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The age of various house members/units is crucial in the understanding of their remaining useful life. Listed below are some typical age/life expectancies. These are general statements, for there are many factors which determine the life of a house member/unit that are impossible to detect on a visual inspection. Some members/units may perform well beyond their expected life, while others may need replacement sooner.

 House Members/Units  Est. Useful Life   


asphalt composite roof

 15 - 30
 slate/tile roof  50+
 septic system (leaching fields)  18 - 20
 boiler/furnace  20 - 30
 heat exchanger w/humidifier  10
 combustion chambers  10
 burner  10
 appliances  5 - 8
 hot water tank  5 - 12
 tankless hot water (serviced properly)  10+
 buried water pipes in concrete  15 - 18
 window maintenance/repairs  maintain annually
 flashing maintenance/repairs  maintain annually
 metal chimneys  10
 metal flue lines  10
 unlined brick flues  20+
 automatic flue dampers  inspect annually
 swimming pool liners  10
 tile walls (average quality)  1 - 5
 exposed wood deck or porch  5 - 7
 old wiring  unknown
 thermal seals in windows  5+
 caulking/putty (average quality)  1 - 5
 painted siding/trim  5
 stained siding/trim  7+
 downspout drywalls  10
 termite treatment  5 - 7
 carpenter ant treatment  annually
 air conditioning compressor  8 - 12
 old water pipes  unknown
 old drains, traps, vents, waste pipes  unknown
 buried oil tanks  15
 oil tanks  30
 plumbing fixtures/faucets  unknown
 fiberboard siding  5 - 7 years (properly treated)
 rolling roofing seams  maintain annually
 chimney maintenance  inspect annually
 pump motors  5+
 roof drainage maintenance  service semiannually
 heat pump  8 - 10


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Tips From R.J.D.

Cracks in poured concrete or concrete block, Stone, or Brick foundation walls can result from shrinkage, differential settlement, lateral pressure on the wall by the soil, or poor workmanship. It is not uncommon to find short cracks in the foundation walls. Cement block, Brick, and Stone foundations have a greater chance of water seepage then poured concrete foundations due to the numerous joints. We recommend all cracks be sealed as a precautionary measure against water and insect penetration. Since it is not possible to determine from a single visual inspection whether the cracks differential settlement is active or dormant, the wall should be checked for incremental movement over a period of time, usually several months or years.
R.J.D. Home & Property Inspections LLC. 26 Julia Lane Thomaston, CT 06787
©2002 R.J.D Home & Property Inspections LLC