Home Inspection Checklist in Loudoun
Nothing lasts forever. This adage is particularly true of components and structures in a house. Anyone who has ever had to replace an aging furnace on the coldest day of the winter or swap out a struggling A/C unit in the middle of July understands that time can be a home’s greatest enemy. While regular maintenance will delay the inevitable, the ravages of aging always win out in the end—and there’s little you can do to stop it.
In last week’s blog post, we addressed a few of the most common areas in a home that succumb to the effects of aging (roofing, water heaters, and HVAC equipment), but we only scratched the surface of this important topic. Hiring a certified home inspector, like those at A-Pro Home Inspection Loudoun, is an important step in getting a fuller picture of what you can anticipate in terms of repair and replacement costs down the road—especially if you’ve found that charming century home you’ve always dreamed of. What home-shoppers often learn is that charm doesn’t matter when it’s fifteen below and there’s no heat.
Why is age a significant factor when assessing systems in a home? Let’s look at the heating system. A furnace may run fine when operated during the inspection, but the age of the unit may indicate that its useful life is on the downward slide. As an unbiased professional evaluating a home, a trained and experienced home inspector delivers straight talk and a promptly delivered inspection report that lets potential homebuyers make an informed decision about their purchases—from someone who has assessed hundreds of homes in the market and understands the life spans of a wide range of materials and equipment.
Today, we’ll be expanding our home inspection checklist of aging-related defects to include a look at garage doors and garage door openers.
Garage Doors: Like an athlete doing squats every day to stay limber, a garage door gets a daily up-and-down workout, causing possible damage over time. Depending on usage, quality, maintenance, and climate, the average life span of a garage door ranges from 15 to 30 years. Garage door openers are expected to last anywhere from 10 to 15 years.
Having a properly functioning garage door is more than a matter of convenience and security. In many cases, it can be a matter of life and death. Garage doors account for close to 30,000 home injuries a year, everything from broken fingers to fatalities caused by the heavy-weighted structure crashing down on its victim. Because of these hazards, your inspector will provide a visual and operational evaluation of the door. This will include operating the door to make sure it moves freely and does not open or close too rapidly or with difficulty. Please note that home inspectors may choose not to operate the door if they notice track mounting and bracing defects that could cause the door to fall on individuals and/or vehicles.
Further, the inspector will check for the presence and proper function of the emergency manual release handle, which can be employed when someone is pinned beneath the door; cracks and dents in door-panels; proper warning labels; correctly placed and secured brackets; properly installed roller shafts; presence of extension spring containment cables in older doors; and an activation switch installed at a height that is out of reach of small children. Of perhaps greatest importance is the garage door’s automatic reverse system that changes the direction of the door once it has contacted an object.
After safely testing this system, the inspector will indicate in the report if it is working or not. The inspector will also check the garage’s secondary automatic reverse devices such as photoelectric eyes and electric safety edges. A faulty automatic reverse system may be remedied by a simple repair from a garage door technician or it may need to be replaced. Either way, your inspector will point out if it is presently defective.
There may be several reasons why an automatic garage door opener is not be working, including dead batteries, something blocking the signal from reaching the sensor (e.g., dirt), or a unit that needs to be replaced. The Home Inspector in Loudoun will indicate whether the device is working properly or not.