Although it may not feel necessary to conduct regular home inspections on your home once you’ve purchased it, there are plenty of reasons why you should consider it. Finding a problem sooner, rather than later, makes for not only an easier, but cheaper fix. So as you look for home improvement tasks to tackle this winter, consider checking the “health” of your house, paying specific attention to these six things:
To look for leaks in your roof, first start with the inside of your home and proceed up to the attic if you have one. If you don’t, then begin with the top floor and examine the ceiling for discoloration and soft spots. You should also check the outside for loose flashing and shingles, water damage on eaves and overhangs, and pieces of asphalt that have accumulated in the gutters. These are all potential signs of a leaking roof.
Cracks in the Foundation
To check for cracks in the foundation, start by locating cracks in both your interior and exterior walls and look to see if they go through the whole wall. Doors and windows should also be checked for gaps as well as how level your floors are, both of which are indications of a cracked or damaged foundation.
Faucet and Pipe Leaks
To check for leaky faucets, look for any noticeable dripping and take note. Next, you will want to check your pipes with a meter test. First, make sure no water is running, make note of the number on the meter and then wait about a half hour and check it again. If the number remains the same, you should be free of leaks.
Checking for leaks and cracks will also help to indicate whether or not you have a mold or rot problem as anywhere water is able to seep into the home may be a potential spot for these issues. Other signs that may suggest mold are a musty smells or allergic reactions like watery and sore eyes, nasal congestion and sneezing.
During your home audit, you will also want to look for signs of pests who have chosen to take refuge in your warm home this winter. You should check for holes and sagging floors, both of which are often signs of termites. You should also check for shredded paper nests in dark corners or closets, gnaw marks on walls, and fecal droppings; these could be signs of a rat or mice infestation. Depending on where you live, you may also look for pests outside by checking for damaged areas of grass, eaten plants, mole holes and anthills.
Last, but certainly not least, you will want to check for problems with your home’s wiring. Some of the most common signs that something might be wrong with your wiring include a tripped breaker, a mild electric shock when touching appliances, outlets or switches, faulty light switches, and lights that flicker.
If you notice any of these problems during your winter home audit, you should contact a professional as soon as possible. The quicker the problem is addressed, the easier it is to fix and most importantly, the less likely it will turn into something big.