7 Hidden Home Safety Dangers

Seven hidden safety dangers lurking in your home that can show up in your home inspection report.

Are You Safe in Your Home?

Buying or selling a house is one of the most important decisions a person makes. Incredible value is gained by knowing all of the facts necessary to make an informed decision, including the physical condition of the property.

Homebuyers want the best return on their money for a property that serves all their needs. Sellers want to make the home as appealing to buyers as possible. Know all the details that make your house a sound investment. You want the best offer for your sale.

Every home has a story to tell, your home inspector’s mission is to dig in and read through the chapters. Your home inspector will push buttons, make things prove they work properly, and check all the major systems are operating normally.

Your inspector will look at structures and systems throughout the house from top to bottom:

  • Foundation & Roof
  • Plumbing & Electrical
  • Kitchen & Bathrooms
  • Fireplace & Chimney
  • Garage & Exterior
  • Attic & Crawlspaces

While your inspector is looking at the home, safety is a big concern. Exposing hidden problems and safety concerns is part of a home inspection service. 

Hidden Dangers in Your Home

Your home inspector is trained to see your house in regards to safety both now and in the future. Here are some of the danger signals that may show up in your home inspection.

Trip Hazards

Trip hazards are places that can cause falls that can result in injuries, including broken bones. They are often noted in uneven surfaces, but also can be caused by poor lighting. According to HUD.gov, “trip hazards are caused when there’s an abrupt change in vertical or horizontal separation on any walking surface along the normal path of travel.” They can be vertical or horizontal, either a lift up or a separation in the walkway. 

  • Uneven or broken pavers or cement in a walkway or patio surface
  • Walkway uprooted by tree roots
  • Inadequate lighting over stairways, steps, or outdoor areas
  • Uneven risers on steps or stairways

Electrical Hazards

Electrical systems are often hidden behind walls, over ceilings, or under flooring. Your inspector will check for any unusual readings in electrical flow. Electrical shorts can cause sparks that ignite fires. You’ll want to repair any system faults. 

Some of the most common issues include:

  • Wires are taped or spliced together and not in a junction box
  • Three-prong outlets are not grounded and may cause electrical shocks
  • Outlets are painted which can cause overheating
  • Circuit breakers have more than one live wire running to it
  • Electrical panels modified incorrectly, causing flickering lights, outlets not working, etc.
  • GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets do not work or are missing altogether. These outlets detect dangerous faults and turn off power to stop shocks
  • Flickering lights that indicate a faulty circuit

Missing, Faulty, or Non-Functioning Smoke Detectors

Some fires allow only minutes for residents to get out of the house. A functioning smoke detector saves lives. Older homes may be missing a smoke detector or have an older model that has stopped functioning. Your inspector will check any installed detector for proper operation.

Chimney Dangers

The main cause of chimney fires is creosote buildup. But chimneys can house other safety dangers. Faulty chimneys can leak toxic gases into your home.  

  • Cracked bricks in the flue can leak carbon monoxide into the home
  • A missing chimney cap can invite obstruction in the chimney keeping smoke and fumes from exiting

Gas Leaks

Gas leaks are potential fire hazards. Natural gas is highly flammable. A tiny spark can cause an explosion resulting in fire damage and threats to your safety. Your inspector will check any gas systems for adequate pipes, fittings, and secure connections. If a gas pilot is out, he’ll note that too. Heaters, stoves, water heaters and other gas fuel appliances are checked during the inspection. 

Hidden Toxic Mold  

Slow drips and small leaks in cupboards and behind walls not only result in damage to floors and walls but can invite mold infestation. Mold isn’t always visible, and your inspector will check for any signs. Mold is toxic. It can cause respiratory problems for residents and in severe cases, can lead to pneumonia. 

Your inspector will notice signs of mold inspection and recommend immediate mold remediation.

  • Cracked or bubbling paint or wallpaper
  • Damp, musty odor
  • Visible mold in cracks, walls, or carpeting 

Absent, Faulty or Non-Functioning Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can kill you. It is created by the incomplete combustion of fuels. 

Your inspector will check for potential carbon monoxide leaks in a variety of sources in your home.

  • Clothes dryers
  • Water heaters
  • Furnaces or boilers
  • Fireplaces, both gas and wood-burning
  • Gas stoves and ovens
  • Motor vehicles
  • Grills, generators, power tools, lawn equipment
  • Wood stoves

And they will check the carbon monoxide detector in your home to make sure it is functioning.

Home Inspections Focus on Your Safety

You may think that the home inspection is all about structural soundness, but your experienced home inspector cares about the safety of the people in a home. That’s why we recommend a maintenance home inspection every five years. 

Many safety issues are hidden from the casual observer. It takes an experienced, professional eye to check that a home is safe for you and your loved ones. 

Find the perfect inspector for your home safety at Inspect.com. Our inspectors are vetted for experience and professional qualifications to give you peace of mind.


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