Safety Issues

It seems that a house can have multiple safety concerns and would like to post these pictures and see if you agree that they are potential concerns.

Home had no smoke or C/O detectors.

One pic is for the under cabinet lighting in the kitchen.
Pvc used for a dryer vent.
Attic access had a steep drop at top of stairs.
Missing railings at exterior & interior.



Am I missing something- what is wrong with PVC for a dryer vent?


I didnt like the plastic taped joints and I believe that PVC is an in apropriate material for a dryer vent. It should be metal or corrigated metal.


I always suggest as per RR smoke and CO alarms.

Exposed romex, yes a safety concern.

PVC for dryer vent…is better than that plastic flex stuff and I would guess less likely to burn. (4" ducting would be better though)

Attic access I think is ok.

I believe handrails are not necessary for steps with less than a 2’ total rise.

IRC says it should be made of metal, but I don’t see why PVC would be a problem.

It’s smooth inside so lint won’t get caught, and it should take the heat the average dryer puts out.

PVC builds up static electricity which helps the pipe collect lint and is therefore a fire hazard—should be smooth wall rigid metal pipe

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Uniform Building Code and International Building Code call out different requirements for number of risers requiring a handrail. Since a General Home Inspection isn’t a code inspection but a safety and defect inspection… well, you’ve got to base your recommendations on something. I believe IRC is 2 risers, UBC 4 risers. UBC requires landing 1" below threshold.
I wouldn’t call the landing ht. unless it was a difference in riser ht. (more than 3/8") problem, but would recommend handrail for safety, citing “modern building practices”.

Interesting…I didn’t know that.


I learned something today also!



Hi Charlie,

“PVC builds up static electricity which helps the pipe collect lint and is therefore a fire hazard—should be smooth wall rigid metal pipe”
Thanks for that.

I can vouch for the fact that PVC pipe collects static electricity. I built a huge slide out of 2’ diameter pvc sewer-pipe (for my kids), cut it in half lengthwise. The sparks would fly every time you slid down it. ouch!


Hi. David;

Looking at your photos, I would have to say that you did a good job in identifying the deficiencies.

I see in photo 1= electrical hazard.
#2= 3 risers or more should have a railing and 3/8" +/- is maximum in riser height. This is not the case. Riser height to threshold is permitted as long as the interior/exterior door is inswing.

#3 = is that a handicap ramp in the background, I hope not. Railings are required, Newel Post and rail never got built, must have run out of money

#4= Dryer duct to be installed per Manufacturers recommendations.

#5 Winder stairs require at least 71/2" 12" from the narrow edge.

Hope this helps.

Pictures are hard. Nothing like first hand.

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

you guys need to watch “myth busters” more. they used p.v.c. rubbing on nylon panites to build a charge to try and ignite gas fumes. they were trying to prove if you could start a fire at the pumps from static build up in your body.

If the dryer is a high-efficiency dryer, then PVC would be okay.

I was at some manufacturer’s site the other day that now offers a ventless gas dryer. That was pretty cool.

Useful link to the matter.


This is only if the door swings out over the landing… If the door swings inside the home… which is more likely… then this can be measured just like a typical riser in steps or stairs.