Managing Business Responsibly

3 Major Problems Home Inspectors Catch

by Priscilla Terry

Homebuyers and sellers hire home inspectors to ensure their current or future home is safe and worth buying. During a home inspection, these professionals look for major issues that could seriously affect a home's value or the safety of people living in it. They protect people financially and physically from the dangers associated with today's modern homes that have extensive electrical and plumbing systems. Home inspectors use exhaustive checklists to ensure they check all of a home's major systems and structural components to ensure they are all in good condition and not near the end of their expected usable lifespans.

Here are three of the major issues a home inspection can catch.

1. Water Damage

With pipes running through walls and under floors, the tell-tale signs of water damage can be difficult for the average homeowner to notice. A slow leak within a wall or behind a bathroom fixture can go unnoticed for months, all while damaging everything around it. Black mold can grow on wet drywall, framing timbers, and insulation. Wet structural beams can become weakened from extended, constant exposure to water. All of these problems are typically hidden behind walls, but home inspectors have ways to find them.

These professionals often use infrared scanners to detect hot and cold spots in walls. Cold spots can sometimes be the result of water damage. If the damage is located n an exterior wall, the water could also compress the wall's insulation, leading to hot or cold spots, depending on the weather. Home inspectors also often look inside walls, attics, and basements wherever there are access points, allowing them to spot mold that hasn't spread beyond these limited-access spaces.

2. Structural Problems

A home with structural issues isn't a good purchase for most buyers. Structural damage can come from water damage, insect activity, or seismic activity. Shifting walls, insecure foundations, and extensive termite damage can happen slowly over time. Home inspectors look for tell-tale signs for structural problems, including deep cracks, uneven floors, insect-damaged support structures in the crawlspace, and uneven roof ridges. These are all symptoms of core structural issues that would need to be repaired by a licensed contractor or building engineer.

3. Fire Hazards

Home electrical systems are essential to our modern ways of living. We rely on them for food preservation, light, entertainment, and temperature regulation. Most modern homes have standardized wiring systems that have been installed by licensed electricians, but some homes could have fire hazards lurking in their electrical systems. Ungrounded two-prong outlets, old wiring systems, localized hot spots inside walls, and hot outlets are all signs of electrical issues that could cause fires. Home inspectors use infrared imaging and their knowledge of electrical systems to ensure the homes they inspect are safe for their future owners.