There are certain rules in life we must follow and certain rules we “bend.” While many homeowners consider many house codes in the latter, it’s still important to know what rules your home is in fact breaking.
Perhaps the main reason many homeowners put off code fixes is because you do not fully understand how to fix or prevent them. Fear not, as we dive into four of the most popular code violations.
- Service Panels
To no surprise, one of the most common code violations deals with your service panel. As we add more and more electricity to the home, our electric panels, as well as the area around it, get crowded. Just like an exit route, the area must be free of any debris.Additionally, all circuits should be labeled and the main disconnect needs to always be free and clear. This way, you can quickly turn off your entire electrical system in case of an emergency. Some of the most common wiring mistakes include:
1. Don’t mix line-voltage and low-voltage wires.
2. Don’t use wire runs as a clothesline.
3. Don’t overcrowd holes with too many wires.
4. Don’t disable a smoke detector with bad placement.
5. Don’t stuff too many wires into a switch or outlet box.
Overall, make sure your service panel and the area surrounding it is one of the most organized corners of the home.
- Smoke Alarms
We have all done it. We accidently cooked the chicken a little longer or left the oven open too long and the smoke alarm goes off. Sometimes, it continues to beep even after waving a towel to get rid of the “smoke.” Sadly, most people then take out the batteries. Removing batteries should never be an option with a smoke alarm. It needs to be on and functioning at all times.Furthermore, every bedroom in the home is required to have a hard-wired smoke alarm in the room as well as the hallways outside all sleeping areas. Check your smoke alarms at least once a year, as it is one of the most evident code violations across the country.
If you needed another reason, just remember, smoke alarms can and do save lives.
On the second floor, the quickest way outside is through the window, so it’s no surprise many code violations revolve around windows.If you think your windows are out of date, start by replacing all windows near your stairs and in bathrooms with tempered or safety-glazed glass. Building codes require it in new homes with windows that are near stairs, doorways, in showers or pretty much anywhere someone could slip into the glass. Likewise, most double-pane windows are up to code with even the toughest states.
Not sure if it’s time to replace your window?
• Is the glazing double or triple glazed to provide insulation and to resist impact?
• Are there visible fasteners to assure you they’re securely installed?
• Tempered or safety glass must have a manufacturer’s designation.
• The designation must be visible at final installation and applied so that it can’t be removed without being destroyed.
- Water Heaters
While electric and plumbing are not sexy categories around the home, they do tend to take up a majority of the code violations across America. Much like your service panel, your water heater is a prime area home inspectors monitor.All water heaters need expansion tanks in case your water overheats. If you do not have one, or the tank is too old, your water tank could explode from the added pressure.
The average lifespan of both electric and gas water heaters are eight to thirteen years. If you’ve owned your systems for longer than 10 years, you may want to call a plumber or water heater specialist near you.