5 Things You Should Get Rid of Right Now, According to Home Inspectors

There are lots of things around your house that can potentially cause major problems down the line (hello, damaged tree hanging precariously over your roof line, waiting for a strong wind to blow it down).

Fortunately, you can get ahead of some of these issues by simply kicking your potentially problematic items to the curb — or the recycling center. Because, real talk, you know you have at least one of these things in your home right now. 

Outdated Air Conditioners

If your air conditioner is older than 2010, Autumn Brekke, service director with plumbing, HVAC, and electrical service company Genz-Ryan, says it likely uses freon. Freon, or R-22, is no longer made or imported to the U.S. for environmental protection reasons. 

“Sooner or later it will run out, and the air conditioning unit will need to be replaced,” she says. Getting rid of your old unit now may save you a headache in the future.

Flammable Chemicals and Solvents

Whether you’re holding onto them because you think you’ll use them again one day, or because you’ve forgotten that you stacked them up under the stairs in the basement, those leftover project materials need to go.

 “Get rid of any old paint cans, paint thinners — anything that is flammable,” says Tim Ganey, home inspector with Desert Home Inspections, Inc. These half-empty canisters are a disaster waiting to happen. Just check local ordinances to find out how you can dispose of them.

Old Water Heaters

There are a lot of reasons why your water heater might need to be replaced, including: how your water heater is powered, if it’s a traditional tank or tankless, your water quality, where it’s installed, and how you’ve maintained it can all impact how long your tank will last. 

“The signs that your water heater needs to be replaced include not enough hot water, strange sounds, discolored water from the hot water taps, and leaking from the tank,” Brekke says. Replace yours if you notice any of these signs.

Ancient Plumbing

Dated pipes can create a disaster faster than you can say, “Where’s the plunger?” From pinhole leaks to broken water valves, the damage water can cause is much worse than replacing those old pipes and valves before the issues occur, according to Brekke. 

“Over time, copper pipes wear down inside, becoming corroded with the sediments from the water over the years,” she says. “This puts pressure on the pipe and the pressure creates the pinhole leak.” Getting rid of these compromised pipes is a must if you want to avoid a plumbing emergency down the line. 

Outlets That Aren’t GFCI-Connected

Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets are the new standard when it comes to electrical outlets, especially in areas where water is used, like bathrooms and kitchens. 

“The GFCI outlet will automatically shut off power to the outlets connected to it when there is a fault that happens, avoiding you possibly being electrocuted,” explains Brekke. “In other words, it’s better to be safe than sorry when upgrading your home’s electrical network.” If you’ve got non-GFCI outlets in your home, it’s time to toss them and replace them with the newer ones.

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