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Home Buyers Guide to Inspections

   Air Conditioning
   Heat/Fireplace
   Roof

Air Conditioning

Caution! Do not turn on air conditioner if it has been below 60°F degrees in the last 24 hours. It could destroy the compressor. Have the owner run it for you if the weather is suitable. Does it cool? Is either the interior or exterior cabinet damaged? The outside unit needs room to "breath." Is it blocked by shrubs or possessions? Check to see if there is a filter because they are essential to air conditioners.

Heating/Fireplace

Have the owner run the hear for you. Do not turn on a Heat pump in the heat mode if it's above 75°F degrees outside. It may damage the unit. As with the other systems of the house, if there is no power or fuel, be suspicious. Look for soot, heat damage, rust, or physical damage to the equipment. Are there dangling or damaged controls or obvious amateur repairs? Is the system old or antiquated? With all air systems check for damaged ducts and missing filters. Oil fired systems usually have an underground tank that may leak with age.

Are the bricks in the fireplace loose or the mortar damaged? Soot up the face of the fireplace may indicate that it does not draw well. Look for cracks in the brickwork that might allow fire to escape. If there's a wood stove or insert you won't be able to see inside the fireplace or flue. Have it checked before closing. Look for weather damage to the chimney.

Roofs protect the structure. A good roof inspection is needed because of the many areas problems may occur.

Roof

If the roof leaks the house will be damaged. Look at it from the ground or out the windows. Walking the roof is dangerous and may damage the roofing. If you can't see it, be suspicious. Asphalt shingles cupping or curling, and missing shingles or slates tell you the roof is aging or damaged. Tar on the roof or flashings may mean poor workmanship on repairs. Rust on metal roofing or flashings is not good. If the paint on the metal is flaking or peeling it is failing. Look for stained or rotted wood in the attic and stains on ceilings. These stains indicate either an active leak or one that has been possibly repaired.

Continue in the Home Buyers Guide to Inspections in the following sections:

Interior, Electrical, Plumbing, Site Drainage
Exterior, Foundation/Basement/Structure, Insulation, Water Problems

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