A Major “Red Flag” in Home Inspection

March 18, 2014

This is not the way to bake a pie… This lighting “fixture” obviously speaks for itself.

From an inspector’s standpoint, safety hazards are a priority for me to point out throughout the home inspection process. I’ve blogged about railings/safety in the past, but just had to post this makeshift light. I found it in the basement of a recent home I inspected. It is a major red flag and definitely landed a prominent spot in my inspection report.

Please Note: the pie plate is not considered an approved electrical fixture!  And the fact that the exposed wiring is not properly covered in the junction box is another safety concern.

Do not attempt this nostalgic fixture in your home… no matter how good Grandma’s pie is!

Please don’t hesitate to call me if you have electrical or lighting questions.

Have a great week,


Smoke Detectors for Safety

November 14, 2013
type: photoelectric smoke detector

type: photoelectric smoke detector

In a typical home inspection, I routinely check for smoke detectors. This blog post will not cover every single requirement, but rather an education to the homeowner, whether you are purchasing a home or not. The issues I will raise is in the area of fire safety which includes the ever important smoke detector.

There are two basic types of smoke alarm detectors sold in the US ……ionization and photoelectric. I recommend both, but lean towards photoelectric detection and here’s why.

These two types of alarms indicate differently. Most people are just used to the typical ionization sensor smoke alarms, but if they become annoying, they are sometimes  disconnected by someone in the home.  According to The ASHI Reporter:

     “Remember, about 96% of US homes have at least one smoke alarm. Nearly two-thirds of all residential fire deaths occur in homes that are unprotected. Roughly 50% of homeowners with nonfunctional alarms cite nuisance tripping as the reason for disabling their alarms. To complete the picture, many of the remaining 1/3 of residential fire deaths occur in homes where an alarm sounds, but it sounds too late for the occupants to escape. Over the years a number of government, university and manufacturer research studies, many going back to the mid-1970’s, clearly show that ionization alarms are slow to react in deadly smoldering fires and account for the vast majority of nuisance trips.”

In July, 2010, Albany, California became the first city in that state to require photoelectric smoke alarms in new construction and remodels. Other cities in California and the Ohio cities of Shaker Heights, Chagrin Falls and others have enacted similar ordinances.

The phrase, “It’s better to be safe than sorry” really is true on the issue of fire safety in your home.

Take care,


Safety railings are a ‘must’

August 2, 2012

How many safety hazards can you find in this photo? (or at your own home, for that matter?)

The deck and all steps are important areas of safety for your home inspection

Here is the item most blatantly missing and will cause any home inspection to fail: handrails. I am looking for hand railings on all stairs and a safety railings on any deck platform or steps that are 36-inches above grade or higher. Bench seating on a deck is NOT considered safe, nor does a bench seat meet the safety requirement on the inspection report.

Kids love to climb up on things… and a built-in seat on a deck is too tempting. So keep them safe (and pass inspection!) by installing a safety railing right away.

Have a great summer and stay safe!