How Often Should a House Be Inspected?


old house

Many people don’t inspect their homes unless there’s visible damage or the property is about to go on the market. This approach sometimes ends up being very costly. A home inspection could identify could have prevented problems that were visible months ago. This is why it is essential to inspect a house regularly.

Ideally, a certified home inspector should thoroughly inspect a house once a year. Moisture and termites can damage a house very quickly, which is why annual inspections are necessary. A yearly inspection allows you to locate to address problems early. A thorough home inspection every five years is crucial to good home maintenance.

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In short, routine annual home inspections help prevent major issues from developing in the first place. And yes, even new construction homes need yearly inspections.

How often should you inspect a basement or crawl space? You should inspect your basement or crawl space twice a year. Unfinished basements and crawl spaces are often damp spaces that have limited airflow. They are prone to high moisture levels, which attract wood destroying organisms such as termites and mold.

How often should you inspect a house with a concrete slab? If your house has a concrete slab foundation, a home inspection is ideal every one to two years.

A professional home inspection can help you prevent more severe structural damages. The rest of the article will look at what a home inspector can do for you, how to find one, and how often you should get specialized inspections for various aspects of the house.

Still not convinced? Here are 21 Reasons Why You Should Have a Home Inspection.

Who Is a Home Inspector?

Home inspectors are professionals specially trained in unearthing structural problems in a house and reporting them. Many people call them in during the process of a home sale or purchase, but you can also count on them to give you an overview of the state of your house at any time.

How to Find a Home Inspector

You can find a qualified home inspector by taking recommendations from your inner circle. If you can’t get a recommendation, you can search online. Home inspectors are certified in most states.

If you are in a state where certifications don’t apply, you can look for inspectors members of the American Society of Home Inspectors. This way, you can be sure about the professionalism of your home inspector. Don’t forget to vet them thoroughly to choose the inspector with the most relevant experience.

What Do Inspectors Look at During a House Inspection?

A house inspector will thoroughly analyze the physical structure and mechanical systems of your home during an inspection. The examination will scrutinize the following systems:

  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Heating and cooling
  • Insulation
  • Roofing
  • Windows and doors
  • Flooring, walls, and ceiling
  • Basement
  • Attic and crawl spaces
  • Basement

However, you should know that this type of house inspection will only give some insight into your home’s overall condition. The inspectors are generally not equipped to uncover hidden problems such as mold growth, pest infestation, or issues with underground structures like your wells and septic tanks.

These problems require extra inspections by industry professionals. Additionally, you may only need specialized house inspections focusing on specific structures or parts of your home. This is especially true if you got a general inspection in the last five years, at least. The rest of the article will cover these special inspections and how often you should get them.

How Often Should Your House Plumbing Be Inspected?

Generally, you should have your plumbing system inspected by a professional every two years. However, there are scenarios where you can increase the frequency of your plumbing inspections. They include the following:

  • Your house is more than fifty years old. Houses built in the 1960s typically have steel pipes in their plumbing system. These pipes have deteriorated over the years. Therefore, they need regular monitoring to prevent leaks, bursts, and lead from getting into your water supply.
  • You have old trees in the yard. Mature trees often mean extensive root systems that can rupture your underground pipes. Such damages can go undetected for years without professional guidance.
  • You moved to a new house. As you’ve seen above, a general home inspector will not pick out all the underlying plumbing problems in your new home. On the other hand, a plumbing professional can provide in-depth scrutiny and help you avoid plumbing discomfort when you’ve settled in.

What Happens During a Plumbing Inspection?

The plumber will examine your filtration system, supply lines, drains and sinks during a plumbing inspection. A plumber will check toilets, showers, and water taps around the house for any defects. There may also be a video inspection of your underground systems and sewer pipes.

How Long Does It Take?

A plumbing inspection can be completed in less than 45 minutes if there are no problems that can affect the job flow.

How Often Should You Inspect Your House for Termites?

Termite inspections are critical if you want to avoid more severe damage to your home’s structure. Generally, you should bring in a pest control expert every year to inspect your house. However, if you live in areas where pests like termites thrive, you may need to schedule more frequent visits. The pest control professional should offer advice on the regularity of inspections.

During the inspection process, the professional will analyze your home to see if various pests have already established a presence in your house. If they find any evidence, the focus will shift to extermination and ensuring that the pests don’t become a more significant menace.

Termites are often the most difficult pests to deal with, but rats, squirrels, and raccoons can cause serious problems. They can chew through wires and wooden structures, causing structural damages that will cost a lot of money to fix. In some cases, they can damage your home’s insulation leading to a higher energy bill.

Apart from common pests, it is not uncommon to find unwanted (and sometimes dangerous animals) secretly sharing your home with you. The pest inspection should uncover all of them.

What Happens During a Pest Inspection?

The bulk of the process involves watching out for the tell-tale signs of the activities of specific pests around the home. The experts will focus on using these signs to narrow down the site of infestation in your home.

How Long Does It Take?

Your home’s size and the number of rooms to cover will determine the length of time a pest inspection will take. You should expect the process to take a couple of hours.

How Often Should You Inspect Your Roof?

Most professionals recommend having your roof inspected twice a year and immediately following major weather events. The exact spacing will come down to the roofing materials used. Roofs made of wood shakes or shingles will need more regular inspections than those made of tile or metal.

The inspection will generally focus on monitoring the impact of aging on the roof, but in some cases, it can also unearth structural damages caused by severe weather events. Such damages, even when they have started causing problems, can cost you a lot of money in the long run.

What Happens During a Roof Inspection?

If you have hired a thorough professional to inspect your roof, you can expect them to check your roofing system on the inside and the outside. The interior inspection will look at your attic to find any signs of moisture and mold, analyze insulation levels, and check the ventilation level.

On the other hand, the external inspection will check for leaks and ice dams and confirm the condition of your chimney and shingles. 

How Long Does It Take?

Generally, you should expect the roof inspection to be over in under an hour. However, if there are deeper problems, it could take longer. Additionally, your roof’s structure and size can make it a bit harder for the roofing professional to get around quickly or easily. 

Conclusion

Whether you live in a newly built house or one that has seen a few decades already, the importance of regular home inspections cannot be overemphasized. You can call in a general inspector every two years to get an overview of your property’s overall health.

Alternatively, you can focus on the house’s critical systems, such as your plumbing, roofing, and interior woodwork. Don’t forget to get common pests inspections as well—even if you live in a city.

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Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.

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