Seasonal inspections are important, but from the perspective of a homeowner or property manager, pre-winter home inspections are among the most important.
With your help, the property owner can discover any number of problem-causers such as air leaks or bad insulation, potentially mitigating very expensive future repairs.
While many inspectors generate the bulk of their leads and customers through pre-sale inspections, there's little reason to ignore the comparatively wider market of seasonal property inspections. The winter months are coming, and that makes it a great time to either begin offering these kinds of inspections or to review your current practices.
Let's dive right in and take a look at 6 things to look for in your pre-winter home inspections:
#1 - Check The Pipes
Frozen pipes can turn into a plumbing nightmare for property owners, not to mention the inconvenience for residents of going without running water for who knows how long. Inspecting areas likely to freeze over and ensuring that the plumbing has been appropriately winterized can save property owners a huge amount of time and expense.
#2 - Chimneys and Fireplaces
Chimneys and fireplaces (or even wood stoves in some cases) are an excellent inspection service to offer because these areas are prone to leaks and drafts. Some chimneys are made out of sectional pipes, and each section should have its sealant checked. The other areas highly prone to leaks or drafts are connection points between the chimney and fireplace and the section of the roof where the chimney comes through.
#3 - Drafty Windows and Doors
Windows and doors are a huge cause of drafts when not properly sealed or closing incorrectly. Heat transfer can occur as well, causing the property residents to have higher heating bills in the winter. This is a good opportunity to point out problems and suggest winterized, energy-saving alternatives, especially in older properties.
#4 - Ductwork and Dryer Vent Hoses
Ductwork is a huge pre-winter inspection, since ducts are often found in areas where the property owner doesn't regularly look on their own - or at all, such as in attics, crawl spaces, and basements. Remind your clients that improperly sealed ducts can result in wasting anywhere from 10% upwards to 40% of their heating and air output.
Often forgotten (potentially for years) by property owners are dryer vent hoses. They're not terribly easy to access but tend to be put through a great deal of strain, and checking them can improve function of the dryer and prevent drafts or leaks.
#5 - Roofing and Gutters
Begin by thoroughly evaluating the surface of the roof, looking for damaged or missing shingles or tiles. Move on to the sub-surfacing and confirm its structural integrity. Finally, inspect the ventilation system for damage that could lead to drafts or leaks. Some inspectors use specialized equipment to monitor moisture levels to see if they're within the expected margins.
Gutter inspections are no less important, but are unfortunately often an afterthought by property owners. You can explain that malfunctioning gutters are actually putting their roofs at risk, since water and debris buildup can quite easily damage the sub-surfacing or the roofing itself. Look for damage, misalignment, and water buildup.
#6 - Heating System
This is the obvious pre-winter inspection. Providing clients with a thorough inspection and catching any potential problems with the heating system before winter arrives is one of the easiest ways to prove the value of your service, since nobody wants to freeze.
Bonus Tip: Make Your Pre-Winter Home Inspections Even Easier
Don't spend this winter drowning in paperwork. It's time to get organized and make the easy switch to digital inspections. If you're ready to streamline your operations, simplify communication, and increase sales, we invite you to learn more about Simple Inspector.