Listed below is a summary for each area that will be covered in a home inspection. It provides you with a little more information about the inspection for each area. If you have any additional questions about all of these or any one specifically, please feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I will be happy to answer your questions.
The exterior’s function is to protect the home from weather, provide reasonable security and enhance the house appearance. A house exterior encompasses many components. To simplify the explanation the components can be reduced into three broad categories; exterior cladding, exterior structure and surface water control. Issues that may occur here can lead to damage to the house structure and the interior of the home. The inspection will include a look at the grounds, drainage, landscaping, as well as the condition of the exterior surfaces, doors, windows and trim.
Roofs are designed to protect the building from weather, support some mechanical equipment for the house and provide an architectural statement. There are many types of roofing materials, many different types of slopes and shapes, and roofs have requirements for carrying load such as the weight of snow. Any issues here could lead to damage of the house structure and interior. Provided that there are no possible safety issues or no reason to believe the roof could be damaged, the roof will be accessed and examined as closely as possible.
Ventilation and Insulation
A house needs to “breathe” in order to maintain a healthy living environment. The combination ofinsulation, air and vapor barriers, and ventilation systems keep a house comfortable and structurally sound. The home owner’s goal is to reduce heating and cooling costs but the inspector’s job is to identify conditions that may be of concern and possibly damage the house. If accessible, the insulation in the attic will be evaluated along with the insulation in the foundation rim joists. Additionally the ventilation in the attic will be evaluated to determine if there is proper air movement.
The electrical system of a house provides the home owner with much needed power to operate the utilities providing for basic needs; for example heating, cooling, lighting and power for cooking. Because of the nature of electricity it is extremely important to place safety first for the home owner and any visitors to the home. Understanding the importance of the many functions and recognizing any adverse conditions is the goal of the inspection. The systems that will be inspected are:
- The electrical entrance into the house
- The grounding system
- The electrical service box
- Any distribution panels
- The branch circuit wiring
- Lights, outlets, switches and junction boxes.
Air conditioning in this part of the country is considered a luxury rather than an essential system of the house. However, the home inspection includes a look at air cooled central air conditioners that are considered permanently installed. The capacity of the air conditioning unit is critical to its function and whether or not it is providing the proper home comfort. The unit will be inspected to make sure it is in good operating condition as well as confirm its capacity.
The home structure includes the footings and foundations of the house as well as the columns, beams, rafters and interior wall structures. As you can expect, many of these items or much of each of these items are enclosed within walls and ceilings as well as floors. So the inspection will be looking for clues such as cracks, deterioration due to moisture, and other visual effects to evaluate the homes performance. The most important aspect of the structure is to safely support the loads of the house itself and the loads from furniture, people and weather.
With respect to the interior of the home, the inspection will be focused on the function and not the appearance of the house. The emphasis is placed on whether or not the rooms will work as intended. The major components that will be evaluated are the:
- Walls, ceilings, and floors
- Trim, counters and cabinets
- Stairs and railings
- Windows, skylights and solariums
- Electrical outlets and switches
- Sufficient room heating
- Basement and crawlspace
- Smoke detection and Carbon Monoxide detection units.
Heating systems are categorized by either their fuel or their distribution method. Common components of all heat distribution systems are: a fuel source, a delivery system, monitoring and control devices for both safety and for temperature sensing, a heat exchanger, and some type of duct or plumbing work. Differences between heating systems include the storage and type of fuel, the delivery of the fuel, and the delivery of the heat. The heating system is evaluated to make sure it is operating safely, and will provide an adequate heating method to make the home comfortable.
Plumbing includes the service lines to the house, the supply lines within the house, and drain lines that remove the waste water from the house. Additionally, there are sinks, tubs, toilets and fixtures that provide specific purpose for the water in given areas within the house. The inspection will include the accessible mentioned items as well as the evaluation of faucets and shut offs, water pressure, water heating, whether or not there is any leaking, and rust or corrosion.
*A simple radon test can also be conducted for a modest fee.
The radon test uses a short term radon test kit that remains in the home for two to several days. This short term kit is 2 containers of granular activated charcoal. The charcoal absorbs the radon gas from the surrounding air. Both containers will be placed in a single, lowest level, livable room (ie. recreational room, bed room or finished basement area) for the measurement. At the end of the test period, I will pick up the containers, seal them and mail both to a certified laboratory for analysis. The official results from the laboratory will be emailed directly to you within 2-3 business days.