12 Things Home Inspectors Wish You Knew
Home inspections are a huge part of buying and selling a home. Remember, if you have an inspection before purchasing a house, the issues are the seller’s, but if not, the buyer is responsible. As a seller, you may want to tackle obvious problems prior to the inspection. These tips from home inspectors will help you navigate the process.
Check Your Water Heater
James Porter of Access Home Inspections notes that there should be a drain line connected to the TPR valve on your water heater. “If the water heater overheats, the valve will open and drain the water, otherwise the water heater can blow up,” notes Porter. “The drain tube should be visible within six inches of the floor.” Check out this guide to the tools you need to do your own home inspection.
Check for Water Near Your Foundation
According to Porter, 6-foot downspout extensions are recommended to move water away from the foundation. No matter whether you have a slab, basement, or crawl space, water near your foundation is bad news for you and your home.
Have water in your basement? Here’s how to fix that in 4 steps!
Keep Your Gutters Clean
Even if you aren’t prepping your house to sell, gutter cleanliness is something you should be concerned about. Your gutters control the flow of water from your roof and protect not only your foundation, roof, insulation and walls, but also your lawn. Damage from gutters that aren’t properly functioning can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to repair. Here are some easy gutter fixes you can do yourself.
Safety-Proof Your Range
According to Porter, using range anti-tip brackets is crucial to prevent your range from tipping over if weight is put on the door. These brackets became required by appliance manufacturers in 1991, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have one!
Have other range issues? Check out this guide to learn how to fix them.
Double Check Your Dishwasher
“Although new dishwashers come from the manufacturer with the drain looped up at the side of the dishwasher, every installation manual still requires this high loop underneath the sink,” explains Porter. “Your dishwasher drain tube should go up above the bottom of the sink and down into the drain or garbage disposal.” Check out these repair tips if your dishwasher isn’t getting the dishes clean.
Cover Your Electrical Wires, Outlets and Switch Boxes
According to Porter, “any electrical wiring that is not a factory installed cord less than seven feet lomg should either be inside a wall or encased in conduit.” This is the same for outlets and switch boxes. They have to be covered. It doesn’t just look better, it’s required.
Have an oversized electrical box outlet? You can fix that!
Watch Out for Condensation
Whether on your chimney, your ceiling, around an air vent, or on windows, this is likely the sign of a larger issue. Try to determine the reason for the excess moisture and remedy it, or call in a professional to diagnose and solve the problem. Read about these other issues that might be a sign of a larger problem.
Look for Leaks
In general, it’s a good habit to regularly check your plumbing for leaks. And, staying on top of plumbing issues can save you time and money when it comes time for a home inspection. In fact, before your inspector comes, do your own walk through so that you’re not surprised by any repairs that are needed
Check Stair Handrails
According to Porter, if you have more than four steps, a handrail is required—indoors and outside. Make sure handrails that are already in place are securely fastened. Here’s how to install a rock-solid stair rail.
Check Your Dryer Vent
This is good practice even if you aren’t prepping for a home inspection because there are about 7,000 fires caused by dryers every year in the U.S. Check for tears, obstructions, and that the material they’re made of is up to code. Here’s why you should upgrade your dryer vent.
Make Sure Wood is Stored Properly
Although this is something you might not think of, Porter notes that wood for a fireplace or wood-burning stove must be stored a minimum of three feet from your home. “Your firewood can attract wood destroying insects such as termites and carpenter ants.” Check out these 9 myths about ants you need to stop believing!
Sean Locke Photography/Shutterstock
This may seem obvious, but there are things an inspector will check that you may not have actually used in a long. “Check all of your windows, doors, the garage door sensor lights, etc.,” says Porter. Remember, your buyer will expect everything in the home to work! Read more about the importance of home inspections.