This week, I did a home inspection on a home in Windsor that has a crawl space. Although it's not my favourite place to be, I always go into the crawl space...from one end to the other. I'd do it for a home I'm inspecting for my daughter or son, so naturally I do it for all my clients. Why do I stress this? Because not all home inspectors go into the crawl space and if they do, they don't inspect the ENTIRE area. I guess that can be said about plumbers too...read on and you'll find out why.
During this home inspection, I found a leak in a pipe and it wasn't just an occasional drip. I reported it to my client (the home buyer) and the Realtor who were in attendance. Later that day, I got a call from the Realtor stating that the home owner had a plumber check all the pipes in the crawl space and he couldn't find the leak.
Dumbfounded that a licensed plumber could not find the leak, I asked whether he went to the complete opposite end of the crawl space (in this case it was the south wall). Apparently the plumber had not ventured into that area of the crawl space and therefore did not see the leak!
Is it important for a building inspector to check the whole crawl space during a home inspection? You bet it is! In addition to the leak, I found a cracked floor joist amongst other things as well. My client was quite happy with my findings during this home inspection and at the end of the day, so was the home owner because now their water bill will go down and their crawl space will start to dry up.
Statistics show that we've had the 4th wettest April since they began keeping records back in 1940! This is affecting everyone from farmers to my grandson's soccer team! They've had more cancelled games this year than ever before.
Homeowners have also been affected by all this rain and that is why the City of Windsor and some local municipalities have opted to offer their residents subsidies for installing sump pumps, back-water valves and for disconnecting their downspouts from the storm drain.
I have personally taken advantage of this generous offer and the process was very smooth and easy. However, I always stress to my clients while I'm doing their home inspection that water control around a home is crucial. 80% of water intrusion can be controlled by the home owner.
Yet, I hear of many people who experience water in their home and they turn to a water-proofing company instead of managing the water around their home which is much less costly and relatively easy.
During a home inspection, I explain to my clients that properly-aligned eaves troughs and keeping the troughs clear of debris is crucial. If you have trees near your home, you might want to consider installing leaf guards.
The water run-off from downspouts should be directed at least 6 to 8 feet away from your home. I am always surprised during a home inspection how often I see downspouts with those little cement pads and all that water is collecting in one spot at the foundation. No wonder the homeowner has water penetration issues!
The grade around the home is often a neglected aspect in water control. During the home inspection, we walk around the home while carefully examining the grade and keeping an eye out for dips around the home as well as improper material such as gravel which just allows the water to accumulate at the foundation and not shed away from the home. I often see sidewalks, patios and driveways slope towards the foundation and that is just inviting the water to gather at the foundation and find its way into the home.
I can't help but shake my head when I'm inspecting homes and I see the sump pump drain just outside the foundation. So, this means that all the water that is being collected from around the home and into the sump pit is now being discharged to one area at the foundation. That makes no sense at all.
So, you can now see how simple water control measures at the exterior of the home can help deter water from penetrating into your basement or crawl space. During a full home inspection, we discuss these, along with other measures such as window wells etc. and my clients are often baffled by the fact that they had never thought of these little things which can cause major issues in the long run.
So, you can either sing Rain, Rain, Go Away, Come Again Another Day or Somwhere Over The Rainbow....it's up to you!
I've come across a lot of interesting tidbits of information during my 25 year career as a home inspector. I've been told that I'm pretty meticulous and a good 'teacher', so hopefully you'll find some interesting information here..