Home Maintenance Inspections
No house is perfect. Even the best built and best maintained homes will always have a few items in less than perfect condition. Below are some of the items we most commonly find when inspecting a home:
Problems with roofing material are the single most common defect we find. Usually it doesn't mean the roof needs replaced, simply that it is in need of maintenance or repair.
Caused by past or present leaks, ceiling stains are very common. It can be difficult to tell whether the stains are from leaks still present, or were caused by leaks which have since been repaired.
Most common in older homes, but often found in newer homes as well. Electrical hazards come in many forms, from ungrounded outlets to wiring done incorrectly by the homeowner.
Caused by being wet for extended periods of time, most commonly found around tubs, showers and toilets inside, or roof eaves and trim outside.
Water Heater Installations
Many water heaters are not installed in full compliance with local plumbing code.
Most gas furnaces seem to be in need of routine maintenance such as new filters or gas company certification at the least. Many have other issues such as faulty operation or inadequate fire clearance as well.
Plumbing issues commonly found include dripping faucets, leaking fixtures, slow drains etc... Even in brand new homes, it is common to identify minor plumbing defects
Problems with heating and cooling systems can range anywhere from elevated operating costs due to an older, inefficient system to hazardous malfunctions. It is important to be familiar with your heating and cooling systems and to maintain them properly to avoid any dangerous conditions or costly repairs.
One of the most important things you can do to maintain the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems as well as the air quality in your home is to make sure that your ducts and filters are cleaned or replaced regularly. Duct cleaning takes the expertise of a professional.
It’s a good idea to also clean your registers and vents regularly between your duct cleaning service’s visits. This can be done easily by cleaning and removing the registers and then vacuuming out the ducts as far as your vacuum hose can reach.
There are several easy and inexpensive things you can do yourself to maintain the efficiency of your heating system. If your heating system is a forced air furnace, you should clean or change the filter frequently (every 2-3 weeks during the cold months). If you have a radiator, you will need to “bleed” it of trapped air that would prevent the water from running through the system efficiently. You can do this by opening the bleeding valve until water comes out and then closing it – be careful as the steam and water is very hot. Be sure to have something handy to catch the water. If you have a hot water heating system, you’ll need to clean the boiler by opening the drain valve until the water runs clear. This should be done approximately once a month.
You should also do some regular maintenance on your cooling system. For central air conditioners, it’s a good idea to hire a professional service to give your system a check-up before the hot months begin. This usually involves a thorough cleaning of the air conditioning unit and a refill of the coolant if needed. Monthly, you should also check the unit for blockages and remove any vegetation growing around it that could interfere with its proper functioning. You should also clean or change the filter and check the condensate drain at least monthly. For window units, you should clean or replace the filter at least monthly, bi-weekly during the hottest months. You should also check the condensate drain to make sure that all moisture is draining properly.
If your HVAC systems run on natural gas, make sure you know where your gas shut off valve is in case you need to close it. You should also make sure to keep an adjustable wrench handy for this purpose. If you ever smell gas, follow the below steps:
- Evacuate your home.
- Once everyone is safely out of the home, shut off the gas supply from the external shut off valve (this will be located near your gas meter).
- Call the utility company or emergency service to report the leak.
Plumbing problems usually revolve around one of three things: clogs, leaks, or drips. It pays to be familiar with your plumbing system so you can minimize the damage caused by plumbing problems as well as fix minor problems on your own.
The most important thing you can do is find out where the main water shutoff valve is and how to turn it off. This is usually either outside your home or in your basement or crawlspace. If you can not find it or don’t know how to turn it off, contact your utility company and have them show you. If any tools are necessary to turn off your water, keep them handy. Being able to shut your water off at the main valve can be vital to reducing damage to your home if a pipe were to burst.
You should also check each plumbing appliance (sinks, toilets, etc.) for their own shutoff valves and verify they work. If the valves fail to turn off water to the appliance, you should have them fixed by a professional plumber. These valves come in handy when the need arises to repair individual appliances. If an appliance has no valves, you will need to shut off your water at the main valve to repair it.
When it comes to clogs and slow drains, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In the tub or shower, invest in an inexpensive hair trap or screen to prevent the majority of hair and soap scum from going down the drain. In the kitchen, don’t pour cooking grease down your drain. It will harden and coat your pipes with a sticky scum that will catch other particles and eventually clog the pipe. Instead, keep it in a coffee can or milk container and dispose of it with your garbage once it’s cooled. You should also avoid dumping coffee grounds down the drain. They’re notorious for causing clogs.
Maintaining your drains on a weekly basis is also a good idea to keep your pipes clear. One way to do this is to pour a half-cup of salt, a half-cup of baking soda and a half-cup of vinegar down the drain and follow with two quarts of boiling water.
If you do encounter a clog, don’t panic. Clogs and slow drains most commonly occur in areas that can be easily cleared on your own without the help of a pro (if more than one drain or toilet is affected, you will need to contact a plumber). First, try a plunger. www.repair-home.com/Using_a_Snake, has easy to follow instructions for the use of a pipe-snake. There is also the option of using chemical clog removers. Be sure to follow the package instructions when using them.
Leaks can be slowed or stopped until you’re able to get a plumber out to your home by following the steps on this article: www.ehow.com/how_2329_repair-leaky-pipes.html. Please keep in mind that this is a temporary measure only, but it will help prevent water damage until your plumber fixes the problem.
Many plumbing repair projects don’t require the help of a professional. Replacing faucets, garbage disposals, sinks, and toilets are all easily accomplished by the do-it-yourselfer if you have the right tools and information. DIYnet.com is a great resource for many home repair projects.
If you would like a thorough, professional inspection of your plumbing system by an expert, please contact our office. We have the expertise to detect problems invisible to the untrained eye to help you head off problems before they start. We will also provide you with a full report summarizing our findings and recommended course of action if necessary as well as estimated costs of repair.
Of all the problems you can encounter around the house, roofing problems are by far the sneakiest. Leaks can develop unnoticed for years causing rot, mold, warping and other expensive damage.
Experts recommend that you go into your attic or crawlspace at least once a year after a rainstorm to check for leaks and water damage. Special attention should be paid to areas where you have flashing (the metal or plastic weather stripping that will be around chimneys, pipes, vents, roof planes and eves) because this is typically the most likely area to develop leaks. It is also recommended that you visit the surface of your roof yearly – during good weather – to look for any loose, missing, eroded, warped or otherwise damaged shingles and to check the overall condition of your roof.
You should also clean rain gutters and downspouts of leaves and other debris regularly, preferably in the fall once the trees are bare. While doing this, check for mineral deposits which could indicate the erosion of asphalt shingles. Many people would prefer not to inspect their roofs themselves. Roofs can be pitched at very steep angles and pose quite a challenge to those leery of heights. Inspecting the roof from an attic or crawlspace full of spiders and other creepy inhabitants may not be too attractive either. Another issue is most people are unsure of what to look for. Leaks can be hard to track – water travels downward and the damage can be far from the actual leak. Because of this, hiring an expert to inspect the roof for you is something you should consider.
We offer full service, unbiased Inspections and Free Estimates with a detailed report of our findings complete with recommended maintenance and repair suggestions. Contact us today for a free quote.