What is a Home Inspection?
A Home Inspection by a professional Inspector will reveal problems the average person would not normally see, or know how to diagnose. It will also point out the positive areas of a home. As your Home Inspector, I provide useful repair and maintenance information to you, the home buyer.
A Home Inspector performs a professional, objective, visual examination of the physical condition a home is in at the time the inspection is performed. An inspector is not intended to point out every minor problem, defect or flaw in a home but to detect fire, health, safety and structural issues. I will note maintenance issues for your information.
How Do I Choose a Home Inspector?
Look for an inspector that has a solid home building background; such an inspector knows how a home is put together and how everything is supposed to work in a home. They have diagnosed problem areas when building, remodeling or renovating homes. They have very first-hand experience in taking care of problems in homes.
Look for an inspector that is Professionally Trained, American Home Inspectors Training Institute (AHIT), and CERTIFIED through a Professional Inspector Organization, like ASHI, American Society of Home Inspectors.
What Your Home Inspection Will Contain
These are some highlights of a complete Home Inspection. However, much, much more is entailed in the complete Home Inspection.
Are there any stains or holes; general condition of all items.
Check drainage; is there water flow/pressure drop; do toilets operate properly; condition/age of water heater; signs of any leaks/rusting.
Efficiency of heating/cooling; does it operate safely; does it appear to be in good shape; has it been serviced properly; does it appear to need repairs.
Is system properly sized for house; do breakers/wire sizes correlate; does system appear to be safe; do AFCI & GFCI circuits operate properly.
Check: roof sheathing(any water stains from leaks,etc.); proper ventilation(extremely important for proper heating & cooling); make & adequacy of existing insulation; general condition of wood framing and much more.
What is general condition of house; were proper framing methods utilized; do floors, beams and roofs appear solid/straight/in good condition; what condition is the foundation in; and much, much more….
Effects on the foundation; does settling dirt around foundation need attention; trim trees/shrubs; retaining walls.
Is caulking in place to keep water out; condition of windows, siding, trim, etc.
What condition are they in; are nails exposed; are needed areas tarred/sealed
Do gutters keep water away from foundation; does water drain properly
What shape are they in; are decks fastened properly; is driveway sloped appropriately.
Is unit level; does it operate properly; are the lines insulated correctly; does it appear to need servicing.
Winter Season Guide for Homeowners
Here is what is recommended:
Attic/crawlspace — As a general rule, if a home has less than 11 to 12 inches of insulation in the attic or crawlspace, it could probably use more. Use batt or blown insulation for best results. Check with an insulation expert or call Alvin Miller at 319-530-8130 to determine the proper R-value of insulation for your home.
Water heater and hot water pipes — Conserve heat and energy by swaddling your water heater with an insulation blanket kit or faced fiberglass insulation. Insulate hot water pipes with preformed foam pipe insulation sleeves if they pass through an unheated area or run under your home.
Seal leaks, cracks, openings in the home
Windows — Remove screens and install storm windows.
Fireplace — Make sure the damper closes as tightly as possible when a fire is not burning to minimize heat loss.
Draft-prone areas — Zip up your home’s winter coat by caulking, sealing and weatherstripping around all seams, cracks and openings. Pay special attention around windows and where siding or bricks and wood trim meet. Seal areas near electrical boxes and plumbing penetrations as well.
Ductwork — Look for cracks or air leaks in ductwork and use duct tape to seal them.
Improve indoor air quality
Furnace filters — Change forced air heating system air filters monthly. Make a clean break into winter with a fresh filter instead of using last year’s used goods.
Air registers, baseboard heaters and radiators — Regularly dusting off these heat sources will improve the energy efficiency of your home.
Ceiling fans — To save energy during colder weather, activate the reverse setting on your ceiling fans to circulate hot air that rises to the ceiling and blow it back down.
Maintain your lawn and garden
Cool-season grasses — Fertilize grasses such as ryegrass, fescue, and bluegrass in or before early November.
Bulbs — Plant hardy bulbs in milder climates in the earlier part of November.
Vegetable and perennial beds — Clean and prepare beds for next season’s planting.
Leaves — Rake and remove leaves left on the lawn to discourage disease.
Push mower, outdoor power equipment — Perform annual maintenance before storing.
Lawn and garden equipment, patio furniture — Store to avoid harsh winter elements.
Hoses, outdoor faucets and sprinkler systems — Drain before season’s first freeze.
Bird feeders — Regularly clean and refill feeders for winter’s feathered friends.