The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) in a recent survey identified the 10 most common home problems. Not surprisingly, four of the top ten problems were water or moisture related.
1. Poor Surface Grading and/or Drainage
Undoubtedly the most common problem encountered that frustrates home owners is finding moisture or water in the basement or crawlspace of their home.
2. Improper Electrical Wiring
A number of respondents found this to be a significant defect. This includes such situations as; to small a service, inadequate overload protection, outdated and amateur wiring (often dangerous).
3. Roofing Problems
Rated third, leaking roofs are a common problem. These problems are usually traced back to old or damaged shingles or improper flashing and drainage.
4. Heating Systems
Defect items in this category include broker or malfunctioning control, blocked chimneys, and unsafe exhaust disposal.
5. Poor Overall Maintenance
Common with many homeowners, general lack of home maintenance. Signs of poor maintenance include; cracked, peeling or dirty painted surfaces, crumbling masonry, amateur wiring or plumbing and broken fixtures and appliances.
6. Structural Related Problems
As a result of unaddressed problems in other areas, damage is sustained by the homes main structural components such as, rafters, walls, window and door headers, floor joists and the foundation walls themselves.
Regardless of how small, plumbing problems are frustrating. They include leaks, no shutoffs, old or incompatible piping materials as well as faulty fixtures and waste line problems.
Flaws in this category such as windows, doors and wall surfaces rarely create structural problems. However, they may pose discomfort to the occupants due to water and air penetration. The most common culprits are inadequate calking and/or weather- stripping.
9. Poor Ventilation
In our efforts to save energy, many homeowners have "over sealed" their homes, resulting in excessive interior moisture build up in the winter months when windows are closed. Significant moisture can lead to rotting and failure of both the structural and non-structural components.
10. Miscellaneous Problems
This category includes interior components (often cosmetic in nature) which were so infrequent that they did not rank individually in the survey.
Home owners must be aware that regional climates, local building codes and the age of the home have a direct bearing on the ranking of these defects. For instance, the statistics relating to electrical and plumbing problems and roofing may have varied from one location to another and thus rank differently from the averages in this survey. In addition, in older houses problems such as heating system failure, inadequate electrical service and wiring and worn plumbing were found much more frequently than reflected in the national survey.