lead to insect infestation and rotting. As such, all these lead to potential home renovation projects.
Attics, Windows, and Doors
These parts of the home are to blame for most of your energy efficiency or inefficiency. How well the attic is insulated will determine, to some degree, your energy costs year to year. Check to see that your attic is properly insulated. If under insulated, consider blowing in new insulation to help retain better retain heat in the house. Windows and doors also contribute significantly to energy costs.
Poorly insulated windows and doors can raise your monthly bills substantially during the winter and summer alike. Ensure that doors have proper weather stripping and windows are well sealed. Investing in double pane windows is also a good idea to better insulate the house while running the heat in winter and air conditioner in summer.
Heating and Cooling Systems
Basically the vital organs of your home, the heating and cooling systems should be checked during the fall and spring preceding any big seasonal temperature changes that will require their sustained use. Having your systems serviced once or twice a year should prevent or make you aware of any serious problems. Changing air filters on the furnace and checking the connections to the appliances is a good idea to stay abreast of how the equipment in functioning.
Plumbing and Electrical
Once again, if the house was an organism, the plumbing and electrical systems would serve as the circulatory systems that keep everything moving. Make sure all the wiring was professionally done and that there is no corrosion or loose wires anywhere. The circuit breakers and fuses should be marked for location. For plumbing, make sure the main shut-off valve is accessible and can be easily operated. Check for leaks and corrosion as well. Get in touch with professional plumbers in case of leaks.
Taking time to thoroughly inspect your home and forecasting potential problems before they occur is the best way to keep your home in great condition. When looking to buy a house, knowing what to look for and conducting a DIY inspection is the best way to weed out houses from your list.
About the Author
Ben Vaughn creates content for Idaho Disaster Kleenup, who provides service in Boise, Nampa, and Meridian. He writes about home remodeling, home inspections, preventing mold growth, and shopping for a qualified residential contractor.