Tag Archives: safety

Safety: Secure loose exterior light fixtures!

It’s important to secure loose exterior light and electrical fixtures to prevent water intrusion and mechanical damage to underlying wiring. This was discovered at a recent home inspection in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island where there were three (3) loose exterior light fixtures and four (4) very loose, dangling, exterior outlets which needed securing. Some of the underlying wiring was beginning to corrode from water intrusion.

January fireplace safety

Keep your family safe with these fireplace safety tips. Build the right size fire, and baby proof the fireplace. Heed safety concerns when cleaning a fireplace and chimney. Learn about fireplace inspection and proper disposal of fireplace ashes. Not sure if you need a chimney sweep to come out to your house? Or, concerned about getting your home dirty? And, what is the difference between having your chimney inspected and having it swept? Chimney Safety Institute of America offers two short online tutorials that walk you through the basics on chimney sweeping and inspections

January home tips

January is a good time to inspect furniture, cabinets and vanities for loose knobs, pulls and hinges. Tighten or repair as necessary.

Tighten screws on drawers, doors, and furniture.

Lubricate squeaky door hinges with lightweight machine oil.

Free sticky doors by trimming edges or shimming hinges with thin pieces of cardboard.

Check the house and make a list of minor household repairs needed.

Make a list of broken electrical face plates, missing pulls or knobs, locks that need lubrication, and spots that need caulking around sinks and tubs. Go to the home improvement store and buy everything you need to make all of your repairs at once.

VIDEO: Dangling exterior outlets

Dangling, loose exterior outlets were discovered at a recent home inspection on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands. When new siding is installed on a home, sometimes over existing (original) siding, it’s important to properly re-secure exterior outlets and fixtures to the (thicker) new siding and perimeter envelope. Securing loose electrical fixtures and appliances is important for safety reasons because (1) it’s important to keep rain out of electrical connections and (2) as wires move back and forth with use, because they’re not secured, they can become mechanically damaged and wiring connections can be compromised.

VIDEO: Tripping HAZARD at Concrete Driveway

Concrete driveways definitely crack, which is a common occurrence with concrete driveways that lack control joints. When the cracks are pronounced or displaced (e.g., settlement occurs), they can become a tripping hazard for unwary passersby. Grinding unevenness produced by settling concrete slabs and/or mud-jacking are two ways to deal with this issue. If the cracks and settlement are pronounced, driveways are typically formed and re-poured.

Winter holiday safety tips

Winter holidays are a time for families and friends to get together. But that also means a greater risk for fire. Following a few simple tips will ensure a happy and fire-safe holiday season.

Holiday decoration fires are most likely to happen in the living room, family room or den. Almost half of all home decoration fires are started by candles. Half of holiday decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source. Blow out lit candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed. See more of the National Fire Protections Association’s suggestions for winter holiday decorating and entertaining safety.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning and Detectors

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas that forms from incomplete combustion of fuels, such as natural or liquefied petroleum gas, oil, wood or coal.

Facts and Figures

  • 480 U.S. residents died between 2001 and 2003 from non-fire-related carbon-monoxide poisoning.
  • Most CO exposures occur during the winter months, especially in December (including 56 deaths, and 2,157 non-fatal exposures), and in January (including 69 deaths and 2,511 non-fatal exposures). The peak time of day for CO exposure is between 6 and 10 p.m.
  • Many experts believe that CO poisoning statistics understate the problem. Because the symptoms of CO poisoning mimic a range of common health ailments, it is likely that a large number of mild to mid-level exposures are never identified, diagnosed, or accounted for in any way in carbon monoxide statistics.
  • Out of all reported non-fire carbon-monoxide incidents, 89% or almost nine out of 10 of them take place in a home.

(read full article here)

Knob-and-tube electrical

Old, active knob-and-tube electrical wiring was discovered in this attic that had been unprofessionally spliced with modern electrical wiring and was in direct contact with framing elements in the attic, clear safety issues.  My client was under the impression that all wiring in this home had been updated; truth be told, it simply was not.  I recommended further evaluation and repair by a qualified electrician.  If you have knob-and-tube wiring, consider upgrading to modern wiring.  At a minimum, don’t splice into it and keep it clear and free from contacting anything as it can overheat.  Do not insulate attics or crawl spaces that have knob-and-tube wiring.  This was discovered at a recent home inspection in Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island.

Electrical cover plates on junction boxes

Why do we home inspectors call out missing cover plates at electrical junction boxes?  Well, it’s really quite simple.  A cover plate protects people from inadvertently touching live electrical wires and components in the junction box.  Additionally, cover plates help encapsulate an electrical event if it ever happens.  Yes, it’s a simple fix, but highly recommended.  This was discovered at a home inspection in Anacortes on Fidalgo Island, but is called out on almost every home inspection.