It's everyone's worst nightmare: move into a home, only to be confronted by a chain of expenses, system failures, and safety issues—even after you got a home inspection.

Although most people don't realize it, home inspections are meant to evaluate just the visible condition of the home on the day of the inspection. Unfortunately, this means that if problems are hidden behind walls or underneath the flooring, a standard home inspection might not be enough to catch issues.

Fortunately, some inspection companies offer more in-depth inspections for an added cost. Here are two home inspection upgrades that might offer you peace of mind, so that you can enjoy the journey into home ownership.

1: Infrared Scanning

Wouldn't it be nice if your home inspector could find out what is lurking behind that fresh paint and updated trim? Believe it or not, by using state-of-the-art infrared cameras can detect subtle heat differences to create a thermal image. These images can be shot as pictures or recorded as video, so that your inspector can thoroughly document any issues. Here are some problems a quick infrared scan can detect:

  • Missing Insulation: If the house that you buy is under insulated or missing patches of batting, it might cause some illusive problems later. You might struggle to keep your home a steady temperature, or deal with sky-high energy bills. Fortunately, infrared scans can be used to quickly and efficiently check the heat transfer of walls, ceilings, and floors.    
  • Water Leaks: Because infrared imagery can be used to see through walls, your home inspector might even be able to determine the cause of water leaks. If your potential home has issues with prior water damage, flooding, or leaky plumbing, a scan might turn up affected areas.
  • Pest Infestations: Wood-boring insects like termites and carpenter ants can severely damage a home's internal building structure. However, infrared scans can also highlight voids in wall studs, ceiling trusses, and indoor carpentry, so that you can find hidden pest infestations.

After you have documentation of missing insulation, water problems, or pest infestations, you can use the information to request repairs or to walk away from the deal.

2: Radon Testing

When most people think about the leading causes of lung cancer, Radon isn't even on their radar. However, Radon, an odorless radioactive gas, is actually one of the top causes of lung cancer in the United States. Unfortunately, since radon is present in many homes in the country, it might be poisoning your family slowly over the years.

Fortunately, some home inspectors offer radon testing as an upgrade to your normal home inspection. Because radon levels can vary depending on the day and the season, home inspectors typically use devices that collect radiation over a period of a few days or weeks. For example, charcoal canisters contain small charcoal particles that absorb radioactive particles. After the canister has been placed in your home for a set time frame, the device is sent to a lab, where technicians use specialized instruments to count the number of the radioactive particles. After these particles are counted, the lab issues a radon reading that you can use to determine your risk.

If radon levels are high, but you are in love with that house, don't despair. Professionals can mitigate radon problems by adding soil depressurization systems, radon sump pumps, or ventilation systems inside the home. Unfortunately, mitigation can get expensive, costing around $800 to $1,500, which is why it is important to detect problems before you move in.

By upgrading your home inspection and asking the sellers to foot the bill for repairs, you might be able to sleep a little easier in your new place.