When you hire a professional home inspector he should give you some routine home maintenance tips. When you buy a new home there may be maintenance items you are not used to doing and your home inspector can help you so that you can reduce the chance of costly repairs in the future.
One of the most common problems home inspectors find is water damage. The guidance offered by your inspector can help you stop one of the main causes of water problems.
The gutters and downspouts on your new home must be installed and located properly and they must also be maintained.
Gutter downspout extensions can route the water away from your home. But they can also cause water to pour into the basement or crawlspace of your home if not located correctly. If the water goes right alongside your foundation it is likely to get into your basement or crawlspace.
Downspouts should be installed so that the water is dispensed at least five feet away from the foundation of your home. If that is not happening your inspector should point it out to you. And you should take action to relocate the water discharge.
Installing gutter extensions will route that water out and away from your foundation. This will be a huge help. Check to see where the water flows to and that no backup of water will occur during a heavy rain storm.
If the downspout runs into an underground pipe but there is still a water problem you might have a damaged underground discharge pipe. It is possible that the pipe is allowing water to escape right along the foundation. Of course, that is exactly where you do not want the water.
Here is the easiest way to check and see if the underground pipe is part of the problem. Disconnect the downspout from the pipe. Add a five foot extension to the downspout. This allows the water to discharge further from the foundation and above ground. See if this resolves the issue of water in the crawlspace or basement. If it does, then the underground pipe was the problem.
If the underground discharge pipe is the problem, or at least part of the problem, it must be dug up and repaired or replaced. The other option is to leave the extension in place and not use the underground pipe anymore.
The home inspector should report on how clean the gutters and downspouts are. Cleaning gutters is one of life’s unpleasant chores when you own a home. The gutters must be cleaned regularly to ensure the proper flow of water. If not the water can backup and cause damage to the home.
A trowel or garden space can be used to scoop out the junk that accumulates in the gutters. Also make sure the downspouts are clear and free of obstructions.
Put a house into the downspout and turn it on. Check the flow of the downspout. If it is clogged, pack rags around the hose inside the downspout. Turn the hose on full blast. That may remove the clog. If not, a plumbing snake can be used to clear the clog. After the clog has been cleared recheck the downspout using a hose.
Finally flush the gutter and downspout with the hose. Place the hose at the farthest section of the gutter away from the downspout. Perform this task with each gutter and downspout.
Water from your gutters can cause damage in your crawlspace or basement. It can also cause damage to the home between the gutter and the exterior surface of the home. This damage is avoidable if the gutters and downspouts are properly maintained. A clean gutter system and downspout extensions that release water at least five feet away from the home can eliminate a major source of water problems.
When you are buying a home make sure your home inspector will examine the gutters and downspouts as part of the home inspection process.