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Common Defects


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Common Defects


The following is a list of common defects likely to appear in a typical home inspection report:

1. Roofing defects, caused by aging or improper installation are likely to be found on most buildings. This does not mean that most roofs need replacement, but that many are in need of maintenance and repair. Roof penetration flashing require sealing on a regular basis.

2. Ceiling stains indicate past or current leaks. The challenge is to determine if the leak was repaired or will recur during the next rain. Discovery is not always possible. Drywall is usually dry enough to not show wet on a moisture meter after only a few days of the rain stopping.

3. Faulty surface drainage often causes water intrusion beneath buildings. Such problems can be pervasive, difficult to resolve, and may cause damage to building components. The absence of guttering or the inadequate length of the discharge pipe leaves roof water run off at the foundation walls.

4. Electrical safety violations, either few or many, are to be found in the majority of homes. Examples are ungrounded outlets, lack of GFI protection, amateur wiring "improvements," double lugging at breakers or fuses, and other conditions too numerous to name.

5. Rotted wood is common where components remain wet for long periods. Exterior locations are trim, eaves, and decks. Problems also occur at walls and floors in bathrooms.

6. Code violations are common where additions and alterations are built without permits. Sellers often boast that, "We added the garage without a permit, but it was all done to code." This is a red flag to most inspectors.

7. Fireplaces and chimneys are often unsafe. Common causes are amateur installation of hardware and fixtures, exterior rust damage, or simple failure to call a chimney sweep.

8. Water heaters are seldom in total compliance with code requirements. Violation include improper T&P valve discharge pipe, substandard overflow pan piping, unsafe flue conditions, and faulty gas lines.

9. Gas furnaces often harbor defects. These range from dirty filters to faulty combustion; from poor airflow to exhaust hazards; from noisy operation to inadequate fire clearance. Given the potential for major consequences, annual servicing by HVAC company is recommended.

10. Air Conditioners require regular service. In this area, due to high levels of humidity, an air conditioner can produce 2 to 5 gallons of condensate water per hour (depending on the size of the unit). Drain lines are very subject to clogging because the water flowing through them is essentially distilled and is loaded with all types of organic spores, seeds, and cells from the room air passing through the unit. This will clog the drain line and if the unit does not have an emergency overflow pan the ceiling below is going to be damaged. Cleaning of the exterior coil is also in order for proper air flow.

11. Minor plumbing defects are commonly found, including loose toilets, dripping faucets, slow drains, leaking drains, hot water at the right faucet, and so on.

12. Failed seals are routinely found at dual pane windows, resulting in fogging. This is most common with windows manufacturer during the 1980's

 Did you know?

GFI outlets (the ones in kitchens, baths, garages, and the exterior) need to be "tripped" or tested every month. This will keep the mechanical components inside the outlet free to operate went they are needed. If you don't understand what type of outlet this is, think of the outlets you have seen that have red and black buttons on them. Since these outlets are intended to be in high moisture areas they are subject to freeze up and not operate properly. This could have a catastrophic impact on the safety of the occupants of the home.


Duct tape is good for pretty much everything except for ductwork sealing. Using specially designed peal and stick aluminum tape to seal ducts and the HVAC system can save typically 15-25% of your room air from escaping every time it passes through the HVAC system for conditioning.  


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