1. GROUNDS & LANDSCAPE:
The engineer will evaluate the general topography around the property with relationship to existing street grades and potential runoff from the street toward the building. Pavement and soil around exterior walls must be graded to divert water away from the home; this will help to reduce the possibility of water intrusion into the home. The sidewalk surface must be even and free from any trip hazard to prevent personal injury due to deferred maintenance or lifted tree roots. Similarly, the drive way should be sloped away from garage or have adequate drainage system.
Wear and tear on a roof may be apparent if the wear is very advanced but a roof that is starting to age is a subtler defect that the engineer can uncover. Resurfacing a roof costs thousands of dollars, and will cost much more if the existing roofing surface needs to be removed prior to re-roofing. If a roof will need to be resurfaced in the foreseeable future, this may be a negotiable item.
The exterior siding of the house should be carefully inspected because residing a house can also cost thousands of dollars. Replacement of old defective windows can cost thousands of dollars, don’t overlook this obvious defect. Eliminating problems before they start is money saving.
The most problematic defect you don’t want to find after you buy your property, it’s a basement that floods. The basement areas of the home should be thoroughly checked for signs of water intrusion, such as water stains, mildew, an odor of dampness, efflorescence on the walls and floors, and damaged and cupping floors. In addition, the engineer will look for water proofing systems, sump pumps, etc. in the basement; these systems can help to reduce the risk of water flooding in the basement but may not be able to eliminate water intrusion under all conditions. If a house needs waterproofing measures, the cost can run into thousands of dollars.
Deflections of main wooden beams and cracks along exterior walls, and interior wall framing, or cracks in the foundation walls may indicate a serious structural problem that may be the result of poor structural design, improper structural alteration, water damage, or termite damage. Jacking up a house to replace damaged structural components, or underpinning a defective foundation wall is a major expense. The home inspection engineer has the experience, education and expertise to evaluate structural problems; this is one of the reasons why retaining the services of a Licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.) to conduct your home inspection instead of a home inspector who is not licensed to practice engineering is advantageous
The engineer will determine the size of the service AMPS, to determine if it meets current standards. The engineer will remove the cover from the electric service panel should then check the electrical system. The engineer will check electrical outlets for proper wiring, open ground and wiring reversal conditions. The electrical outlets throughout the house must be three prong grounded outlets, any outlets within six feet of water source such as bathrooms, kitchen counters and laundry facilities must be Ground Fault Interrupter Circuits (GFIC), be aware of homes wired in the mid 60’s to mid 70’s may have aluminum wiring that could a potential fire safety hazard. If the home is very old extensive wiring replacement will be needed and that can be proof to be very costly.
The home inspection engineer should determine the type of pipe that supplies water to the house from the municipal main in the street. Be wary of old lead and galvanized steel water supply pipes, replacement costs thousands of dollars. Be sure that your home inspection engineer checks the piping distribution in the house for type of material and condition looking for deterioration, incompatible piping materials, and leaks. Your engineer should carry a moisture meter to evaluate any suspect plaster or wall board on the ceilings and walls caused by water leaks; replacing the piping network in the walls and ceilings is a major expense that can cost thousands of dollars.
8/9. HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEMS (HVAC):
The engineer will begin by identifying your heating system weather it is oil, gas or electrical system. Homes with out separate hot water heaters can improve heating energy efficiency by installing separate hot water heaters. Typically 40 gallon is sufficient for one family and 75 gallon is adequate for two family homes. The hot water heaters usually last for ten years. Your engineer will be able to tell you how old is your hot water heater if there is one installed. Plan on replacing old heating units kamagra soft. Boilers that are starting to leak will also require replacement and a typical cost is three to five thousand dollars; your engineer should look for these major defects. The engineer should advise you to have underground oil storage tanks tested for integrity; a leaking underground oil storage tank can cause thousands of dollars of environmental damage. Another environmental concern is the existence of insulation that may contain asbestos and is especially hazardous if the material is friable. The engineer should advise you to have any suspect material laboratory tested. The home inspection engineer should test the central air-conditioning system to be sure that it is cooling properly; replacement of an air-conditioning compressor can cost two to five thousand dollars.
10. SIGNS OF DEFERRED MAINTENANCE:
Be aware of homes where deferred maintenance is clearly evident; if a home has been poorly maintained and there are obvious problems, proceed with extreme caution; this could be your worst nightmare. Be careful of homes where there is obvious plumbing and electrical work, as well as structural additions and renovations, that were not professionally installed and were most likely installed by DO IT YOURSELF homeowner; correcting these defects can cost thousands of dollars.