Life happens. And moving doesn’t always happen during the warm, sunny months. Our colder, winter months in the Okanagan can offer a few obvious challenges during the home buying process: freezing, snow, and ice. A winter home inspection may have its own challenges and will vary from a summer inspection. Let’s take a look at some changes you may expect.
Each year we expect snow and ice to blanket the Okanagan. When buying a home in the winter, you may not be able to visibly see all aspects of the property. But for a home inspection, there are only a few areas that the winter elements will restrict an inspection.
With a snow covered roof, a visible inspection of shingles may not be possible. To complete a proper roof inspection in the winter, we are able to inspect the attic space for visible issues and we may have the advantage of being able to inspect the structural integrity of the framing with the extra weight of the snow. Once the snow coverage has dissipated, we will return to your home free of charge to re-inspect the roofing covering systems.
Air Conditioning (AC) Unit
An AC unit may not be able to be inspected in the winter due to the ambient exterior temperatures below 10°c. These colder temperatures may cause the oil viscosity to thicken and cause potential damage the A/C compressor unit. We will determine if an inspection can be safely completed on the AC unit and provide you with details of our findings.
With downspouts and gutters covered by snow, a proper drainage inspection may not be able to be completed in the winter. It is recommended that during the next rain/melt event, you carefully observed the downspouts and gutters to ensure the water is being drained aware from your home as intended. If there is any indication of water not being drained away from your home, contact our team or a gutter specialist immediately.
Yard and House Perimeter
Inspecting certain areas of the yard and house perimeter may not be viable during winter. These areas may include sprinkler system, snow and ice covered wells, the driveway and perimeter drains. During our inspection, we will ensure lower level basement window wells and frames are clear and no long-term excessive moisture contact is present. It is recommended you keep driveway and perimeter drains clear of leaves, debris ice and snow for proper drainage in the cold months.
So what can we inspect?
While we list a few areas of the property that we may have to carefully navigate during the inspection, the majority of the inspection can be properly completed during the winter months.
There are even some deficiencies such as “ice damming” that will reveal issues only during freezing temperatures. Extreme weather can cause cracks in pipes leading to leaks in summer months. Detecting these slow leaking cracks in the winter may save you and your home from a spring emergency with days warm up.
With each inspection, we carefully review drafts and insulation failures. During the summer months, some of these failures may be difficult to detect. In the winter, a drastic temperature change between the outdoors and indoors can easily reveal draft or insulation issues.
Real estate transactions may slow down in the winter months, but homes are still bought and sold in snowy weather every day. A home inspection should be completed before buying a home, rain or shine…or snow. A qualified home inspector will be able to perform a complete inspection any time of year with a thorough report of all findings. He or she may even be able to review a few aspects which were not available in warmer months and avoid issues when temperatures rise.
Okanagan Valley Home Inspectors
Thinking about buying a home this winter? Don’t hesitate to contact our team to discuss your winter home inspection and how we can help.
Using the latest thermal and digital imaging technologies, we provide you with a comprehensive report of the home’s condition, which you can access electronically or in print.