One of the most basic projects of home improvement you can undertake is to avoid home deterioration. Things do have a way of wearing down and when they do so it is generally a slow process that you don’t necessarily notice, until, all of a sudden it turns into a rapid process and you have a big problem on your hands. It is a good idea, once every year, perhaps the first long weekend of the spring, to do a thorough review of your home. This Annual DIY home inspection check list provides a useful guide for ensuring that your yearly look at your home covers all the bases. This list is long enough to make it a two part check list. In the first part we looked at the electrical, exterior, plumbing, including bathrooms and laundry and water and septic. In this second part, we cover heating, interior, doors and windows, the attic, garage and kitchen. Each inspection item has a field box for you to make notes on your own inspection needs.
Your Annual DIY Home Inspection Check List
Use a flashlight to check for a buildup of soot or rust in the furnace flue. Tap on it and listen for the sound of falling debris. That likely would be rust. If you find rust, it is a sign of condensation, caused by an inefficient furnace. Brush a solution of dishwashing soap and water onto any ductwork joints. This will enable you to spot leak, as the soap will be bubbling. Inspect registers and vents for loose or missing covers and screws. Inspect for damaged floors around radiators. They could be a sign of a leak or an incorrect pitch toward the return. Look for overall deterioration, rust, loose parts, and other signs of a failing system.
At the end of summer, when the humidity is past, is a good time to check doors for swollen spots that may be causing them to stick. Look for loose hinges and doorknobs. Do a thorough check all your floors. Look for popped nails, loose boards, loose tiles, and springy spots that could be a sign of joist trouble. Inspect ceilings for stains; they could indicate a roof or plumbing leak. Check to see if ceilings or floors are sagging or cracked in places where they weren’t last year. This could be a warning of a bigger problem, if it is caused by a shift in the house. Also, look above doors for cracks. Check walls for popped screws and nails on drywall or new cracks in plaster. With a flashlight, look into the fireplace and up the chimney. Be alert for loose bricks, cracks, signs of animal nests, or excess soot that could spark a chimney fire. Test the damper to ensure it operates properly. Inspect ceiling fans to ensure they’re well secured to the ceiling and not working their way loose. Check the stability of the stair balustrade. Give it a firm jiggle in several spots. Note and attend any spots where balusters and banisters have come loose. Test all your smoke and CO2 detectors. Replace batteries immediately if there’s any malfunction.
Doors and Windows
Check for tears and wear on weatherstripping around exterior doors and windows. Look for cracks in window glass and glazing around panes. Open and close all windows to test for sticking points. Look for peeling paint or any other signs of wear on window frames and stools, usually in the bottom corners. Check that weep holes in the sill outside haven’t become blocked or clogged, inhibiting drainage. Inspect thresholds for cracks that could let water reach the sill.
Inspect the attic in daylight, with the lights off. Look for holes in the roofing that let light in. Look for signs of animal activity or entry points for animals. Are there any gaps around the vents or frayed wiring on fan motors? Use your hands to feel for damp spots on insulation. These could be leaks. Missing or torn insulation could be a sign of animal activity. Examine joists and rafters for structural damage.
Check the action of the garage door and look for dents in the tracks or cracks in the door. Ensure that no tool storage or implement hangings create a falling or tripping hazard.
Test the sink drainage and look for leaks on the faucet. Inspect the cabinet doors and drawers. Do they open and close properly? Check for loose hinges or sticking drawer slides. Turn on the garbage disposal unit, listening for sounds of obstructions or motor problems. Light up all the stove burners. Do they turn on quickly and properly, without sparking or bursts of flame? Ensure gas stoves give off an even blue flame. Check the oven door gasket for signs of wear and tear. Turn on a gas broiler to make sure it lights properly. Test the gas shutoff valve. It should turn until it is perpendicular to the pipe. Open the dishwasher; spin and lift the washer arm by hand. It shouldn’t stick. Check that the drain hose is not dislodged; it should arc up to prevent backwash from the drain into the dishwasher. Inspect for leaks under and around the dishwasher. Check that water filters have been recently changed.
We hope this second part of your annual DIY home inspection check list has been helpful and allows you to keep on top of potential problems from daily wear and tear in the house.