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Home Work

An Eye on Inspection & Upkeep: The Time Is Right

Article by Bill Furbee

Photography by JemailFotography

Originally published in Loveland Lifestyle

When it comes to proper home maintenance, many tend to neglect tasks which, over time, can make a significant impact on both home safety and value. Fortunately, Loveland residents can rely on the nearly three decades of experience Don Smith and Cincinnati Certified Home Inspections LLC bring to the community.

“Home maintenance is critical,” Don reminds us. “As an owner, buyer or seller, you always want to get the most out of your investment, with the least amount of energy and expense. Preventative maintenance is easily the most cost-effective option; it’s about preventing problems from happening in the first place.”

He’s right, of course—and he’s also proud to be a Certified ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) inspector. Last year, Ohio required all home inspectors to be licensed—this went into effect November 2019, and Don is now a fully licensed Home Inspector for the State of Ohio. Along with multiple additional certifications, this all contributes to his well-rounded knowledge of home maintenance.

Don also provides an extensive array of services like termite inspection, radon detection, thermographic tools to detect unseen leaks, mold and sewer inspection, and even drone surveillance to provide a bird’s-eye view of areas that are difficult to assess otherwise. Most home inspection organizations can’t offer this kind of technology or options, which is designed to help homeowners with residential upkeep.

Recently, public health measures have many Loveland residents either still confined to their homes or in various phases of returning to work. Now, of course, is the perfect time to make good on those overlooked tasks—home improvement projects have never been easier to cross off the “to-do” list.

For those considering buying a new home, Don has critical advice for them, too. “I would challenge prospective buyers to answer a few questions as they are walking through … that information will make the buying process much less stressful.”

However, keeping an eye out for potential problems isn’t just a job for homebuyers. “I would also challenge most homeowners to consider an annual maintenance routine,” Don adds. “Preventative maintenance versus repairing and/or replacing over time is always more cost-effective.”

“Now, more than ever, the space we live in needs to be dependable and safe,” Don points out. “It will always be a place to gather, rest, make memories and grow. Your home is a special place.”

Tips for Both Routine Maintenance and Home Buying

If buying a home is in your near future, Don is quick to share suggestions on what to look out for. He also has welcome advice about ongoing and preventative maintenance for those staying put.

Home buyer? Consider this. 

The Roof

Ask if the current owners have ever replaced the roof. “If not, how long have they lived in the home? Do the math,” Don advises. “Most will need replacement after 20 years, which can cost from $5K–15K, or more.”


“How many windows are there, and what type? How old are they, and did the current owner replace them? Windows, like the roof, have an average life of 20 years,” he points out. “The average replacement costs about $400 each.”

Furnace & Water Heater

What type of service does the home have—gas, electric or both? “Gas heating typically only runs a few months of the year, sharing the cooling service with a heat pump and extending the life of the entire HVAC system. Whereas an all-electric home runs the heat pump year-round, and will wear out quicker.”


“A poured foundation is less likely to have water leakage issues. But any home with poor gutter and downspout maintenance will eventually leak. A home with a sump pump system is a plus.”

Electric Service

Make this a priority to avoid getting zapped by improper amps. “Open the service panel and look at the main switch. Typical amps of 100, 125, 150 or 200 are listed.” Why is this important? “It’s nice to know if you have ‘room to grow.’” Final safety check: the kitchen, bath, garage and exterior should all have GFCI outlets.


Knowing which questions to ask in advance can help homebuyers gather the facts needed to make good investment choices.

No plans to move? Your yearly review.

The Roof

Look for damaged or loose shingles, flashing, gutters and downspouts. Inspect gutters to ensure they’re not backing up and overflowing when it rains. Trim trees and shrubs away. “These can lead to water damage and costly repairs.”


Routinely check for broken locks, fogged glass (which indicates a broken seal), and broken balances (which can prevent the windows from either opening or staying open).


“At any time, water issues can be caused by plumbing leaks, bad valves or worn-out fixtures.” Those leaks can damage drywall, ceilings, flooring, and more, if neglected—and in the long-term can also lead to mold. Consider re-grouting wall tile and caulking around tubs, showers and sinks.


Curious about your foundation? Take a look at gutters and exterior drains.Check downspouts regularly to ensure they’re moving water away from the foundation.” That, Don points out, will minimize issues with leaky basements.

Electric Service

Take the shock out of electrical issues by keeping a few common upgrades in mind, including GFCI outlets in the kitchen, bathrooms, garages and exterior—all areas where water is present. “Newer safety building codes require them, and replacement is inexpensive.”

And Last?

Don also reminds us to check all fire extinguisher expiration dates and change smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors batteries annually. | 513.479.9068

Preventative maintenance is easily the most cost-effective option; it’s about preventing problems from happening in the first place.

Now, more than ever, the space we live in needs to be dependable and safe. It will always be a place to gather, rest, make memories and grow. Your home is a special place.