What I'm Seeing Now

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Hide and Seek

Every inspection probably brings the opportunity to teach and learn.  A recent inspection was no different.

This is the HVAC unit of a two-story, 60 year old house.  It was manufactured in 1993.

While I won't go into everything possible here, there are some things worth mentioning.  They are all correctable.  They are all important.

The house sits on a masonry foundation with a "continuous crawl space perimeter."  That means that the crawl space is the footprint of the entire house.

The crawl space is used for everything from plumbing to drainage to HVAC return ducts, electrical, gas lines, etc.  Some of the soil down there has a plastic cover, but not all.

This HVAC unit is installed in, or crammed into, the closet under the staircase.

As to this closet:

  1. To get this unit out, you would have to cut through the kitchen wall and pull it out from behind.  It cannot come out through the direction of the door used for this photo.  Literally, a door could be installed behind the fridge in the kitchen right behind this unit.  There isn't one now!
  2. The white AC condensate line drains into the crawl space.  That is a lot of additional moisture NOT needed there.  It should drain outside the foundation perimeter.  And a  trap on the line wouldn't hurt.
  3. Only about 10" of space is available in front of this unit if you had to do repairs.  That is not enough.  The rule of thumb would be 30" - 36".  There was no service sticker so I don't know how much care has been given here.  But the HVAC tech would have to weigh about 60 pounds to fit.
  4. The furnace and water heater woulda, coulda, shoulda be sitting on drain pans to catch any leakage.
  5. When the door is closed, there is no way for fresh oxygen to get into that closet.  A couple of breather holes need to be cut into the walls to allow for that fresh air to ventilate the space.  We call those a "combustion source."  A slotted door could be installed, but someone built a linen shelf into that door.  It is the only linen "closet" on this level.  Fresh air is essential for proper combustion.  Inefficient combustion increases the potential for, and risk of, carbon monoxide.
  6. Egregiously, there is NO Redskin sticker!!  Anywhere...  What were they thinking?

There were a few other things, not visible in this photo.  But that is the list of obvious stuff.

My recommendation:  Basically, a furnace room should have good access, plenty of room to work, fresh air and good light.  Common sense really.

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 11 commentsJay Markanich • August 19 2009 03:15PM

Comments

Jay - Wouldn't you just love to be the HVAC tech that got the job of replacing the fan motor.  Not a big enough job to take the whole unit out, or is it?

Posted by Jack Gilleland (Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton) about 9 years ago

It is not Jack.  That tech would have to be a really little guy, or 12 years old. 

Obviously, this unit has survived to this point intact.  How much longer?  I suggested a door in the kitchen wall to the buyer, actually not a bad idea.  It probably beats ripping out everything in this closet to get this unit out!  But you couldn't get out the fan from the rear!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Jay, refresh my memory, who are the redskins again?

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 9 years ago

Charlie - age can be a difficult thing.  That would be Redskins, with a capital "R"...  I had a post a couple of weeks ago.  You can refresh your memory with that!  That was when we made the annual haj to the Park.

It's okay, man, I still love ya...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Reminds me of my inspection this evening. I had to take off the inspection belt just to fit in front of the unit.

Posted by Vince Santos, Southeast Michigan Home Inspector (StepByStep Home Services LC) about 9 years ago

Jay, While I'd like to make an honest comment, by this time of night I am really tired. So I will have to settle with telling Mr. Charles that Redskins are a type of potato that go well in stews. Arghhhh Kate Ford

Posted by Kate Kate about 9 years ago

I don't think you would have fit in front of this one Vince!

Kate - I suggested to Daniel Snyder, the owner, that he put a small redskin potato decal on the helmet to quiet the .000001% of the people offended by the word "redskin."  So far I am waiting for it to be implemented...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Wait! Stop everything. No Redskin sticker? Not anywhere? I hope you recommended the unit be replaced prior to closing. No Redskin sticker ... what were they thinking.

Posted by Suesan Jenifer Therriault, "Inspecting every purchase as if it were my own". (JTHIS-Professional Home Inspection Team) about 9 years ago

I don't know Sue!  I was so many things - shocked, dismayed, feeling pity, remorse for such unfeeling ignorance.  So many things!  They don't necessarily need to have a sticker on the unit, but at least in the room. 

Forget the other stuff...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Another one of Jay's Jewels! As soon as I read one of your posts, I go straight to the item you mentioned in my own house to make sure all's well!

Posted by Susan Gonzalez Faux painting murals atlanta (Marietta Mural & Decorative Design) about 9 years ago

Thanks Susan!  I doubt your house looks like this one.  If I have time tonight, I will try to post one about a historic house in Virginia.  Wait 'til you see...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

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