Safety in the Home
How does your home compare?
by Al Rex
In my many years of helping home buyers and sellers, I’ve been involved in several hundred property inspections. Surprisingly, there are a common number of exceptions – typically related to safety in the home – that show up in almost every home inspection. The good news is that most of the recommended devices can be purchased at a local hardware store.
Replace old smoke detectors. Recent studies by the Consumer Product Safety Commission have shown as much as a 50% failure rate in older smoke alarms over 10 years old, as dirt and dust can corrode the sensors. Local hardware stores carry the newest brands, many coming with a 10-year battery. As an additional safety precaution, it is now recommended to have a smoke detector in every bedroom.
Install Carbon Monoxide detectors. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is emitted by any fossil burning fuel device around the home, such as a gas hot water heater and furnace, gas fire place, and even a car running while in the garage. Because it is odorless and you cannot see it, exposure to high levels of CO can cause illness and even death. All new homes have at least one CO detector per story of the home, and many are combination smoke/CO detectors or individual battery operated detectors.
Fireplace damper clamp. A simple $5 clamp is recommended to be installed on the damper if you use gas logs in your fireplace. Should the fire ever burn out or a child accidentally open the gas line, poisonous gas could filter through the home. The clamp installed prevents the damper from being 100% closed, and forces the gas up the chimney and out of the house.
Water Pressure Regulator. Almost all homes have a pressure regulator installed, either in the garage or on the side of the home, to minimize the pressure of the water coming in from the street. Most inspectors recommend a reading of 40 to 80 psi. Over 80 could put too much pressure on your pipes and eventually cause leaks or a flood. You can occasionally have a plumber check your pressure at any faucet or purchase a pressure gauge and check it yourself.
For all the safety recommendations for your home, consult the Consumer Product Safety Commission as well as www.fire.ca.gov/communications.
And of course, if you need a recommendation for a plumber, electrician, or any tradesperson, give me a call or send me an email.