The Hazards of Old Stairways

Stairways are a common feature in many homes, but they can also be a source of danger. Old stairways are especially prone to hazards, as they may have been built to outdated standards or have deteriorated over time.

Here are some of the most common hazards found with old stairways:

  • High, open risers and narrow treads. This can make it difficult to climb or descend the stairs safely, especially for young children, the elderly, or people with disabilities.
  • Loose or missing handrails. Handrails provide a much-needed source of support, especially when climbing or descending stairs. A missing or loose handrail can increase the risk of a fall.
  • Uneven steps. Uneven steps can cause people to trip and fall. This is especially dangerous if the steps are wet or icy.
  • Loose or broken balusters. Balusters are the vertical posts that support the handrail. If they are loose or broken, they can provide inadequate support and increase the risk of a fall.
  • Poor lighting. Poor lighting can make it difficult to see the stairs, which can increase the risk of a fall.

If you have an old stairway in your home, it is important to have it inspected by a qualified home inspector. The inspector can identify any hazards and recommend repairs or modifications that need to be made to improve safety.

Here are some tips for making your old stairway safer:

  • Install or repair handrails.
  • Replace loose or missing balusters.
  • Make sure the steps are even and level.
  • Install good lighting on the stairs.
  • Keep the stairs free of clutter.

By following these tips, you can help to prevent accidents and make your old stairway a safer place for everyone.


Why we call out the lack of a self-closing laundry chute door

The requirement for self-closing laundry chute doors was first introduced in the 2003 edition of the International Building Code (IBC). This requirement was made in response to a number of fires that had been caused by laundry chutes. In one such fire, a laundry chute door was left open, allowing smoke and flames to spread from the basement to the upper floors of a building. This resulted in the deaths of several people. 

The IBC requirement for self-closing laundry chute doors has been in effect since 2003. However, it is important to note that this requirement only applies to new construction. If you have a laundry chute in your home that was built before 2003, you are not required to install a self-closing door. However, it is still a good idea to do so, as it can help to protect your home from fire and other hazards. 

Here are some of the benefits of having a self-closing laundry chute door: 

Fire safety: A self-closing door will help to prevent smoke and flames from spreading from one floor of your home to another in the event of a fire. 

Child safety: A self-closing door will help to prevent children from climbing into the laundry chute, which can be a dangerous hazard. 

If you have a laundry chute in your home, it is a good idea to have a self-closing door installed. This is a simple way to help keep your home safe. 


Adding an electrical sub panel

If you are installing a subpanel in your house be aware that four conductors are required in a subpanel in a house that has the service panel as well. The four conductors are: 

* Two hot wires (black and red) 

* One neutral wire (white) 

* One ground wire (green or bare copper) 

The neutral wire is used to carry current back to the service panel, while the ground wire is used to protect people from electrical shock. The ground wire is connected to the grounding electrode system, which is typically a metal rod or pipe buried in the ground. 

The National Electrical Code (NEC) requires that all subpanels be wired with four conductors. This is to ensure that the subpanel is properly grounded and that people are protected from electrical shock. 

In the past, it was permissible to use a three-wire feeder to a subpanel. However, the NEC changed this requirement in 2017. This change was made to improve safety and to ensure that all subpanels are properly grounded.  

If you are adding a subpanel to your home, it is important to use a four-wire feeder. This will ensure that your subpanel is properly wired and that you are protected from electrical shock.