Clothes Lint Red Flags

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates there are 15,000+ fires associated with clogged clothes dryer lint ducts.

The danger lies with the clothes dryer lint that builds up inside the lint duct between the clothes dryer and the outside termination.

Do you have any of these Red Flags?

  • Clothes take a long time to dry
  • Clothes come out hotter than usual
  • Excess lint accumulation behind the dryer

Our experienced home inspectors inspect clothes dryer lint ducts for these Red Flags – a fire safety concern.

  • Flexible through wall/floor
  • Missing, Deteriorated
  • Too many elbows
  • Wrong material
  • Accumulation
  • Disconnected
  • Damaged
  • Too long
  • Crushed
  • Vertical
  • Plastic

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Not a Bright Idea

The home inspector during a Berkeley home inspection spotted this electrical safety concern.

Illumination is a requirement in a bathroom bathtub and/or shower area, so you can see what you are doing – a good idea.

Installing an unprotected light bulb fixture above the showerhead – not a bright idea.

The surface temperature of a 60-watt incandescent light bulb can approach 260F degrees. Water splashing on a hot light bulb can cause the bulb to explode… littering the shower pan or bathtub with glass shrapnel and possibly injuring someone or worse.

In the inspection report: We highly recommend review by a licensed electrician prior to the close of the contingency period.

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Jaws of Destruction

One of the biggest threats of having rodents in your attic – is that they gnaw on electrical wires. 

Squirrels, rats and mice are all rodents. Their teeth grow non-stop like your fingernails. Just like a cat that scratches its claws to keep them in check and we trim our nails; rodents gnaw to keep their teeth short and sharp.

If an electrical wire outer jacket is chewed through and exposes the copper wires, the rodent is usually electrocuted and a fire can start.

The next thing you know the kitchen lights aren’t working or the fire department has been called.

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Toddler Safety

During a Walnut Creek home inspection, the home inspector had just finished entering an inspection comment about the wide spacing between the vertical components of the guard railing.

The white vertical posts in the photo are called balusters. The spacing between balusters used to be 6” wide and small children were falling through or getting stuck.

As the inspector looked up, this little girl was pushing on an installed clear plastic barrier.

Without the barrier, this would have been a potential falling concern for the toddler.

Stricter building codes were passed to meet the 4” Sphere Rule: The general rule is to install balusters, so that a 4” sphere can’t pass through – protecting toddlers from falling.

Fogged Windows

As the Concord home inspector walked into the house, he noticed that some of the windows were ‘fogged’.

There’s a good chance windows have failed seals in homes built between 1986-1992 with dark frame dual pane windows.

During this time, window manufacturers didn’t have a good ‘recipe’ for making dual pane windows. Even today, a low quality window is susceptible to a failed seal.

The window seal is the perimeter spacer that keeps dual pane glass separated.

A hot sun can heat the air between the panes of glass, so the glass bows slightly outward and when the temperature cools at night, the window glass contracts. This is called solar pumping.

If cool moist air is present when a window is contracting, weak window seals fail, allowing moisture to enter the window.

The fogginess is dried moisture on the inside of the glass.

Schedule a home inspection by The House Whisperer – Mention that you’d like a Peace of Mind inspection and save $25.

Overfilled J-Box

As the home inspector looked in a Walnut Creek walk-in crawlspace,the inspector was amazed by the number of electrical wires stuffed into an electrical junction box.

A junction box or J-box is a place where wires are connected together, and there’s a maximum number of how many wires can fill the box.

Too many wires can cause dangerous over-heating, short circuiting, and electrical fire.

Junction boxes also require a cover and someone would be hard pressed to install a cover on this installation.

There’s nothing worse than an electrical fire to ruin your day.

Schedule an inspection with The House Whisperer – mention that you’d like a Peace of Mind inspection and save $25.

Hot Electrical Panel

A picture is worth a thousand words – the discolored wall is a sign of an electrical overload – over-heating and possible wood charring inside the wall.

Electrical circuit overloads can happen when more electricity is flowing across an electrical wire than it can handle.

Electrical overload can occur for a number of reasons: loose connections, too many lights and appliances being used on a single circuit, or water getting into the electrical panel.

This is a much bigger problem, as it appears that all of the electrical cables in the wall over-heated possibly due to lightening… or a failed transformer at the pole… or the incoming power lines touching due to an earthquake, a car hitting an electrical pole… or who knows what.

The home inspector highly recommended review by a licensed electrician prior to the close of the contingency period.

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Horizontal Stucco Crack

In the past, stucco siding was plastered on the house walls and continued down over the foundation.

The top of the foundation is just below the ventilation screen seen at the right side of the photo and the house wall wood framing is bolted to the top of the foundation.

Along comes an earthquake and as it ‘rolls’ across the earth surface; it causes the house walls to move back and forth on top of the rigid foundation.

Since the stucco siding is also rigid and the house walls are moving back and forth, the stucco siding can crack horizontally near the top of the foundation.

This is considered a cosmetic condition and the recommendation is to have stucco cracks sealed to prevent water intrusion.

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Growing Weeds

As the home inspector rounded the side of a Pleasanton home – there it was – a weed growing out of a downspout.

Gutters and downspouts are part of a drainage collection system designed to collect rain water from the roof and carry it away from the house.

Do you know how much water runs off a 2,000 square foot roof when it’s raining? If it rains one inch during a storm, approximately 1246 gallons of water flows into the gutters.

This downspout must have been clogged for considerable time before the sheet-metal downspout corroded through… and accumulated gutter debris decayed into a nutrient rich soil – and with a little water and a seed – the adage about weeds growing anywhere kicks in.

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Potential Kitchen Fire

When is the last time you looked under your kitchen exhaust hood or at the air filter under the microwave oven above the cooking range?

A good home inspector looks under exhaust hoods and microwave ovens for greasy air filters.

Greasy air filter are a potential fire concern – especially, if someone cooks with a flame in the skillet.

Failing to change or clean a greasy air filter creates a number of potential hazards including increased greasy buildup on the interior of your exhaust hood, inside the microwave oven exhaust flue, on exterior surfaces of your kitchen cabinets and walls, countertops and floors.

Leaving grease filters in place too long dramatically increases the risk of fire entering duct work and spreading through a house.

The inspector’s recommendation: wash the air filter in the dishwasher or replace it.

Schedule an inspection – mention “I’d like a peace of mind inspection” – Save $25