If you are thinking of buying or selling an older home, it is important to ensure that the home is up to current code. Otherwise, you might run into problems during the inspection, which can hinder the closing process, or have a potential dangerous situation in your home.
The International Code Council Commercial and Residential Building codes are revised and updated in three year cycles. By knowing when your home was built, you will be able to see what changes have occurred in your jurisdiction’s building code. Here are some general things you might want to look for before you get blindsided on an inspection, which can hold up the closing process.
Take a look at your electrical panel box to make sure circuits are labeled properly and that the breakers match circuit requirements. You may want to hire an electrician from Arc Angel to remove the front of the panel to inspect the wiring connections to breakers, so the type of wire (copper or aluminum), the size of wires, and the existence of grounding legs for circuits can be determined.
Having a qualified electrician from Arc Angel check the state of the wiring in older houses can be very important. In some cases, old wiring or a total lack of replacing aging wires in older homes can present a fire hazard and potential electrocution problems. Our electricians will be able to tell you whether or not major fixes will be needed.
Dumping humid air into an enclosed attic can lead to mold growth and subsequent health hazards. Codes say your fan should expel humid bathroom air to the outside via a 4-inch diameter vent pipe. If your bathroom fan expels into the attic, you are likely in violation of code.
Also, regular use of a bathroom fan can help eliminate moisture remaining in your bathroom. If your fans are not working properly, please call Arc Angel and we will help you fix this issue.
The best protection you have in the event of a fire is a smoke detector. They are required on every floor of your house, and for current code, inside every sleeping area and outside every bedroom entry. Alarms on ceilings must be at least 4 inches away from walls, and alarms on walls must be 4-12 inches from the intersection of the wall and ceiling.
Smoke alarms in new construction must be hard wired and include battery backup, and multiple alarms must be wired together so that all alarms go off at the same time. If you’re doing a renovation project on a house, you must update any battery-only alarms to meet the current requirements.
Switches, Outlets and Lighting
Bedrooms, living room and dining room: Every room must have a wall switch located near the entry door that controls either a ceiling fixture or a switched receptacle. All ceiling fixtures must be controlled by a wall switch and not by a pull chain. Receptacles must be no more than 12 feet apart, and there must be at least one on each wall. If a section of wall between two doors is wider than 2 feet, it must have a receptacle. Light fixtures must be on 15-amp circuits. Usually receptacles are allowed to share a circuit with lights.
Hallways and stairways: All stairways must have a light fixture controlled by three-way switches at the bottom and top of the stairs. Hallways may also need a light controlled by three-way switches. A hallway longer than 10 feet must have at least one receptacle.
Closets: There should be at least one overhead light, controlled by a wall switch—not a pull chain. The light should have a globe or flush mount; an exposed bulb can get hot enough to ignite items stored in the closet, such as clothing and blankets, or even storage boxes.
Attached garage: There must be at least one receptacle—not counting receptacles used for laundry or other utilities. There should be an overhead light (in addition to a light that is part of a garage door opener) controlled by at least one wall switch.
Kitchen: Many codes call for two 20-amp small appliance circuits controlling GFCI receptacles placed above countertops. Other codes call for 15-amp split-circuit receptacles. Certain appliances such as the refrigerator, garbage disposal, and dishwasher may need to be on dedicated circuits. A technician from Arc Angel will be able to help you determine if you need a dedicated circuit.
Bathrooms: All receptacles be GFCI-protected. Any light fixture in shower areas should be sealed (globe or flush mount) to keep out moisture.
Arc Angel Electric has experts who are knowledgeable in all of these areas, and we are always happy to help you feel safe in secure in your home. Call us today to schedule a service call with one of our experienced technicians!