While we’re used to seeing these common home inspection issues, some of them might come as a shock to you.
Though, most issues that turn up during home inspections aren’t deal-breakers. Here are the most common issues found in real estate properties, and what you can do about it:
Dirty Air Ducts
Part of a home inspection involves the inspector checking the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system to make sure everything is working properly. They will also likely remove vent covers to look at the condition of the home’s air ducts. Usually, these ducts are dirty, especially in older properties. Your inspector will surely recommend that you have these cleaned. It will allow for your HVAC system to run more efficiently.
Cracked grout in the shower isn’t just unsightly, it can lead to loose tiles and water damage. Water can seep in through the cracks and cause damage to the wall behind it.
If you don’t want to hire a professional, you can re-caulk the grout yourself easily. You’ll want to use 100% silicon caulk ,as siliconized acrylic caulk is not suitable for areas that are likely to get wet. You may need to visit a specialty store: its hard to find at your local retail store.
Old Smoke Detectors
Missing, disabled or improperly installed smoke detectors are the number one problem noted on most compliance orders. A monthly inspection of all smoke detectors by the owner or manager is strongly recommended.
One of the first things your inspector will look at are the smoke detectors. They must check that the smoke detectors are not only working but are no older than 10 years. Your inspector will easily be able to determine the age of the smoke detectors by looking at the ‘installed on’, or ‘manufactured on’, date listed on the back of the alarm.
It’s important that smoke detectors are replaced within 10 years as they are not guaranteed to work that long. Consequently, they may not be able to protect your home in the event of the fire. However, should your inspector find that the smoke detectors need replacing, it will likely be the responsibility of the seller to have it replaced. Many states require the seller to install smoke detectors before the sale closes.
The most common plumbing problem is a cross-connection between the wastewater and the drinking water. This can happen when the ballock in the toilet is not installed properly. It can also be caused by hoses left connected to faucets (laundry tub or exterior), when not in use.
Other typical plumbing problems include improperly vented fixtures, leaks, corroded traps, loose toilets, lack of bathroom ventilation, missing tiles or other sanitary covering – the list continues.
Old plumbing can cause all kinds of problems. Old pipes are expensive to replace, so it may not be necessary unless these are deteriorating. For simple problems, you can take care of them yourself, if you see fit.
This is a problem mostly found in older homes. Most modern homes, have an ample supply of electrical power and are wired to meet all modern electrical codes and standards. This is often not the case in older homes, which were built in the 1940s up to the 1960s.
If an outlet won’t reset, it could be faulty, or it could be wired incorrectly. This isn’t something you want to ignore. Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) receptacles protect you from a fatal shock in case there’s an accident. It’s an easy fix for an electrician.
Depending on the scope of the wiring issues, this could be a big problem after a home inspection. It may be a simple fix, or require the complete overhauling of the electrical system – it really depends on the specifics of the wiring found. Ask your home inspector for a recommendation on next steps.
A good inspection will let you know if you have serious electrical issues, such as aluminum wiring. Some electrical problems can be a fire hazard, so you’ll want to take care of it right away. A qualified electrician can make your home safe from wiring hazards.
Openings in the furnace, venting, and chimney which allow exhaust gases to escape into the household environment are very serious. Exhaust leaks are difficult to detect and often go unnoticed until it’s too late.
An inspector will conduct a visual inspection of the equipment and may require a licensed contractor to certify the equipment. Furnace inspections include inspecting the heat exchanger for signs of rust-through, venting and chimney/flue for proper connections, slope, and signs of rust-through, gas line and gas shut-off valve, and wiring. The inspector must have proper clearance to combustibles and the filter should be relatively clean.
Water Heater Problems
Common problems with water heaters are a missing or inadequate temperature and pressure relief valve and a missing or improperly installed temperature/pressure-relief (TPR) valve discharge pipe. The inspector will check that the venting is in good condition and properly connected. The temperature and pressure relief valve needs to be properly installed and in good condition with a properly attached discharge pipe.
State and local building codes may require that the pipe extends to somewhere between 6″ and 18″ off of the floor. They might even require that the pipes must be metal. The inspector will also check that the gas and water shut-off valves and the gas line is properly connected and that the valve isn’t broken.
Poor Ventilation and Insulation
Most older properties were just not built with energy efficiency in mind. An attic that lacks proper ventilation may be stifling and hot in the summer, and can even increase the risk of mold and other problems, due to the buildup of heat. Some attics may also not have proper insulation, which reduces energy efficiency.
Modern homes are much more energy efficient, keeping heated or cooled air from escaping. This a great thing for your energy use, but can have negative effects on the air in your home. Without the leaky windows and walls of older homes, moisture in the air can build up inside, leading to mold and mildew.
Typically, this is not a big deal. It’s fairly simple to ventilate an attic or add more insulation. Hence, if your inspector finds this, it’s not a cause for concern.
A thorough home inspection is vital to let you know what problems a house has, and how extensive they are. Before you tackle the issue yourself, or require expensive repair, you need to know exactly what the problem is.
Our skilled home inspectors are dedicated to getting you the information you need.