About the House: ‘Normal replacement item’ explained

Originally published in the Sturgis Journal

By Rob Kinsey

Houses have things that wear out at regular, predictable intervals.

Houses have things that wear out at regular, predictable intervals. These are referred to as normal replacement items by home inspectors, and include furnaces, air conditioners, shingles and water heaters. (And no, they are not “hot water” heaters. If the water was hot we would not need the heater)

Many factors go into the service life of these items, such as the quality of the materials and design, maintenance done over the years, weather patterns, wind, rain, sunshine and even the hardness of water running through the pipes.

While working through a home, an inspector should examine the current condition of these normal replacement items and gauge the remaining lifespan. This alerts the purchaser of upcoming cash outlays that will affect the “true cost” of buying a home. “True cost” is the purchase price plus any money paid over the next few years needed to make the home livable and useful.

Other items need occasional replacement, but are not as predictable, not as expensive to replace, and are not considered in the “normal replacement” category. It includes such things s light switches and duplexes, including GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) duplexes, faucets and faucet seals, hose bibbs and even light fixtures and door hardware, such as hinges and latch sets.

Although a dripping faucet wastes water, and money, its main offense is that it is annoying. A sticky door that needs adjustment and a door latch that catches are annoying, too. I’m sure we could all add things to this list based on quirks of our current and former dwellings. But there are a few things we should look to as more than irritations or idiosyncrasy.

Think about that one bulb that doesn’t light unless you jiggle the chain a little bit. Or a fixture that doesn’t light unless you flip the switch slowly and stop at just the-right place. When electrical items change in the way they operate, it is time to investigate find out why, and fix it.

These electrical devices can wear out, too. However, unlike a sticky door, a faulty electrical device can start a fire. I have found many things like this that have the potential to burn, but were checked when their condition changed, were fixed immediately and therefore didn’t cause fire danger About the House.

Date : 7/15/2017