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Storing Christmas Decorations
“Twas the months around Christmas, when all through the attic,
creatures were stirring amidst the garland in panic;
The stockings were hung from the rafters with care,
above lights, trees and snowflakes so inspector beware.”
It never ceases to amaze me the amount of holiday decorations that can accumulate in the attics, basements and cellars of homes. Storing these holiday traditions can create havoc for inspectors and technicians needing access to the home’s mechanicals, i.g. furnaces and water heaters. Older homes used to have these systems located in closets. Newer home construction has moved them to unconditioned areas, which the homeowner will also use for storage.
May I be the first to tell you that the home inspector does not enjoy climbing over your decorations in order to do a home inspection. Sounds a little “bah humbug” I know. But come on folks, storing your wreaths in front of the furnace is not a good idea. I’ve scraped my share of ornaments off of the top of water heaters and moved a few boxes of lights just to find the ceiling joists. Not to mention the safety issues related to attic storage options, all that stuff is flammable! My all time favorite is the fully decorated Christmas tree, located precariously at the attic entry. When I reached over to move it, it conveniently came apart and the ornaments started rolling into the blown insulation. And let me not forget those of you who have boxes and boxes and boxes of trains, villages, yard art and trimmings. When I open your garage storage rooms it’s like Clark Griswold lives there.
Many of you enjoy the holidays because it is a time for family, celebration of life and a few days off from a job. We home inspectors love it because all the stuff is out of the way for a few precious days!
This year I was helping my cousin store her holiday cheer in her new home’s cellar (not in Mississippi by the way). While placing the boxes on pallets, we looked up and found a water leak beneath her laundry room. There was already considerable damage to the insulation and evidence of “mold like” growth on the wood members. Had this gone undetected, moisture damage to the wood flooring and joists would have occurred, creating a huge expensive repair. The moral of the story, use the storing of your decorations as an opportunity to check out the condition of the surrounding areas. Look for water in air conditioning and water heater pans. Look for rust in these pans and evidence of corrosion on water lines. Look at the attic or cellar decking for evidence of water staining. Scan the insulation for evidence of rodent intrusion. Most of a home’s operating systems are located in areas we use for storage. Checking these areas out for possible problems could save you money and headaches.
Here at Inspect It Like A Girl®, we understand that a home is one of the largest investments you will ever have. Purchasing, selling, and/or remodeling a home can be stressful and time-consuming. When people in the Jackson Metro area hire Inspect It Like A Girl® as their home inspector, they know that they are getting an inspector they can trust to do the job right and give them the information they need.
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