No homes are perfect. This photo gallery shows examples of interesting deficiencies or unusual conditions that we encounter in the course of performing our inspections. A brief explanation is included with each.
Ice Dam Problems
The ice decorating the front of this house is being caused by poor attic ventilation and poor attic insulation. This allows heat from the house to melt the snow on the roof which, in sub-freezing temperatures, refreezes at the overhangs, resulting in this lovely mantle of ice.
Some defects at gas-fired equipment
The soot stains and damage on the propane-fired water heater on the left are the result of installing the unit without a chimney. This unit was venting carbon monoxide directly into the basement. When we inspected the house we found this old water heater disconnected in the basement and the new unit on the left installed in its place. However, the new unit isn't connected to a chimney either, and therefore is venting into the basement. This is a serious life safety concern! Some people never learn.
This gas-fired boiler is installed in a garage. This boiler is about fifty years old and was converted from coal to natural gas. The flame on any combustion equipment should be located at least 18 inches above the garage floor to minimize the risk of explosion from gasoline vapors. To make matters worse, the home owner has chosen to store his snow blower and gasoline cans around the boiler. And of course, given the age of this house, there is no fire separation system between the house and the garage.
This is a photo of a vent connector (exhaust pipe) on a gas-fired boiler which has separated. Exhaust gas leakage will result. This boiler was located in a closet. The lack of a ceiling in this closet is also a problem. A ceiling should be in place to slow flame-spread from the closet into the attic should a fire start.
Many of the problems that we see while inspecting are water related. Whether it is ice, condensation or liquid , uncontrolled water will cause damage.
Two of the moisture sources in this attic are the metal vent from the kitchen range hood (left) and the plastic plumbing waste line vent pipe (right). Both of these vents should exhaust to the exterior, not the attic. Besides causing excess condensation buildup, explosive gases can originate from the plumbing vent and grease buildup from the kitchen vent can be a fire hazard.
The top photo shows a water line about one foot up on the walls of a crawlspace.
The bottom photo shows decay and fungus on the center beam that results from wood being in this damp crawlspace.
Full failure of the floor framing system, i.e. the floor falls into the crawlspace, can result from just a few years of uncontrolled moisture. It is important to have the proper water control systems in place, since crawlspaces are rarely entered and monitored.
Some of the many electrical defects we see
Most homes have numerous electrical defects which create shock or fire hazards. From top to bottom these photos show:
1) electric cable resting on an overhead door track
2) open breaker locations in a service panel
3) exposed electrical connections due to a missing cover on a junction box.
All of these defects were found in the same home and create shock hazards.