Doing a home inspection during warmer months seems to be the ideal time to find out everything you need to know about a house. However if you are buying your home in the winter, there are still important things that you need to make sure is inspected
Winter is a good time to inspect the heating system. The heat will be on already and the inspection will reveal whether temperature levels are balanced throughout the entire home. It will be easy to figure out whether there are drafts happening around doorways, windows or in the attic. This is something that’s harder to tell during the summer.
Your inspector will let you know whether the HVAC system needs to be cleaned, if there are carbon monoxide leaks or if any major repairs are imminent.
Although it’s a bit difficult to check the air conditioning unit during the winter, an inspection at this time can tell you the unit’s age and whether any deterioration or rust is present.
Check the Crawl Space
The crawl space should be inspected because you can increase your home’s energy efficiency and save money on utility bills by properly insulating it. It will also help control moisture in the home. The inspection should check for any vents in the crawl space and whether they are sealed or not. Sealing the vents is good for correct moisture control.
An insulated crawl space keeps floors warm. It also helps heating ducts, water heaters, furnaces and hot water pipes perform better.
Inspect the Chimney
A chimney needs to be cleaned often. A winter inspection will discover how well the owner has maintained this area of the home.
Your inspector will look for signs of creosote. This is the collection of soot and carbon that forms when burning fossil fuels or wood. Creosote is a fire hazard. If it’s not kept in check, it can easily cause a fire that quickly spreads into the rest of the home.
Flue damage is another area the inspector will look for. Any cracks or blocks in the chimney’s flue can cause toxic fumes to circulate throughout the home. You don’t want carbon monoxide, for example, to enter your home’s environment.
Is there a gas fireplace in the house? If so, it needs to be inspected. A gas fireplace that isn’t working correctly has the potential to cause problems when smoke can’t escape properly.
Check All Smoke Alarms
If you buy the house, winter and holidays are a time when your family will be cooking more and possibly using candles in the home. These are fire hazards and it’s important to make sure that all the fire alarms are working well.
The inspector will move throughout the house and inspect each smoke detector. The inspection will uncover whether any detectors need replacing or simply need new batteries. He or she will do the same thing for the carbon monoxide detectors.
Check the Plumbing
The last thing you want during the winter are frozen pipes. Pipes will burst when too much ice builds up inside them. Frozen pipes lead to:
- Mold problems
- Property damage
- Expensive repairs
The inspection will find out whether there is adequate heat inside the home. If you buy the home eventually, make sure you keep the thermostat set to a minimum of 62 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter months to protect your pipes.
There are parts of your plumbing that exist in the basement, walls and unheated crawl spaces. These pipes are kept warm by the heat coming from the home’s living spaces. The inspection will check to make sure these plumbing areas are in good working condition as well.
Your inspector will check the foundation. Bowing walls and sloping floors will reveal foundation issues. If there is snow outside, then it can make this inspection a little harder to perform. However, make sure your inspector looks carefully at the deck footings. He or she should also inspect for cracks near the bottom of the foundation.
Following the above inspections will make sure you’re buying a home that won’t bring you repair surprises in the future.
Abby Drexler is a contributing writer and media specialist. She regularly produces content for a variety of moving blogs.