The structure of the home is one of, if not the most important component. The foundation and framing system are what creates the structure as you know it. This is one of the most important things a home inspector can evaluate. Unfortunately, any major defects or issues in the structure can lead to a lot of time and expense to correct.
Contractors, home owners and inspectors alike will most often say the foundation is the most important piece of a home. This is a reasonable statement considering the foundation is the support for the entire home and everything (and everyone) in it. When an inspector is checking the foundation of a home, there a few things to look for including, the type of foundation, settling, cracks, water leaks, and overall condition. Did you know that different types of foundations typically have different problems? The inspector should know the concerns associated with each type of foundation.
The framing system consists of many different components used to create the walls, ceilings, floors and roof of the home. Typically, homes are framed using timber, or wood, framing while some use a type of metal framing. Depending on the part of the country where the home is being built, the structure must be designed to withstand earthquakes, winds, or heavy snow. Every home’s framing system should be made to withstand (to a degree) warping, fire, and water damage. Regardless of the type, each framing system must be inspected for various things including, installation, possible settling, insect damage, and rot.
There are a few different mechanical systems that make up every home. These systems are designed to create a comfortable and safe space in which to live. Each of these systems must be inspected as they all play a vital role in the safety of the property and those living in the home. System components will exist both within the interior and exterior of the home.
The electrical system is one of the most basic systems when it comes to both comfort and safety. While the electrical system runs throughout the entire house and is used more than any other system in a home, most home owners know little about what actually happens behind the walls and outlets. Defective wiring within the electrical system can cause a potential fire hazard. This system should be carefully evaluated by a professional home inspector.
Plumbing is the second most common mechanical system in a home in terms of comfort. Each plumbing system consists of piping, a water supply system, fixtures and appliances as well as drainage and venting. The plumbing in a home can be broken out into three main components: water supply, drainage and waste, and finally, fixtures and equipment. All fixtures within the plumbing system must be inspected the determine overall condition, leaks, clogs, corrosion and drips within the valves.
Another important mechanical system playing an important role in the comfort of any home is the hearing system. The heating system is comprised of many different components and therefore requires a professional and seasoned inspector to determine the true quality of each component.
When an inspector is evaluating the air conditioning system, it will be inspected based on system pressure. Two main pieces will be inspected. What is called the high-side of the system consists of the condenser and compressor. The low-side of the system consists of the coil and meter. While operating the system, the inspector can determine whether it is cooling properly. It is best to test the functionality of a cooling system during warmer months as it cannot be completed during fall or winter.
If you think about the roof is one of the most important factors of a home when it comes to protecting everything and everyone inside of the home. It is an important part of the style of the home as well as there are many different types of roofing that complete a home. However, it must get the attention necessary from the home owner to stay on top of leaks, aging and other problems that can arise. Roofing must also be carefully inspected to determine the condition and possible problems.
The siding, trim, gutters, roof, decks, windows, garage, patios and ground all make up the exterior of a home. Each of the aforementioned items is inspected for overall condition and function for the home. Since the exterior of the building is essentially there to protect the interior from outside components, it’s vital each of these is maintained.
The interior of the home is mainly comprised of each room and overall condition of the rooms. Some components of the room will overlap with other systems like plumbing, electrical or heating. While it seems the simplest part of the home inspection, it can actually tell a much bigger story of the overall condition of the home. For instance, settling might be visible in the floors and walls. Leaks from the roof or plumbing might be seen in the ceilings, and electrical deficiencies might be found in the outlets. Each room will be carefully inspected and notes will be made on anything that needs to be fixed or updated. If the interior was not properly maintained, that will alert the inspector to possible bigger issues. On the same token, a great deal of recent cosmetic work might alert the inspector that the work was done to disguise much deeper issues with the home.