Common Problems Found During Home Inspections

Look for these potentially expensive flaws when buying a house.

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Austin Chase
Austin Chase keys in on the year the house was built to provide a list of potentially costly and hazardous conditions or components that may be lurking.

Built between 1900 and 1950: Knob and tube wiring consists of fuses and fuse boxes and is considered outdated and inadequate to cover today's loads.

Built between 1942 and 1958: Orangeberg sewer piping was a sewer line made out of papier mache that connected the house to the main sewer line. This piping was born out of necessity as the military during World War II was using all the iron products for the war effort. A pipe manufacturer in Orangeberg, N.Y., created this piping. If the pipes in the home you are considering buying have not failed as of yet, it is inevitable. The cost of repairs will run between $2,000 and $5,000. A video sewer pipe inspection is paramount.

Built between 1984 and 1990: Defective ABS piping made out of recycled plastic was produced by five manufacturers. The pipe has a tendency to crack within the glue joints. If ABS pipe is present it is extremely costly to replace.

Built between 1990 and 2000: A NOX rod consolidated furnace has heat exchangers that will crack and release carbon monoxide into the home and potentially can cause fires. This furnace was used widely during this time period and is on a recall list. A thorough home inspection will detect this type of furnace.

Homes of all ages: Most important is the number-one defect detected during the inspection process: moisture and drainage. This is the leading cause of dry rot, major structural damage and toxic mold. It is important that grading of the property slopes away from the home. The roof must be inspected and be watertight. Plumbing throughout the home must be free from leaks. These criteria must be met or the results will be catastrophic. Look for the following indicators:

  • Moisture stains around the ceiling, walls or windows
  • Worn roof
  • Water ponding under or by the foundation


Inspection for moisture conditions may include air quality testing. This process will detect if there are any mold spores in the air. The presence of toxic molds can be extremely hazardous to a person's health and is extremely costly to correct. Be sure to let your home inspector know of any concerns you may have regarding the house you are purchasing.

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