Owning a home is not all roses and butterflies with white picket fences, it can be quite scary.There are any number of hidden nightmares lurking just below the surface or behind the walls, and you are the person responsible for all of it.
Most of the issues will be caught in a home inspection, but it’s hard to know all the secrets of a home. Often, the only time a home is inspected is when it is bought or sold. However structures grow and change over time regardless of ownership. For regular maintenance and routine care of your home, follow our DIY Home Inspection. Picking up on these problems sooner than later can help you time & money. Many of these hidden horrors only show their true selves when the renovations start, reeking havoc with your budget.
This is the silent killer that can invade your home. There are of course different degrees of mold. It may just a bit of mildew thats ruining your stuff, or it could be toxic black mold that’s harmful to your health. Home test kits can help you with early detection and tell you what type of mold is growing. Once you know what it is you are dealing with, you can then figure out what the best course of action is. Clearing out what you see, fixing leaks and airing a space out can solve smaller issues. If the mold is a larger issue, you may need to start breaking into wall space.
2. Lead Paint & Asbestos
These outdated and dangerous materials can be hazardous and expensive to remove. Lead paint and asbestos, if kept in good repair, can be sealed, covered up and avoided, especially if there are no small kids in the home. These materials become dangerous when they fall into disrepair and can be costly to remove. Having it removed requires a Lead Certified contractor or a Department of Labor Standard asbestos certified professional.
Anything made from wood has the potential to rot. Humidity, condensation or wherever water come into contact with wood can contribute to this. It’s not always easy to spot and can spread if not properly taken care of. Window sills, exterior doors, and the area around dishwasher/washing machines are good areas to keep an eye on. Anything that looks wet or soft is a potential problem area. As with everything, catching this problem early on can save you big time.
4. Flood Damage
Floods can cause major damage to a home, and it not typically covered under the standard home owners insurance. It’s costs extra, but it may be worth the money if you live in an area known for flash floods. Remember the flash flooding in Boulder, CO a few years ago? It was disastrous, and potentially bankrupting for those without insurance. It's amazing how much damage a couple inches of water can do.
5. Foundation Issues
Everything is based on the foundation. If there are cracks, missing supports or any other issues with the base of your home it’s going to be a big deal. Sealing up cracks when they first appear can prevent water from getting to the interior of the foundation material and making matters much worse.
6. Knob + Tube wiring
As much as we love the old school filament bulbs, the old school electricity system that used to power them is a scary beast. If your home was build in the early 20th century, and still has it’s original wiring, it’s a system called “knob + tube wiring.” This is an outdated, ungrounded electrical system that is dangerous and needs to be replaced. This comes across in the outlets of older homes, that are missing the third hole, or ground plug. It is expensive to replace, but if left in place it poses a big risk to both your family and property.
The following is a true story, adapted from a 1921 edition of the American Journal of Ophthalmology...