2020 New Year Home Resolution #2
Perform Monthly Visual Inspections
When you are sitting in an airport lounge waiting to board a flight, you can often catch the pilot making a visual inspection of his plane. It is reassuring to see he is focused on your safety.
Doing regular visual inspections of your home can help protect you and your personal property. These are a quick and simple way of ensuring that any necessary repairs can be caught in time to prevent significant damage. It takes about 15-30 minutes and can save you months of stress. From the attic to the basement or crawlspace, here is what you should look for:
Paint: Peeling paint isn’t just an eyesore, it is also an open invitation to insects, dry rot, and mold.
Roof: Look for broken, cracked, or missing shingles.
Trees: Look for dead limbs and, if necessary, take pictures of any overhanging trees to see if they are leaning more than the last time you looked.
Gutters and downspouts: Remove all debris and check for cracks or damaged joints; make sure drainage is away from the foundation.
Chimney: If it is safe to get on the roof, check for cracks or loose mortar joints, and with a flashlight, make sure there are no blockages.
Windows: Check caulking around the frame and any molding.
Decks/Porches: Look for loose or broken boards, missing screws or loose nails, and dry rot.
Driveways: Check for any tripping hazards and make sure drainage is away from the house.
Foundation: Look for any new or large cracks and, if found, get a foundation expert out to inspect.
Landscaping/Mulch: All plant materials and mulch should not be touching the house. There should be a 3” space between the mulch and the foundation, and 1’ between a plant and the siding (to prevent damage from winds).
Outbuildings: Check all outdoor structures like fences, garages, tool sheds, and greenhouses in all applicable categories above.
Crawlspace: Check all pipes for leaks, look for insect damage, and check for mold. Look at the sink, tub/shower, and toilet drain connections to see if there is any new water damage. Check areas of the subfloor for wood rot.
Ceilings: Check for new cracks, water stains, peeling paint, or dark patches (mildew).
Walls: Check for peeling paint, cracks, loose moldings.
Floors: Check for loose carpet, raised nails in wood floors, peeling vinyl flooring, or loose tiles.
Kitchen: Check all appliance water hoses for leaks (at joints and the entire length of hoses). Look for spaces between the backsplash and sink that water could seep through. Turn on the water at the sink and check for any leaks. Check electrical plugs of appliances for fraying or loose connection.
Bathroom: Check caulk around tub and sink; look under sink cabinet and check for water damage. Check caulking around the base of the toilet for spaces
Stairs/Railings: Check for any loose boards on the stairs. Check the stability of the railings. If you can, look under the stairs to check for wood rot.
Attic: Check the roof for stains indicating a water leak. Look at insulation to ensure adequate depth.
Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Alarms: Check alarm with the test button to make sure batteries are in order.
Electric Panel: Look for rust (indicating water leak) and scorch marks.
Laundry/Utility Room: Check washing machine, hot water heater, and furnace connections for water leaks. Unhook dryer vent and make sure it is clear. Listen to your heating/cooling system for any unusual sounds.
When to Inspect
Do your inspections when natural light is strongest. It will help you see details that you might otherwise miss in artificial or dim light. Pour your morning coffee, don your coat and shoes and stroll around your house, then come in, swap out your shoes for comfy slippers and finish the inspection. You then have the rest of your day to tackle any issues you’ve found, or sit back and relax knowing your home is in good shape.