TWO PRONG OUTLETS - What are the current and potential issues and where are they seen most often?
Two prong outlets are normally found in older homes where there are no grounding wires present. Homes built between the 1930’s and 60’s normally have these two prong receptacles as those were the standard prior to 1974 when the grounded outlets became code.
Without a grounding wire to an outlet, there is risk of electric shock and/or appliance damage in the event of inclement weather, such as lightening, or power surges from your electrical provider.
It wasn’t until 1969 that the three-prong outlets made an appearance on the market. The difference between the two outlets is simple, one has two prongs and the other has three.
With a three-prong outlet, there are three wires: a hot, a neutral, and a grounding wire. The hot wire sends electricity into the device plugged into the outlet; the neutral wire sends the electricity back to your home's electrical panel. If a power surge occurs and more electricity is sent to this outlet than what it was intended, then this excess electricity flows through the ground wire and safely to the ground.
With a two-prong outlet, this concept doesn’t exist. Therefore, when more electricity is sent to an electronic device than was meant, this excess power can damage the device, cause electric shock of the person using it, or create an electrical fire.
Electrical Double Tap - A Safety Hazard That Most People Don't Even Know Is Present In Their Home.
When you have a home inspection, the home inspector is required to make sure that before you move into your new home, the home is safe from all types of safety hazards. The electrical panel is part of this thorough review of your home as there can be several hazards that stem from it.
While inspecting an electrical panel, the home inspector is looking for deficiencies. One in particular is called a Double Tap, or a double tapped electrical breaker.
If the circuit is not overloaded, then there are several options. The first would be having a licensed electrician add another circuit breaker to the panel and connect the secondary wire to the circuit. Another option would be to have a licensed electrician disconnect the two wires that are connected to the breaker, install a short wire, wire nut all three wires, and finally connect the short wire to the circuit breaker. It’s important to note the mention of the licensed electrician in all scenarios.
In other words, it’s a simple repair, but you should always have a licensed professional handle it to ensure you and your home are safe!
When it comes to the ventilation of your dryer, there are several factors that make it efficient.
An efficient ventilation system allows a dryer to vent directly to the exterior of the home in the most direct way possible. Other factors to consider are the amount temperature, moisture, and lint that are going to be moving along the ventilation path. Home inspectors are looking for minimal twists and turns between the dryer and exit point (most ideally would be a straight line) because any angle between those two points can be a lint trap. Lint traps can be a fire hazard over time as lint constricts the duct.
All dryers produce lint; regardless if you have an electric or gas appliance. Lint build up in a lint trap and inside the dryer vent causes a variety of problems:
- Reduced airflow that affects the appliances functionality
- High humidity levels that lead to mildew and organic growth in walls and insulation
- Home fires
Regular maintenance goes a long way when it comes to ensuring the safety of your family and a clean inspection. Here are ways homeowners can stay on top of this issue
1. Monitor and clean out your dryer vent trap located on the dryer.
2. Monitor your exterior vent for build of lint
3. Contact a licensed technician to clean out your dryer ventilation system.
What is Mylar?
Mylar is a polyester film (similar to a plastic sheet) made from stretched polyethylene terephthalate. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is the most common thermoplastic polymer resin of the polyester family. “Thermo,” as in heat, which is why home inspectors, we nor typically find these types of plastics and films in the laundry room being used as dryer vent hoses.
The Mylar vents in the diagram below are common, but what is also common is their misuse. There are several types of vent systems in a house, including your dryer, your water heater (if it uses gas), and your exhaust fans in the bathroom. These appliances or areas are heat-producing and thus need a safe means of expelling heat to the exterior of the home. This is when having the proper Mylar vent in place matters most.
Whether your dryer is electric or gas, it will most likely have a means of exhaust. This exhaust pipe/hose needs to be able to handle the amount of heat coming out of your dryer. Appliances are capable of reaching over 100ºF, and unfortunately not all Mylar vents can take the heat. Based on their composition some vents are labelled combustible, meaning a hot appliance can become a potential safety hazard.
Home inspectors examine these before a closing or when a home is first put on the market, however it is definitely in the homeowner’s best interest to ensure they have the right system in place regardless if they’re preparing to sell.
Below are types of vents Hope Home Inspections suggests for your appliances.
Insulating your attic space thoroughly is one aspect of your home you should constantly monitor/maintain. Insulation does a number of things, but perhaps most importantly it prevents gradual damage from happening to the living space of your house.
There are two important concepts when it comes to insulation. The first is the amount of heat that comes into and stays within the home. The other is the amount of moisture your home experiences in a given year. Insulation is a sealant or barrier that slows down the amount of heat loss into the attic/exterior of the home and prevents water vapor from seeping in and eroding the home's sheetrock.
As you can imagine, there are a number of different types of insulation. Below, is a chart of the most common insulation types. Take a look at the chat to help determine which kind insulation is present within your home.