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Land Around the Home:
Inspector checks the slope of the land to see that it is sloping away from the home. Land that slopes to the home can make for wet and leaky basements or cellars and crawl spaces.
Inspector checks the home for foundation problems and framing problems, checking for cracks in the foundation and the walls of the home.
Outside Wall Covering:
Inspector checks the outside walls and the framing around the windows and doors and identifies any problems found such as wood rot and calked places where water may leak into the home.
Roof and Drainage:
Inspector checks roof conditions and layers, looking for damaged shingles, missing shingles, and repair jobs that may have been done. Also checks the gutters and downspouts to make sure they are in good condition. Its important that downspouts have some type of extensions which carry the water a minimum of six feet away from the home so that water does not drain down the outer foundation walls and cause wet, musty, and humid basements, cellars, and crawl spaces.
Supply Plumbing, Drainage, and Venting:
Visible plumbing is inspected for leaks, and checked to make sure there is acceptable water flow and pressure. Outside hose bibs checked for operation and ensure vacuum breakers (anti-siphoning) are installed. Inspect all faucets to see that hot and cold are on proper side and ensure that the drain works well. Also type of supply piping is identified to ensure that it is acceptable. Some piping has been noted as having manufacturing defects (polybutylene piping). This material has been known to be defective at the junctions. The most common type of water supply piping is copper piping.
Evaluate the height of the incoming service cables above the ground or grade level. Observe potential obstructions, such as tree limbs, in the area. Determine if the mast or service head is correctly oriented and properly secured to the structure, and that drip loops are in place. Inspector checks that all lines from service head to home are in good shape and coverings are not frayed and cracking. Determine panel box condition, such as missing or loose covers, interior rust, open knockouts, and properly connected boxes to the wall, or obstructions to the panel box. Report the presence of more than one wire connected to a breaker/fuse (double tap). Compare the wire sizes to the fuse or breaker sizes to determine if the ampacity of each breaker/fuse is correct, while also looking for over-heated wiring which can be a fire hazard. Test all outlets in the home, and test ground fault circuit interrupters to ensure they work properly. Switches are not always tested when not sure if there maybe a timer or item in use.
The furnace or boiler is turned on and tested. Generally life expectancy: high efficiency gas furnace (15 years); gas/oil furnace (20-25 years); electric furnace (12-15 years); heat pump (15 years); gas/oil boiler (20-50 years depending make and model). Age will be noted. Heat pumps checked in winter only. Forced air systems will include air distribution and return duct checks. Some systems have distribution controls for better efficiency.
Central Air Conditioning System:
This is tested only during warm weather (65+ degrees) because testing below this can damage the compressor. The age of compressor will be noted because most begin failing between 10-15 years of age. When tested, its cooling efficiency is tested along with distribution and return ducts.
Attic Ventilation, and its Visible Insulation:
The attic is entered when possible and is checked for leak stains on the sheathing, plywood and all vent pipes going through roof. Ventilation is very important in the attic area to eliminate condensation. Insulation is checked for depth which equals R values (avg. 3.0 per inch). Particular attention is paid to the color of the the plywood as this can indicate moisture which generally causes delamination.
Checked for leaning, sprawling, missing bricks, mortar joints, flue and liner defects,(cracks/missing) cap, and damper door operation.
Interior Walls, Floors and Ceilings:
Walls and ceilings are checked for cracks, repairs and possible water stains indicating leaks. Floors are checked for cracks, warping, and trip hazards. Squeaky floors are common in older homes and generally do not indicate structural concerns.
Windows and Doors:
Inspector opens and closes all windows. All doors are opened and closed making sure that they latch properly. Exterior doors are checked for latch and lock.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors:
Detectors are noted for placement (smoke detectors in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement). Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws.
The kitchen is the last room to be checked and all appliances are turned on and tested to make sure they work properly: refrigerator, stove, oven (tilt bracket checked), exhaust fan, garbage disposal, sink faucet and drain, dishwasher, built-in microwave oven, and trash compactor if equipped. All cabinet doors and drawers are opened and closed. Cabinets and counter top checked for secure fastening, and counter top checked for level.