Whenever you purchase a home, we always recommend having a home inspection performed on the home prior to settlement. In the harsh winter weather, however, there are some unique challenges and even some benefits, when it comes to winter home inspections.
Certified home inspectors are trained to complete thorough inspections, even in the wintertime. Sometimes, though, certain parts of the inspection just have to wait until the ice and snow melts, including the roof, porch or even the home’s foundation if snow is piled up against it. As a homeowner, you can help this process go more smoothly by shoveling the porch or deck, and allowing room for the inspector to check beneath the porch. It’s also helpful to pile any snow away from the side of the home.
Another thing that inspectors carefully consider is frozen pipes. If the pipes are frozen, it can conceal any potential leaks. As a homeowner, it’s especially important to keep your heat on, even if the home is vacant, to prevent any frozen pipes or windows. It’s also a good idea to consider wrapping your hot water pipes in insulation this time of year – it’s a cheap and easy project and you can pick up supplies at your local home improvement store.
And while your home inspector will get a good look at the home’s heating system in the wintertime, unfortunately they won’t be able to get a good read of the home’s air conditioning system – in fact, they could damage the unit if it’s turned on when the weather is below 60. In the summertime, buyers have the opposite problem – they can check out the AC, but not inspect the heating system as easily. Similarly, another benefit of winter home inspections are checking the drafts and insulation. Your inspector will be able to spot where any cold air is entering the home.
If the home has a swimming pool or hot tub, a trained pool inspector can visually assess for any damages or needed repairs – even if the pool is winterized. Unfortunately though, it’s not as helpful as an inspection during the warmer weather when the pool is open. If you own a pool and plan on selling your home during the cooler months, it’s helpful to get your pool pre-inspected by a reputable company prior to closing it for the summer.
If you have any specific questions about home inspections or maintenance during the wintertime, we’d love to help you out. Just give us a call at (215) 699-5555 and we’ll introduce you to an expert in your area.