Outlets - they are these little things on our walls that power our TV's, charge our phones, and just sit there quietly when not in use. But an outlet is a very important thing to pay attention to, especially when buying a home.
Outlets deliver electricity (obviously) but they can also help identify underlying issues, and even workmanship.
Modern outlets have three openings; one hot, one neutral, and one ground. Many older homes only have three openings though; a hot and a neutral. When buying a home, be sure to check for this. Many modern appliances don't work properly without a ground.
Beware of the "bootleg" ground as well. Many people don;t want to change out all the wiring in older homes to get a ground, so the hook the ground to the neutral wire. When tested, this gives the appearance of being grounded, but not actually being properly grounded.
Another thing to look out for are GFCI outlets. You will want to have GFCI outlets anywhere near a water source.
These are just some of the many items to consider about outlets - and as you can see, something small can have many things to look out for.
Let's be honest, non of us want to think about this right now. We love the sun, the nice weather when it is not so crazy hot, and we like not having to worry about things like hurricanes when we don't have to.
But preparing our homes for a hurricane now can help us save time, money, and grief afterward. So how can we prepare our home for the next hurricane?
1: Do an "inspection" of your home. This can be something simple, but be sure to be thorough. Are there any loose shingles? See any items that aren't properly bolted down? How about shutters or other means to protect your windows?
2: Make repairs. Thinking about fixing those windows? How about those framing repairs from the last storm? Making repairs now can save you money in the long run.
3: Get a wind mitigation inspection. "Wind Mits" are a great way to see if your home is wind-worthy. A qualified inspector from our company will evaluate key parts of your home and point out areas that need to be addressed. The great part about these types of inspections is that your insurance company will often give you discounts on your insurance that more than pay for the inspection in time.
So don;t be caught scrambling to get your home ready just before the next storm hits. Prepare your home now for the next hurricane!
Mike McFadden, Certified Master Home Inspector in Orlando, FL