So you’ve signed the contract and you think it is time to start picking out furniture for your new place, right? Not so fast !!!! As easy as it is to settle into your new role as a homeowner, there’s an important step that shouldn’t be overlooked: the home inspection.
I an a Certified Home Inspection with the International Associate of Home Inspectors (InterNachi). InterNachi believes strongly in continuing education, but some home headaches simply don’t reveal themselves during a standard inspection. And, some things are outside an inspector’s scope.
Here are 6 Red Flags Your Home Inspector May Not Be Able to Detect
Partially blocked or damaged sewer lines
Like some illnesses, some house problems don’t show up overnight. A partially blocked or damaged sewer line often falls in this camp.
“I run water through the fixtures, but I am at the home inspection for a limited time, two to four hours might not be long enough for the problem to reveal itself.”
Inspectors will likely determine the type of drain pipe used and estimate its age. They may also look for trees or stumps in the line of the sewer pipe that could cause damage. However, when it comes to sewer-pipe scoping (sending a camera down the line), it’s not typically included in a standard inspection.
Failing HVAC equipment
Similar to damaged sewer lines, HVAC equipment can be fine one day and stop working the next.
“If I check an air conditioner when temperatures are moderate, it can seem fine, but under stress, when temperatures shoot up, it can fail.”
If I find that the HVAC is old and near the end of it’s operational life span I will recommend that you call in a Certified Licensed HVAC technician that has the knowledge and experience to further evaluate the unit.
If he determines it needs replaced, you can expect the cost can be anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 depending on the unit and what all needs replaced.
Cracked heat exchanger
One exception where you may want to pay for a HVAC contractor is an old furnace.
Here in Whitfield County Georgia, I find a lot of package units [furnace/AC combined] that sit outside. It’s not part of the standard inspection to examine the heat exchanger, but a lot of them develop cracks that can allow the indoor air to mix with combustion air that has carbon monoxide and you don’t want that in the house.
As a general rule, I will recommend having a HVAC contractor come out to examine the heat exchanger if a furnace is more than 10 years old.
If the HVAC contractor does find such a crack, by law he has to replace it before the furnace can be used again.
The best way to think about a standard home inspection is a “visual inspection” because when it comes to electrical issues, inspectors can’t always determine the source of the problem.
If I find a receptacle that doesn’t have ground, I know it’s disconnected somewhere, but I don’t know where, you’re going to have to have an electrician find the disconnect in the system so I will include in my report that I recommend a Certified Licensed Electrician for correction.
A legitimate question you might be asking is whether the roof is sagging or whether it’s part of the architectural style of your new home. Luckily, a home inspector should be able to tell.
All roofs — at least wood roofs — will have some inconsistencies. A home inspector knows what’s normal and what’s not.
However, when it comes to identifying how bad a problem is or how much it’s going to cost to repair, an inspector isn’t the right person to ask.
Because I am not a licensed structural engineer, I will refer the homeowners to one.
Leaks may not be there one day and show up the next. For this reason, they may be hard to detect by an inspector.
A lot of times I go into homes where no one lives there. With the plumbing system not being used on a daily basis, if there were leaks, they may have all dried up. And, it may take a couple days after the water is turned on for the leaks to make themselves visible.
I recall on my own home when I moved in it was pouring rain and the roof was not leaking, but 6 weeks later it was. A home inspection is not a guarantee that the house is not going to have problems in the future.
At the end of the day, the key is to take precautions and make sure you find a certified inspector. I cannot promise that everything will be perfect days after you move in but during the inspection if there are items of concern I will address these issues giving you the opportunity to have a Certified Licensed technician further evaluate the problem or possibly negotiate with the home owner – they may offer to have the problem fixed prior to closing or lower the asking price.
So when you are ready to have a Home Inspection give Stress-Free Home Inspection a call. 706-581-8672