Many people don’t realize how important it is to regularly inspect their home. You may be able to look around on your own, but consider hiring a home inspector. Inspectors are trained professionals with years of experience, and they will know where to look for problems you might miss.
There are five basic types of inspection that should be done regularly: structure, energy, decks, septic and well, and dryer exhaust.
A whole-home inspection is usually done during the closing process when a house is sold. However, due to market pressures many people lately are opting to forgo a home inspection in order to have their offer accepted. If you’ve taken possession of a house without an inspection, try to have one done as soon as possible. A professional inspection isn’t inexpensive when you consider that problems that may be lurking.
If you’ve lived in the house for awhile, a professional inspection can be done every three to five years. But this doesn’t preclude the homeowner from doing their own more regular inspections. Home owners should look annually at the roof, chimney, crawl space, and attic, and always be on the look-out for signs of dampness, mould, and pests.
Adding an annual DIY energy audit will also help you save money in heating and air conditioning. As buildings age, joints and seals shift and open up. This can cause air leakage to the outside or infiltration on windy days. Thankfully, the procedure to find leaks is simple. Begin by closing all windows, exterior doors, and fireplace flues. Next, turn on all the exhaust fans, such as range hood and bathroom fans, and the dryer. You can also use a box fan in a window providing it’s relatively well-sealed. The objective is to create a suction or negative pressure environment in the house.
Next, use a lit incense stick or smoke pencil to find air leaks around common sources. Where the smoke is pulled out of the home, there’s a leak. The most common places for cold air infiltration are found on exterior walls. Electrical outlets, utility entrances, and doors and windows should be checked. Don’t forget about pass-through air conditioners, fireplace dampers, furnace exhaust pipes, and dryer vent pathways. Make a list of all the places where the smoke pencil shows there is air escaping. Ask the sales associate at your local building centre what you need to address problems at each particular location.
Decks are another critical structure in your home. A safety inspection should be done regularly and preferably by a professional.
For homes in rural areas where sewer lines don’t reach, a regular inspection and possible emptying of the septic tank is a good idea. Some areas experience high levels of run-off in the spring and thunderstorms in the summer that can cause a septic system to overflow. Also have the well water checked annually for pathogens. As an added safeguard, consider installing a whole-home UV sterilization system to keep your family safe and healthy.
Dryer vents should be checked and cleaned annually. Dryer lint is flammable and the potential for fire increases with each foot of ductwork in place before air is exhausted outside. Signs that your dryer ducts are restricted include clothes taking longer to dry and very hot clothes when the cycle is done. Begin with a professional duct cleaning. While the technician is there, ask him to replace the mylar duct tube with a solid metal one. They’re safer and more efficient.
With regular inspections, you’ll have a better idea of what needs to be fixed and when around your home. Regular maintenance will make your home safer and more enjoyable.
Contact us today for a referral to a qualified home inspector.