The home you live in represents a big investment. It's also where your family
spends a lot of time, so keeping it healthy, well tended and safe is important.
A house consists of many different interrelated systems and materials. Consequently
a change in one component might have dramatic, even catastrophic, effect on
the performance of that assembly or the house as a whole. Basement or crawlspace
water entry is the biggest problem. There are of course several conditions that
may result in leakage. Houses are not boats, and foundation walls are not hulls.
If water collects outside a foundation wall, it will find its way through. The
best moisture control strategy is to keep the water away from the outside of
the house with good gutters and grading.
What should I do and when?
Spring and fall are the ideal times to check on the condition of your home.
Many bigger problems could have been avoided with regular maintenance. No two
homes are the same because of their design, type of materials, location, yard
features, occupant living habits and weather conditions. This monitoring allows
you to shop ahead of time for a component that is at the end of its life. This
way you will get the product of your choice at the best price.
You are looking for safety issues that can cause a fire. Faulty fuel combustion
appliances can create serious life safety conditions. Do all your smoke alarms
work, is the fire extinguisher fully charged. Are there any trip hazards such
as uneven steps or walkways Are hand and guard rails secure. Are all covers
on electrical outlets. Make sure there is no rot at the bottom of support posts.
You are checking for water leaks. It is the slow leak that goes unnoticed that
causes the worst damage. To allow the building materials to dry properly all
vines, shrubbery, trees must be trimmed back. Check for caulking and weather
stripping around all doors and windows.
Hiring a home inspector to do a yearly maintenance check of your investment
is a smart idea. At Coastal Inspection Services we have the experience and training.
Chimneys should be checked for cracks, deterioration of masonry and mortar.
Deteriorated mortar is the number one cause of chimney fires. Look from the
top for creosote build up and integrity. Metal chimneys should be checked for
rust and missing rain caps. Clean out ash pits and watch for any pieces of brick
Roofing should be checked for damage, loose or missing pieces. Flashings around
all penetrations, dormers and valleys should be checked for rust. Make sure
all attic venting is clear. Trees should be cut back, moss and debris cleaned
off. Gutters cleaned and downspouts secure. NOTE: if any moisture in foundation
area at all, divert downspouts at least 6 feet away.
Check all exterior for damage, loose or missing pieces. Check for water stains,
cracks, caulking and weather stripping. Check decks for rot and guard rail securement.
Make sure you have proper surface water run off from driveway and yard.
Test all ground fault circuit interrupters. If there is aluminum wiring, get
an electrician to do an annual check for loose connections that cause overheating,
the number one cause of electrical fires. Check overhead wiring is secure to
mast and free of branches. Make sure all electrical outlets, switches, light
sockets and junction boxes have covers. Make sure all openings in main and sub
panel are filled. Label all circuits.
Get an annual furnace check up. Servicemen change fuel nozzles, check combustion
air, check for incomplete combustion, heat exchanger leakage, check proper exhaust
venting and chimneys, change air and oil filters. The main burner flame in a
gas furnace should be blue with orange streaks. A bright yellow flame indicates
incomplete combustion. Improper air circulation through a furnace will drastically
shorten the life of furnace components.
Steam and boiler system safety controls checked by a qualified technician.
Heat recovery ventilator settings will be unique to each building and occupant
living style. NOTE: Improper functioning of HRVs can cause comfort problems
and backdrafting of combustion appliances if they are not adjusted correctly.
Check filters in Heat recovery ventilators and electronic air cleaners. Air
conditioner evaporator and condenser coils are clean. Check humidifier for water
level and water cleanliness. Check the humidifier damper is closed in summer
and open in winter. Circulating pumps lubricated. Radiators bled for air. Check
all baseboard heaters for clearances, damage, covers and free of dust.
Check for water stains, mold or mildew. Insulation evenness and depth as well
as rodent or bird activity. Check ventilation vents are clear.
Check floor drain traps for water, a little oil can be put on top so it doesn't
evaporate allowing sewer fumes to come into the house. Once a year have a plumber
check the temperature pressure relief valve on the hot water tank, shut off
and isolating valves, many of these valves leak after testing because of their
infrequent use. The pressure relief valve prevents too much pressure building
up in your hot water tank. If not tested regularly, minerals in the water can
prevent this valve from functioning properly. Drain some water from the bottom
of water heater to remove any sludge, shut off power or fuel source first. All
expansion tanks drained annually. If you live on a well, test the water quality
every six months.
A home inspection is an educational and informative experience. It helps understand
the nature of the problem if any and general approach for corrective action.
This helps deal with tradespeople from a position of strength and knowledge.
Learn regular home maintenance and gain valuable guidance to preserve the property.
Helps you recognize components that are functioning now but may wear out and
require replacement. Being alert to systems that may be approaching the end
of their life and future expenditures.
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