Poor Lot Drainage: Improper grading around the exterior of the house causes the majority of wet crawlspaces and basements. Be sure all areas of the home drain water away from the building foundation (6″ in first 10′). Be sure all downspouts are either connected to drain systems or are dumping water sufficiently away from the house with the use of diverter pipes and/or splash blocks.
Attic Ventilation: Most homes have inadequate ventilation. A lot of condensation gathers on the cold side of the insulation during the winter and in the heat build-up in the summer. Roof life is significantly reduced in roofs with inadequate or missing ventilation. Roof and Gutters: Proper cleaning and treatment, depending on the surrounding trees will put off the need for roof and surrounding wood trim replacement for years. Clean gutters twice a year, after spring flowering and fall leaf drop.
Earth-To-Wood-Contact: In many places around the typical home the wood siding or trim touches, or is close to the ground. This can cause the siding/trim to rot, and allow wood destroying insects to enter. The building code requires six inches between any wood and the ground. Clear dead leaves and shrub trimmings from around the foundation walls.
Blocked Drains: Blocked drains at driveways and the bottom of external stairways can allow rainwater to enter the garage or basement. Keep drain sumps and grilles clean.
Electrical: Alterations by unlicensed handymen can be fatal. Look for exposed electrical tape and incorrect wire or breaker size for the circuit. Never make electrical repairs yourself, and call in an expert if you suspect faulty wiring.
Furnace: Furnaces need regular service and cleaning by a professional. If not, the burners get dirty and run inefficiently, possibly producing carbon monoxide. The wrong burn pattern and subsequent moisture production can cause premature heat exchanger corrosion and failure.
Tile Bathroom Surrounds: Grout is porous and allows moisture to pass unless it has been sealed. Over time the underlying surface (commonly drywall) swells and cracks the grout. The grout cracks allow more water to enter, accelerating the problem. It can cost a lot to replace the tile, and repair the structural damage underneath the tile. Keep grout joints filled and sealed.
Toilet Wax Rings: A wax ring seals the toilet to the drainage system. Over a time period of ten years or more they get brittle. If a toilet becomes loose on the floor, the wax seal can be broken. When they leak they can create a lot of floor/ sub floor damage which is not often noticed until it’s too late. Wax rings look like a donut and cost about $1. They should be changed periodically (and if a toilet is loose).
Septic Tanks: Many septic tanks run satisfactorily for twenty years without pumping, but once the solid layer in the tank builds up to a certain level, the solids will travel down the lines, blocking the field drain. Septic systems can take many years of neglect, but when the solids enter and block the field drain, the system will fail and back up. Septic tanks should be pumped about every three to five years (depending on use) to ensure a healthy system.