Your Smoke Detectors May Not Save Your Life….Surprised?

Raleigh Home Inspector On Ionization Smoke Detectors

Would you be surprised if the Raleigh Home Inspector suggested that the smoke detectors in your home may not be adequately protecting you or your family? Would you be surprised that they may not save your life in the event of their being needed. While a Home Inspector will manually test the smoke detectors in a home while conducting a Home Inspection, that is no guarantee that the smoke detectors will provide adequately alert you with adequate advanced warning.

Of the two types of smoke detectors, the Ionization type and the Photoelectric type, it is being proven during actual field testing that the Ionization type of smoke detector may not provide any alarm or advanced warning until it’s too late. And…this is the type of Smoke Detector that is probably installed in your home.

American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) Vice President Bill Loden was recently interviewed on the topic subsequent to an investigative news report by WHNT 19 News in Huntsville AL…..

Please click on the graphic below to watch this most “alarming” video……

 


We hope you found this to be as interesting and….alarming….as we did.

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The Raleigh Home Inspector on Holiday Ladder Safety

The Raleigh Home Inspector Wants Everyone To Be Safe During The Holidays

The  Holidays are just around the corner, and for many families (including the family of the Raleigh Home Inspector), that means dragging out the ornaments, decorations, and light strings that will adorn the house. Both electric lights, and  the  ladders typically  needed to install them,  present  some specific and very real safety hazard…you might be surprised at just how many people are actually injured (or worse) while up on a ladder hanging those Christmas lights.

There are a number of specific tips that can make the effort of decking your halls with boughs of holly and other such ornaments:

  • First, use a high quality ladder and make sure it is both rated for your weight and appropriate for the task at hand; if hanging electric lights, a wood or fiberglass ladder is more appropriate

    The Raleigh Home Inspector Uses A High Quality Ladder

    The Raleigh Home Inspector Uses a High Quality Ladder Similar To This One Manufactured By Little Giant

  • Ensure that the ladder is stable and in good condition…Check the ladder for cracks and missing or bent hardware, particularly if you haven’t used the ladder in some time.
  • Always work within an arms distance away from you while you are on the ladder; don’t reach, lean, or stretch out to reach far away items; you can lose your balance and fall!
  • Carry all your needed material in a tool belt as you climb a ladder; at the very least always keep one hand for you and one hand for what you need to be carrying (both hands for you is always better).

See a previous post from the Raleigh Home Inspector regarding electric lights and holiday safety.

For more information regarding the use of ladders and ladder safety, visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Visit the Little Giant website for information on the the very best ladders made…a not-so-humble opinion,  of course.  The one used by the Raleigh Home Inspector was purchased over 15 years ago, is used daily, and remains in great condition…that’s a pretty good testament to their quality!

Be safe this Holiday season…the Raleigh Home Inspector and Quality Residential Inspections wish you the very best of  Holiday cheer!

If you are in need of a professional Home Inspection such as those routinely accomplished by Quality Residential Inspections, your Raleigh Home Inspection firm, then give us a call today at 919-848-4833.

 

The Raleigh Home Inspector On: Residential Fire Sprinkler Systems

As a Raleigh Home Inspector and owner of Quality Residential Inspections, a Raleigh Home Inspection firm, I am often asked about issues relating to safety in a single family residential environment. Fire sprinklers are not found in the vast majority of homes and I have often wondered why that is so. It is understood that they cost allot of money to install in any building…but if absolute safety and protection from caused by fire is a paramount consideration, then a fire sprinkler system has to be considered as an option. This excellent article delves into some of the myths surrounding fire sprinkler systems.

Raleigh Home Inspector On Fire Sprinklers And Safety

The Raleigh Home Inspector Suggests That A Happy Home Is A Safe Home

(ARA) – Some misconceptions are merely inconvenient. And some – like the many myths that surround the use of fire sprinklers in homes – can be deadly.

The federal government and more than 400 local governments – not to mention the national model building code authority, the International Code Council – have all recommended that all new homes offer this life safety system. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a business that is not protected by fire sprinklers. Yet misconceptions persist about the cost, convenience and effectiveness of home fire sprinklers, where 80 percent of all fire deaths occur.

“As a volunteer firefighter, I regularly see the devastation to families and their property due to home fires,” says Eric Skare of Lakeville, Minn. Skare, who works for fire-safety systems maker Uponor, is a fire safety expert. “Many of these people live right in my own community, and their losses are seared in my memory.”

Whether you’re building a new home or renovating an existing one, it’s important to know the truth behind some common fire

Raleigh Home Inspection On Fire Sprinkers And Safety

This Raleigh Home Inspection Firm Suggests That A Home Fire Has Every Potential of Being Absolutely Devastating

sprinkler myths:

Myth: Installing home fire sprinklers is too expensive.

Reality: On average, installing a stand-alone fire sprinkler system – the kind that runs off a separate, dedicated system of water pipes – in a new construction home adds just 1 to 1.5 percent to the total building cost, according to the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition.

That expense drops even lower when adding a multipurpose system, which combines the cold-water plumbing and the fire sprinklers into a single, efficient system. Installation costs for a multipurpose system, like those made by Uponor, averages 57 cents less per square foot than traditional stand-alone systems – a savings of $1,368 for a 2,400-square-foot home, according to the Fire Protection Research Foundation. What’s more, the foundation reports, home insurers give an average premium discount of 7 percent to homes with fire sprinkler systems.

Myth: Smoke alarms alone are enough protection against fires.

Reality: Smoke alarms can alert you to the presence of smoke, but do nothing to put out a fire. Home fire sprinkler systems act quickly to reduce heat, flames and smoke from a fire, giving you valuable time to get out safely. “Sprinklers put out most home fires in seconds, before the fire department arrives and before there’s major damage,” says Jayson Drake of Uponor North America.

Functioning smoke alarms reduce by 50 percent the risk of someone dying in a home fire. That risk decreases by 80 percent when sprinklers are present, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Myth: Fire sprinklers can cause excessive water damage to your home and belongings.

Reality: Fire sprinklers actually minimize damage. Fires cause more than $8.5 billion in direct property damage every year, according to the NFPA. Fire hoses discharge up to 250 gallons of water per minute into a burning home, causing significant damage as firefighters work to control and extinguish the fire. Sprinklers, use just 15 gallons of water per minute. Fire damage is far less in homes with sprinklers; a 15-year study in Scottsdale, Ariz. put the average loss for a sprinklered home at $2,166 compared to $45,019 for a home without sprinklers. [Read more…]

Raleigh Home Inspection Firm On: Must-do Bathroom Upgrades For Baby Boomers Aging In Place

Aging is part of life. And with aging comes an increased risk of injury from falls in the bathroom. With a few upgrades, that risk can be diminished for aging folks. This article was found to be very insightful and helpful…we hope you find helpful, too!

Must-do Bathroom Upgrades For Baby Boomers Aging In Place

(ARA) – The bathroom is an oasis for many of us, a place where we not only take care of personal needs, but also relax and decompress after a hectic day. But as people grow older and less mobile, the bathroom can become a risky place.

Falls are a leading cause of hospitalization among aging Americans, and most at-home falls occur in the bathroom. By upgrading their bath with some products designed to facilitate aging in place, baby boomers and mature homeowners can continue to enjoy their bathrooms, with less concern over possible safety risks.

“Good design – in the form of products which specifically address age-related concerns – can support independence as well as increase safety,” says Diana Schrage, an interior designer at the Kohler Design Center. “Making a few simple improvements in key areas like the bathroom can be a cost-effective way for anyone to ensure their home continues to work for their changing needs.”

Here are a few must-have items to make a bathroom more senior friendly:

For Aging Individuals, The Potential For Falls Can Be Diminished With A Few Bathroom Upgrades

For Aging Individuals, The Potential For Falls Can Be Diminished With A Few Bathroom Upgrades

* Grab bars – As we age, our ability to lift ourselves from or lower ourselves into a seated position can diminish. Grab bars or safety bars positioned near the toilet, and in the bath and shower area, can help people with mobility issues navigate more safely in the bathroom. You can find a wide selection of safety bars specifically made for use in the bath. Choose bars that are easy to grip, won’t become slick when wet, and can be positioned horizontally or vertically. Avoid diagonally positioned bars as your hand could slip off them when wet.

* A seated shower – Some people may feel fatigued from standing, or uncertain of their footing, in the shower. While a shower seat may help, it can also create a slip hazard if the seat moves unexpectedly while in use. A seated shower, like the Accord Seated Shower by Sterling may be a better option. The seat is integrated into the shower for convenience, beauty and stability, but is also removable and movable, so it can suit everyone in the household. Grab bars, designed to fit the overall aesthetic of the shower, offer another layer of safety. And because the unit is easy to install, it can cut down on remodeling costs. Visit www.sterlingplumbing.com to learn more.

* Slip resistance – Some of the most popular bathroom floor materials, like ceramic and vinyl, can become very slick when wet, creating a risk of slipping and falling. In addition, acrylic bathtub surfaces can be slippery. It’s important for tubs, showers and bathroom floors to be equipped with slip resistant materials. For tubs and showers, this could be as simple as a rubber mat with suction cups that keep it in place. You can also find slip-resistant mats and area rugs for the floor itself.

* Hand-held showerhead – Hand-held showers make it easier to use the shower from a seated position and minimize the need to reach over one’s head – a position that tires arms and potentially leaves one off balance. Such shower heads have become very popular, are available in a variety of styles and are easy to install in most bath settings.

* Levers – People with arthritis or other hand problems that make grasping a challenge often are better able to use levers, rather than traditional doorknobs or twist faucets. Replacing doorknobs with simple lever-style handles can give seniors easier access to the bath. And a lever-style faucet control can make it easier to adjust water temperature than controls with one or more knobs.

* Lighting – As we age, our eyes need more light to see by. Be sure to provide ample light in the bathroom, especially at night. A nightlight not only helps seniors see where they’re going, it can help ease the confusion that an abrupt transition from darkness to bright light may cause.

“From seated showers to slip-resistant flooring, homeowners can find plenty of bathroom products designed to help keep them safe and comfortable in their homes well into their golden years,” says Schrage.

If you are in need of a Raleigh Home Inspection, then call Quality Residential Inspections and  Schedule You Home Inspection today……

The Raleigh Home Inspector On: Brown Recluse Spiders and You

Crickets, and snails and other creepy-crawlies…they don’t scare me. Snakes? Nah, they don’t scare me either unless they’re making rattling noises or standing at attention to an accompaniment of music from a snake charmers’ flute. Neither do I suffer from arachnophobia (a general fear of spiders). Perhaps that lack of general concern for critters and such is a product of having been reared in central Florida where bugs are seemingly everywhere.There is one particular fear, though, that I do have…whether it be founded or unfounded, good or bad…and that’s the quite reasonable (in my estimation) fear of unknowingly coming in too close contact with a Loxoceles reclusa…a Brown Recluse spider. If the truth were to be accurately conveyed…the very thought gives me the heebie-jeebies.

Brown Recluse spider

A Brown Recluse spider

[Read more…]

Protecting Your Home During The Holidays

In our last post about home safety during the Holiday season,  we looked what WE can do to be more safe inside our own homes…in this article, the topic is what can do to be more safe in protecting ourselves from the dubious actions of others.

Protecting Your Home During The Holidays

(ARA) – The holidays provide a great opportunity to connect with friends and family and to celebrate the joys of the season. Unfortunately, they are also viewed as a time of opportunity for would-be burglars.

“Taking steps to protect your home during the holidays isn’t radically different from what most people should be doing the rest of the year,” says Thomas Leman, a retired 27-year veteran of the police force and criminal justice professor at Argosy University Online. Yet, according to the FBI, victims of burglaries suffered a loss of $4.6 billion in property in 2009 alone. “The problem,” says Leman, “is that most people get lured into a false sense of security and tend to let their guard down thinking that crime won’t happen to them.”

Just as the holidays seem to start with the change in your home decor, so should your view on safety. When it comes to holiday decorations, modesty is definitely the best policy, says Leman. “While you may love the look of a Christmas tree in your front window, expensive decorations on display can be a signal that there are valuables inside your home worth a criminal’s time. Gifts under the tree are the most blatant of these displays and are a welcome invitation for thieves.” Leaving gifts tucked away until the last possible minute is a quick and easy safety precaution.

Whether you are home or out and about, take care to close and lock all doors and windows and set alarms. “Given that most people have extra valuables and gifts in their homes during this time, it’s a good idea to practice home safety whether you’re there or not,” says Leman. USAA, a leading provider of banking, insurance and investment services to the military community, advises customers to install tapered inch-long deadbolt locks on exterior doors to make it harder for a wrench to twist the door open. Leman adds that a simple dowel placed in a sliding glass door or window can be an inexpensive way to secure those entrance points as well. 

“Alarms or closed circuit video surveillance systems are a great and inexpensive way to protect your home,” says Leman.

A well-lit and well-groomed home not only shows well, but provides an important measure of safety. “The better the lighting in your home and yard, the fewer places there are for criminals to lurk,” says Leman. USAA recommends homeowners use the “3 foot/6 foot rule,” trimming branches to 6 feet off the ground and shrubs down to 3 feet to minimize hiding places for burglars.

While leaving the box for your new 55-inch flat screen on the curb will win you cool points with the neighborhood and the title of host of the next big football party, it could land you in trouble with potential burglars. “When it comes to big ticket items and valuables, boxes on the curb can be an advertisement for the new valuables in your home,” cautions Leman. “Take the time to break down boxes and recycle them or put them on the curb over time and inconspicuously,” he advises.

If you plan on traveling for the holidays, you need to plan ahead for home safety. Whether you opt to have a neighbor collect mail and newspapers or have your service stopped by calling the post office and your neighborhood delivery person, be sure neither piles up at home. “Set your lights and television on timers,” suggests Leman, who also advises homeowners to have a neighbor park their car in your driveway intermittently to keep up the appearance someone is home.

While keeping your home safe may not top the list of your holiday “to dos,” taking a few extra precautions can go a long way to make sure your season stays merry and bright.

To schedule your professional Raleigh Home Inspection call us today…or Schedule Your Home Inspection Online!

Home Safety Doesn’t Take A Holiday

With the Holiday Season, just around the corner, we here at Quality Residential Inspections wanted to provide a reminder of how important it is to consider safety-related issues…especially when it comes to Christmas lights and decorations.

(ARA) – The holiday season is a great time to gather with family and friends in your home to celebrate the season. In the rush of decorating the home and shopping for gifts, many people overlook simple safety precautions.

Whether you are stringing lights inside or outside your home, shopping for holiday decor for your office or dorm room, or looking online for the latest gadgets and gifts, it is important to keep safety in mind.

CSA International, a global product safety, testing and certification organization, recommends that you remember these smart decorating and shopping tips to help ensure everyone has a safe holiday season:

Deck your halls: indoor safety tips

* Inspect holiday light strings each year and discard any with frayed cords, cracked lamp holders or loose connections.

* Never tack or staple lighting strings or extension cords to any surface.

* Never run electrical cords through doorways or under carpets and rugs.

* Always turn off holiday lights when you leave the house unattended or when going to bed.

* Do not use open flames or candles on or near flammable materials such as wreaths, trees or paper decorations.

* Avoid hanging decorations on or near objects like fire sprinklers, fire extinguishers, exit corridors or exit signs which can hinder one’s vision or safety.

* Consider using certified LED holiday lights around your home, as they are more energy-efficient and longer lasting than traditional lights.

* Ensure your home includes certified working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on each level of your home.

All is bright: outdoor lighting tips

* Before working with outdoor wiring, turn off the electricity to the supply outlet and unplug the connection.

* Ensure that light strings, cords, spotlights and floodlights are certified and marked for outdoor use.

* When hanging lights outdoors, keep electrical connectors above ground, out of puddles or snow and away from metal gutters.

* Use insulated fasteners such as tape or plastic clips rather than nails or tacks to hold lights in place.

* Remove lights promptly after the holidays to avoid damage caused by extended exposure to harsh weather conditions.

* Use a certified timer to switch lights on and off.

* Consider using solar lighting for illuminating your walkway or outside space to be more conscious of the environment while improving your outdoor safety.

Shop safe: avoid counterfeit products

* Avoid electrical products such as electric toys, household appliances, power tools and consumer electronics that are missing a label from an accredited certification organization such as CSA International. Counterfeit electrical products have not been tested to the applicable standards and may present an electrical, fire or toxic danger.

* Counterfeit packaging often has inferior designs or partial illustrations. Look for misspellings and unclear print on products and labels.

* Check for a discrepancy between the contents of the product package and its description.

* When a product doesn’t include a brand identifier or trademark, it may be a fake. Look for missing return addresses or company contact information.

* Check the “look and feel” of products. Fakes are often light and flimsy.

* Buy only from reputable stores with clearly stated return policies.

For a fun and interactive website on holiday safety that the whole family can enjoy, featuring a holiday safety cartoon, visit www.CSAHoliday.com. For more general safety tips, visit www.CSASafetyTips.com.

For a professional Raleigh Home Inspection, by a professional Raleigh Home Inspector, call and schedule today!

Raleigh Home Inspector On: Attic Pull-Down Stair defects

A common issue that we routinely observe during the performance of a Raleigh Home Inspection, and a significantly safety-related issue at that, concerns the installation and configuration/condition of attic access pull-down stair units. The reason that this is such an important issue is that an improperly installed unit, or a damaged, deficient unit, is unsafe. Use of an unsafe stair can lead to serious physical injury. Pull-down stairs are certainly convenient..but like so many other things, they should be cautiously viewed as a potential hazard.

Probably the most common issue involves whether or not the stair unit has been appropriately sized for the ceiling height. In new construction (yes…that’s a brand new house), we find them too short…such as when a unit designed for an 8′ ceiling height is installed where there is a 9’+ ceiling height.

Raleigh Home Inspection - Attic pull-down stair too short - New Construction

This stair unit, installed in a brand new home, is too short; a proper unit should have been installed...Didn't anyone notice this?

And we find them too long…where the stair legs have not been cut to length. The legs sometimes need to be shortened and cut to set evenly upon the floor.

Raleigh Home Inspection - Attic pull-down stair too long

This attic pull-down stair is too long...and need to be cut to a proper length

We find that they are often not well or properly installed into their rough opening. Stair unit manufacturers typically require that they be securely fastened on all sides using 16d (16 penny) nails…but we find them to have been installed using general purpose screws, finish nails, and most anything other than what is required. And the unit should be “shimmed”, before being fastened into place, to account for the difference between the size of the unit ad the size of the rough opening…the use of shims is often foregone. Here in the Raleigh, NC area, there was an incident some years back where a Building Inspector for a local municipality was at a brand new home to do a “final inspection” in advance of issuing a Certificate of Occupancy. The Inspector was half way up the stair unit when the entire assembly became detached and fell from its rough opening and hit the Inspector square in the face. The Inspector was seriously injured in that he lost more than a couple of teeth, required many stitches to close the resultant wounds, and just generally had a bad day because of the carelessness inattention to detail of someone else….I doubt that the builder received his Certificate of Occupancy on that home on that day…

There is a myriad of other issues that we see as well…there is loose hardware at hinges and at treads. We find them installed in improper locations. We find cracked and broken wood stair treads and stringers. We find defective spring assemblies that can become detached and become projectiles. We find structural damage to the home as a result of the installation; usually, this occurs when the bottom chords of pre-engineered wood trusses have been “field modified” (that means, in this context, deliberately damaged out of ignorance…What? I can’t just cut these pieces of wood that are in the way?). This particular defect is structural in nature and generally requires the services of a licensed Professional Engineer to provide engineering directive as to appropriate repairs.

How can someone make sure a pull-down stair is installed properly and is safe to use. First, for a home that you are considering purchasing, have a professional Home Inspection performed; this would certainly be one area that would be observed and inspected. Or if you are concerned about the safety of a stair unit currently installed in your home where you reside, educate yourself about the topic and go evaluate them yourself. A basic checklist of obvious things to look for are:

  • Is the unit securely fastened into its rough opening on all sides using 16d nails or per the manufacturers instruction (which are often stamped directly onto the frame)?
  • Does the unit fully extend, with its feet evenly set upon the floor?
  • Is there any missing hardware?
  • Is there any loose hardware?
  • Are there any broken or cracked pieces of wood at the treads, stringers, or frame?
  • Are the spring assemblies in good condition and securely attached?
  • Does the unit operate (fold and unfold) smoothly?
  • Dose the unit fully close?

Should you find any deficiencies with any of these points of inspection, then it would be prudent to consult a licensed contractor, or other competent professional, to get that stair back into a good, safe working order.

Call Quality Residential Inspections to schedule your Home Inspection today; they can be reached at 919.848.4833, or Schedule Your Home Inspection Online.

Raleigh Home Inspector On: GFCI Safety Devices

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters have been around for many years…but they are often misunderstood.

As a Raleigh Home Inspection firm, a common defect that we observe during the performance of a Home Inspection is defective GFCI devices. GFCI is short for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. What we often find is that they are simply not properly functional or that they have been physically damaged in some way.

A GFCI device is typically a receptacle mounted in a wall box…or a breaker mounted in a primary distribution sub-panel or at a main service panel…and both have integral test and re-set buttons.

GFCI Receptacle - Installed

GFCI devices help protect people in the event that people, water, and electricity might happen to get together for a party all at the same time….not really an ideal combination. They function as safety devices by sensing an increase in the flow of electric current as little as 5 milliamps (five one thousandth of an Amp)…and shutting off the power at that location or at all locations downstream of the device. To provide an example for reference, as little as 1 amp can be fatal depending on voltage and other conditions. You can think of the device as “shutting off” the power if it senses a “leak” of electricity…what we refer to as a ground fault.

Installed GFCI breaker

GFCI Breaker - Installed In A Distribuiton Panel

Basically, the devices operate by comparing the amount of electricity going in on the black, or “hot” wire….and comparing that to the amount of electricity is leaving on the white…or “neutral” wire. If there is any significant difference, then the electricity is “leaking” somewhere. If the leak is the result of electricity coursing through your body…then the GFCI device may not have prevented you from being shocked but it likely prevented you from being electrocuted. Electricity is like allot of people….it will follow the path of least resistance…so if you come in contact with any of that “leaky” electricity and provide less resistance than the wires do….then it would rather follow your path than the intended path along the wiring. Put another way…the person may be a better route to ground for the electricity because they are less insulated.

In most areas, GFCI protection is required, generally, for bathroom outlets, for exterior outlets, at kitchen area outlets, and for whirlpool tub motor circuits. Other required locations might be at outlets near swimming pools. Very generally speaking, GFCI protection has been required for exterior receptacles since 1973, for bathroom receptacle since 1975, for garage receptacles since 1978, and at some kitchen receptacles since 1987.

We often get asked during a Home Inspection “Well you just told me that this receptacle is GFCI protected…but there isn’t any test button at that receptacle…Why is that?” And a good question it is. There are various methodologies and configurations to provide the intended protection…we could install a GFCI receptacle at every location where protection is required…but that wouldn’t be economically practical. Or we can install one GFCI receptacle to protect an entire circuit or series of receptacles. Or we could install a GFCI breaker at an electrical panel to provide the desired protection for an entire circuit. Whether GFCI receptacle or GFCI breakers are installed, it is recommended that the devices be manually tested every 30 days or so to ensure that they are properly responsive; this is accomplished by depressing the integral test button and then either re-setting the receptacle or returning the breaker to its “On” position.

Another question that is often posed by our Home Inspection clients is “Can I install GFCI’s in an older house?”. Usually, with regards to this discussion, an older home would be one that was initially wired using 2-conductor wiring…and where there is no third “ground” wire. The simple answer is yes you can although it likely will not be quite as safe or effective as a device installed on a 3-conductor circuit where there is a direct path to ground through the electrical panel. It is probably safe to say that a 2-conductor circuit protected by a GFCI device is likely more safe than one without any such protection.

If you have GFCI devices installed in your home, then go test them to make sure they working properly. If none are installed, then consider having them installed by a licensed electrician to enhance the safety of your home.

Ten Simple Ways to Make A Home Safe For Every Generation

As a Raleigh Home Inspection firm, we often see conditions in homes that aren’t safe for children, or for seniors, and sometimes not for anyone. For seniors, inconvenience can be a cause of injury…..and common activities, even those associated with daily hygiene, can take on a whole new challenge….

This informative article touches on just some of the potential issues and makes suggestions as to how a home can be be made more safe for our aging loved ones.

(ARA) – Most of us start life depending on our parents to take care of us. But as they age, chances are the roles will reverse. And, whether you provide additional help in their own homes – or move aging parents into your home – how do you prepare to meet the new needs of aging adults?

Luckily many simple, quick, affordable – and even stylish and savvy – updates can make homes safer and more enjoyable for you, your family and your parents.

De-clutter
Both kids and older adults have reduced reflexes and balance. Spruce up the look of your home – and avoid tripping hazards – by removing clutter and items you no longer use (especially obstacles in walkways).

Safe, spaaahh shower
Showers can be an enjoyable and luxurious part of anyone’s day – if they are safe. While you probably don’t want to renovate the shower, simple additions of bath safety products can make it safer and more enjoyable. Start by adding rubber grips to the bottom of the shower to avoid slick surfaces. Next, take a seat with a comfortable shower chair and enjoy a shower massage with a multi-function hand held showerhead. Products like the Home Care by Moen shower chair and Hand Held Shower with Innovative Palm Feature are ideal choices at affordable prices to add safety, style and spa enjoyment to the shower.Tub and Shower safety

Save resources, save money
Eco-friendly adjustments not only can make you feel good about preserving natural resources for your family, they can also help lower energy costs (ideal for tight budgets). Simple steps can include replacing standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, insulating doors and windows and swapping faucets and showerheads with new water-saving WaterSense-labeled models.

Handy handles
In the course of a day, you grip many objects – from cups and pens, to door knobs and faucet handles. Swapping out door knobs or faucets with knobs for lever-handle models can make these everyday tasks a bit easier – especially for smaller or arthritic hands.

Get a grip
For any age, stairs are a falling hazard in homes – whether it’s one step or 20. To increase safety, add hand rails or decorative hand grips in high-traffic doorways where there may be a step, such as the garage or front entry. Home Care by Moen offers attractive-looking 9-inch grips that install easily and blend in with your decor.

Let there be light
Did you also know that by age 60 the average person requires 15 times more lighting than when they were 10 years old? Brighten up the home with additional reading lamps in bedrooms and family rooms, under-cabinet task lighting in the kitchen, motion-sensor lights near entrances and nightlights in hallways.

Safe and secure
Your home is your safe haven … so make sure it is protected. In the bathroom where slick surfaces can be falling hazards, add functional – yet fashionable – grab bars from Home Care by Moen. And, in case of unforeseen falls or other home accidents, home security systems can give you peace of mind to know that fire-, medical- or emergency-response is available for you and your loved ones at the touch of a button.Grasp handles improve safety

Flat flooring
According to the Home Safety Council, falls are the leading cause (66 percent) of all nonfatal home injuries. To help you – or your loved ones – avoid becoming a statistic, remove throw rugs or ensure that they have a non-slip backing to provide more firm footing.

Low-maintenance lawns
With busy lifestyles, it’s tough to keep up landscaping. Making a few modifications to the yard can help ease the burden. Replace large grassy areas that require frequent mowing with rock gardens or mulch beds. Additionally, choose drought-resistant perennial plants and shrubs to save time and money on watering – and ensure you don’t have to plant new each spring.

Be prepared
Are the washer and dryer in the basement? Are the bedroom and bathroom upstairs? Since stairs can be difficult to navigate for children or aging parents, having all the necessities on one floor is ideal. While it may not be in the budget to move everything to the main floor now, gradually start getting ready by wiring a closet or small room for the laundry – or planning to expand a half bath to a full bath.

With a few minor updates, you can breathe easier knowing your home is safer for your loved ones – both young and old. For more information on safety products from Home Care by Moen, visit www.moen.com/homecare.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

The Raleigh Home Inspector wants everyone to be as safe as possible……the health and well-being of our loved ones depends on it!