These 6 Things Create the Perfect Utility Closet, According to Home Inspectors

published Jun 13, 2021
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Proper home maintenance is the key to keeping your home in tip-top shape over the years. If you decide to sell your home in the future, you’ll be glad you put in the work to keep it looking and functioning at its best. 

One place to start is the utility closet. Keeping it stocked with the right products and tools will ensure you’re prepared for problems that are bound to crop up. Home inspectors have seen it all, so they know exactly how to keep common maintenance problems at bay. Here’s what they recommend for a utility closet that will help you prevent home maintenance disasters before they happen.

A Water Leak Alarm

A leak can quickly lead to water damage, which can be very costly to fix. Home inspector Arie Van Tuijl, owner of, recommends everyone keep a water leak alarm in the utility closet so you’ll know right away before a leak is out of control.

“Homeowners can place these alarms in the corner of utility closets so if the HVAC system or water heater ever leaks onto the floor, the device will ring an alarm — can even send a text alert — to help prevent serious water damage,” he says.

Spray Foam Insulation

Van Tuijl frequently sees numerous air holes in the utility closet, which can hamper the energy efficiency of the HVAC system. To combat this problem, he recommends homeowners seal all pipe and wiring location holes with spray foam insulation. 


Van Tuij also recommends an HVAC UV light, which is an air purifying device that’s installed on the air handler or furnace that helps prevent mold buildup in the system.

“I have seen so many furnaces with mold growth,” says Van Tuijl. “The lights stay on 24/7, and the ultraviolet destroys the nuclei of mold so they can’t reproduce.

Sewer Relief Valve

A sewer backup is up there on the list of homeowners’ worst nightmares. To prevent a big mess from happening to you, Mike Leggett, home inspector and real estate advisor at Real Estate Bees, recommends a sewer relief valve.

“A sewer relief valve is a quick and easy upgrade to prevent a sewage backup into the home,” says Leggett. “Many insurance policies exclude sewage backups, so this inexpensive upgrade is definitely worth installing.” 

Clothes Washer Drain Pan

A washer and dryer are some of the most useful and desired appliances you can have in your home, but it’s important to take steps to ensure they won’t be the cause of any mishaps. Leggett recommends a clothes washer drain pan under a washer that is piped to the home’s exterior.

“In some jurisdictions, they are required on upper floors, but even on the ground floor, a drain pan can prevent damage from a leaking clothes washer,” he says.

Shelves for Organization 

To tie it all together, you’ll want your utility closet to be properly organized.

“Utility closets can quickly become messy, so it’s best to organize the items based on usefulness,” says woodworking and carpentry expert Robert Smith, founder and owner of Sawinery. “Get some shelves, and put items like tissue, paper towels, and other items used most often on the lower shelves for easier access. Items that are used less often can be placed on the topmost shelves. Placing hooks and wires on the door can also help in organizing small items that are difficult to spot.”