When considering purchasing a home, whether it’s new construction or an existing property, a home inspection by a professional engineer, builder, architect, home inspector or other professional is always recommended. There are many areas of a home that are out of sight, but still critical, and a professional knows how to evaluate items like the electrical system, mechanical systems, roof, insulation, structure, water conditions and more. But, as the potential homeowner, here is a list of items that you can visually inspect or test for yourself in the early stages. It may be that some (many) items, in older homes, do not meet all these criteria, but you can then plan the cost of repair or replacement, if necessary, into your calculations. In new construction, things should be right before you move in. Prepare a punch list (a list of needed repairs) for the builder of items that needed to be fixed or corrected before you close and move in. My recommendation is to get repairs or corrections done before you close. Once your money is in someone else’s hands, the incentive for them to do the work is significantly diminished.
In many areas of the pest management industry today, exterminators are following up on their work by encapsulating the crawl space. This involves sealing all vents and doors with airtight covers, covering the walls and floors with a durable plastic liner, and, in the case of block foundation walls, adding a plastic covering over the open cavities of the blocks to keep humidity from filtering upwards through the crevice best pedestal sumps. In some cases, the contractor may complete the job with a crawl space dehumidifier to remove residual humidity, or a sump pump if there’s been a history of flooding.
Why are pest management professionals encapsulating? By sealing off the vents and doors, they prevent those from serving as access points for infestations of insects and animals that could reenter the space, causing problems in the area. And lining the walls and floor with a polyethylene liner will also help to deter pests, such as subterranean termites, beetles, and carpenter ants, from entering the space through the foundation or floor.
A moisture barrier, in combination with a sump pump and dehumidifier when needed, will create a dry, healthier area. By removing humidity, the environment can become inhospitable to mold, dust mites, rot, and certain pests, such as the American Cockroach. Foul, mildewy smells are reduced, and the smells of the animals, that live, create waste, and die in the area will be gone.
Crawl space encapsulation of a dirt or concrete below grade space- especially a vented one- will make the space much more energy-efficient. By sealing off the vents, winter cold and summer heat are kept out of the space. Cold winter air on furnaces, hot water pipes, and heating ducts located in the area forces them to work harder just to maintain status quo, and a cold area below the house means a cold floor above. In the summer, heat and humidity enter the space, where the humid air condensates on the wood and metal or travels upwards into the home. Humid air is much harder to cool than dry air, and therefore more expensive to condition.