It’s that time of year when kitchens are humming! We just love the sights (and smells!) Thanksgiving brings.
With the kitchen seeing an increased amount of action, we also want to ensure our appliances are up-to-speed and have been properly inspected for the season’s heavy use.
In general, home inspections include built-in kitchen appliances such as wall ovens, ranges, surface cooktops, range hood, built-in microwaves, dishwashers, compactors and waste disposals. When checking these appliances, home inspectors will answer two main questions:
- Does the appliance operate as it should?
- Are there apparent defects in the function of the appliance?
So let’s take a closer at a couple of key appliances pertaining to the holidays to ensure you’re ready for a safe and happy gathering.
Stoves, Cooktops and Wall Ovens
First, a fun fact… did you know the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) requires a house to have a range, wall oven or cooktop? In short, the following info applies to every homeowner.
Kitchens can be equipped with one of the following: an electric or gas range (a freestanding oven and cooktop in one appliance); a wall oven (a single or double appliance installed in a cabinet); or a cooktop (4-6 electric or gas burners mounted on a kitchen countertop).
A home inspector will first check for visual defects of the appliance to determine its safe operation. The visual check includes:
- Looking inside the oven for damage to the heating elements
- Ensuring there is no damage to burners
- Making sure there are no damaged or missing control knobs and controls
- Checking to see whether the wall oven and cooktop are properly secured to their cabinet or countertop
- Ensuring the oven door operates properly
- Looking at the condition of visible electrical and gas connections
- Checking to see whether the range has an anti-tip bracket installed
- Ensuring the glass in the oven door is not cracked or broken
- Making sure there is no damage to the seal around the oven door
- Ensuring the range is visibly level
Once the home inspector has completed the visual check, they will then verify that the appliance works for normal daily operation. This includes operating the oven in bake and broil modes as well as turning the burners onto high.
- For electric ovens, the inspector will run the oven broiler and bake elements to ensure they properly heat using a thermal temperature gauge
- For electrical cooktops, the inspector will also operate all burner elements to make sure they properly heat using a thermal temperature gauge
In much the same manner as the cooktop, ranges and ovens, inspectors will also inspect built-in microwaves, convection ovens and exhaust fans. The inspector will first perform a visual check followed by an inspection to ensure proper and safe operation.
The not-so-glamorous part about holiday gatherings, of course, is the clean-up… a process made slightly better with a properly functioning dishwasher. “Properly functioning” is key, as a leaky dishwasher can cause water damage, mold and attract critters.
Home inspections do include checking the dishwasher’s overall condition and operation. When checking a dishwasher, a home inspector will inspect:
- For any evidence of water leaks or damage to the floor and cabinet around the dishwasher
- The condition of the drain hose and the connection to the plumbing drain under the sink
- The condition of the water supply line to the dishwasher including a functional shut-off valve
- That the dishwasher is securely installed in the cabinet
- Proper operation of the door without binding or scraping to the countertop or the cabinet as well as that the seal is in good condition
- The internal condition of the dishwasher including checking for rust, drain build-up or other damage inside the dishwasher
- Operation of the dishwasher, including checking that the appliance fills up, operates a washing cycle and drains properly
Related to the dishwasher, a home inspector will also check sinks and food waste disposals. A home inspector will operate the disposal to check for obstructions, run the water to test for leaks, check electrical connections as well as the plumbing fittings.
Once your stove, oven and dishwasher are inspected and up-to-speed, you can take on the holidays full-force with a new peace of mind. (Sorry, we can’t do anything to help the relationship with the in-laws.)