The Top 10 Most Common Problems Found By Home Inspection Services

The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) surveyed their members to learn the most common problems found in the homes they had inspected. Does your home suffer from any of these common household problems?

1. Improper Surface Grading and Drainage (35.8%)

By far the most common home inspection problem (35.8%) found from the society of home inspectors was the improper grading of the ground around the home. Responsible for many common household issues including cracked concrete slabs and water in the basement or crawl spaces, poor and uneven grading can be corrected by re-grading the ground around the house. Depending on the severity of the problem, other remedies could include installing a french drain, or repairing or installing gutters and a downspout system to provide the proper drainage away from the home’s foundation.

poor grading of the ground around the home causes damage to slabs and foundations from poor water drainage -HelpHouse.com

Home inspection service companies reported poor grading of the ground around the home was the biggest problem they found, causing damage to slabs and foundations from poor water drainage.

2. Improper Electrical Wiring (19.9%)

Insufficient electrical service to the house, inadequate overload protection, improper grounding and amateurish wiring connections were reported in about 20% of home inspectors reports. Much of the improper wiring reported was caused from do-it-yourselfers.

old circuit breaker panel need updating - HelpHouse.com

Insufficient or inadequate electrical service to the house was reported in about 20% of home inspections.

A dangerous safety hazard, if your home suffers from any type of electrical problem from improper wiring or other unknown electricity issues, call a qualified professional electrical contractor near you.

3. Roof Damage

Older and damaged roofing shingles or improper roof flashing was third most frequently reported home inspection problem (8.5%). Since most asphalt roofing shingles are only warranted for about 15-20 years, unless old shingles are re-roofed or repaired when the damage is visible every home can suffer from roof leaks.

Older and damaged roofing shingles or improper roof flashing was third most frequently reported home insepction problem

Older and damaged roofing shingles or improper roof flashing is third most frequently reported home inspection problem.

4. Old and Inefficient Heating Systems

Broken or malfunctioning operation controls, blocked chimneys and unsafe exhaust flues and cracked heat exchangers ranked fourth, representing more than simply an inefficient heating system. A major health and safety hazard, heating systems should be serviced annually by a professional heating contractor.

Home heating system should be serviced annually

An old, inefficient heating system should be serviced annually by a knowledgeable homeowner or a professional heating contractor, but a new and more efficient heating system could pay for itself in a few years.

If your home has an older heating system, investing in a newer and more efficient central heating system could eventually recoup your investment by reducing your heating and cooling costs in the future, and at the same time keeping your home safer.

5. Poor Overall Maintenance

Dirty, cracked or peeling painted surfaces, crumbling masonry, make-shift plumbing or wiring repairs and broken fixtures or appliances were found in a good percentage of home inspections, reflecting the general lack of care given by the homeowner. You can prevent future problems by performing routing home maintenance yourself, or get help and find a pro if you have more serious problems you cannot tackle yourself.

6. Structurally Related Problems

Many homes sustain structural damage to foundation walls, floor joists, ceiling and roof rafters and window and door headers. More common in older homes, structural damage is usually caused from problems in one or more of the other categories, such as improper grading or a leaking roof.

7. Plumbing

Old or incompatible water pipes faulty fixtures and waste lines were common problems found in many houses. Surprisingly, some home inspectors even reported finding leaks in the natural gas lines.


8. Home Exterior

Flaws in a home’s exterior windows, doors and walls were responsible for damage caused by water and air penetration. Improper or inadequate caulking and poor weather stripping are the most common causes of a cold and drafty home

Dirty, cracked and peeled painted surfaces were found in a large percentage of home inspections.

Improper or inadequate caulking and poor weather stripping are the most common causes of a cold and drafty house and a main cause of energy loss.

9. Poor Ventilation

To save energy, overly ambitious homeowners often “over-seal” their homes, resulting in excessive interior moisture. This can cause rotting and premature failure of both structural and non-structural elements. Moisture from un-vented kitchens and bathrooms can damage interior plaster walls and ceilings, and can lead to the accumulation of mold.

10. Miscellaneous

ASHI included this category that primarily focused on interior components that were not found frequently enough to rank individually. Sticking windows, dripping faucets, and a number of environmental concerns including the use of lead based paints and asbestos topped the list.

While some of these common household problems can be severe and may require the help of a professional contractor, many common home problems can be prevented simply by performing routine home maintenance and inspections.

Join the HelpHouse forums and start or join a home improvement and repair discussion and learn how you can prevent or repair your home’s most pressing problems. Or, search our contractor directory and find a local contractor near you.

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