UCCU: Home Inspections

Do you know what’s really going on in your home’s attic, foundation, interior plumbing or duct work? If the answer is no, now is a good time to schedule a home inspection.

Sara Parker, with Utah Central Credit Union explains what goes into a home inspection.

Your home is your biggest asset and so many unhealthy things could be lurking in places that you don’t see on a daily basis. If you have an attic or crawl space, experts recommend inspections at least every 2-3 years. And regardless of what type of house you have, if you haven’t had an inspection in 10 years, you’re overdue.

A good place to start is the American Society of Home Inspectors – the
oldest and largest professional organization in the country. Members are required to meet certain ethics and standards including a minimum of 250 fee-based inspections, educational requirements, and other inspection criteria.

You can go to their web site www.ashi.org and find inspectors right here in Utah.

They will typically examine eight areas:

· Structural elements like ceilings, floors and the foundation

· Exterior elements like wall coverings, landscaping, drainage, fascia, trim, grading, etc.

· The roof and attic

· Plumbing including toilets, showers, sinks faucets and traps

· Systems and components like water heaters, furnaces, chimneys, fireplace and sprinklers.

· Electrical elements including wiring, circuit breakers, and grounding

· Appliances

· The Garage – including the roof, walls, the door opener and windows.

And some of the things they might be looking for:

Roofs: When they examine the roof they are looking for sagging, curling or warping of asphalt shingles, rotting in the roof deck and if the vents are visible.

Foundation: Obvious problems in the foundation would include cracks, flaking or damaged masonry, soft mortar, water markings or whitish, chalky substances

When inspecting the electrical-mechanical elements they would be looking for the type, style and age of the heating & cooling systems., when they were last inspected or serviced, the type of water supply piping and drains, visible rust and corrosion, whether the outlets are grounded and if the visible wiring is in good condition?

A home inspector typically does not include inspections of the following:,

· Asbestos

· Radon, Methane, Radiation and Formaldehyde

· Wood-Destroying Organisms like termites

· Mold, Mildew and Fungi

· Rodents

· Lead

There was a recent article in the American Society of Home Inspectors monthly magazine listing all the things homeowners could do to make their home inspection go smoothly.

The recommendations are really based on common sense like:

– Check that all pilot lights are lit, hot water tanks and heating systems are operable, appliances are connected and that all water valves are “on” (weather permitting).

– Remove pots and pans from cooking equipment.

– Remove laundry from washers and dryers.

– Remove dishes and clutter from kitchen countertops and sinks.

– Control pets. Barking and/or jumping dogs make it difficult for the home inspector to do his/her job. Chasing a runaway cat is detrimental to the inspection process.

– Do not run water (except for required toilet flushing) during the inspection. Running a dishwasher, doing laundry, showering, car washing, lawn watering, etc., are disruptive to the inspector’s testing procedures.

– Provide easy access to heating systems, hot water tanks and appliances.

– Replace burned-out light bulbs. Proper illumination is essential to the home inspection process.

– Make certain that all fuses and/or circuit breakers are operable.

– Make certain that all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are operable. Replace batteries as required.

– Provide access to hatches or crawl spaces. If access to a crawl space is through a closet ceiling or floor, remove contents of the closets or storage rooms as necessary to facilitate access. If access panels are extraordinarily obscure, leave a note to assist the inspector in locating these panels.

– If any repair or replacement work (roofing, foundation, heating systems, basement waterproofing, siding or windows, electrical/plumbing, etc.) has been done recently, provide inspector with copies of relevant paperwork.

– Provide as much visibility as reasonably possible for garage walls, basement walls, attics, storage rooms, etc.

For more information or to contact Utah Central Credit Union, visit www.utahcentral.com

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