Buying a home is quite possibly the largest single purchase anyone will make in their lives. With such a large purchase you want to ensure you do your own homework as well as working with a reputable realtor to find the perfect house to make your home!
Having a home inspector is important, however having a qualified, experienced, licensed and insured technician to inspect the home’s heating, ventilation and cooling system is highly recommended to ensure you are fully informed with the condition of the HVAC and Plumbing system before firming up on your purchase.
The technician will inspect the equipment to ensure they have been properly maintained and are working efficiently. If the tech notices anything which may potentially go wrong or has failed due to normal wear and tear, not having the system maintained or simply due to age; as the buyer, you will know before signing the papers if you may need to invest money on repairing or replacing any part or the entire HVAC system. Typically if there is something serious found with the system this can be negotiated within your purchase for repair, replacement or a credit to the buyer to repair or replace at their discretion after taking possession.
An experienced plumber can inspect the home’s plumbing system to check for any leaks or evidence of previous leaks, water pressure in the toilets and faucets, water softener and if there is a well at the home the plumber can complete a well flow test. If the home has a septic system this is important to know the age, location and maintenance history. The plumber can do a walk around the yard to visually inspect the area around the septic system and weeping bed. Visually walking around the home and looking for any signs or evidence of water leaks can indicate a previous or ongoing plumbing issue. Things to look for are water stains on the walls, ceiling or floor, a musty smell, sagging floors (by a water source – ex kitchen and bathroom), mold or mildew near water sources, cracked or missing caulking in the bathroom around the tub. Toilets which do not flush properly can also indicate a potential problem within the drain lines or within the septic if you have one.
The important factors to look at when buying a home.
1. HVAC and Plumbing – As mentioned above it is highly recommended to have a qualified, licensed, insured and experienced technician inspect your HVAC and Plumbing System. Is the system the proper size for the house, what is the age, is there any warranty, any maintenance records. What are the monthly utilities costs? Could a newer system be more efficient and affordable? Has there been any plumbing repairs? How old is the well or septic? How old is the softener, water heater… Do you require any water treatment? Has a water test been performed to ensure the water is safe to drink and use for bathing, cooking etc.
2. Roof – Look for any missing, curling, broken shingles. Ask the age of the roof, if there is any warranty on the shingles, if the current owners still have the original paperwork.
3. Attic – Take a look up in the attic to see the amount of insulation, any evidence of water damage, if there is any mold or mildew, any evidence of animals in there, holes etc.
4. Basement – Typically if there has been water issues in a home the basement will smell very musty. Look for water spots on the floor, wall, trim, and ceiling. If you have a moisture meter this is a good idea to take with you to check for moisture levels in the basement. Check to see if the current home owners are running a dehumidifier this can be an indication of having dampness or water issues.
5. Septic – Ask the home owner for a diagram of where the septic is located, when it was installed and the last time it was pumped. Typically with home purchases one of the conditions is to have the septic pumped the month prior to closing. When having the septic pumped it is very important for the health of the tank to ensure both the liquids and solids are pumped out. If only the liquid is pumped out, sludge will build up and if not properly monitored could potentially cause a blockage in the outlet to the weeping bed or within the weeping bed.
6. Electrical – Is the home’s electrical system up to date and legal. Many old home’s have smaller panels which must be upgraded to handle the demand of many people and their lives today. This can also pose a safety risk depending on the age of the home if the wiring has never been updated.
7. Exterior, Doors and Windows – Take a walk around the home, is the exterior in good condition, note any damage. Is the grading of the soil around the property sloping away to keep the water away from the home or is there potential for pooling near the foundation. How old are the doors and windows? Note any damage. Open and close the windows and doors.
8. Garage – Is the garage insulated, heated, are the doors insulated, check to ensure the garage door(s) work properly.
Before you buy give us a call at JJ McLellan and Son Plumbing and Heating to complete an HVAC and/or Plumbing inspection on your home purchase. Call us at 1-866-565-5513 or 519-323-2000 or EMAIL US. We are the home comfort people who service what we sell and more!