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Louisville Home Inspector’s Summer Home Inspection Checklist

Home inspections aren’t the first thing you think about as you plan your summer activities right?

Now that summer has officially arrived, Louisville homeowners can take a few steps to get all your home maintenance chores in order by inspecting a few key areas around the home.
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A number of our summer maintenance tasks address how your house interacts with your landscaping and the local critters that live in your neighborhood. By ensuring that your your home’s exterior envelope is water free and airtight, you can rest assured – at least one more season – that you have taken the right steps to prevent any needless repairs and save yourself money and headaches.

This summer home maintenance checklist can help you quickly inspect and make required repairs. The tasks are organized to inspect; repair and update many home features to reduce or eliminate the amount of time you need to invest in ongoing maintenance.

First and Foremost, Keep Your Family Safe

Summer safety focuses on cleaning up after summer storm damage and chores related to landscaping?and it’s the ideal time to handle routine maintenance of your well and septic system.

Prevent Storm Damage

  • Inspect?? Identify tree limbs (unhealthy, leaning over house, etc) that may come down during storms. After each storm, make a quick inspection to identify any downed branches and/or damage.
  • Maintain?? Cut down dangerous trees/limbs before they cause damage. Use a tree service for anything that can fall on your home when cut down.
  • Update?? Plant trees based on their full grown height and address how their roots will affect your foundation and/or septic system.
Driveway, Patio & Walkways

  • Inspect?? Hard surface areas for cracks or holes.
  • Maintain?? Repair holes and cracks larger than a hairline with special crack sealant material. Water that seeps into cracks can freeze and cause greater damage to the driveway.
  • Update?? Extend the life of your asphalt driveway with periodic seal coating to protect from damaging sun rays (should be done during warm weather).
Lawn Mowers, Outdoor Grills & More

  • Inspect?? Check mower blades to see if they are sharp enough for another season. Inspect grills before first use.
  • Maintain?? Get your lawn mower serviced (oil libricate moving parts, replace spark plugs, fuel filters, air filters) before it’s time to mow your lawn. Perform routing maintenance on outdoor cooking equipment.
  • Update?? Upgrade to a higher efficiency, more environmentally friendly mower.

Well Water

  • Inspect?? Check water pressure, signs of hard water, calcium buildup and other known problems.
  • Maintain?? Test well water periodically as many contaminants have no taste, odor or color. The?EPA recommends private well water be tested every year. Use a state-certified laboratory.
  • Update???Some well water problems can be solved with water filtration systems.

Septic System

  • Inspect?? Look for signs of septic trouble: odors near the leach field, sewage or wet areas surfacing, house drains flowing slowly, gurgling noises or plumbing backups.
  • Maintain?? Keep trees from growing on or near leach fields. Don’t allow cars to park on top of leach fields and never pave over them. Get your tank pumped out every three to five years, depending on house size and number of people living there.
  • Update?? Ask your septic service provider to give you an assessment of your tank and leach fields on each visit, to plan for any major repairs before they’re needed.

Pests: Termites, Carpenter Ants, Bees, Woodpeckers, Squirrels & Other Critters

  • Inspect?? Look for evidence of carpenter ants, bees nests or termites ? damaged wood, piles of sawdust, termite shelter tubes (used to travel between wet spots). Areas will be wet/damp to attract these pests. Woodpeckers go after pests they can hear in your wood trim and squirrels make homes in attics.
  • Maintain?? Call an exterminator to get rid of pests or animal control for squirrels. Repair damaged wood and caulk cracks/gaps letting water and pests inside your home. Eliminate wood that touches dirt.
  • Update?? Replace wood (food source) with composite materials to reduce pest problems, i.e. my handymen frequently replaced fascia boards on gable ends where woodpeckers kept leaving holes.

Foundation Plants & Mulch

  • Inspect?? Review foundation plants for adequate ventilation. You want good air circulation to insure water evaporates. Check mulch to make sure water is running away from your foundation (6 inch slope for the first 10 feet).
  • Maintain?? Prune shrubs too close to the house and move mulch that may cause problems.
  • Update?? Use shredded rubber mulch or crushed rock if termites are common in your area. These mulch alternatives cost more but last longer, saving you time in the future.

Standing Water

  • Inspect?? Walk around your foundation and yard after an average rain. Identify standing water which needs help draining. Make sure water from downspouts is draining away from the house
  • Maintain?? Downspouts may need french drains buried underground to move water at least 10 feet from your foundation.
  • Update?? If you have excess water, consider planting trees, shrubs or plants that use and thrive with excess water.

Mold, Mildew & Musty Odors

  • Inspect?? Check moist areas inside your home to see if you have a mold problem (review?EPA Guide to Mold, Moisture & Your Home).
  • Maintain?? Mold requires professional cleaning and removing moisture sources (vent bathrooms & dryer vents outside, address moisture in crawl spaces, concrete slabs, etc).
  • Update?? Use a de-humidifier to remove excess moisture. Invest in a humidity tester (available at hardware stores).

Satellite Dishes & Antenna

  • Inspect?? Check satellite dishes and antenna to make sure they’re secure and water tight.
  • Maintain?? Secure and caulk to make sure no water is getting into your home from these openings.
  • Update??Consider more creative solutions to attaching these fixtures.

Central Air Conditioner

  • Inspect?? Check for shrubs and debris around your cooling equipment that reduce air flow and optimal operating efficiency.
  • Maintain?? Change disposable or clean washable furnace filters once a month. Keep air conditioning units clear of weeds, overgrown landscaping and debris (turn power off first). If you didn’t have your air conditioning units serviced in the spring, schedule now.
  • Update?? Monitor utility bills when using air conditioning and research new energy efficient units.

Doors & Windows

  • Inspect??Check doors and windows to make sure they’re air tight when closed. You may also find air leaks around window/door trim where caulking is old, cracked or even missing.
  • Maintain??Replace weatherstripping and/or caulking where you find air leaks.
  • Update??Consider double pane windows to improve the comfort of your home during hot weather.
Window Coverings?
  • Inspect ? Check window treatments and make sure they’re easy to operate to block sunlight. Walk through the house in the morning and see where most of your sunlight is coming in.
  • Maintain ?Add shades, curtains or window tinting to windows that let in the most sunlight.
  • Update ?Consider upgrading to automated (or remote) window coverings to make sure they get used on a regular basis.
Awnings & Shade from Trees

  • Inspect??Identify which rooms are getting too much sunlight indoors, and might benefit from window awnings and/or shade trees.
  • Maintain?? Make sure awnings are secure and shade trees aren’t too close to the house ? trim as needed.
  • Update??Review options for reducing sunlight inside your home. Consider cost, benefits year round and aesthetics, i.e. awnings work well in the back of a house but rarely in the front.

And, remember every quarter – or more often

  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide batteries monthly per the?Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • Change furnace filters and if they’re really dirty, you’ll need to change them more often than once a quarter.
  • Clean humidifiers (especially important in the winter) and change filters per manufacturer instructions.
  • Clean dryer lint trap with each use; Once a quarter, clean vents and behind the dryer to remove lint buildup.
Summer is a great time to look for problems stemming from excess water, moisture and the pests that are attracted to these moist environments. Where moisture levels approach 20% and there is a source of food like wood, the chances of finding mold, carpenter ants or other problems increases.
You will want to address these problems quickly as they can continue for years undetected, that result in costly repairs.
If you have any concerns about your home’s structural safety, mold, termite, or radon, you can visit us for more information.
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