Home inspections for homes built in the 1970’s.
Home inspections can run the gamut from newly built homes to delicate old homes built before the turn of the century, and we mean last century not before 1999. All of these types of properties offer their own challenges for a home inspector. What was common practice back in 1940 has probably been revised or even outlawed for today’s building standards.
Let’s go back a little bit and look at some issues that may arise when looking at homes built in the 1970’s.
It may seem like a long time ago but by housing standards a lot of neighborhoods were constructed in this time frame so it is pretty realistic that you will be looking at a lot of homes built during this time period.
In the 1970’s a lot of homes had similar characteristics here are just a few.
Energy Efficiency - The energy efficiency of homes was not yet a priority. Wall and attic insulation R-value was just over half of the standard today and windows were un-insulated single-pane. The concept of carefully sealing the envelope of the house from air leakage was also not a big concern.
Foundation and Exterior Walls - Earlier era homes were built on a stem wall or piers, but 1970s homes were concrete slab-on-grade, with a thickened edge that served as a foundation. A site dictates the foundation type to a certain extent, however, and sloping sites often required a combination of a concrete block stem wall on the more sloping part of the ground under the home and slab-on-grade on the flatter areas of the site.
Plumbing - Galvanized steel water supply pipe was often used for 1970s homes but, unfortunately, it has a 40 to 50 year lifespan due to rust buildup—which is approximately the age of these homes. Newer homes use copper or PVC piping.
Electrical - The good news is that all homes built in the 70s have modern 3-slot, grounded receptacles and the electrical system is very similar to today’s equipment.
HVAC - This system has been replaced at least once by now. Because the components of a heating and air conditioning system may have been changed out at different years and evaluating the condition of the ducts requires crawling around the attic, wait for a thorough evaluation by your home inspector on this.
Roofing - The average life expectancy of a roof is 20 years and, since the home is now 40-plus years old, ideally it has replaced for the second time recently.
Asbestos and Lead - Both were banned by the government in 1978, although not much lead paint was used in the ‘70s anyway, and asbestos was mostly limited to popcorn ceilings and some fireplace flues. Testing for lead and asbestos should always be performed as part of the home inspection.
Neighborhood and Value - These are things your realtor can help you with. But if you are ready for a ‘70s home, well...grooovy baby!
If you are purchasing an older home insist on a home inspection. In Minneapolis Saint Paul insist on Inspections Plus. Experienced Affordable, Certified Home inspections.