Every week, the detail-oriented folks at Green Scene Home Inspections will give CandysDirt.com readers an education in inspection. Want to see what they see? Tune in for “Upon Closer Inspection.”
After you’ve done about 7,000 home inspections, a few common themes emerge. People tend to neglect the same kinds of things in their homes, and of course, Mother Nature affects the homes in a certain area in the same sorts of ways.
As a homeowner, or a Realtor working with homeowners, these commonalities are good to be aware of so you can take care of your home while you own it, and look for potential problems when you’re buying a new one.
Here are a few common problems we see in the field:
A flue is a duct or pipe that directs exhaust gases from heat-producing appliances (like a fireplace, furnace, water heater, HVAC, etc) to the outdoors. You don’t want exhaust building up in your house because it’s a fire hazard and bad for your health.
In the photo above, you can see the flue pipe going up to the roof, but it’s not connected to the appliance. We see this a lot — in this case due to improper installation, or sometimes they come loose over time. This is why you need carbon monoxide detectors functioning in your home at all times.
Outlets that don’t work, missing wiring, loose or missing outlet covers, bad wiring, missing GFCI … You name it, there’s almost always a problem with outlets, which is why your home inspector will check every single one. In this case, we have a brand new outlet cover that tested negative for electricity and popped right off the wall during testing.
Improper Roof Installation
A new roof is a major expense, and sometimes people try to DIY or hire a buddy to save money. In this case, there are multiple problems, but the big one is there are two layers of architectural or dimensional shingles. In other words, they installed the new shingles over the older damaged ones. This saved $1,000-plus in disposal fees, but it left the home with a lot of extra weight, which could cause cracks in the sheet-rock and/or foundation and extra heat in the attic or in between layers. It reduces the new roofing material’s longevity by about 40 percent, and more importantly the loss of the manufacturer’s warranty.
Broken Thermal Seals
Double-pane windows are about 50 percent more efficient than single-pane windows, and we’re seeing them more and more often. The average life is between 8 to 20 years. But once the thermal seal between the two panes is broken, this happens.