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Get an Inspection to Avoid Hidden Home Hazards

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Hidden hazards in your home create accidents waiting to happen. Burst pipes can flood your house. Bad wiring can burn it down. A home inspector can find those problem spots to improve your home's safety.

Buddy Carlisle, with Carlisle Home Inspection Services, goes through a two-hour long, 60-point checklist, looking for dangers hidden in an Albemarle County home.

"We're looking for plumbing leaks, roof leaks, checking electrical receptacles," he said.

Homeowners are keeping Carlisle and his crew busy with more than 500 inspections a year.

"A lot of people are staying in their homes now," stated Carlisle. "They realized they're going to stay there for a while, so they want to keep the house up. Keep it safe."

Carlisle starts an inspection by examining electrical systems. "What I'm looking for is any sign of scorching or arching on the breakers," he said.

The United States Fire Administration blames more than half of all home electrical fires on bad wiring. Most of those are due to faulty outlets or simply wiring that's old.

A plug-in tester checks the outlets. "They'll indicate if there's a lack of ground," Carlisle said.

From there, Carlisle pops off the cover of the home's HVAC system. Ones that have wires rubbing against metal could cause an electrical short. Carlisle says homeowners need to keep vents clean to prevent a fire and switch out filters every two months.

He said, "If people don't change their filters regularly, the dust transfers through and clings to the coils."

In terms of fire dangers, check up the chimney each year to make sure the flues are clean of chemicals and ashes.

Poor plumbing can also cause a wet mess around the house. "People don't think to look under their sinks frequently to make sure their pipes aren't dripping," said Carlisle.

Carlisle uses a moisture meter to detect leaks around the toilet and he points out cracks between tiles where water can seep into the walls.

He also encourages homeowners to replace rubber washing machine hoses with ones that are the braided, no break kind. "They burst easy. You might leave for work one morning and you'll flood your neighbor or yourself," he stated.

Carlisle says uncovering these safety hazards now allows a homeowner to find fixes before an accident happens.

"It's just peace of mind," he said.

Carlisle says malfunctioning smoke detectors are the most common home safety problem he sees. For more information about hidden home hazards, click here and here.