Preparing for a Home Inspection During Fall and Winter

The fall and winter season can be a beneficial time to have homes and buildings inspected. This is because the colder weather is more conducive to exposing certain problems such as climate control issues and plumbing problems. However, having a hands-off approach to professional inspections can reduce the effectiveness and increase the length of the building inspection. Building owners and residents can perform a variety of tasks that will ensure that a professional inspection during the fall and winter months is successful.

Monitor the Roof

Building owners and residents who are concerned about their safety should hire a professional inspector instead of placing themselves in potential danger. However, building owners and residents who are comfortable examining their roofs should look for telltale signs of damage such as cracked or missing shingles. The existence of bare patches on the roof can mean weakened or damaged installation as well as the threat of acting as a catalyst for additional roof damage. Snow-covered roofs can hide warning signs, so building owners and residents that wish to examine their own roofs before calling an inspector should arrange to have the snow removed prior to the examination.

Analyze the HVAC System

Surprisingly, winter months are a great time to have HVAC systems inspected. Setting an HVAC system to heat the house can help building owners and residents detect drafts or areas that the HVAC system does not properly heat. However, it is not advised to perform do-it-yourself inspections on air conditioning units during winter months; low external temperatures can amplify air conditioning problems such as damaged or deteriorated parts.

Be Cautious with Plumbing

Cold temperatures during the fall and winter can make backups and blockages in plumbing easy to detect. However, frozen pipes can be far more difficult to identify, and heavy use on frozen pipes can cause quick, severe damage. Building owners and residents are advised to err on the side of caution and contact an inspector at the first sign of plumbing problems, especially when the external temperature is below the freezing point of water.

Visually Inspect the Foundations and Drainage

The presence of snow can complicate visual inspections, but removing the snow can be worthwhile to detect early signs of problems. Bowing walls, uneven floors and surfaces, and drainage problems are symptoms of settling or damaged foundations; building owners should contact a professional inspector as soon as they see any of these warning signs.

Check the Electrical Panel

Untrained inspections of electrical systems can cause serious injury or death. However, there are small tasks that building owners and residents of any skill level can perform. Checking the main electrical panel, visually inspecting visible wires for signs of wear or damage, and verifying that the electricity is on for foreclosed or abandoned homes are all tasks that building owners can perform before contacting a professional inspector.

Remove Obstructions and Risks for the Professional Inspector

Building owners who hire an inspector during the fall and winter months can perform several tasks that will reduce the time and effort (as well as the cost and the potential for a rescheduling) involved in an inspection. Arranging to have snow removed from the roof prior to the inspection will increase the chances of the inspector detecting problems. Clearing sidewalks, driveways, and walkways not only increases the visibility of potential problems, it also helps the inspector remain safe during the inspection. Removing ice from windows will prevent false positives and potential rescheduling.

Keystone Home Inspection provides year-round inspections for homeowners in Lake County, Geauga County, and Cuyahoga County. In addition, our website’s blog provides helpful information for building owners, including maintenance tips for the fall and winter seasons. To learn more about our services during colder weather, please feel free to contact us by phone at 216-469-8600, via email at, or by filling out our online contact form.

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