Safety is a high priority for buyers when it comes to house hunting; however, there are likely many items around your house that could cause potential problems later if not addressed. By evaluating your home now and taking care of the simple fixes, you can help alleviate possible future safety concerns. To be certain that your home passes inspection and is safe for all current and future occupants, we list the five items that home inspectors recommend you throw out right now.
HVAC experts recommend replacing your air conditioning if it is older than 2010. If your AC is this old, it likely still uses freon, or R-22, which is no longer made or imported to the United States. Autumn Brekke, service director with plumbing, HVAC, and electrical service company Genz-Ryan explains, “Sooner or later it will run out, and the air conditioning unit will need to be replaced.” For this reason, she recommends replacing your AC units now to avoid the future stress of replacing them when freon is gone.
Any old paints or chemicals used in previous DIY projects should be removed from the home to prevent potential fire hazards. Tim Ganey, a home inspector with Desert Home Inspections, Inc. explains that half-empty canisters, like paint cans and paint thinners, are disasters waiting to happen. To ensure you dispose of these chemicals properly, check your local ordinances beforehand.
Your water heater may need to be replaced depending on a variety of factors. Pay attention to how your water heater is powered and whether it is a traditional tank or tankless. The water quality, where the heater is installed, and the steps you take to maintain the tank also play an important role in determining when it needs to be replaced. Brekke explains, “The signs that your water heater needs to be replaced include not enough hot water, strange sounds, discolored water from the hot water taps, and leaking from the tank.” She notes that if you see, or hear, any of these signs, it is a good indicator your water heater needs replaced now.
Old pipes can create a disaster in your home, from pinhole leaks to broken water valves. The cost to repair water damage can be exponentially greater than the cost of replacing ancient plumbing in the first place. “Over time, copper pipes wear down inside, becoming corroded with the sediments from the water over the years. This puts pressure on the pipe and the pressure creates the pinhole leak,” says Brekke. If you want to avoid a flooded home in the future, replacing your old plumbing now is a must.
A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) avoids the possibility of electrocution when a fault happens by automatically shutting off the power to the outlets that are connected to it. GFCI outlets are the new standard for electrical outlets, especially in bathrooms and kitchens where water is commonly used. If you currently have non-GFCI outlets in your home, home inspectors recommend you upgrade now. As Brekke explains, “it’s better to be safe than sorry when upgrading your home’s electrical network.”
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