Home Defects

These are pictures taken of defects during our home inspections.

Foreign Object

This is a picture taken of a “foreign object” that was embedded in the 3rd floor roof of an apartment building.  If I had to guess, I’d say this was a Happy New Year bullet; straight up and straight down.  It’s safe to say this roof is shot.

Active Water Penetration

A common, but undesirable side effect of poor exterior surface grading around the house is water infiltration in the basement.  In this picture, the crawlspace wall shows evidence of active water penetration.

Painted Outlet

Painting tip of the day: when painting a wall, go AROUND the electrical outlets.  Not OVER them.  This amateurish rush job resulted in the bottom outlet being painted completely shut.  The outlet now needs to be replaced along with 12 other outlets in the same house that fell victim to the runaway paint roller.

Here is a picture of an unsafe electrical connection.

There are many projects in a home that can be safely completed by the average do-it-yourselfer.  Electrical work however is not one of them.  Here is a picture of an unsafe electrical connection.  The splice joining these two sections of electrical cable needs to be enclosed in a junction box and mounted to the overhead joists.  The hanging section of wire needs to be secured as well.  This requires the services of a licensed and certified professional electrician.

Water heater thermostats should be adjusted to produce hot water not in excess of 120 degrees.

A common misconception among homeowners is that raising the thermostat setting on the water heater increases the amount of hot water in the tank.  The only thing that happens is the water is often heated to an unsafe temperature level.  In this picture, the hot water level in this house is at an unsafe 140 degrees which is hot enough to burn and scald human skin.  Water heater thermostats should be adjusted to produce hot water not in excess of 120 degrees.

* The nifty device used to measure the water temperature in this picture is a Raytek MiniTemp Laser thermometer.

The front porch on this house has seen better days.

The front porch on this house has seen better days.  The top photo shows the upper portion of the roof pulling away from the house and an unstable rear support beam.  The bottom photo shows a sinking front porch slab and clothes line being used to hold the bottom portion of the support beam in place.  Clothes line is great for holding wet clothes.  However, it’s not so great when used to help hold up your porch roof.  The situation is a hazard waiting to happen and requires immediate repair work.

The house was only two years old.

The installation of this return HVAC duct in the basement was never completed.  The house was only two years old.

The picture shows the flue liner which is made of stacked sections of terra cotta deteriorating on the third section from the top.

Not all chimney flue interiors are observable but this one was because the chimney top did not have a cap installed. The picture shows the flue liner which is made of stacked sections of terra cotta deteriorating on the third section from the top. A chimney professional will be needed to come and replace the damaged section before the liner breaks apart and falls down the chimney.

The barbed wire in this picture is right at head level.

The barbed wire in this picture is right at head level for anybody coming out the rear entry door.  Perhaps a helmet should be placed by the door to protect anybody walking outside.

This vent will need to be removed and the opening sealed.

In order for a forced air furnace system to properly and effectively distribute heated air throughout the house, return air ducts with vents must be in place. However, the return air vent in this picture is located right next to the gas-fired furnace. If the furnace or chimney flue for the furnace ever malfunctioned and pushed carbon monoxide (CO) back into the basement, the return air vent could draw the CO into the supply air and distribute it throughout the house creating a potentially deadly situation. This vent will need to be removed and the opening sealed. Return air vent openings need to be located no less than 10 feet away from fossil fueled fired furnaces or water heaters.

A glaring safety issue!

Emergency egress windows only work if the people living in the house can get out of them.  This was seen at a Philadelphia area house in a college community.  Not only is there a cage installed above the window well opening, there is a chain attached to the gate on the cage.  This is a glaring safety issue.

The plumbing vent flashing boot on this plumbing vent is ripped and torn.

If a home inspector does not get up on the roof during a home inspection, there is a good chance this defect will be missed.  The plumbing vent flashing boot on this plumbing vent is ripped and torn due to extended exposure to the UV rays of the sun.  These flashing boots typically last about 10 years but rips and tears like these will allow water penetration into the attic and can damage the 2nd floor level ceiling.  Typical replacement cost per flashing boot is about $150.00 – $300.00.

Incorrect installation of a bath vent duct.

Bathroom and powder room vent fans need to exhaust to the exterior of the house to remove bath moisture and odors from the house.  This picture illustrates a common but incorrect installation of a bath vent duct that is exhausting into the attic space.  This can result in mold growth in the attic needs to be corrected.  A properly vented bath vent duct exhausts to the exterior through a dedicated vent hood.

14This house was rehabbed and is less than 1 year old.

This house was rehabbed and is less than 1 year old.  The furnace and return duct were installed over top of the covers for both the sump pit and the plumbing ejector pit for the basement level bathroom.  The pumps in both pits may be new and working right now but if/when they fail and need to be replaced, completing the job will be difficult.  Also, the vent pipe for the plumbing ejector pit is loosely sleeved together and not sealed which will allow passage of sewer gases into the basement.

Exhaust duct was not properly secured .

This was seen at a recent new construction inspection we did for the buyer prior to settlement.  The view seen here is from the exterior of the house through the louvered vent hood for a bath vent exhaust duct.  The exhaust duct was not properly secured inside the wall cavity and the duct is no longer connected to the vent hood.  Luckily we found this obscure defect.  The buildup of bath moisture inside the wall cavity could have resulted in a mold problem.

Ceiling joist in the basement of an older house

This ceiling joist in the basement of an older house is heavily damaged as a result of moisture penetration and termites.  Our probe has gone right through the damaged joist end.