Dave’s Discoveries

I will be sharing interesting things that I find on home inspections to provide a sample of what we see as home inspectors. Hopefully, this will reinforce the need for a home inspection by a qualified and certified home inspector.

What we have here is a water heater located in a crawl space of a 12 year old home. It had been leaking for some time as evidenced by the corrosion at the water connections and standing water at the base of the heater. Placing water heaters in crawl spaces probably isn’t the best choice of location as it is much more difficult to monitor them for problems. This particular water heater was also older than the average life span and should be replaced.

Here we have other crawl space discoveries! I really do not know what to say about either of these. The one on the left is a bit confusing as I don’t know if they were trying to provide pipe support or structure support. In either case, they failed. The one on the right is just scary! These should be replaced with approved structural supports.

Here we see a leak in a hydroponic heating system. There is a boiler that supplies hot water to pipes under the floor in each room to keep the rooms warm. This was noticed in the partially finished basement and the culprit was found to be a leaky valve. Water that is not contained will cause problems that are costly and in many cases health hazards as that moisture will encourage the growth and development of mold colonies plus speed up deterioration of wood or other building materials. All leaks should be stopped.

We are always on the lookout for electrical issues. Here we have two common problems displayed. The one on the left shows a junction/light box with no cover. This can allow someone to remove the wire nuts and get shocked. On the right we have a splice in a wire. All splices are to be connected within a box and the box is to have a cover. These will always be called out as Safety Items.

Stairwells are areas where we see common things that are safety items as well. Stairs should have a hand rail and that rail should be easily grip able. This stair well did have a grip able hand rail, however, the ends did not return back into the wall. By returning to the wall, this eliminates the possibility of someone with baggy sleeves from catching that sleeve on the end of the rail, causing a fall.

Outside, we look at concrete slabs whether in floors or sidewalks. Here we have cracking and settling noted. The settling has caused a possible trip hazard as the two surfaces of the concrete are not on the same plane. Someone could be walking along and have their foot catch on the difference and fall. Safety Hazard!

Here we have a roof leak that is causing problems on the inside. We have wood deterioration starting and mold growing along the wall. This is a health hazard and needs to be repaired immediately. Once again, water not within normal containment systems causing problems.

Log homes can have problems all their own. On the left we see a crack in a log that is very large. These cracks, or checks as they’re called, should be sealed to prevent moisture from entering deep inside the log and then freezing causing the log to split further. The picture on the right shows a log that is deteriorating and being crushed by the weight of the house. Further review would be recommended by a log cabin specialist to determine the best course of action to repair the damage. The damaged log may be able to be replaced by jacking up the house, removing the damaged log and replacing it with one that is ordered by size and type for a perfect fit. This deterioration was probably caused by an improperly flashed deck that had once been on this side of the house. This allowed moisture to be trapped between the log and the deck causing the deterioration.

Here’s another crawl space item that boggles the mind. Here we have blocks stacked on a round rock holding up a beam that supports the house. This should be replaced with approved structural supports. This is why I love home inspecting! You just never know what you’re going to find

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