Whether you’re buying a new home or selling yours, the kitchen inspection is a vital factor that should never be overlooked when assessing a home’s value. But what exactly do house inspectors check when they go over a home’s kitchen?
You may be surprised by some items. Here are 7 typical things house inspectors look at when they review a home’s kitchen.
1. Life-Threatening Electrical Issues
The kitchen is where most individuals spend a major portion of their time at home. Well, that and the bathroom… Because of this, the dangers of electrical problems in the kitchen can be serious health risks.
The electrical receptacles and wiring in kitchens need heavier gauge wiring. If they are not sufficiently thick, these electrical wires can be potentially life-threatening.
GFCI protection must be robust throughout the kitchen as well. Compared to the rest of the home, the kitchen should have thicker, more deliberate wiring placement.
Wiring should be far from plumbing areas.
A home inspector will check under the sink and around any DIY wiring areas or additional appliances that have been added by the homeowner.
2. Plumbing Problems
House inspectors look in kitchens for plumbing problems. This can range from tiny drips coming from the kitchen faucet to major leaks that cause rotting.
If a house inspector or homeowner catches plumbing problems early on, major repairs and expenses can be avoided. Sometimes kitchen leaks that may seem minor, (like a small drip under the sink), can cause problems with mold or other serious home-damage.
Inspectors will commonly check for:
- Problems with the water heater
- Problems in plumbing vents
- Leaky pipes
- Clogged drains
- Outdated or deteriorated plumbing materials
3. Kitchen Cabinets
This is often considered an optional item for house inspectors to check. Still, many times house inspectors will take a look at the kitchen cabinets to make sure doors open properly, there is no mold or mildew inside, and that lights and outlets around them work.
Any electrical outlets on counters or islands must be GFCI. This means ground fault circuits. If they are not or there are other strange problems with the cabinets, repairs or re-wiring electrical work will need to be done.
Even if they aren’t listed as part of the house inspection, the condition of the kitchen cabinets can have a serious impact on the “sell-ability” of a home.
4. The Range Vent
The sole purpose of the kitchen range vent is to remove cooking steam and collect some of the airborne greases that take flight during cooking. This can be an important part of kitchen safety and fire prevention.
Sadly, in many homes, the kitchen range vent is nothing more than a decoration.
That’s why a quality house inspector will be sure to check the range vent in any kitchen they review. They’ll check to make sure the vent actually turns on.
Even still, sometimes the range vent will turn on without ventilating air to a location outside the house. The house inspector should check that the range vent does this as well.
5. Mold and Mildew
Mildew smells or stains are a major deterrent to potential buyers. Mold is perhaps one of the biggest harms to a home’s resale value out there. Black mold or any hint of it could be life-threatening.
If mildew or mold is present in a home, the odds of getting a good offer on the home are small.
Sometimes if a house inspector does find mold or mildew, a buyer might demand professional mold remediation. This will cost homeowners thousands of dollars.
House inspectors look carefully at places where water usually gathers. This could be basement walls, near washing machines, under the kitchen sink, or behind the refrigerator.
Your house inspector could use a moisture meter to determine how much moisture is present in these kitchen spaces. This helps them decide whether the moisture level is high enough to cause potential deterioration to building materials.
6. The Right Number of Outlets
Depending on where a home is located, the number of electrical outlets per room will vary. This depends on city building codes. Each city or town will list a minimum number of electrical outlets every room should have and this includes the kitchen.
Most homes are required to have at least one outlet per wall or kitchen island. There are also usually rules about how far apart each outlet should be.
Your house inspector will know building codes and rules for your location and will check each outlet in your kitchen to ensure they are distanced properly.
Unfortunately, if a kitchen doesn’t have the right number of outlets, or they aren’t spaced at a safe distance, an electrician will have to make adjustments. They may need to add outlets or respect them for a kitchen to pass inspection.
Typically older homes have more issues with this than newer models. Older homes may also be unable to handle modern electrical needs and so updates may need to be made.
7. Badly Installed or Maintained Appliances
Repairs and replacements of major appliances can end up costing thousands of dollars. Things like dishwashers, refrigerators, ovens, and more must all be in decent or top condition for a house inspector to “ok” them.
Smaller appliances like a home’s microwave are less likely to be inspected as they can easily be repaired or replaced.
Common major appliance problems include:
- Issues with the garbage disposal
- Ovens not warming properly
- Dusty refrigerator coils
- Refrigerators or freezers that don’t cool to the right temperature
- Stove burners that don’t heat up properly
- Missing appliance stabilizer brackets
Keeping major appliances clean and in good repair will help individuals looking to sell avoid costly replacement expenses.
What Else Do House Inspectors Look For?
House inspectors check for much more than problems in the kitchen. They cover a wide range of items within and without of every home they review.
Take a look at our sample house inspection report to better understand what your house inspector might be looking for. If you still have questions about your home inspection, give us a call today: (440) 812-3051.