Since your house is probably the biggest investment you’ll be making in your lifetime, protecting it from falling victim to fire and short circuits and other issues of the like is a must. Homeowners who are more aware of the details that go into construction always end up with fewer problems compared to those who are not.
Keeping that in mind, give these commonly made mistakes by housebuilders a quick read to save yourself some hassle in the future.
1. No Fire Proofing
With 4.5 millions house in the U.S alone marked at high risk of wildfire, fireproofing the house right should definitely be your top priority. Fire protection shields fall into both passive and active categories and while both serve the same purpose, we recommend having both present in the house.
From poor electrical connections to poor fireproofing, there are only so many things you can look out for when constructing your house, which is why it is imperative to have fireproof roofs, windows and doors. Protecting home vents is equally crucial since that’s where flames can enter a room.
As far as active fireproofing is concerned, fire safety devices like sprinklers, fire extinguishers and smoke alarms should certainly be checked off from your checklist.
2. Wrong Sized Heating/Cooling System
Your HVAC system defines the comfort level of your house and while it’s common to get an oversized system, it’s not the right thing to do. The fact that so many people have oversized systems is majorly because of two reasons: lack of low load options in these models, monetary incentive on selling bigger sizes.
Don’t let your HVAC contractors get you a system without doing a load test of your house first. If your HVAC contractor isn’t equipped to do so, you can always seek help from a mechanical engineer or an energy consultant since an undersized system would crash under the load while an oversized one will definitely cause a spike in your bills.
3. Problems with Ductwork
How your HVAC system performs depends entirely how well your ductwork has been done. If your ducts have not been installed correctly or are not insulated well, they are bound to lose all the cooling/heating your HVAC system has been doing.
Make sure that you check for leaks and airflow before you make the payment. A lot of homeowners face trouble with flex duct and loose seams and joints. Check that all seams and joints are tightly pulled, well insulated and sealed properly.
A close look and basic reading into the matter will give you a fair idea of parameters that need to be looked out for, when testing your home’s duct work.
4. Small Mechanical Room
Though this room might be the least visited room in the house, it has to be the backbone of all the mechanical work that undergoes in your house, which is reason enough to make the room a little bigger than you were planning to. That’s because you’ll be fitting in your HVAC system, water heater, pressure tank and HRV in it.
How big your mechanical room should be depends on how many systems you’re planning on fitting in there, for example, many houses require two furnaces for upper floors as one may fall short.
While designing the floor space for this room, also bear in mind the new HRV building codes which require an addition of ducted HRVs that will be requiring more space.
5. Insufficient Attic Insulation
While the local building codes call for minimum insulation requirements, trust us when we say you’ll be requiring more than that. Secondly, it’s always better to have additional insulation installed during the construction phase, rather than having it retrofitted later.
Attics are the most left out places when it comes to insulation. Signs for this include high energy bills and wet insulation, which is a result of weather change. If you find any signs of squirrels, rat or mice in there, it could be a possible sign of bad insulation as well.
Installing a combination of insulation for the entire house may cost you a little amount momentarily, but will pay off big time in the future. Its best to go for products that provide both, insulation and structural support to the house.
6. Connecting Galvanized and Copper Pipes
Among the thousands of errors plumbers make during construction, one can lead to massive destruction, ultimately requiring re-doing the entire process. This is when galvanized and copper pipes are assembled in a way that they are in contact with each other.
As a result of a chemical reaction, corrosion may occur and your pipes would start to leak. In order to avoid that, a dielectric union is used to keep the two pipes from coming into contact with each other. It does so with the help of a plastic sleeve and a rubber washer.
Another way is to insert a small brass nipple between the two pipes, since brass doesn’t react with either of the two materials.
7. Doing Unpermitted Housework
Whether the nature of unpermitted housework belongs to the plumbing, insulation or electrical department, it puts one at personal risk and also devalues your property. Abiding to safety standards is key to safe and profitable house-building.
While getting permits may cost you in the short run, it saves you from the massive fine and penalties and even tearing down the affected area in worst cases.
8. Electric Installation Mistakes
Electric installation mistakes can range from basic to real complex in variety and the risk they put you at can not even begin to be calculated. Therefore, its best to check when these installations are being made since you’re not living in the house currently and it can be fixed immediately without causing damage.
Common mistakes include connecting wires outside of electrical boxes, cutting wires too short making wiring connections difficult, leaving cables unprotected and installing three slot outlets without checking for the ground wire.
Not only can these errors cost you a fortune to fix later, but also put your house and life at risk which is why the earlier they’re spotted, the better.
Apart from personal supervision, its best to get your house inspected by an unbiased private third party, a potential buyer may be a good option since they’ll bring out issues that might not have been obvious to you earlier.