Snaps from the Field – June 2021

AMI - home inspection sample - Plumbing Drain or Miniature Golf?

Plumbing Drain or Miniature Golf?

The home inspector’s nemesis: a homeowner who’s willing to undertake any repair, regardless of ability. Every plumbing fixture with a drain requires a trap to hold a small plug of water and prevent sewer gas from entering the home. Even though this installation has two traps, neither will do any good because they’re both installed on their sides. Instead of holding plugs of water, these will just slow the flow of water. I’m not sure why they put blue toothpaste on every joint – these are slip joints that require no sealant.


2021-06-01T09:22:10-07:00June 1st, 2021|Snaps from the Field|

Snaps from the Field – May 2021

AMI - home inspection sample - Drive nail through hole in bracket.

Drive nail through hole in bracket.

Seven words that are difficult to misunderstand. So why do people misunderstand them so often? As any home inspector in the Portland area will tell you, attic pulldown ladders are rarely installed properly. They require, at minimum, four nails (or sometimes lag screws) through each of the four mounting brackets. Most people use drywall screws, which are a particular problem because they have no listed strength and because they can snap so easily, and they always seem to drive them through the wood frame, which can split.

2021-05-02T18:09:40-07:00May 1st, 2021|Snaps from the Field|

Snaps from the Field – April 2021

Here’s a serious mistake that could be very dangerous.

This is a picture of a gas furnace with an air conditioning evaporator coil above it. The gas pipe is made from black steel pipe and begins at the left. After running through a red-handled valve that is, thankfully, turned off, the gas pipe runs into the condensate drain opening for the air conditioner coil. If you were to turn on that valve, gas would flow into the duct that contains the AC coil. Given enough time, the gas would travel through the ducts, flooding the house with gas and creating a potential for a house-destroying explosion.

In a proper installation, the black pipe would have run into the gray control valve near the bottom of the picture.

Aside from the obvious error in connecting the gas line to the wrong opening, it’s clear that whoever did the work was not an experienced installer. No professional would have smeared so much blue pipe sealant all over the place.

2021-05-02T18:09:03-07:00April 1st, 2021|Snaps from the Field|

Oregon Smoke Alarm Rules – Could They be Any More Confusing?

Oregon has several sets of rules for smoke alarms. Some rules apply to newly constructed houses, some apply to renovated houses, and some apply to rentals, but the rules that I’ll write about today have to with houses that are being sold.

(Note: If you’re interested in the very important and surprising differences between ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms, read our blog about that subject. The following blog focuses on the more general rules about smoke alarms.)


2020-08-23T23:24:17-07:00November 19th, 2017|General Inspections, Uncategorized|
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