What I'm Seeing Now

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Feeling Trapped

The smell was there as soon as we opened the door to the unfinished furnace room.  The staining on the floor was evident.  Further inspection found some evidence of molds on the sub floor and floor joists above.

Looking to the left I saw the mother of all traps!  This is to capture and eliminate the AC condensate discharge.

And it wasn't leaking now, because they repaired it!  And they used purple primer!  Well, thank goodness for that.

It looked like it glued nicely to that ABS joint too!

To fix the leaking someone recently added that little extension to the vertical tube on the left.  If I was as good as Charlie Buell I could shade everything a light blue to show where this trap contains water!  But believe me when I say the water inside was all the way to just below where the condensate line drips!

A trap that was too deep was made too deeper!

Here is the new problem.  The condensate discharge is a slow, continual trickle.  There is not much energy behind it.  In this case it did not have the force behind it to overcome the physics of what the trap contains.  Some of it backs up and there was 3/4" of water in the bottom of the furnace.  And that was leaking onto the floor all around!

They traded one problem for another.

A trap is not to be a huge reservoir.  It should be designed to contain just enough water to block any sewer gas from getting into the house.  Instead of the

 

extension, if they had just designed and installed a smaller, proper  trap this problem would have been solved a long time ago.

This is unprofessional work, at best.

My recommendation:  Most things properly installed, like condensate traps, are designed with common sense.  Get a home inspector, who probably has a lot of that!

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 22 commentsJay Markanich • July 24 2010 06:55AM

Comments

This is not an uncommon problem.  I've seen many under the sink traps installed by home owners (thanks Home Depot) with deeper than desired traps. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 8 years ago

I do believe that's the biggest trap I've ever seen.

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) about 8 years ago

That's why I don't like Home Depot's motto, "YOU CAN DO IT, WE CAN HELP!"

Posted by Michele Miller ~ REALTOR®, LMC, HSE, CHS, SRES, CMRS, 'Helping You Make the Best Move" (ERA Key Realty~Worcester County Realty Group) about 8 years ago

Good morning Jay,

I'm not sure I've ever seen a trap this deep!! Probably another Mr. Fix-it who was sure he knew what he was doing!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799) about 8 years ago

Lenn - yes, it is common.  Uncle Bob came over to help and that's what you get!

James - it ranks right up there!

Michele - that motto among other things, but do it right!

Dorie - he had probably seen them in other places and thought the extra distance to the floor was best used with more material!

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

Everyone is a professional when it comes to plumbing. How much to remove the mold?

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (Real Estate and Beyond, LLC) about 8 years ago

My client didn't get that far Harry!  This was one of many problems with this house and she backed off.

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

Jay, Thanks for showing us how to take care of this problem that I see a lot.  I don't know how folks can stand the smell.

Posted by Diane Williams about 8 years ago

Just another one of those cases where size does matter, and bigger isn't always better. The unfortunate thing is, I have inspected after a "professional" repair, to find the plumber has done similar!   

Posted by Jeffrey Jonas- Minnesota Home Inspector (Critical Eye Property Inspections / JRJ Consultants) about 8 years ago

IT would seem some folks think the deeper the better....oh not !

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

Not always "Uncle Bob".  The construction company that installed the plumbing in my rehab in Bethesda did the same thing.  That's when I learned about this matter.  The next plumber who was called to fix a "slow" sink identified the defect and fixed it.

 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 8 years ago

Hi Jay, Great illustration and explanation (as always). Everybody's a DIY these days thanks to HGTV DIY channel and the internet....and in this case cost the Seller a sale! jay

Posted by Jay Lloyd, Allpro Home Inspection (Cape Coral Florida) about 8 years ago

Thanks for the laugh.  Lazy fixes make for expensive repair lists.

Posted by Sam DeBord, Seattle Real Estate Broker (SeattleHome.com -Coldwell Banker Danforth) about 8 years ago

Thanks for anothe informative post Jay! I always learn something new from you...

Posted by Lisa Orme, Broker/Realtor, ABR, CRS,GRI, PSCS, SFR, Notary Pu (The Master's Key Realty LLC -Windsor, CT - HARTFORD COUNTY) about 8 years ago

Diane - that smell was a big turn off.  The mold another!

Jeff - they sometimes understand how to do a repair, but not the concept behind what they are fixing!

S&D - well, certainly not in the case of traps!!

 

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

Lenn - it pays to find the plumber who gets it...

Jay - it did.  This is the same house as the "Black Goop" post.

Sam - sometimes things seem funny to us inspectors, but to the clients NOT!

Lisa - I am pleased that you are pleased!  And informed!  That's the name of the game.

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

Jay....just another example of 'knowing when to use the Best tool in your tool Box---your Check Book'
      Where were you in Jan.2010,21st to be exact, when we had to have a sump-pump replaced. Darn, where you a few days ago, when we had to have that pump replaced--the 1st company installed a too-small pump AND naturally it was out of warranty [ 3 months] so 6 months to the day 21 July. Gee, we should have had a party or something.  All good points that you posted, comments on target too [ some LOL Funny, too]
Have a good one
Barb & Sal 

Posted by Barb & Sal Dragotta, Macomb County Michigan about 8 years ago

Barb & Sal - things are supposed to break the day after the warranty expires.  What, you want to change the karma of the universe?

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

They were just making sure they used all the materials they purchased.

Posted by Troy Pappas, Virginia Beach Home Inspector (Safe House Property Inspections) about 8 years ago

Must have been the case Troy.  But then later they added that top to "keep it from leaking!"

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

Goes with the old saying, if a little is good, a lot must be better??!!  Great pic Jay!

Thank You

Richard Acree

HABITEC Home and Building Inspections, LLC

http://habitecinspections.com

Posted by Robert Dirienzo, Home Inspections - Nashville TN (HABITEC Home and Building Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

It's funny some of the stuff we see, isn't it Richard?

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

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