A traditional home inspection is done when a potential purchaser puts an offer in on a home. The offer is often conditional upon a number of items, one of which is usually a home inspection. The purpose of that home inspection is to educate the buyer about the home they want to purchase. Are there any big deficiencies that are going to cost a lot to repair? Are they any structural, electrical or plumbing issues that might make the buyer rescind his offer to purchase? Although it’s not its intended purpose, the results of a home inspection are sometimes used to refine the selling price of the home.
However a home inspection is so much more than that and serves a great purpose for home owners who are planning on staying in their home for any length of time. We will explore the benefits of a home maintenance inspection and explain how this inexpensive inspection can save you thousands of dollars overall.
We’ve come to call this type of inspection a Home Maintenance Inspection and our clients find these even more valuable than the ones we do when clients are buying a home. These Home Maintenance Inspections help you find the small problems in your home before they become big ones. By doing a thorough inspection of the interior and exterior of your home, your home inspection can provide you with the information you need to fix the issues when they are small.
How our Clients Benefited from Their Inspection
We did a Home Maintenance home inspection in the fall of 2018 for one of our clients in Oshawa. We had just finished renovating their bathroom and found some serious electrical issues in their bathroom that needed to be addressed before we could proceed with the renovation. They started to wonder if there were other issues in their home that they weren’t aware of so they hired us to do a Home Maintenance Inspection of their whole house.
Several small problems were discovered that were just maintenance issues and things we showed them how to fix within the next 6 months. However, during our exterior inspection, we went in between their house and the neighbour to check out the brickwork and foundation. This was an area our clients hadn’t even walked through in over 10 years. It was a narrow passageway and it was blocked by a gate at the front and back. No one ever went there.
What we found was a long crack that went straight through the brick. As their’s was an older home, the brick on their home is structural so this was a structural crack. Because it hadn’t been addressed for years, water, snow, ice and other weather elements had penetrated through the crack and water damage had already occurred on the interior side of this crack. The clients weren’t aware of it because their basement was finished and they never walked along this side of the house. Our moisture meter picked up on the moisture on the interior of the home.
Our clients were able to hire the right professionals to come in and deal with the issues outside while we did the necessary repairs inside. The crack had become so severe that had our clients not addressed it in the fall, they might have had significant flooding during the winter with the cold and then warm spells we experienced. By spending just under $1000 last fall, they potentially saved themselves over $7000 in damage during the winter.
Another nightmare: Insurance Companies
We first met a long time client of ours when they had a huge flood in their basement right after Christmas. They went down into the basement on Boxing Day and found 5” of water in their basement. Although they called their insurance company right away, the insurance company refused to pay for any of the damage. It was discovered that the cause of the leak was several hairline cracks in the foundation wall. These are cracks that are the size of a pencil tip.
Our soon to be clients were furious! Why would the insurance company refuse to cover the damage and repairs just because of a few hairline cracks?!! Well our clients found out that routine maintenance is expected to be done to a home and repairing hairline cracks is one of those home maintenance issues that they were expected to fill and parge on a regular basis. Consequently although they had been with this insurance company for over 15 years and regularly paid their premiums, none of the damage was covered.
That’s how we met our clients. We were one of three companies they called in to provide them with quotes to get the damage fixed. Between the repairs to the foundation walls and the interior repairs (their basement was fully finished and furnished), the cost was over $12,000…and that was in 2001! Had our clients spent about $300 every 3-4 years to look after those hairline cracks, they wouldn’t have had such a high repair bill…actually they wouldn’t have had the damage in the first place and could have saved themselves a lot of frustration and aggravation!
Keeping Your Family Safe
On another Home Maintenance Inspection we performed 4 months ago, we removed a cover plate from a receptacle and found the insulation on the wires to be melted. Closer inspection revealed that although the wires were aluminum, there were hooked up to a copper rated receptacle. This is a very dangerous situation!
It was obvious that the receptacle had not been installed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor. The melted insulation was just the beginning. Since we had found one serious issue, we then proceeded to open up every switch and receptacle in the home. All of them were the same and some even had evidence of sparking already. Had we not found the problems when we did, this would have lead to a fire. Our clients have 4 small children under the age of 12. This Home Maintenance Inspection potentially saved the lives of this family!
Finding a Small Leak Before it Becomes a Big One
Home Maintenance Inspections can also reveal plumbing issues in your home. We met our now very loyal client when she hired a handyman to do some work in her kitchen and bathroom. She started noticing a slight sewer smell in her home. A friend referred her to Multi Trade Building Services as she knew we had two Licensed Plumbers on staff.
During the initial meeting, we noticed that the drainage pipe under the kitchen sink was incorrectly installed. An S trap was installed instead of the Plumbing Code compliant P trap. In additional, there was backfall on the ABS pipe. What all of this meant is that as she would flush things down the drain, they would essentially back up and not be going down the drain effectively. The backfall meant the drain was sloping in the wrong direction and the S trap created a syphon action making the matters worse. This could have been the cause of her sewer smell.
However, finding out the issues with some of the work her handyman did, she decided to have a Home Maintenance Inspection done to have the rest of his work and her home checked. The handyman also replaced her ensuite shower. Unfortunately our moisture meter revealed significant moisture behind the walls of the tile. She hadn’t used her shower for 2 days so it wasn’t residual moisture from the morning shower. We also noticed mold starting to form on all of the caulking around the shower. Doing a more thorough inspection, we noticed tiny hairline cracks in over 80% of the grout. As her shower had been replaced by the handyman over 7 months ago, water had been penetrating through those tiny cracks and into the wall behind the tiles. She asked us to remove the tiles right there so we could have a closer look at the potential damage. The first thing we noticed is that the tiles were installed on regular drywall instead of concrete board. The drywall was a moldy, mushy mess! On top of that we also detected a small active leak in the supply lines to the shower head.
Unfortunately the lesson learned here is that although the new tiles on her shower looked beautiful, that famous Ben Franklin quote rings true:
The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten
Although it was going to cost our client some money to fix the mistakes of the handyman (she is still fighting him to get him to pay for the repairs!), she is very grateful that she got the Home Maintenance Inspection done so she could have a safe home to live in.
Our Home Maintenance Inspection may cost you a little upfront but overall they can save you thousands of dollars or even potentially save a life if a significant hazard is discovered. Your safety is so important to us and because of that we are offering you a discount on the cost of our Home Maintenance Inspection. Our regular price of our inspection is $400 but if you mention reading this blog post, you will receive your inspection at 25% off which reduces the price to $300. The inspection is completed by Paul Kacaba who is a Master Electrician, Licensed Plumber, Certified Home Inspector and a Mechanical Foreman. Your home inspection will include your roof and the entire exterior of your home. Your basement and all rooms of your home will be fully inspected including water tests on all sinks and your electrical panel opened up to be inspected. Your written report will include all deficiencies found as well as any maintenance issues that should be addressed on a regular basis.
If you live in Durham Region or Clarington and would like to take advantage of our Home Maintenance Inspection, click the button below to connect with us. Don’t forget to mention reading this blog post to get 25% off.