BEWARE OF UNHEATED HOMES!

By
Home Inspector with National Property Inspections of Southern New Jersey, LLC

With the generous number of foreclosure homes and short sale homes on the real estate market today, they are often found without heat due to one or more disconnected utilities.  This is a serious concern in the colder parts of the country.

While everything may appear fine, freezing conditions may have caused major damage.  Often a property will have notices posted that it has been winterized.  However, I have seen many a home that was not properly winterized or winterized only after cold weather has set in.

Plumbing and hot water heating systems are the number one concern that is affected by freezing due to lack of heat.  Additional defects that often prevail are mold growth, damaged sheet rock and buckled floors.  The mold growth can occur as an unheated home will gain a substantial amount of moisture.  And when warmer weather returns, mold will have its way.

In severe cases, foundations have even been lifted by frost heaving of the soil.  With a heated home there always is some warmth escaping adjacent through foundation which maintains the nearby soil from freezing.  With an unheated home now the soil next to the foundation can freeze and if wet, can raise the foundation often causing severe structural damage.    

Sometimes defects are apparent as in the home I inspected this past Monday.  The property was posted as winterized.  Nevertheless, most of the hot water heating system radiators and a baseboard heat unit showed severe freeze damage that will warrant replacement.  There is also a high probability that hidden damage may be present to the hot water boiler, hot water boiler piping, water supply piping and plumbing fixtures.  Often it is not possible to have the utilities turned on prior to closing.  In any case, choose a highly experienced home inspector and prepare for surprises.  

Below are photos showing freeze damage to one of the radiators and a baseboard heat unit.

freeze damaged radiator              freeze damage to baseboard heat unit

Glen Fisher southjerseynpi@aol.com

"The South Jersey Home Inspector"

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Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Location:
New Jersey Camden County Oaklyn
Groups:
1st Time Buyers
Realtors®
Tags:
south jersey home inspection
south jersey home inspector
unheated home
freeze damage
winterized

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Rainer
14,745
Troy Ott
Coldwell Banker United, REALTORS

Wow, thats frightening.  We don't really have to worry about it down here in SC, but thats unfortunate that the homes are properly protected.

February 11, 2009 01:13 PM
Rainer
26,304
Lynn Kenton
Ventura Real Estate
Troop Real Estate Ventura

It doesn't seem that you could get a loan on the property without heat. At least not FHA, which is what most of the entry level buyers are utilizing now. And you're so right about a good home inspector. If we have a client who decides to forego the inspection, we make them sign a waiver for our files.

February 11, 2009 01:28 PM
Rainmaker
72,292
Paul Howard
NJHomeBuyer.com Realty, 856-488-8444
Paul Howard, Broker, NJHomeBuyer.com Realty 856-488-8444

Great job Glen.  How does that go?  A through home inspection is a great way to reopen negotiations.

 

Paul Howard

February 11, 2009 05:03 PM
Rainmaker
268,236
Kathleen Lordbock
Keller Williams Realty Professionals
Keller Williams Realty Professionals

We see frozen toilets alot and know that this only the visible problem and that Spring will bring a whole new list.

February 17, 2009 11:14 PM
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Rainmaker
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Glen Fisher

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