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Value of a Home Inspection: Ventilation

Updated: Mar 13

When walking through a home, its not likely you'll have enough time (or desire) to get into the attic. You may already know the value of attic ventilation: The closer you can keep your attic space temperature to the outdoor temperature, the longer your roof coverings will last and condensation is less likely to occur that may lead to mold, etc.


Do I really need to get into the attic? I can see the vents.


This specific home has gable vents on each side of the home. A gable vent is high in the peak of both sides of the home, allowing cool air to flow from one side to the other, taking heat and moisture with it as it leaves. If only one side has a vent, the air struggle to leave as it isn't easily replaced. Like dumping a water bottle out: It's not a smooth poor unless you cut the bottom off.


Unfortunately, when air does leave a solo attic vent, it is replaced by interior air that sneaks up to the attic though light fixtures, an attic access, or other ceiling penetrations. I say "unfortunately" because you spent a fortune to heat that air that is now leaving. As it goes, it introduces heat and moisture into the attic that may lead to mold and other issues.


Anyways, you see two vents in this home: check. No need to look further, right? Not so fast...


When we get into the attic, we find that the bathroom vent (dangling dryer vent photo) is exhausting into the attic space. Remember, heat and moisture in the attic lead to bad things. What comes out of the bathroom when you use an bath fan? Heat and moisture. Also, we see the gable vent on the other side of the home is completely blocked.


Recap: we have extra moisture and heat being driven into the attic and half of the attic vents blocked. Not good.


Upon further review, we find what we believe is mold (testing is required to confirm), some wood rot from a prior leak, and insect debris from nesting insects that just love rotting or rotted wood. The worst part is, if we never went up there to help the buyer understand the condition of the attic, this may have continued to the point of even greater issues (mold throughout, insect infestation, more pests, etc.)


Again, this is not an archived series just waiting to be blogged about. This was I home I inspected yesterday....


These are all issues that need to be corrected. The beauty is, its not too late and cost to repair what damage has occurred is relatively low. Without being noticed, costs will surely grow as damage continues. More importantly, the occupant's health could be impacted.


We'll never tell you if you should or should not buy a property. That's none of our business. Helping you understand the condition of the home so you can make a better decision IS our business. Every home has issues. $4.8 million or $48,000. The real questions is: are you ok with those issues now that you know about them?


Good luck in this challenging market. Keep plugging. You'll find the right home for you.


Matt and Matt





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