When it comes to buying a house, there are so many things to consider. One of the most important, yet often overlooked, steps is getting a home inspection. But what exactly does a home inspection consist of?
To help you understand better, this article will go over what’s included in the process and why it’s so important. So read on to find out more!
A home inspection is a general overview of the structure and systems of the house. Although an inspector will look at many different home parts, there are a few main points. These are a visual inspection of the following:
- Plumbing System
- Electrical System
- HVAC System
Although different homes might require other parts inspected, these are some of the main targets most commonly found to have problems. If you’re a seller preparing for a home inspection, check out Tips for Inspecting Your Home to Avoid Hidden Problems.
The roof is the first line of defense against rain and storms, which means it’s important to keep it in shape. An inspector will access the roof, either themselves or through remote technological visuals, to examine if there are any structural or material issues and look for any leaks. Structural roof issues mean looking for soft, sagging, or rotten spots in the wood that makes up the underlying structure. These weak spots can cause roof collapse if not cared for and replaced. They are often caused by moisture that has not been properly drained.
The two main causes for this are due to improper drainage/ sloping of the roof and clogged gutters. Houses in different climates require different gradations of sloping, as water runs off easier than snow. Steeper slopes are popular for houses that often experience snow, as the weight of the snow can cause damage to a roof if it remains immobile and the moisture can soak into the structure. For warmer climates, less gradation is required, but your gutters are likely to see more use. For flat roofs that need specific drainage, a roof inspection will make sure that those systems are functioning.
Gutters work to carry water that runs off your roof to a specific drop point rather than allow for a constant drip of water on all corners of the house. However, gutters are often clogged by leaves and other debris like sticks, which can cause blockage and sitting water. This water might rust the gutter pipes or deep under the roof coating, causing water damage to appear in the interior of the home.
Roof inspections will also take a look at the status of the material of your roof, making sure that there are no problems with crumbling, cracking, or curling roof shingles, or damage to any tiles if those are used instead. They will also check for mold and rot that can occur when these parts break, which can mean a bigger problem than just replacing a few shingles.
Problems with the foundation of your home can be extremely costly and serious, making them a deal breaker for many homebuyers who discover the problem. Inspectors look to ensure that the graded slope of the foundation is properly built to direct water run-off away from home. Flood-prone areas or places where hurricanes are common are especially vulnerable to the problems that come with improper grading.
If the slope of the foundation causes water to stagnate or move toward the house, the basement or crawl spaces are more likely to flood. This water can cause soil expansion, soil erosion, or concrete corrosion. Soil expansion occurs when the earth around the foundation absorbs enough water that it expands. This pressure can cause stress cracks in the foundation. Conversely, this overabundance of water can also erode the earth like a mudslide, removing support that can cause the foundation to crack, shift, or even sink. It can directly damage the concrete foundation as well, as concrete is porous and will absorb the runoff, possibly causing cracks in the winter when the water freezes and expands or wears away from within the foundation.
A home inspector is meant to provide a generalized view of what parts do the home has issues, but they are not specialists. As such, an inspection of the plumbing system might still require calling a plumber to fix the specific problem the inspector has found. The home inspector will check to make sure the water runs in all of the water works in the house, as well as check the drainage and pressure. Any problems the inspector does find will most likely be symptoms of the problem rather than the cause, but they can offer advice on possible sources and it will give you an alert that a specialist will need to be called. An inspector can also check for cracks or corrosion on the accessible pipes, as the extra moisture can become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria.
Faulty electrical systems are the third leading cause of house fires, so it’s very important to make sure that your system is up to date and not a moment away from sending your new home up in flames. An inspector will examine the electrical panel and check for any corroded wires, as well as ensure the correct amperage ratings. They might also test appliances to ensure they are well connected and will look at switches to ensure they are properly wired. They will also examine the GFI (ground fault interrupter) used whenever an outlet is near a water source, like in a bathroom. They help prevent electrocution and, if not properly maintained, can cause frequent loss of power to localized electrical components.
Your HVAC system is responsible for the heating, cooling, and ventilation of your home. An inspector will look to see if it requires basic servicing, like a filter change or if a professional should be contacted. For example, if your inspector finds any kind of leak in the system, a professional is required as gas line leaks can damage the heat exchanger, and the gas releases can be dangerous. Leaks in the cooling that allow refrigerant can also be hazardous. More common red flags involve cracked air ducts that send air into Africa or walls instead of rooms or simply old age. HVAC systems have an expectancy of 10-20 years, but should be serviced once a year by a licensed technician to prevent any problems and expand their lifespan.
If you’re in Frisco, Texas, check out Kissee Inspection Services for experienced, licensed inspectors near you. They also provide optional services like Wood Destroying Insects and more to add to your inspection package.