Matthew Steger WIN Elizabethtown

Preventive Home Maintenance Inspections

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Home buyers almost always opt for a home inspection to help determine the true unbiased condition of their new home in an effort to make an informed purchase decision, but some home inspectors also perform preventive home maintenance inspections for people who already own their homes and maybe have no plans on selling anytime soon. Many home owners don’t regularly maintain their homes as often as they should (in the home inspection industry, we sometimes jokingly call that “deferred maintenance”) and issues certainly do come up in the course of regular home ownership. Having a preventive home maintenance inspection performed by WIN Home Inspection helps a home owner determine areas and systems that should be addressed to prevent expensive future repairs as well as helping to determine where home maintenance dollars should be directed for maximum effect.

The most common issues that I find when inspecting homes for prospective home buyers are generally the exact same issues that I find when inspecting for home owners. Caulking (interior/exterior), wood rot or other wood deterioration, improperly functioning garage door opener safety features, non-professional electrical and plumbing work, improper exterior drainage, inadequate attic insulation, improper attic/roof ventilation, basement moisture, lack of HVAC system maintenance, improperly built decks, roof leaks, etc. It often appears that many home owners either opt against getting a home inspection performed when they originally purchased the home, their previous home inspection itself was lacking in thoroughness and detail, or the home buyer simply did not follow the recommendations given by their inspector for future home maintenance.

With any home inspection that I perform, I am required to follow the same ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) Standard Of Practice. My job, for a home buyer, home seller, or home owner is the same: perform a complete and thorough home inspection, report on areas of concern and safety hazards, and make recommendations to help preserve and protect the home owner’s investment and help lower their operating costs. I also provide information to help assist my client in lowering their costs and increasing interior comfort.

As just about any home inspector will tell you based upon their travels, there are a lot of weekend electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and roofers out there doing all sorts of things in their own homes, and sadly, very often in other people’s homes. Hiring a qualified home inspector can often find hazardous conditions that would have otherwise gone unnoticed and possibly injured someone in the future.

On a recent preventive home maintenance inspection that I performed, I noticed that the home owner had finished the basement by himself. This was very clear to me when I tested the wall receptacles and inspected the breaker panel’s interior. The receptacles had all been wired backwards (reverse polarity) and numerous circuit breakers were overloaded and double-lugged. Two of the wires in the breaker panel already had burn marks and the basement had only been finished 3 months prior. This situation could have had dire consequences if not for a thorough home inspection. After the inspection of the finished basement and reading my home inspection report, this home owner became very aware of how dangerous non-professional electrical work can be and immediately hired a qualified electrician to make needed repairs.

During another preventive home maintenance inspection that I had performed a few years ago, I noticed that none of the home’s deck floor joists had joist hangers installed and all of the guard railings came nowhere close to what modern standards required (36" max. height and no opening within or below exceeding 4"). The home owner had built the deck himself a few years earlier and couldn’t figure out why the deck was almost as springy as a trampoline and the railings could easily be pushed nearly 6” out of plumb by pushing on them with a few fingers.

A preventive home maintenance inspection can easily be compared to going to your annual checkup with your physician. You may not have any specific concerns or symptoms, but having a qualified and properly trained professional give a thorough and complete evaluation can help prevent future problems. Both, your home and your body, need regular attention to keep working smoothly.

Your home’s doctor will see you now…

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My full list of technical and home maintenance articles can be found here.

© 2014 Matthew Steger

Matthew Steger, owner/inspector of WIN Home Inspection, is a Certified Level 1 Infrared Thermographer, an ASHI Certified Inspector (ACI), and an electrical engineer. He can be reached at: 717-361-9467 or msteger@wini.com.

WIN Home Inspection has provided a wide array of home inspection services in the Lancaster, PA area since 2002. This article was authored by Matthew Steger, ACI - owner of WIN Home Inspection in Lancaster, PA. No article, or portion thereof, may be reproduced or copied without prior written consent of Matthew Steger.