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10-point homeowner’s checklist


Maintaining your home is an ongoing chore. As a home inspector 80% of the defects we find are from deferred maintenance. Hiring a professional can be expensive. Here are 10 areas where a homeowner can perform regular maintenance and save themselves expensive repairs while providing a safer home.

#1 – Downspouts and gutters – Over 80% of basement water issues are related to water infiltration from the outside, especially from spouting problems. Keep your gutters clean and extend your downspouts.




 #2 – Dryer Vent Clean-out – Lint clogged dryer vents are the second leading cause of house fires. Check your exterior vent regularly and clean it out from the exterior vent all the way back to the dryer. A cleaning tool can be purchased or better yet replace the entire pipe if it is very clogged. Avoid sagging vent lines.



Deck handrails on the left are not graspable

#3 – Deck Handrails – Graspable handrails are an important safety issue. Consider older people or parents descending stairs while holding a child and install handrails that can be grasped with the hand. See diagram.




#4 – Know your roof material –  If you know what kind of roof shingles or covering you have you will be able to roughly determine the life of your roof. See the chart for average roof material life spans.






#5 – Electric panel replacement – Electrical panels should be evaluated regularly and replaced when older than 50 years. The date of installation can usually be determined by a inspection sticker on the panel. If you don’t have a sticker hire an electrician to evaluate your panel.




#6 – Gas Line Safety – All CSST gas pipes should be bonded. CSST is a yellow jacketed gas pipe that is vulnerable to leakage in the event of a lightning strike. The potential for serious injury and death is real. If you have yellow gas lines call a professional. Appliance gas connector lines are also yellow but are not dangerous. It is important to know the difference.



#7 – Test electrical outlets – Using a inexpensive electrical socket tester, you can identify wiring issues that may be unsafe. The most common electrical problems inspectors find are outlets that have some sort of wiring problem related to grounding or polarity. A simple tester will show the most common wiring problems. Call an electrician if you discover any of these.




#8 – Water Heater TPR valve and pressure tank – every water heater should have a properly installed and working TPR valve. These valves protect from the risk of dangerous explosion from high water pressure build up in the tank. In addition, most water heaters should have an expansion tank installed. If you are unsure call a licensed plumber to evaluate.



#9 – Smoke alarms & CO detectors – every home should be equipped with smoke alarms and CO detectors. Each municipality enforces different standards. We recommend you become familiar with your local requirements.



#10 – Radon test – Every home should be tested for radon levels regardless of where it is located. Pennsylvania has one of the most serious radon problems in the United States. Approximately 40 percent of Pennsylvania homes have radon levels above Environmental Protection Agency’s action guideline of 4 PCi/L per liter. See here for more information.

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