As summer winds down, the importance of home repair and safety intensifies. Winter is sooner than it may seem, and with only a few months to go before the snow starts falling, now is the time to look around a home and make sure it is in proper condition for the coldest time of year.
Many elements of a property can be affected by cold weather, and it is up to the homeowner to make sure that everything is in great condition. If buying or selling a house, fixing any issues now will save time and money later - as well as speed up a real estate transaction.
Sometimes the concerns are easy to spot, but hidden faults can be missed. A home inspection is an ideal method to find every problems now, before they jeopardize the safety and security of a property.
Prevent pipes from freezing
Running water is necessary for a home, but it can also turn into a giant headache. Damage isn't just caused by a leak, and a frozen pipe can do a lot of harm to a home. Water expands as it freezes, and that can result in a bursting pipe.
This is frequent occurrence during the winter, and homeowners should take the proper precautions to stop frozen pipes from happening. A common misconception is why the pipes fail in the first place, and it isn't directly caused by the frozen section. Instead, water pressure builds up behind this clog, and that increase often puts too much stress on a section, resulting in failure, the Weather Channel noted.
In addition, frozen pipes may depend on where a home is located. Counter-intuitively, warm weather climates can see this condition more often, because homes aren't always built to withstand a drastic temperature shift. Severe winter-weather homes usually have pipes inside the insulation, helping to reduce the likelihood of failure.
Not all well-protected pipes are safe, however, since insulation can wear away and exterior wall holes can allow cold air to enter, according to the Weather Channel. A property inspection can locate potential areas of weakness that should be repaired promptly.
Frozen pipes are avoidable if insulation is maintained and any damaged walls are fixed. Additionally, pipes in attics and crawl spaces are potentially vulnerable, so it may be best to re-route these or design a new home without pipes in these areas.
Finding the right balance of insulation
Keeping a home warm should be a priority in the winter, and one of the first places to check is the insulation. Surprisingly, there is actually something as too much insulation. Adding more than needed might seem ideal for keeping all of that hot air inside during the winter, but it can lead to moisture buildup, mold and air pollution, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
What is the right amount? About a foot or more in the attic, Danny Lipford, host of television show "Today's Homeowner" explained to MSN Real Estate.
"Another thing that does cost a little money - but boy, you do get the money back quick - is adding insulation to the existing insulation in the attic," Lipford told the news source. "Regardless of the climate conditions you live in, in the (U.S.) you need a minimum of 12 inches of insulation in your attic."
How to tell if insulation is needed is to look at the ceiling joists, he added. If they are visible, more is required because a joist is typically 10 or 11 inches.
Using the right amount of insulation in the walls can help during the winter, as well. Any devices, such as an electrical box or outlet, can be an escape point for hot air, according to the Boston Globe. Therefore, use a property inspection to ensure a home is ready for the winter.