Hey everyone, Inspector Gary here! Today I am going to talk about safety concerns. There are some typical safety items that make home inspection reports that with just a little effort can be avoided on the report. First, let’s identify a safety concern. A safety concern is anything that can possibly cause bodily injury to a person due to a defect within a product or structure. There are lots and lots of things that can go into reports under this description so today we are going to stick with the basic easy-to-fix and the ones that are low cost but will come up on a report most every time if they are defective.
Let’s talk about GFCI’s. I used to be surprised when someone asked me “What’s that?” I have learned over the years not everyone spent their entire lives in the construction industry like me — LOL! So the easiest way for me to explain so that everyone gets it is the outlet with the two buttons on it, which is called a GFCI outlet. GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter.
The buttons on a GFCI are basically mechanically operated so think of them like your car, which is mechanical, it needs maintenance every so often, correct? Well, so do those 2 button outlets. Most GFCI outlets even say on them TEST WEEKLY. Now while I think this is excessive myself, I do check mine at home about every 6 months. Problem is the buttons can freeze up if not worked occasionally. They don’t require a fancy tester to test, just your finger. Snap it and reset it… Boom, done! Typically this is just a matter of swapping out the bad one and putting in a new one if it will not test out.
Now that we’ve checked the GFCI function, go check to make sure they are in the correct places. There should be GFCI protection in bathrooms and kitchens at all counter spaces. Exterior outlets should be GFCI protected with an exterior watertight cover on them to protect them from the elements. We now also call them out in garages and in laundry rooms and at sump pumps. Does every outlet in my kitchen need those buttons? No, there is what we call the beginning of the run outlet, that is the outlet where the electric starts and then an electrician would pull the other outlets off that outlet. The beginning of the run outlet is where a GFCI needs to be placed. This will protect all the other outlets back to the GFCI.
So these are just a few safety hazards we touched on today. I am always happy to answer questions or concerns about your homes so feel free to give me a call if you need help!
Gary Reisinger Jr., CMI
We’ve referred over 200 families across the country. Let’s help guide you in the right direction!