Due to the unregulated nature of the industry, the scope, level of detail and the type of report that you get from a home inspection can vary dramatically from inspector to inspector. If you are wondering whether your home inspector has checked the essentials, this home inspector checklist should help you determine if the important aspects and areas of the home have been inspected.

What’s Included?

Roof

  • Surface covering and roof sheathingchimney
  • Presence and adequacy of roof ventilation
  • Plumbing stacks and skylights
  • Chimneys
  • Gutters and down spouts
  • Soffits
  • Vents

Exterior

  • Wall cladding (brick, siding, stucco, etc)
  • Trim and sidewall vents
  • Windows and window wells
  • Doors
  • Exterior foundation
  • Grading and roof water management system
  • Driveways
  • Walkways
  • Stairwells
  • Fences and retaining walls
  • Deck structure and foundations
  • Stairs
  • Handrails and guards
  • Exterior receptacles and lights

Plumbing

  • Condition of waste portable, and vent pipes
  • All fixtures such as:
    • showers
    • faucets
    • toilets
    • basins and traps
    • laundry facilities connections
  • Functional checks of all
    • fixture water supplies and drainage
    • water heater
    • floor drains
    • shutoff valvesheating
    • water meter

Attic

  • Attic ventilation
  • Roof framing
  • Roof sheathing
  • Roof construction type
  • Firewall
  • Insulation type
  • Quantity and presence of a vapour barrier
  • Presence or evidence of animals and/or insects

Electrical

  • Service entry mast
  • conduit
  • distribution panel
  • subpanels branch wiring
  • circuit breakers/fuses
  • receptacles
  • ceiling fans
  • exhaust fans
  • light fixtures
  • switches
  • grounding and bonding
  • GFCI and AFCI safety devices

Ventilation

  • Kitchen, bathroom and laundry exhaust vents,
  • Dryer exhaust vents
  • Exhaust fan functionality
  • Heat recovery ventilators

Heating

  • Furnace condition
  • Oil tanks and gas lines
  • Radiators
  • Hydronic system piping
  • Expansion tanks
  • Makeup water supply
  • Pressure reducing valves
  • Backflow prevention valves
  • Exhaust piping, and chimney connections
  • Thermostat
  • Furnace sizing
  • Return air
  • Distribution pipes
  • Air filters
  • Functional performance
  • Condensation lines.

Cooling

  • Exterior condenser unit
  • Refrigerant lines
  • Functional performance
  • Condensation lines
  • Cooling sizing.

Interior

  • Ceilings
  • Walls
  • Interior doors
  • Windows
  • Smoke detectors
  • Floors
  • Stairwells
  • Handrails and guards
  • Shower and bath surrounds
  • Cupboards
  • Counter tops.

Garage

  • Roof sheathing and ceilings
  • Garage door
  • Automatic openers
  • Safety interlocks
  • Light fixtures
  • Receptacles
  • Firewall
  • Windows
  • Concrete pad
  • Foundation walls
  • Gas proofing and required man door self closers
  • Un-safe shelving
  • Hose bibs

Appliances

Most home inspectors have no training on how to inspect appliances and are in no better position to inspect the refrigerator then you are. After all, we are home inspectors and not appliance repair men. As such, it is not typical to have them included in the inspection. Some inspectors however will include them. If the appliances are part of the deal, ask your real estate professional what provisions are in the contract to protect your interests.

What’s not?

In order to prevent potential property damage on the premises and personal injury to the inspector, the inspector will typically not turn on or off the main electrical disconnect or gas service to a dwelling, disassemble equipment, move furniture, appliances and stored items or excavate the grounds to facilitate inspection. All components and conditions which, by the nature of their location, are concealed, such as behind finished walls, ceilings or floors or below grade level or in difficult to inspect areas are not able to be visually inspected and thus can not be reported on. Also, some problems are latent issues which can only be discovered by living in a house for an extended period of time and cannot be detected through the few hours of a home inspection.

Although thermal cameras are a great new tool for home inspectors, thermal images or full house scans are not part of a standard home inspection and most inspectors will add a surcharge to cover the extra time required and the cost of the tool.

Environmental hazards are beyond the expertise and scope of a professional home inspection. Some of these conditions include, but are not limited to: formaldehyde, lead paint, asbestos, toxic or flammable materials, mould or mildew, soil contamination and underground fuel oil storage tanks. It is strongly recommend that you engage the services of a qualified environmental specialist to provide a full environmental assessment of the house and property before proceeding with the purchase of the home if any of these are potential issues with the property.

Other systems and conditions which are not within the scope of a standard home inspection include, but are not limited to: swimming pools, spas, pest infestations, playground equipment, efficiency measurement of insulation or heating and cooling equipment; gas leaks or carbon monoxide testing, underground drainage or plumbing, water treatment systems, septic systems, performance of smoke or fire detection systems, sprinkler systems and any systems which are shutdown or otherwise secured, well water quality, zoning ordinances, intercoms and security systems or cosmetic elements.

Now that expectations have been set and you know what is included and what is not, you are positioned to get the most out of your home inspection experience and leave the inspection confident in knowing that all critical components were covered.