If you have ever bought or sold a home, you probably realize that one of the biggest obstacles in closing a deal is the home inspector. After all, it is his job to try and find problems with the property and warn the prospective buyer about them. Usually all of the visual elements of the home (roof, siding, etc) come as no surprise. If the buyer has problems with any of these, they probably already know about them before the inspector ever shows up. But, there is an area of the home that the buyer knows nothing about and is relying on a skilled professional to look at for him. Yep, you guessed it… The crawl space.
At New Leaf Pest Control, a good percentage of our customers are people that are either buying or selling a home and we have seen a fair number of inspection reports. Here is a list (in no particular order) of the most common problems that are found in a crawl space that we are asked to address:
Most people are not aware that they have a rodent problem. Just because you have not seen a little mouse scurrying around your home, does not mean that you are off the hook. An infestation of rodents might be getting along just fine underneath your home while you are blissfully unaware. Your crawl space provides a nice, warm and safe place for them to live and have babies. If this goes on too long, you might have a fairly contaminated crawl space to deal with.
#2- Problems with the vapor barrier
A vapor barrier serves a useful function in your crawl space by blocking moisture that rises naturally from the ground. It keeps the space dry and the structural elements free from moisture problems. Since this piece of plastic is basically just laid out, it can be disturbed very easily and not function as well. Your cable guy, plumber, etc. can drag the plastic with them and leave large sections of earth uncovered. Anytime that this is the case, a home inspector is quick to call it out.
#3- Standing water issues
This is probably one of the worst things that you can hear about your crawl space. Getting rid of standing water is not easy and usually not cheap. It may require a sump pump or french drain or a number of other drainage systems. Water might be draining into your crawl space or it may just be coming from an underground spring, but either way, it must be addressed (your vapor barrier that was mentioned above is no use to you if it is covered in a foot of water).
#4- Disconnected air ducts
Air ducts can be fragile things. Especially if we are talking about older sheet metal ducts that are pieced together with duct tape. It doesn’t take much for one of these to disconnect. If you do have an air duct that has been disconnected for any period of time, just think about how much money you are wasting on your heating bill! Luckily this is a fairly easy fix.
#5- Broken foundation vent screen
Foundation vent screens come out all the time because of how they were installed. Sometimes they are just glued in place and when the weather is freezing, that glue can come off pretty easily. Other times, your cable guy just punches it out to run a wire. While they are sitting open, it provides a welcome door to your crawl space to all kinds of creatures including rodents, cats and even raccoon’s.
Regardless of what issues might come up on a home inspection, we can help you correct nearly all of them. If you are reading this before you have your home inspected, you can even have us come by and do a free inspection, alerting you of any issues before the home inspector sees them and giving you a chance to correct them. Let us know how we can help you!