Keep Home Utility Systems in Good Shape

Investing in a home inspection is a wise idea if you are preparing to buy or sell a home. The impartial inspector can identify areas of a home that don’t meet code, fail functional expectations or show signs of problems. A buyer should be as fully informed as possible about any problematic features of a home before making an offer. And before listing their home, a conscientious homeowner will strive to repair or replace components as needed or disclose known issues to the buyer prior to closing.Keep Home Utility Systems in Good Shape

After checking the soundness of the structure itself, a home’s utilities and related areas should also be inspected. Use the following tips to know what to look at when reviewing a home’s electrical, plumbing and gas systems.


Check the main circuit breaker panel for proper labeling and look for any breakers that are in the off position. An electrician should fix any problems that cause frequent breaker trips or blown fuses. Check that all indoor and outdoor outlets work properly and that electrical wires are not loose or frayed. Test the ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet regularly.

Electric furnaces, hot water systems, HVACs and whole-house fans should be cleaned and serviced. Filters should be inspected and replaced or cleaned as needed and combustible materials kept away from baseboard heaters. Ensure attic fans are functioning properly and not clogged with leaves and debris.

All states require smoke alarms in homes and a majority of states require all new home construction to include hard-wired smoke alarms with lithium battery backups. These generally last 10 years before needing to be replaced. Writing the date on the alarm when it is installed helps the homeowner and buyer know when it needs to be replaced.


If a well supplies the home’s water, be sure it is tested annually for potability. Check for leaks in both interior and exterior supply lines and faucets and make sure exterior pipes and faucets are insulated or protected from freezing temperatures. This includes underground sprinkler systems. And have the water heater, built-in humidifiers/dehumidifiers, air conditioners, sump pumps and/or radiant systems inspected, drained and cleaned.

Check for slow or blocked waste plumbing lines and have a sewer scope inspection and/or the septic tank pumped out every other year. Look for leaks around toilets, sinks, showers and tubs and check the caulking around bathroom and kitchen fixtures.

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Oil and gas

Regularly clean and service oil and gas furnaces, hot water systems and other appliances. Inspect the outside gas meter and piping for damage and keep it painted to minimalize rust. Be aware of and immediately address corrosion and gas odors. Gas flames should always burn blue, which indicates a proper amount of gas and oxygen for combustion. Yellow or red flames show incomplete combustion that is not burning at the proper temperature.

Keeping your utility items in top condition will save you thousands in repairs and early replacements. These items can last for years if properly maintained. For more information on real estate in Horseshoe Bay, buying, selling or investing, contact our office at any time. 

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