Most agents have seen comments relating to these 2 items on an inspection report but what do they really DO? This month, we’ll answer that question !
More than 2/3’s of residential fires are causes by problems with the electrical system, either the wiring/switches/outlets/lights or cords/appliances the occupant has plugged INTO the system. This is why AFCI’s are so important. They will dramatically reduce the incidence of fires in this country.
As their name implies, they sense arcing in a circuit and if they do, they trip off, preventing an overheated circuit or arcing which are the 2 main reasons for electrical fires.
Some causes of damaged and deteriorated wiring include:
• puncturing of wire insulation from picture hanging or cable staples,
• poorly installed outlets or switches,
• cords caught in doors or under furniture and carpets
• furniture pushed against plugs in an outlet,
• natural aging and cord exposure to furnace vents and sunlight.
Current codes require arc fault breakers to be installed on circuits in all bedrooms and living areas
WATER HEATER EXPANSION TANKS
Certain cities, but not Austin, require these to be installed at all water heaters to prevent damage to the water heater, plumbing system and water meter.
If too much pressure or heat builds up inside a malfunctioning water heater, the hot water and/or steam expands. If it has nowhere to go, it backs up into the COLD water lines eventually reaching the water meter at the street. This has also been known to crack toilets and ruin water meters.
The expansion tank prevents this by absorbing all this excess pressure. Some say that the pressure and temperature relief valve (attached to the tank by the manufacturer) does the same thing. Not true. It only opens up when the pressure gets over 150psi or the water temperature gets over 210 F.
Damage to the plumbing can occur at lower pressures and temps., especially if you have plastic pipes, which many newer homes have. Also, T&P valves DO FAIL with age and cannot be relied upon indefinitely. Municipalities are required to keep the incoming pressure below 80psi but we find it as high as 125psi due to the failure of the pressure reducing valve at the meter.