Your Dryer – It’s Full of Hot Air
Your dryer tumbles your clothes with lots of hot air, which is then vented out through a duct to a vent outside the home. When the vent does not have good clearance, airflow is restricted which can have several results:
- your dryer may take longer to dry your clothes resulting in higher energy usage and additional wear and tear on your clothing.
- lint is more likely to collect in the dryer duct which can be a fire hazard.
- reduced airflow can trip temperature sensors in the dryer causing it to shut-off (and you may need a service call to reset it).
- the pressure of the reduced flow can cause the duct to come apart and vent into unwanted locations, like the crawlspace.
This vent well should be removed, the soil dug down another 4-6″, and a larger vent well installed.
Toilet Fill Valve
A toilet fill valve performs the thankless task of refilling a toilet’s tank after each flush. They come in a variety of configurations, based on the size, shape, and design of the toilet. A malfunctioning one can make the toilet run continuously or fail to refill the tank with the right amount of water. When they’re installed too low in the tank, they can cause a cross-connection, where water that’s not safe to drink contaminates the drinking water. The one pictured here is too high for this tank. It might work fine, but no one can re-install the tank lid. Most people would find that unacceptable. Time to call a real plumber.
PVC Pipe is a No-no
This water heater has a 1/2″ PVC extension tube on its temperature-pressure relief valve. PVC stands for Polyvinyl chloride, but a more suitable name might be “Pipe Very Cracky”. The piping is brittle and not rated for use inside a home generally, and especially not as an extension tube on a water heater temperature-pressure relief valve. In addition to this improper material the extension tube is undersized – it should be 3/4″ pipe. If the valve were to open, the high temperature and pressure of the water could easily splinter the piping. A temperature-pressure relief valve should have a suitable extension tube installed – allowable materials include 3/4″ copper, galvanized steel, CPVC, or PEX piping.
This wide chimney is missing a cricket. No, not the small, noisy insect. A cricket is a small, peaked roof at the up-slope side of your chimney to deflect water and debris around your chimney. Without a cricket snow and debris can easily build up and lead to water penetration around the chimney. Chimneys that are 30” wide or more should have a cricket installed.
Duct Tape and Bailing Wire
Anyone who grew up on a farm knows that much can be done with duct tape and bailing wire, at least to get a job done in the short-term. But repairs made in the short-term are often forgotten and become long-term, permanent, repairs. Here we see duct tape used to repair a gaping hole in a sink tailpiece. This is well past due for a plumber to come in and make the proper long-term repair: replace the tailpiece, and while they are at it, go ahead and replace the old, rusted drain assembly that connects to the sink.
Rule #65 of home inspections: If anyone *can* do their own framing work, anyone *will* do their own framing work.
We’ve all heard about the “good bones” of a house, and well, the framing members are quite literally the bones of the house. Here a homeowner has installed a new window in a wall but failed to install a header across the opening to support the floor joists above. Over time the weight of the joists may cause the doubled-up 2x4s installed flat to sag. This can create problems with the window and can result in visible deflections in the floor or walls above. A proper installation would have a properly sized header – probably a 4×6 or 4×8 in this case.
I’m Melting! Melting!
Well, no, this building isn’t coming to the same fate as the Wicked Witch of the West, but its split-face block wall does have serious issues with water penetration. Split-face block walls absorb a lot of water and it lifts the paint as it tries to escape. The source of the water penetration may be from improper flashing details or even from small fissures in the face of the porous block itself and, on this wall, we see no mid-wall flashings, weep holes, or any other ways for water to be directed out of the wall assembly. Re-coating, sealing, and painting large areas of a wall like this can be very expensive, and will not “fix”. Repairing the wall surface would also not address any possible hidden damage to wood and metal framing inside this wall, especially where floor framing ties into the walls. This wall needs to have additional invasive inspection work to fully understand and eliminate the water penetration and to find and repair any hidden structural damage.
Rule #64 of home inspections: If anyone *can* do their own plumbing work, anyone *will* do their own plumbing work.
As we’ve mentioned before, every plumbing fixture is supposed to have one trap to hold a small plug of water and prevent sewer gas from rising up out of the drain. This homeowner must have been one of those people who believe that “more is better.” The water from this sink passes through not one, not two, but three traps: the white trap in the foreground, the middle trap, and the trap at the lower left. It’s like that big rainbow-colored slide at the carnival. I can hear you asking, “But how do you know that a homeowner did this plumbing?” That’s easy. Plumbers don’t use fittings with price stickers on them.
Rule #63 of home inspections: If anyone *can* do their own electrical wiring, anyone *will* do their own electrical wiring. Especially with Home Depot and Lowes there to encourage them.
This light fixture is intended to be installed over a flush-mount electrical box. (That’s a box that fits inside the wall and is flush with the surface of the wall – or better, yet, of a mounting block.) In this picture, someone installed the fixture over a surface-mount box. The joint between the two isn’t water-tight and can’t be made water-tight.