Home Inspection…Duck and Cover!

UnknownAnother Home Inspection this week. Another reminder just how risky daily life is. Begs the question: Will any of us even survive the night in the unprotective-custody of our not-so-safe-houses?

They used to say most accidents occured up to five miles away from home. But after reading this 60page tome of a Home Inspection Report, I don’t see how anyone makes it out the front door in one piece – let alone down the driveway.

Nothing like a Home Inspection Report to make you feel incredibly insecure about all the insidious dangers that lurk in every room, closet and corner of the one place that’s supposed to keep us all safe.

I call it the 60 Minute Syndrome. Goes something like this. Morley Safer (fictitious name?) does a riveting expose on the dangers of automatic garage doors pinning unsuspecting children or small pets underneath. By the following week, consumer protection advocates are up in arms calling for installation of retroactive auto-reverse safety mechanisms.

On the front line of the Center for Dis-Ease Patrol are the Code Talkers. They are the Home Inspectors that cite chapter and verse of all the new codes we should live by. They’ve come to understand, after a lawsuit or two, that if they don’t warn everyone about every possible thing that could potentially harm anyone, their own butts are in grave danger. CYA rules. Absolute CYA rules absolutely.

And so the real estate process has moved into strange territory where the Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware) of old has become the Caveat Venditor of today – which means Seller Beware of all those things that will scare you about your own home and also scare the heck out of any potential home buyers too.

Here are just a few of the things you probably never knew you had to worry about – until now.

– Does your oven have an anti-tip device? Ever see an oven fall over on someone? Not pretty.

– That naked light bulb in your closet? Stack those sweaters high enough and they’re a fire waiting to happen.

– That dryer vent? Filling up with combustible layers of lint even as we speak.

– How many dyslexic plumbers have installed hot and cold water lines backwards?

– Is every stairway a potential stairway to heaven? Risers too high? Too wide? Treds uneven? Handrails too hard to grip?

– Deck rails more than 4 inches apart? Wide enough for small heads to get stuck? My own baby crib had bars wider than that. You are all witness to the results.

– GFCI’s? Carbon Monoxide Detectors? Smoke Alarms? Pool Alarms? A ban on all extension cords? Tempered glass? Clamps to hold open the damper on your gasfireplace?

When I was growing up we nursed a healthy fear of the atomic bomb. But as long as we listened to Bert the Turtle – ducked, covered and didn’t stare directly into the blast, we were ok. Everything else was gravy. Well, except for remembering not to run with sharp pencils in hand or put those plastic dry cleaning bags over our heads. But that was a different day and age. Long before fear came home to rule the roost.

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