What You Should Know

Real Estate Blog

taking care of home

The Inspector Chris home inspection team has walked through a lot of residential homes and condos, plus apartment buildings over the years. We've seen plenty of DIY patches that make us shake our heads. We hope to provide bits of advice in this blog that you find practical and helpful.

Are You Aware That Your Home May be in Jeopardy of a Fire Hazard?

There are recalls daily from building codes and building products. You may have a brand new home and feel you are safe and secure. But are you ?

  • If your home was built in 2009 - 2011 are you aware that you may have faulty breakers in your electric panel. Yes that is correct, there are recalls on certain breakers from that period of time.
    The breakers spring clip are faulty. When the breaker gets too hot (overheats) the spring clip allows the breaker to trip and end the current to that electric line. The spring clips on certain breaker when overheated pop loose and do not properly shut the breaker off in which it allows the current to continue through the electric line and causes a fire hazard due to no control on the circuit and allowing too much current to pass through the electric line.

If you are aware of this recall you should contact Inspector Christo have an electrical panel inspection to ensure your home is safe and reduce the risk of a fire hazard.

Does Your Electrician Know His Own NEC Code?

NEC CodeI recently completed a home inspection and the electric panel had ALL the neutral wires double tapped into the neutral bar. The electrician told the home owners that his crew would not fix the double taps because they are within the code.

NECSo What Does the NEC Code Say?

Multiple neutral conductors from separate branch or separate feeder circuits CANNOT be installed in the same neutral terminal...

NEC 110.3(B) Clause 12.3.10 of UL 67 states:

...an individual terminal shall be provided for the connection of EACH branch-circuit neutral conductor.

This code was accepted for the 2002 NEC that made it clear that each ground conductor (neutral) MUST have its own terminal. The 2008 NEC 408.01 is the location for the rule.

There is a reason for this people - Your safety. So please know who you hire to do your work and make sure they are both licensed and knowledgeable in their field.

Feel free to contact Inspector Chris to answer your concerns.

Electricity Always Takes the Shortest Way to the Ground

It will go through wire, metal, wet objects, or you. It's invisible, but very real, so treat it with respect.

Wires run around, through and over our houses. And each year hundreds are electrocuted in their homes, and thousands are injured in electricity-related accidents...

Accidents that can be prevented with a little foresight, and some common sense.

Indoor Electrical Safety Tips:

  • Keep small appliances like hair dryers away from water-filled tubs and sinks.
  • Unplug all appliances before you clean them.
  • Use only appliances and equipment approved by Underwriters Laboratories (look for the UL listing on the label), or other recognized testing laboratories.
  • Don't overload electrical outlets with cords. If your TV picture shrinks or flickers when major appliances go on, or if fuses or circuit breakers blow frequently, you should have your circuits and wiring checked.
  • Never unplug or carry anything by its cord. And don't run cords under carpets or furniture; the cords can overheat and cause a fire.
  • Make it a habit to unplug small appliances when they're not in use, and push them to the back of your counters. And make sure you use all three prongs of your electric plugs, and replace worn or frayed cords immediately. Never
  • force a plug into an outlet if it doesn't fit, and never nail or tack cords to walls or floors.
  • Teach your kids not to poke things into electrical outlets, toasters, or any other appliances, whether they're on or off. Use plug covers or inserts in all your outlets.
  • Keep electrical cords away from kids' reach. Teach them that electricity and water never mix. Keep all radios, hair dryers and other appliances secured or out of bathrooms.

Electric WiresOutdoor Electrical Safety Tips:

  • If you have overhead electrical service, watch out for the drop line from the utility pole to your house. Don't hit it with implements or let other wires touch it. Be particularly careful when you are unloading materials from your car or truck.
  • Overhead power lines might look insulated. They aren't. The dark color may be weather protection or oxidation... Not insulation. And even an insulated line may have flaws in the insulation, and contact could mean serious injury.
  • Keep away! If you must work near power lines, contact us or the utility involved before you start work. Ask that safety measures be taken, or the lines de-energized. We want to work with you to make sure you work safely.
  • Outdoor outlets should be on a circuit protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), which are required in newer homes in bathrooms, garages, outdoors, and near sinks. GFCIs can be added as a temporary plug-in adapter, added as a replacement outlet, or even installed as a circuit breaker. Check with your electrician for options.
  • Keep television and radio antennas away from power lines. They should be far enough away to remain clear if they were blown over.
  • Teach your kids never to fly kites near any power lines. Toys or other objects caught in electrical equipment should be left alone and the kids should find an adult to help. Balls or other objects tossed or falling into an electrical substation should be left there. Call AEP or the utility involved to retrieve the item.

Teach your kids to recognize "danger" signs and not to climb in trees if power lines pass through or near them. They should also know that pad-mounted transformers (those metal cabinets on concrete pads) are not safe places to play. If you have any question call Inspector Chris or a licensed electrician for the answers.

There are Safety Related Issues With Several Types of Electrical Breaker Panels

electricpanelsafe300Federal Pacific electric panels have been rated a fire hazard. There have been several house fires related and caused directly by the Federal Pacific electric panel, in the past few weeks, in the Cincinnati area.

Also, there are several electric breakers that are common in many houses. There are breakers made and installed as late as 2011 that have been rated fire hazards due to nonworking items on the breakers when overheated. So please contact a certified home inspector or a qualified licensed electrical contractor to inspect your panel. Your best bet would be to contact a certified home inspector. Not all licensed electrical contractors are qualified.

Personal experience; I had a new electric panel installed in my home by a licensed electrical contractor. After the installation was completed I removed the cover and inspected the electric panel myself. Wow, the licensed electrical contractor installed not only 1 but 2 illegal double taps on 2 separate breakers. Needless to say I had to call them back and fix there mistake and the entire time the electrician was arguing with me about the double tap. So me being a home inspector I went into my office and grabbed my NEC ( National Electrical Code) book and had to show him the proper code and after that is had nothing to say except "I am truly sorry sir".

So check your contractors and just because they are licensed does not mean they are qualified. Hire a certified ASHI inspector for all your home inspection needs and requirements.

Get inspected, to be protected!

Ionization Smoke Detectors Fail 65% of the Time in a Smoldering Fire

Ionization smoke detectors are not designed to pick up large particle smoke from smoldering fires. Ionization smoke detectors are designed to pick up smoke particles from fast high flaming fires with smaller particle smoke. Ionization smoke detectors are considered nuisance alarms due to the fact they will go off simply by making toast, boiling water, turning an electric stove, due to they produce smaller/finer smoke particles. Photoelectric smoke detectors are designed to pick up large and small particle smoke which can save lives in the event of a fire. Photoelectric smoke detectors will alert the occupants faster and sooner than an ionization smoke detector. It is recommended that every house should install a photoelectric smoke detector at least one on every floor of the home to alert the occupants in the event of a fire. It is suggested to make a fire escape route and practice that route and maybe have a few different routes in the event of the fire in different locations and different floors of the house.

Smoke Detector

Since the fire at the University of Cincinnati on New years day 3013, the city of Cincinnati has changed and implements a City Ordinance to change that rule. Cincinnati City Council passed an ordinance on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 to require photoelectric smoke detectors in rental properties. Buildings with less than 12 units have 6 months to install one photoelectric smoke detector in a bedroom, or outside of a bedroom between contiguous
bedrooms. Buildings with 13 or more units are to install the photoelectric smoke detectors at turnover and have them all in place within 2 years.

The state of Ohio has changed the law that all new construction housing is required to have photoelectric smoke detectors installed as of April, 1, 2015, But that law has not been finalized and put into action as of yet.

Photoelectric smoke detectors cost approx 15-20 dollars, Is your family and property and personal items worth the cost of the photoelectric smoke detectors.

There is one thing for sure and that is fires will happen and you never know when it can happen to you and your family, Hopefully you never have to experience this type of loss, but if you do don't you want to be prepared in the event that it does happen and be alerted when it does happen and not be a statistic.

Here is a list of College campus fires in the state of Ohio since 2000. There have been 161 lives lost in college campus fires since 2000 in the United States. Ever wonder how many of those lives may have been saved with the proper smoke detectors to alert the occupants?

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Local home inspection company at 2769 Leota Lane, Cincinnati, OH 45251
Call 513-939-4036 to schedule a home inspection appointment today!
Serving Greater Cincinnati Ohio, Dayton Ohio and Northern Kentucky.


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