Newer homes can offer home buyers several benefits over older homes, most notably energy efficiency improvements and safety upgrades. Energy efficiency has been a common goal in newer construction, and there have been significant improvements in construction standards and equipment requirements to lower energy costs. In addition, there have been a number of safety changes that affect several areas of safety, including fire safety, child safety, and electrical safety.
In Part One of this three part series, we considered some of the Energy Efficiency improvements when looking at newer homes. In this post we’ll take a look at some of the Safety Improvements.
1. Tamper resistant outlets have been required for several years now (since 2008) for newer homes or ones that have been remodeled. This important child safety feature prevent children from getting shocked if a foreign object is inserted into the electrical outlet.
2. Carbon monoxide detectors are now required in newer homes or additions (since 2009 in Georgia). This important device has been credited with saving many lives and should be installed inside every home regardless of age.
3. AFCI protection at the panel box is now required for additional fire safety. Arc Fault Circuit Interrupt breakers protect the home from arc faults which can lead to an electrical fire. Originally required for bedrooms in 2001, they are now required for multiple circuits throughout the home giving newer homes another layer of fire safety.
4. GFCI protection has been required, in various forms, since the 1970’s and provides protection to outlets in wet locations. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt outlets and circuit breakers protect the occupants from shock and possible electrocution in wet areas of the home such as sinks, tubs, and the exterior. Many older homes do not meet the minimum safety standard for GFCI protection at these “wet” locations. Newer construction homes now have many more locations that require protection including combination GFCI / AFCI for specific circuits in the home for an even greater level of safety.
5. Fire Safety has been improved with hard wired smoke detectors throughout the home including inside the bedrooms. In addition, fire retardants are now used in carpeting, insulation and other materials.
Review all the posts in this series:
- Energy Efficiency of Newer Homes
- Safety Improvements of Newer Homes
- Other Considerations of Newer Homes