The 6 Biggest Pet Peeves Home Inspectors Have About Your Kitchen

published Oct 4, 2022
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White Kitchen
Credit: Margaret Rajic | Stocksy

A property inspection covers a home from top to bottom. But with pipes, electrical systems, venting, and probably the highest concentration of appliances per square foot, the kitchen in particular gets a lot of intentional scrutiny from home inspectors.

I asked inspectors about their biggest pet peeves within this area of the home. Not only did they point out safety hazards, but they also took note of design blips that are bound to drive homeowners crazy. Here’s what inspectors say really grinds their gears in the kitchen.

Not Sealing Cracks and Crevices

Your kitchen is an ideal hangout for pests looking for food, water, and a comfortable temperature. So while small openings may not seem like a big deal, they can quickly become entry points for determined pests seeking shelter and food, says Diana Ludwiczak, a certified bed bug and pest inspector in New York City. Case in point: Did you know that mice can sneak into your home through a crevice that’s the width of a pencil? Or that cockroaches have several superhighway routes to travel between apartments (under doors, through sinks and air ducts…)? 

In addition to patching up the cracks and crevices outdoors, Ludwiczak recommends sealing gaps around pipes, cabinets and appliances — especially if you live in an apartment. Once you’ve got an infestation, all sorts of problems can pop up. Mice, for instance, can gnaw through wires, which could cause electrical fires.

Bad Layouts 

Sometimes, it’s obvious that a kitchen has been designed or flipped by someone who’s never actually lived in the home. 

“My biggest pet peeve is when they don’t design the layout of the kitchen properly and there isn’t enough room to open drawers or doors,” says Sol Kruk, a licensed home inspector and owner of Property Inspection Pros in Baltimore, Maryland.

Similarly, he’s seen refrigerators with icemakers and a water spout but no water hookups installed behind the fridge.

Missing Anti-Tip Brackets on Ranges

The reason your free-standing range doesn’t tip over when you pull out the rack and load it with a Thanksgiving turkey is thanks to a little stabilizing device known as an anti-tip bracket. 

Anti-tip brackets come with ranges (i.e. a combined oven and stove top) and they are easy to install. Still, the bracket is often left in a plastic bag in a drawer next to the stove, which drives inspectors nuts. 

Without the bracket, the appliance could tip over any time you put pressure or weight on the open door, causing a major safety hazard, Kruk explains. 

Lack of Sufficient Outlets

Large kitchen islands are currently one of the biggest trends in kitchen design, especially as people open their homes back up for post(ish)-pandemic hosting. But often these shiny new kitchen islands don’t have a sufficient number of electrical outlets, says Casey Callais, a home inspector with Constructiva Realty Inspections in the Austin, Texas area.

The 2020 National Electric Code states there should be one outlet for the first 9 square feet and another one for each additional 18 square feet, he points out. 

“I recently inspected a new build with a gorgeous 70 square-foot island that had only one outlet to service the countertop space,” says Callais, who specializes in new home construction and remodeling inspections. “This is something easily overlooked by most inspectors, and indeed had been missed by the city inspectors, so I am glad for my client that it was found.”

The Dishwasher Drain Knockout Hasn’t Been Removed 

If you’re buying a new home or a recently remodeled home, making sure the dishwasher is properly set up is a big deal 

You see, the disposal has a dishwasher drain attachment that is sealed with a knockout in case it isn’t used, Callais explains. On some occasions the dishwasher installers forget to remove it when hooking up the drain. 

“As soon as the dishwasher starts the drainage portion of its cycle, it will back up all over the kitchen floor,” Callais says. “This could be disastrous for new hardwood floors.”

Lack of GFCI Protectors

A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (or GFCI for short) can help prevent electrocution, because if a person’s body starts to receive a shock, the GFCI senses this and cuts off the power before it causes injury. They’re especially important in kitchens, which not only have a lot of appliances but also tend to be wet places.

“These devices are not expensive, and do tremendous things to save lives,” says Mike Powell, a professional engineer and certified home inspector who owns Red Flag Home Inspection in Tampa, Florida. “There is little excuse for not having them installed nowadays.”