Many homeowners have no idea that their kitchen or bathroom is a dangerous place — and could even potentially kill them or their loved ones. But we see bad renovations that create serious fire hazards quite often. Typically, what we find is that the finishes look just fine, but behind the scenes, there is danger lurking from lazy building practices.
To understand this point, take a look at this photo of a kitchen we’re currently renovating. This is an example of dangerous and illegal electrical work. This outlet is not a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, even though it is within 3 feet of a sink and dishwasher. We also think the range outlet was jumped to serve a light fixture in the basement, which is an illegal junction. The range should have its own circuit, instead of sharing it with lighting.
You can also see in the photo that the wood flooring does not extend all the way to the wall. This means the range will be hard to pull out for cleaning or service. It will also be hard to level, so it may wobble and cause the cakes baked in it to be lopsided. The range’s feet can also break easily when you try to move it.
Note that the gas shut off and gas line are on the floor. They should be mounted to the wall — not under the stove, where they might be damaged when the homeowner pulls out the range. Mounting these correctly allows the gas to be turned off fully if the range needs to be disconnected for service.
Finally, the plumbing lines for the sink on the left were simply run on the floor behind the Lazy Susan, instead of in the wall, where they should be. We will now have to pay our plumber to change this because we want to capture as much usable space for our clients as possible.
What other dangers lurk in this kitchen? We’ll learn more as we open up the room.