When you are looking to purchase a new house, one of the most important things you can do is schedule a professional home inspection. The person who comes out will do up to 10 different assessments on the house in order to try and find problems that can be overlooked or not seen by laypeople.
The major component of a home inspection is the examination of the framework of the house. This includes the entry ways, foundations, siding, and porches. The inspector will look sagging roof lines, gaps or damage to the siding, porches that may be pulling away from the building and any other obvious signs of rot or insect damage. The inspector will also search certain types of cracks in foundations and will usually probe the rim of the foundation as well as any exposed framing.
A home inspection also includes looking for obvious drainage problems and safety concerns. He or she will also look to make sure vegetation is not causing a problem and the garage door is up to code. In addition, a good home inspection also includes a check of the roof, the electrical components in the house, the plumbing and the heating and air conditioning systems.
The inside of the home will be probed for water intrusion, safety and code compliance. The appliances will be inspected to ensure they are in proper working order, and the ventilation will also be examined. If there is a fireplace in the home, the inspector will check to make sure it is not blocked and that it can be used safely.
Two additional tests that you should ask about are for termites and radon. While both may be included in the initial inspection, it is best to ask. The inspector may be able to do these tests for you or recommend someone who can. When a home is tested for termites, a visual inspection of the readily accessible areas of a home is done looking for evidence of wood-destroying insects.
When a home undergoes a radon testing, a kit is left on the lowest floor of the home. It collects air samples for up to a week. The kit is then sent to a lab for analysis. If high levels are found, a second test will be done to confirm the findings. If the same results are found, measures will need to be taken to reduce the amount of radon in the home.
Radon is a naturally occurring cancer-causing gas that is found all over the country. It is estimated that up to eight million homes are affected by high radon levels. Furthermore, increased radon gas levels in houses results in over 20,000 deaths a year and radon is the second greatest cause of lung cancer.
If the second radon inspection confirms high radon levels there are several steps you can take to reduce the amount of cancer-causing gas in your home. First, install a ventilation system with a fan to force the air out of your home. Once that is complete, you should seal up any foundation cracks, your sump pump, and other pipes. You may also need to seal your crawlspace.