charleston affordable housingSpring is typically the time of year that homeowners get the itch to do a little cleaning and home repair. Keeping your home affordable means preventing major repairs before they occur and ensuring you’re saving as much as you can on energy and other utility costs. Performing an annual inspection of your home can help!

If you have some time this weekend, consider performing a DIY home inspection. You might end up calling in a “professional” to help fix a few things, but in many cases, you’ll be able to handle minor repairs yourself.

Here’s a great checklist for a DIY home inspection from the experts at Popular Mechanics:

 

Outside:

Bad shingles: Use a ladder or binoculars to check asphalt shingles for curling, blistering or other signs of wear.

Fix it now: Control ugly and roof-damaging algae, fungus and mold by installing zinc strips along the ridge and cleaning the roof with bleach and water, as they suggest at This Old House.
Gaps around doors: Uneven spaces around doors and windows can indicate shifting of the foundation.

Clogged gutters: Leaves and sticks collect in your gutters and keep them from working properly. Clogs also are great places for things to grow, bugs to live and for water damage to occur on the eaves of your house. Here’s a great “How to” for cleaning your gutters.

Pushy plants: Branches can form a bridge to the attic for squirrels, raccoons and other critters. Overgrown shrubbery near the house encourages mildew to grow on siding — and can conceal human intruders.

Cracked caulk: The sealant around doors and windows is vital in keeping water out.

Peeling paint: It not only looks bad, but deteriorated paint also exposes wooden siding to weather damage.

The Attic

Truss trouble: Any tampering with an engineered roof truss compromises its strength and can create a dangerous condition. If you notice that truss elements have been cut by a previous homeowner to make more headroom, call a structural engineer–this is serious.

Leaky roof: For this one, you’ll need to wait for a great downpour. While it’s raining, climb into the attic to look for leaking around chimneys, plumbing stacks, vents and skylights. Scan the underside of the sheathing for water stains.

Overused insulation: Batts that cover recessed lighting fixtures are a fire hazard, unless the fixture is “IC” rated. And blocking soffit vents can drive up energy and repair costs. For good airflow, pull batts off soffit vents.
Heat-leaking stairs: Are pull-down stairs letting heat into the attic? Turn on the attic light, close the steps and look up to check for a loose fit.

Living Spaces

Shaky throne: A toilet that wobbles can break the wax ring at its base, leading to major water damage.

Misdirected vents: Dryer vents should exit the building envelope, not lead into a basement, garage or attic.

Overworked wiring: Bathrooms in older homes are notoriously ill-equipped for the power demands of hair dryers and other modern gadgets, leading to flickering lights, tripped circuits or even dangerous overheating. At a minimum, a bathroom should have a dedicated 15-amp circuit.
Moisture buildup: Mildew and peeling wallpaper indicate poor bathroom ventilation. Make sure the exhaust duct leads outside. Also, the CFM rating listed on the fan should at least equal the square footage of the bathroom.

Stuck doors and windows: Jamming can point to whole-house shifting.

Water stains: Don’t mask brown stains on ceilings or walls with primer until you find the cause.

Faulty grout: Shower leaks can lead to rot in studs and wallboard.

Fix it now: If the grout’s showing its age, clean it thoroughly before replacing it, then apply sealer.
Loose railings: Tug on stairwell railings to make sure they are firmly attached to the wall and floor.
If you have a basement, visit our friends at Popular Mechanics for a DIY inspection list and other DIY inspection tips.

 

Let us know if you do a DIY home inspection and what you find? We bet you’ll be glad you did it!