NORTH GEORGIA HOME INSPECTION- TIPS FOR HOME BUYERS
These are the issues that keep popping up on the “most reported list” in our inspection reports:
- If you are on a well water system, an inline sediment filter and a lightning arrester at the pump switch are advised. Very often we find pressure tanks that are too small for the number of fixtures in a house. A small pressure tank is adequate for 7 fixtures, typically a 1 bath house. For more than 7 fixtures a larger pressure tank is recommended as it will save wear on the pump and also cut down on your electric usage. If you have “yuck” water, visit the Solutions Page.
- Winterization of water pipes for extended non occupancy. I have found that it is not so much the freezing of the water that breaks the pipes, it is the thawing of the ice in the pipes. I have found the following routine helpful in preventing busted water pipes.
- Turn water off at main water valve if on public or community water, and turn off water heater at panel breaker if electric or at gas valve for a gas heater. If a well system, turn power off to pump at the breaker in the panel box. Usually there is a spigot at the front of the pressure tank for the well and this needs to be drained to outside with a hose so bladder tank completely drains, and left open. If you have a filter on the well system, the bowl of the filter needs to be removed and left off. Put a container under filter head because water will drain back through this from the house plumbing when you open the fixture spigots.
- Flush all toilets.
- Open ALL spigots inside and out, and leave open. Open sprayer wand on kitchen sink to releave any water in that pipe. Check shower plungers to make sure no water remains in shower pipe.
- Use RV camper anti freeze (pink stuff, non toxic), 1 cup in each toilet bowl and tank, 1 cup in each drain pipe.
- If you are on septic system, be careful what you put down the drain. No sanitary napkins or paper diapers, no condoms, grease, egg shells, or coffee grounds. No rooted plants growing in the drain field area. No heavy single axle vehicle in the absorption field. We recommend the use of the product Ridex, a septic cleaning and stabilizing agent.
- Metal roofs make noises due to moisture under metal, contraction/expansion due to heat and sun, causing metal movement. If attachment screws work loose because of this movement, usually on the first two horizontal screw lines, they need to be replaced with longer screws.
- Wood burning fireplace needs dry hardwood firewood, no pine. An annual chimney sweep should be done to remove creosote. This should be done by a professional sweeper. If you don’t have an outside air source on your fireplace, it is advisable to crack open a window close to the fireplace for combustion air for the fire. Don’t forget to close your damper when there is no active fire to retain the heat inside the house rather than allowing it to escape out the chimney.
- Liquid petroleum gas (LPGAS) tanks are usually leased tanks which you will have to assume the lease on or find a new supplier. Least expensive time to buy this gas is late July and August. The colder it gets, the higher the price of the gas. If you are getting low on gas, you may notice a “rotten egg” smell in the house.
- Gas furnace and gas hot water heaters, see above for screen cover on outside pipes to prevent “critter entry” which will stop up the systems.
- Electric heat pump furnace systems need REGULAR filter replacement. When the blue light comes on your thermostat, it indicates that the back up heat strips is working. The Emergency (emht) heat setting will show a red light on the thermostat and this is total resistance heat which is expensive heat. It’s best to set the temperature at 68 degrees on regular heat and leave the thermostat alone. If you have a new house with back filled dirt around your foundation, this dirt will settle and your outside unit may become unlevel. Outside units should be LEVEL.
- Liquid petroleum Gas logs are hard to light if the pilot has been off due to moisture collecting in the lines. Our advice is to leave the pilot light on, since it doesn’t use that much fuel.
- Vapor barrier of 6 mil. black polyethylene total ground cover in the crawl space is advised to prevent ground moisture in the area which will lead to mildew on your sub floor.
- CARPENTER BEES. You have them if you’ve got exposed wood. They are big and black. The female has a yellow strip around the body. She stings. She bores holes, lots of holes, and deposits eggs. The other carpenter bees flying around her are keeper bees. They don’t sting. So I have tried all of the usual cures. I’ve done the bee dust with the exterminators..Effective, but doesn’t last long. I’ve done the bee spray, and used hundreds of cans. Effective, but I have to be there all the time, and I’m not 20 feet tall. I’ve used the bee basher tennis racket. Effective, but you usually have to step on the bee as they are only stunned. Wildest cure was a man I met in Union County, Georgia shooting at them with a muzzleloader with no shot. The concussion was killing them. All of that is over. I’ve found the BeeMinator, a carpenter bee trap. It’s been tested for the past few months at four locations in North Georgia. It really works. For me has worked extremely well. Requires no bait, and simple to install, and will last for years. You need 2 of these, one on each of the sun side corners of your structure. We are now supplying BeeMinators. They can be picked up locally or fit in a USPO mailer. You can email or call me for further details.
- Mildew of the exterior siding. The garden sprayer is your new best friend with 100% bleach solution. Remember to WASH up, let sit for a while, then RINSE down. Washing down will streak the siding.