NEWS

Ten frequent problems revealed at a home inspection

Date: Jan. 28th, 2009
Contact: Patrick Wathen & Joni Ellis

National surveys within the home inspection industry have noted the top ten most frequent issues revealed during a home inspection.

1. Improper Surface Grading
Improper drainage is a frequent issue. Although surveys are taken on a national basis, in Summit County moisture in some form – snow, ice, rain – is a common problem. Poor grading is responsible for many household maladies beginning with water draining toward foundations or into crawlspaces.

2. Improper Electrical Wiring
A significant number of survey respondents chose this item as the most common home defect. Electrical issues include insufficient electrical service to the house, inadequate overload protection, and amateur, often dangerous, wiring connections.

3. Roof Damage
Roof leakage can be a costly issue. Problems can include old, damaged or missing shingles, improper flashing, and in Summit County issues relating to ice dams building up in the winter.

4. Heating Systems
Problems in this category include broken or malfunctioning operation controls, blocked chimneys, and unsafe exhaust disposal. In Summit County, where heating systems may set idle in the off-season months, it is a wise idea to have your heating system serviced prior to winter. Just like your car needs a tune-up, so does your heating system. Note available manufacture dates. Aging systems can fail at any time.

5. Poor Overall Maintenance
Even the novice home buyer is usually aware of this situation, demonstrated by such signs as cracked, peeling, or dirty painted surfaces, crumbling masonry, makeshift wiring or plumbing, and broken fixtures or appliances.

6. Structurally Related Problems
Many houses, as a result of problems in one or more of the other categories, sustain damage to such structural components as foundation walls, floor joists, rafters, and window and door headers.

7. Plumbing
Though not ranked by the survey respondents as a Number One problem, plumbing defects still rank high among the house problems encountered. Plumbing problems can include the existence of old or incompatible piping materials, faulty fixtures or waste lines, and leaky plumbing.

8. Exteriors
Flaws in a home’s exterior, including windows, doors, and wall surfaces, may be responsible for water and air penetration, but rarely have structural significance.

9. Poor Ventilation
Perhaps due to overly ambitious efforts to save energy, many home owners have “over-sealed” their homes, resulting in excessive interior moisture. This can cause rotting and premature failure of both structural and non-structural elements.

10. Miscellaneous
This category includes primarily interior components, often cosmetic in nature, which were not found frequently enough to rank individually in the survey.

These statistics will vary greatly depending upon regional climates. For example, Summit County’s high elevation and intense winters are particularly hard on roofs. Also, heating systems turned on and off by unknowing tenants and heating systems shut off during off seasons can yield specific problems. The above list covers single family homes. The most frequent issues revealed in condos inspections are for another issue …

Patrick Wathen and Joni Ellis are the owners of Independent Property Inspections, Inc., a member in good standing of NACHI (National Association of Certified Home Inspectors). Article content may be from a variety of industry sources. For more information about home inspections call (970) 468-9400 or visit: www.mtninspector.com