The essential home shopping checklist: Part 2

When it comes to your future home, safety should be a top priority. According to the National Safety Council, more than 18,000 Americans die each year from home accidents. Put each home you tour to the test to find a safe and secure environment for your family’s sleeping and waking hours. From minor concerns to blatant health hazards, here are 7 health and safety elements to inspect:

Keep an eye out for exposed wires.

Exposed wiring is a serious hazard. Examine wires and cables around appliances in the home and garage for any signs of trouble. While most concerns are a routine fix for an electrician, make sure all the wires are protected with sturdy tubing. Once in the home, you’ll sleep easier knowing that your kids and pets are safe from fire and dangerous shocks.

Check bathrooms for damp and mold.

Feel around bathroom cabinets and shelves for moisture. Mold and mildew thrive in damp, poorly-ventilated environments and this could be a sign of leaky pipes and future headaches. Not only is mold foul and unsightly, it can exacerbate allergies and asthma. Be sure to also get underneath the sink and check the plumbing for leaks and mold.

Say no to sagging surfaces.

Check the structural integrity of ceilings, walls and floors with a pocket flashlight. During your viewing, turn off the lights and hold the flashlight parallel to the surface. Got shadows? The surface is most likely uneven or sagging. This could mean structural issues or water damage, especially if a sagging ceiling is below a bathroom or kitchen. Stains and corrosion are other telltale signs of water damage.

Test everything.

Turn on every faucet, flush every toilet, flip on every light switch. Test the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and try out the garbage disposal, stove top and oven. You should even give the tap water a taste! A leaky faucet is a hassle, a defective smoke detector is a danger.

Sniff for trouble.

Catch a whiff of something funky during your home viewing? Sewage systems in older homes can get clogged or damaged by tree roots, while gas leaks are often the result of faulty appliances. Be sure to sniff around for pet odors, mildew and cigarettes. No matter how hard you scrub, certain odors tend to stick to carpets and upholstery. At the end of the day, an unscented home is a happy home.

Examine furnace for leaky ductwork.

Your home should be well-ventilated and comfortable in every season. Check the attic, water pipes and heating ducts to ensure proper insulation. Efficient HVAC systems and superb air quality can drive down utility costs and prevent pesky allergies. Breathe easier with a lungful of clean air!

Check nooks and crannies for signs of pest infestation.

Depending on where you live, problems with unwanted guests can be inevitable. But no one wants to move in to a home that’s already occupied! Inspect nooks and crannies—especially in the kitchen, basement and storage space—for rodent droppings, excessive spiderwebs and little critters.

Read part 1 of our essential home shopping checklist for 8 more key areas to examine.

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