Maintaining the home’s HVAC system is vital to keep it running efficiently and holding down energy costs. But is cleaning out the ductwork part of that strategy? It may surprise some homeowners and a few home inspectors to learn that the answer is a firm “maybe, maybe not.” Having the ductwork professionally cleaned may be an appropriate course of action if the system has been contaminated by moisture or mold, but, absent these issues, it may create more issues than it solves. A general amount of airborne dust in a home is normal; homeowners shouldn’t try to fix a problem that doesn’t exist. But before making any recommendations to your clients, read more about it in our six-part article series: The Home Inspector’s Guide to Air Duct Cleaning.
Although home inspectors are considered generalists and are discouraged from quoting code in their inspection reports, it’s always a good idea to be familiar with the latest requirements, especially regarding residential electrical systems. Read this primer for some updates in the 2015 International Residential Code (IRC): Inspecting GFCI and AFCI Protection.
Energy efficiency is now a major consideration for new home construction, but even older homes without state-of-the-art appliances can benefit from being retrofitted, either entirely or via certain components. Inspectors should be aware of these options, as well as the many configurations and multiple uses of heating appliances, by reading Inspecting Gas-Fired Boilers.
The majority of new home construction is deadline-driven, which means that, sometimes, minor but essential work may be performed haphazardly or not at all. This is especially true of sealing around exhaust fans and ductwork. If the opening cut for the installation of the fan box or duct leaves large gaps around the unit, air can escape into unconditioned spaces and create airflow and moisture problems that don’t reveal themselves until they become critical. Proper installation at the outset can help prevent such issues. Inspectors can read more about them in Inspecting for Air Sealing at Kitchen and Bathroom Exhaust Fans.
Inspectors who inspect homes that are being built or retrofitted with newer HVAC systems should know something about ductwork and air returns. Making sure that airflow and return air are being moved through the system properly is vital for energy efficiency and comfort. Read more in Inspecting Ducted Returns.
Cooling is essential for homes in regions that experience hot weather. And it’s vital to get the right installation and balance for homes in climates that are particularly humid. Find out more by reading Inspecting Whole-House Dehumidification Systems.
New homes are being built to be more airtight and energy-efficient. That’s why it’s more important than ever to make sure that their cooling systems are properly sized and installed. Whether your clients are in the process of building their home, or you’re inspecting their existing home, don’t let them waste money or energy. Read up on some helpful tips in Inspecting Compression Cooling Systems.
Insulation can help regulate temperature, ventilation and moisture control in crawlspaces. Read about some important installation guidelines and inspection tips in Inspecting Insulation of Existing Crawlspace Floors.
Moisture intrusion is one of the most serious problems a home can experience. It can lead to rapid deterioration of many structural components. Home inspectors can familiarize themselves with the best practices for installing some basic roof components that will help prevent water damage by reading Inspecting Step and Kick-Out Flashing at Roof-Wall Intersections.
In partnership with The Home Depot, InterNACHI is pleased to present an article for DIY-ers who need some pointers on replacing the grout on their tile walls and floors to keep them water-resistant and looking new. Home inspectors can post this new article on their website: How to Re-Grout Ceramic Tile.