Home Inspections and Safety Issues
There are many systems and pieces of equipment in a home that can cause injury or even death if not respected and maintained. These items include mechanical appliances such as garage doors, combustible equipment such as gas furnaces and fireplaces, pressurized equipment such as water heaters, electrical equipment, trip and fall hazards such as improper stairways, safety glass, firewalls, and many more.
Some safety items can be very serious. A improperly installed TPR (temperature and pressure relief) valve or TPR drain line on a water heater could result in the water heater exploding. Faulty electrical wiring or electrical grounding could result in electrocution or fire. Others items such as the picket spacing on a railing may be of less concern if the home owner has no children living or visiting the home.
Some safety items may not have been known issues or required by building standards when the home was built. Other items such as asbestos or lead may have been installed without any knowledge of the safety issues. Improvements in home construction, upgrades in building standards, innovative new equipment and just plain experience in the housing construction has resulted in home safety constantly changing and improving.
Your home inspection may reference some of these safety items and make recommendations for maintenance, further evaluation, repair or upgrades. Many of these recommendations are just that, recommendations. Older homes are not required to upgrade to newer building standards. It is a home owner’s decision on whether to upgrade and what safety upgrades they choose to implement. Keep in mind that safety items are concerns. There is a risk involved in not implementing repairs or upgrades. No home can be 100% safe but, ultimately, each individual must determine the amount of risk they are willing to assume for themselves and their family.