What I'm Seeing Now

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There Was A Train In The Living Room

Nothing unusual - very old house, chimney in the center which passed through the roof, thermostat in the dining room.

Doing my normal routine, I turned on the dishwasher and oven, and found the thermostat to turn on the furnace.  I noticed oil tank lines on the outside of the house, so I already knew the house had an oil furnace.

About a minute later we heard what sounded like there was a train in the living room!  Well, you don't hear that every day!

Looking around, here is what I found:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The old tin pie plate over the flue!  In older homes it was not uncommon to have a second flue located somewhere on the living level for a wood or coal stove to help heat the house.  The main furnace was in the basement, with something secondary elsewhere.  This pie plate has been there a long time.  The right picture shows the original "springs" to hold the plate in place.  Notice the nail above the hole.  It might be that the former owner had a picture over this to hide it.

Not a good idea.  This plate deterioration exposes the whole house to carbon monoxide.  It was said that the former owner died suddenly over the winter.  Hearing that made me wonder.  We had an immediate object lesson for the new buyers.

My recommendation:  Be safe and be smart.  Older homes oftentimes have booby traps and dangers that we do not think of today.  If you see something that you think looks unsafe, call somebody to give you advice.  It may just save your life!

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 14 commentsJay Markanich • March 23 2010 06:01AM

Comments

Ahhh...the detective nature in you Jay will always uncover the best for your clients !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce - Short Sale (Keller Williams 414-525-0563) about 8 years ago

We didn't need Sherlock to deduce that one S&D!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

This was interesting and also kind of scary.  The things we do without thinking.

Posted by Diane Williams about 8 years ago

Diane - that plate has been there, and deteriorated like that, for some time!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

It's a wonder people survived the stuff like this that used to be commonplace.

Posted by Pam Turner, REALTOR®, e-PRO®, SFR (Century 21 Belk Realtors Dalton GA) about 8 years ago

Pam - I see those plates a lot, but they are usually not deteriorated or have gaps.  You are right, we emerged from dangerous times!  And 50 years from now, people will look back at how dangerously we lived...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

Experience counts when it comes to home inspections. . great job!

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) about 8 years ago

Had to share this with you. . talking about dangerous

A few years back when I visited my home country Bolivia South America for a few days. . 

In the  hotel, the shower head had wires coming out from there. . that is how they heat the water at the hotel

They had a water heater right on the shower head!

The connection on the wall was visible in a on off switch. . I could even see the copper wires.

Talk about dangerous!

Thank God for Code in the USA

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) about 8 years ago

What a flashback!  We had this set up in a summer home when I was growing up where we took out a wood burning stove!  A trip down (what I didn't realize was a dangerous) memory lane!

Posted by Richard Strahm, Lansdale and North Penn Real Estate (RE/MAX Realty Group - Lansdale, PA) about 8 years ago

Jay, thanks for the information. The things people do...which is why we need a good inspector like you...

Posted by Pat O'Reilly (RE/MAX..214-289-6176 Irving and all of Dallas Fort Worth) about 8 years ago

Jay, I remember seeing these in the past. Thanks for the reminder of a potential danger.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA about 8 years ago

Fernando - that sounds like the "shower" I used to have in a house in Ecuador!

Richard - those flues exist in nearly all older homes.  This house was built in 1942.

Pat - Thanks, but it was not hard to find!  I have to wonder if this isn't what did in the former owner.

Michael - we see them a lot around here, don't we?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

Jay,

I once saw a house where the pie plate came loose and sparks set a fire in the upstairs.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) about 8 years ago

Wow, Steve - I have never seen evidence of a fire, but this system and chimney were really sooty!  A loose plate is a problem too.  In my opinion a PLATE is a problem, but that is just me!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

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