The charms of living in an older home can be many – history, style, craftsmanship, quirks. But maintenance can be tricky and expensive, especially if certain systems and features have been neglected over the years.
- Energy inefficiency is probably the number one issue with older homes. New windows can be very expensive, but will contribute immensely to reduced energy use and lower heating and cooling costs. 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.
- Poor insulation wastes energy and money, and makes living in the home uncomfortable. The most important area to insulate is the attic, but walls and floors above ventilated crawlspaces should also be insulated if possible.
- Check old water pipes 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- Outdated electrical systems are often found in older homes and may not only be dangerous, they can make the house uninsurable in some situations.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.
With summer just around the corner, now is a great time to get your home in top shape for the months ahead. Whatever your weather, caring for your home now will help to ensure a worry-free, comfortable summer. Follow a few of these tips each week and enjoy the rest of the season knowing that your home is in good shape.
- Vacuum or brush off refrigerator coils to help maintain energy efficiency. Depending on your model, the coils will be located either on the bottom or on the back of the appliance.
- Empty dehumidifier pans and clean the hoses according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- If possible, take area rugs outside and hang them over a deck or porch rail to air out.
- Adjust ceiling fans for proper balance and change the rotation to the summer setting. While you’re at it, give the unit a good dusting to avoid blowing dust around the room.
- Switch out heavy bedding for lightweight summer fabrics. Have the winter bedding cleaned before storing it away for the season.
- Close the chimney flue to prevent insects from entering and to help keep cool air in during the months ahead.
- Repot houseplants to give their roots a fresh start for the summer.
- Check door and cabinet hinges and lubricate any that stick or squeak.
- Open windows even on cooler days to get fresh air flowing throughout the home.
- Inspect siding for cracks or other damage and make any needed repairs.
- If paint is peeling, cracking, or chipped, repair and repaint now to limit damage to the underlying materials.
- Remove window screens and clean them with a soft brush and soapy water. Rinse well and allow them to dry in the sun. Repair any holes or tears, or replace the screen material before reinstalling. It’s a fairly easy DIY job to replace the screening, or you can check to see if your local hardware store offers this service.
- Have the air conditioning unit serviced to ensure good operation. Promote good air intake by keeping shrubs and plants around the unit trimmed.
- Clear dirt and debris from gutters and eaves.
- Seal cracks in the driveway and keep walkways clear of debris and overgrown plants.
- Test irrigation and sprinkler systems and replace any broken sprinkler heads or emitters. Check for proper water coverage and adjust if necessary.
- Power wash decks and patios and seal surfaces as appropriate.
From all of us at Pillar To Post, here’s wishing you and your home a wonderful summer!