By Ryan Martin - Thumb Home Inspection
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A very common question new home buyers have is; what safety concerns do Home Inspectors typically look for. While I wish I could break it down to just three main areas of concern the truth is I can’t. Any area of safety can be of great concern and it would be too hard to choose or distinguish which ones rank higher than the others. In this blog I will address some main areas of concern. These areas of concern are not limited to just this list. There are many more areas of concern and the list will be continuously changing with advancement of building sciences and technology. As a member of InterNACHI I would like to add that our duty is to warn where a safety issue is present. Here is excerpt from our Code of Ethics section:
I. Duty to the Public
The InterNACHI member shall not communicate any information about an inspection to anyone except the client without the prior written consent of the client, except where it may affect the safety of others or violates a law or statute.
Areas of Concern
Electrical issues are really a broad stroke answer to many problems that occur within the houses Electrical components. Ungrounded receptacles are a common problem I find. This can become a problem if you have a faulty appliance as well as for other reasons. Outdated wiring such as knob and tube which normally occurs on homes built pre-1973. Double tapping of circuit breakers. A lot of times this occurs from a previous home owner’s DIY projects. Another common electrical problem is missing or no GFCI protection. This is particularly important around areas where water and electricity are used such as kitchens, bathroom, utility closets, garages and outdoors.
A lack of smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors is a very common problem I find. Fire is the third leading cause of home deaths in the US every year. 65% of these deaths result from fires in homes with no working smoke detectors. A common misconception is that you only need a carbon monoxide detector in the basement. A carbon monoxide detector should be placed on every floor. Your HVAC system can carry carbon monoxide to any floor.
Radon on gas is something we cannot see. 1 in 4 homes in Michigan have elevated Radon gas levels. Radon is gas is a silent slow killer. It causes lung cancer at a similar rate of smoking. The best way to test for Radon is to do continuous monitoring. A test should always take at least 48 hours.
Above are just some of the areas of concern a good Home Inspector will have. It is important to remember there are many more. The concerns of each Home Buyer and their individual needs should be addressed and considered always. Stay safe out there.