The days are getting noticeably shorter, and maybe there’s a nip in the air – sure signs that fall is on its way. Now is the perfect time to put these ideas on your to-do list and get your home in shape before winter rolls in.
Seal it up: Caulk and seal around exterior door and window frames. Look for gaps where pipes or wiring enter the home and caulk those as well. Not only does heat escape from these openings, but water can enter and may eventually cause mold problems and even structural damage.
Look up: Check the roof for missing or damaged shingles. Winter weather can cause serious damage to a vulnerable roof, leading to a greater chance of further damage inside the home. Although you should always have a qualified professional inspect and repair the roof, you can do a preliminary survey safely from the ground using binoculars.
Clear it out: Clear gutters and eaves troughs of leaves, sticks, and other debris. Consider installing leaf guards if your gutters can accommodate them – they are real time savers and can prevent damage from clogged gutters. Check the seams between sections of gutter, as well as between the gutter and downspouts, and make any necessary adjustments or repairs.
No hose: In climates with freezing weather, drain garden hoses and store them indoors to protect them from the elements. Shut off outdoor faucets and make sure exterior pipes are drained of water. Faucets and pipes can freeze and burst, causing leaks and potentially serious water damage.
Warm up time: Have the furnace inspected to ensure it’s safe and in good working order. Most utility companies will provide basic inspections at no charge, but there can often be a long waiting list come fall and winter. Replace disposable furnace air filters or clean the permanent type according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Using a clean filter will help the furnace run more efficiently, saving you money and energy.
Light that fire: If you enjoy the crackle of a wood-burning fireplace on a chilly fall evening, have the firebox and chimney professionally cleaned before lighting a fire this season. Creosote, a byproduct of wood burning, can build up to dangerous levels and cause a serious chimney fire if not removed.
Happy fall to you from everyone at Pillar To Post Home Inspectors.
The charms of living in an older home can be many – history, style, craftsmanship, quirks. But there’s no denying that living in such a home has its challenges. Maintenance can be tricky and expensive, especially if certain systems and features have been neglected over the years. Let’s take a look at some common situations found in many older homes:
- Energy inefficiency is probably the number one issue with older homes. Most older homes were constructed with single-pane windows; if these windows are still in use, they likely don’t fit very well. Replacement windows can be very expensive, but will contribute immensely to reduced energy use and lower heating and cooling costs. Most replacement windows are available in several styles and at different price points, so finding ones that suit the look of an older home is easier than ever.
- Like single-pane windows, poor insulation will also waste energy and money – and make living in the home uncomfortable. The most important and easiest area of the home to insulate is the attic, but walls and floors above ventilated crawlspaces should be insulated as well if possible. The attic may already have insulation but it may be inadequate by current standards.
- If the home has older water pipes, they should be checked to identify the material and determine if they need to be replaced. Some older materials such as galvanized steel, iron, and even lead are still in use today even though new construction doesn’t allow them. Replacement options include copper and CPVC piping.
- Outdated electrical systems can still sometimes be found in older homes and may not only be dangerous, they can make the house uninsurable in some situations. Even if no danger is present, we use much more electricity in our homes today and the capacity of older systems may be inadequate. Only a qualified electrician should attempt any repairs or updates to a home’s electrical system.
With careful maintenance and a nod to history, older homes can be comfortable, stylish, and even energy efficient in the right hands.
About Home Inspections
A home inspection, also known as a building inspection or a property inspection, is a thorough visual assessment of a home conducted by a certified professional home inspector at a specific point in time.
While a home may be inspected for many reasons most home inspections occur before a home is sold, to reveal any issues that might become problems for the buyer. A home seller may also choose to have a home inspection done prior to listing a property, in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises during negotiations.
A home inspection will typically include a walk-through tour of the house during which the condition of the property is closely scrutinized, any defects and deficiencies are noted, and recommendations for repair are made. During the home inspection the inspector will look for issues that could have significant impact from a health and safety perspective, or purely from a financial standpoint.
Home Inspection Process Explained
- A typical home inspection takes two to three hours, and during this time the house is examined from the ground up and from the outside in.
- A good home inspection should include observation, and when appropriate the operation, of the plumbing, heating, air conditioning, electrical, and appliance systems, as well as observation of structural components: roof, foundation, basement, exterior and interior walls, chimney, doors, and windows.
- Findings should be provided in the form of a comprehensive inspection report, which includes an objective evaluation of the condition the home clearly outlining any existing defects and potential problems.
When performed by a certified Pillar To Post home inspector this inspection includes:
- A thorough visual inspection of the structure (inside and out, from foundation to roof).
- An examination of all major systems.
- An objective evaluation of the condition of a home.
- A printed report covering all findings and identifying potential concerns.
- A high quality binder that includes: your home inspection report, full color photos, a repair and remodel cost estimate guide, home maintenance information, and a package of valuable offers from our Living With My Home partners.
Why Do You Need a Home Inspection?
A home inspection is particularly important when purchasing a home.
Buying a house is likely one of the largest purchases a person will ever make but few buyers are experienced in building construction, and overlooking a serious issue could result in a costly problem down the road. As a result many buyers choose to have a property inspection conducted prior to closing the sale. The inspection can identify any issues so the buyer can discuss these with the seller during negotiations.
At Pillar To Post we encourage our clients to accompany us during the home inspection. This gives buyers a chance to ask questions, and to get detailed information about maintaining the home and its systems. For homeowners this allows them an opportunity to answer any questions the inspector may have. In either case, accompanying an inspector can help a client get the most from a home inspection.