Whether you think you’ve purchased a turnkey home or a fixer-upper, there’s always something to replace or upgrade. Bigger Pockets, an online real estate investor community, recommends the Top 5 Items to Replace or Upgrade in Every Rental Property You Buy. Three of the top 5 are electrical! We think all homeowners, as well as landlords, should replace the 3 items below. While the first is a convenience issue, #2 and #3 are matters of safety – even life or death.
1. Light Bulbs
As we mentioned in our blog post, 3 Things to Check Before Calling an Electrician, please check to make sure your light bulb is not simply burned out before calling for service on a fixture! Replace with long-lasting, energy-saving light bulbs that will reduce your electricity bill, especially in common areas such as hallway, and in hard-to-reach fixtures (think of the chandelier over your stairwell). LED technology has become more affordable and LED bulbs last 50 times longer than incandescent, 20-25 times longer than halogen (and run less hot), and 8-10 times longer than a CFL.
2. GFCI Electric Outlets
You’ve probably seen those electrical outlets with the “test” and “reset” buttons. These GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters) are special outlets that can prevent shock when installed in areas near water, such as above kitchen countertop and bathrooms. California Building Code requires GFCI outlets outdoors and in kitchens (for outlets above countertops), bathrooms, garages, and crawl spaces/basements.
3. Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Chances are, to pass the pre-sale home inspection, your new house probably complies with California Building Code requirements for smoke alarms. In 2011, carbon monoxide (CO) detection was also made a requirement for single-family homes with an attached garage, fireplace or gas appliances. Some sellers with pre-2011 homes may have installed a separate CO detector. Replace outdated detectors with combination smoke/CO alarms. We recommend hard-wired detectors that have battery backup in the event of electrical failure (which is common in house fires).
At least one smoke detector should be placed on each floor in non-sleeping areas. In addition, one smoke/CO2 combo detector must be installed outside of each room where sleeping occurs.
Give us a call to upgrade these electrical features in your newly purchased Santa Barbara area home. We want your new household to be both safe and convenient.
Each week, we receive calls to do electrical troubleshooting. As you can imagine, the issues vary quite a bit. We always try to assess the situation over the phone to make sure it’s not an issue you can fix on your own before paying for a service call. So before you pick up the phone to hire an electrician, here are 3 things to check.