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Water Damage, Electrical Problems, And How The Home Inspector Can Help

by Sara Cook

Home inspectors are responsible for detecting any potential problems before the prospective owner finalizes the purchase of the residence. While there are many different areas that could be compromised or hazardous, some of the most common—and dangerous—problems are water damage and faulty electrical configurations. Read on to learn about the number one enemy to any home, two common electrical problems found during a residential home inspection, and why you need a home inspector.

The #1 Enemy

According to home inspectors, moisture is the number one enemy when it comes to structural problems in a home. Water can cause rotting and deterioration, with the possibility of serious mold problems in the future.

Poor Grading

Properties that are properly graded will not suffer from water entering the home during and after rain storms and the spring thaw. However, grading that allows water to drain toward the home can lead to unsettled foundations, cracks and the presence of moisture in the walls.

Old Roofing

Roofing will eventually wear out and will need to be replaced. Life expectancy for the various roofing materials will vary, from 20-40 years for asphalt shingles to over 100 years for concrete and terra cotta tiles. If roofing shows signs of wear, water could have leaked into the home during a rainstorm, creating the potential for both hidden and visible water damage.

Electrical Problems

Oversized Breakers and/or Fuses

This problem is often called "overfusing," whether in reference to breakers or fuses. Overfusing takes place when a wire designed for carrying a certain electrical load is connected to a fuse or breaker with a higher rating. Because an breaker has a greater capacity, an overloaded wire may be unable to trip the breaker when the electrical current exceeds its capacity, and can result in melted wire and electrical fires.

Double Lugging

"Double lugging" refers to the positioning of multiple wires at a single lug. Although this problem is not as severe as the one above (meaning that it usually won't cause a fire), it is against proper installation techniques. Double lugging in an electrical panel usually indicates that a larger panel is needed to accommodate the greater electrical needs of the home.

To Avoid Heartache and Headache…

To avoid the purchase of a property with potentially deadly hazards and structural damage, be sure to have your home inspection performed by someone you can trust. A good home inspector will pinpoint any flaws in the home and will either fix them himself or recommend a specialist to handle the problem for you. 

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