Common Problems

A recent survey of the American Society of Home Inspectors revealed the ten most common problems found during Home Inspections.*

The Ten Most Common House Problems:

    1. Improper Surface Grading/Drainage
    2. Improper Electrical Wiring
    1. Roof Drainage
    2. Heating Systems (health and safety hazards)
    3. Poor Overall Maintenance
    4. Structurally-Related Problems
    5. Plumbing
    6. Exteriors
    7. Poor Ventilation
    8. Miscellaneous

1. Improper Surface Grading/Drainage

Improper surface grading/draining issues are, by far, the most frequently found problems, as reported by 35% of Home Inspectors surveyed. It is primarily responsible for the most common of household maladies: water penetration of the basement or crawlspace.

2. Improper Electrical Wiring

A significant number of home inspectors (19%) reported improper electrical wiring as the most common home defect to include: insufficient electrical service to the house, inadequate overload protection, amateur and often dangerous wiring connections.

3. Roof Drainage/Leakage

Roof leakage caused by old or damaged shingles or improper flashing is considered a frequent problem. Shingle repairs can be easily and inexpensively addressed, but shingles near the end of their useful life can translate into  a major re-roofing expense.

4. Heating Systems (health and safety hazards)

Problems with heating systems include broken or malfunctioning operating controls, blocked chimneys, and unsafe exhaust management. These conditions represent more than just inefficient heating; they can pose health/safety hazards. Heating systems should be serviced and maintained annually by a reputable, licensed HVAC contractor, in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications.

5. Poor Overall Maintenance

Cracked, peeling, or dirty painted surfaces, crumbling masonry, makeshift wiring or plumbing, and broken fixtures or appliances are common issues found by Home Inspectors. Although some of these problems may seem more cosmetic than serious, they indicate potential deferred maintenance patterns. These issues often provide clues to more serious problems or needed repairs.

6. Structurally Related Problems

As a result of the problems found in one or more of the other categories, many houses sustain some, although usually not serious, damage to structural components such as foundation walls, floor joists, rafters, or window and door components.

7. Plumbing

Plumbing defects rank high among the house problems encountered and include the existence of old or incompatible piping materials, as well as faulty fixtures and waste lines. Surprisingly, some Home Inspectors report finding natural gas leaks in as many as one out of three homes inspected.

8. Exteriors

Flaws in home exteriors, including windows, doors, and wall surfaces, are responsible for discomfort caused by water and air penetration, but rarely have structural significance. Inadequate caulking and/or weather stripping are the most common culprits.

9. Poor Ventilation

Perhaps due to overly-ambitious efforts to save energy, many homeowners have “over-sealed” their homes which can cause rotting and premature failure of both structural and non-structural elements. Poor ventilation can also lead to tremendous mold accumulation which often causes allergic reactions or worse.

10. Miscellaneous and Environmental Concerns

The miscellaneous category includes various interior components, such as sticky windows or dripping faucets, as well as any number of environmental concerns. Environmental hazard identifications are a growing area of concern and include lead-based paint (pre-1978), asbestos, Urea-formaldehyde insulation, radon gas, leaking underground storage tanks, indoor air quality and mold. Many of these concerns require further evaluation and testing to determine the exact impact they may have on you and your home. Repairs can be expensive in some cases.

(*This survey represents a national average based on regional climates, building codes and home age.)

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