8 Home Conditions That Can Be Extremely Dangerous

We’ve witnessed many home inspections over the past 40 years, and there are several issues that seem to come up over & over again — some seriously dangerous ones and ones that, if left unattended, can result in costly repairs. We thought we’d share them with you so you can take action now to keep your home safe and sound

1. Breaker Panel: You may not think much about your electrical breaker panel unless you’re running Griswold-level Christmas lights. But if your home is between 25 and 65 years old, it might have a Zensco or Federal Pacific breaker panel, which causes an estimated 2,800 fires each year. If your breaker panel says Federal Pacific or Zensco on the front, call a licensed electrician to replace it.

2. Sprinklers: These are considered harmless, but if your sprinklers are spraying the house, the brick will absorb the moisture into the wall. Over time this lead to extremely costly damage — from buckled hardwood flooring to black mold growing in the walls. Make sure you do a sprinkler check at least once per year.

3. A/C Drain Pan: An adequately installed HVAC should have two drain lines, a primary and a secondary since it produces a lot of water while cooling. We see many with only a primary drain. When (not if) these clog, you’ll find out when water starts dripping from the ceiling! Pro Tip: If you do have a secondary drain line, you need to know where it terminates — usually outside a window of your home. This is on purpose. When it starts dripping, you know that the primary is clogged and you should call a licensed HVAC repairman immediately.

4. Wood Rot: This can happen to the best of people and the best of homes. All it takes is a crack in paint to allow water in that results in wood rot or mold. The most likely places to look for rot would be where the wood frequently comes into contact with water: window sills, exterior doors, bathrooms, water heaters, garages, roofs and decks. Keeping up with proper paint maintenance can avoid costly repairs.

5. Water Heater: When it comes to water heaters, you shouldn’t mess around. Small issues can turn into damaged floors at best, significant explosions at worst. Most water heaters last between 8 to 12 years. If yours is on the older end (you might have to call a plumber as the label doesn’t always say), we strongly recommend you consider replacing it, especially if it’s in the attic.

6. T&P Valve: On your water heater, the T&P valve is what safely releases hot water in the event your water heater breaks. However, this valve is often not appropriately terminated, especially in older homes. The termination point should be outside the home no less than 6 inches above the ground. Most often these valves terminate under the house, or worse, right next to the water heater. In this situation get ready for very expensive repairs should your water heater decide to call it quits. Call a licensed plumber to have it properly plumbed before it becomes a hazard.

7. Heater Flex Line: Code says that gas furnaces should have a hard gas pipe entering the unit, but many have gas pumped into them through flexible corrugated steel tubing. Through vibration, this tubing can sometimes tear or get cut, causing a gas leak or fire. If you are unsure about your HVAC setup, you should have an HVAC technician come out to take a look.

8. Tree Branches: We love trees, but tree branches can really wreak havoc on your roof. Inspectors recommend branches be no less than 5 feet from the house. Even if it’s not that close, wind can move the branches onto the roof tearing apart shingles. Proper tree maintenance can save you lots of money on roof repairs.

Now we’re not home repair specialists or licensed electricians. Otherwise, we’d offer to help you ourselves. But since we’re not, we highly recommend you find one you trust. If you need a recommendation, please let us know.

Ready to be done with your current home’s repairs and move into a new place? Give us a call. 

We are however experts in one thing, and that’s helping people buy and sell homes. We grew up here. We live here. We’ve been buying and selling real estate in the area for two generations, immersed in the ebbs and flows of the local neighborhood markets. Deep ties to the community keep us in the know. It’s not just a slogan… WE KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD.