What I'm Seeing Now

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The Case Of The Drip Pan Misdirection Non-connection

Drip pans are common and necessary.  They are the pans you see under the washing machine, HVAC unit and water heater if those appliances are on upper floors.  You sometimes even see them when on the lower floor.

Hopefully these pans will never be needed as they are only used if there is a leak from any of those appliances.  But should there be a leak, drip pans are crucial.

If different pans are going to be plumbed consecutively, there should be no drip pan misdirection non-connection.

In this new construction, all three appliances were in a columnar line, and connected.

I did not know that.

The supervisor came by during the inspection and asked if I had any questions. 

Yes!  The stackable washer/dryer and HVAC unit were beside each other in two closets on the upper level.  Unusual, but I could see the drip pan connection of the W/D, and not under the HVAC unit.

He assured me they were connected.  In fact, said he, drip pans are very important to him.  He personally makes sure they are all connected. 

I asked where the drain goes and he said they were connected to the water heater's pan and they drain out back.  I had seen the line coming out of the house, so I believed him.  But I had not yet seen the water heater.

When I told him I had never seen three appliances so connected together, he flew into a hissy fit and explained how smart it is, and efficient, and how he MAKES SURE THE CONNECTIONS ARE SOLID!

<--------  Then I found and showed him this.

And I said, "Well, this surely needs to be connected!  But, what happens if the outside discharge gets clogged with a stuck mouse.  Wouldn't the water back up into the water heater pan, which is small, and get into the house?" *

He just looked at me.  I think I heard crickets.

My recommendation:  don't forget your new construction inspections!  You never know what magician's misdirection you might run into!  Even if it is "efficient."  Oh, all drip pans really, really need to be connected to their drain!

*  The chance that this could happen is extremely, extremely remote.  But with this arrangement not impossible.  But I couldn't resist the fun!

 

 

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 40 commentsJay Markanich • August 08 2011 06:59AM

Comments

Yes, I can see you having fun with these.  You are so funny. The true detective taking pride in his discoveries.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 9 years ago

Jay, great info and i've never seen all 3 connected...but I'll be looking for it and the stuck mouse...

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in Southern RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) over 9 years ago

The stuck mouse suggestion is priceless. You need to plan for every possible outcome.

Posted by Anne M. Costello (Weidel Realtors) over 9 years ago

Hi Jay,

Looks like a lack of planning. And the lack of follow up to complete the job.

Good find.

Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 9 years ago

Good call, Jay.  I love to see smart hissy-fitters deflated.

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 9 years ago

Debbie - bubble, bubble, toil and trouble.  That's my job!

Ginny - start with the mouse.  Look for the tail hanging out.

I couldn't resist Anne.  It really got him.  He was mad at me the rest of the day I think!

Clint - what?  That's smart and efficient!

Brian - when I said it I winked at my client.  The supervisor didn't see the wink.  Good!

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

I like the part about hearning crickets. That is a cool line.Might borrow that one.

Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com) over 9 years ago

Good morning, Jay. Congratulations on yet another feature! Wow! You da man!!! And yes, I have seen that once or twice my self...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 9 years ago

I did Cheryl.  Faint, but there.  Right behind his eyes.  I think.  Yeah, that's it.

Michael - this is new construction and it should be connected!  I try to be instructive.  I bet many people have never heard of drip pans!  Thanks, didn't know it was featured.

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

Jay...

You are right, there is no point in havong a pan if it is not connected properly.

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) over 9 years ago

But, Richard, it's efficient and smart!  Don't forget that part.

Actually I see pans all the time where no drain has been provided.  I wonder...

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

Ouch!  Never good to be snarky with the inspector.  He might just make you look like an . . .!  Good job, Jay!

Posted by Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) over 9 years ago

Jay, our friends came home one evening to find their living room ceiling and a lot of water came crashing to the floor because of a drip pan clogged line. A big mess.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 9 years ago

Good morning Richard. I think a lot of people confuse new house with well built house. I have seen some pretty scary thing looking at a new build. Can't beat a good inspection.

Posted by Randy Ostrander, Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI (Lake and Lodge Realty LLC ) over 9 years ago

I get concerned when I see a second floor drain pan, that drops into the floor but there's nothing showing outside, mouse or no mouse.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 9 years ago

Mike - a bit unusual an arrangement, and I was just trying to figure it out.  Good thing he was there...

Michael - drip pans are hugely important and when I don't see them plumbed properly I have to mention it.

Randy - an inspection, or two (!), on new construction is a real necessity.

Ed - in that case it might be best to see the mouse!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago
Inspection should be done regardless if it was new built or existing homes. You never know what you will find.
Posted by Mike Yeo (3:16 team REALTY) over 9 years ago

Drip pans on HWTs are required here but regarding connections to the drains there is noting but ringing silence.

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) over 9 years ago

Start your day with...JAY post....No pan can stand up to this man....

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 9 years ago

Nice job on the 'what if' scenario. He was enamored of his 'efficiency,' he forgot about real life.  

Posted by Sandy Acevedo, RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale (951-290-8588) over 9 years ago

I too have never seen them connected together before---lucky enough to see a pan :)

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

Jay, just another great reason to hire you to do the home inspection if someone is buying a home in Virginia.

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 9 years ago

New Construction... What's that? I can almost remember new construction. What I do remember of new construction is that the builders most definitely need to be inspected.

Posted by Scott Petersen (Client First, Realtors - Canton, MI) over 9 years ago

Jay -- You think you heard crickets? LOL. He was totally busted.  Great catch as usual. You are awesome!

Posted by Barbara Altieri, REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale (Kinard Realty Group Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate) over 9 years ago

I like your post. Thanks. :)

Posted by Krista Lombardi (Prudential Calfornia Realty) over 9 years ago

I personally don't like the idea of connecting them altogether.  Leaves too much opportunity for stoppage.

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

Mike - new homes are the most fun for me.  Or is it flips?  Or remodels?  Gee, I don't know!

Robert - this is unusual as they are all connected.  But I don't know what the specific recs are from that county.

Richie - I thought I was going into the pantry!  Nope!  Water heater and hey, it's missing something!

Sandy - even a small chance that it can clog is still a chance.

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

Charlie - the county had already been by, so I assume they approved the pan.  But you know what happens when we assume...

Chris - problems on new construction are not rare!  What they might be is the real fun.

Scott - you have a good long-term memory.

Barbara - it got pretty quiet pretty quick!  I'm sure it was crickets I heard.

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

Thanks Krista.  Glad you stopped by!

Jack - that's how it feels to me, but wouldn't a mouse stuck at the bottom be quite the turn of events!

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

Jay - You just feel really stupid when you make statements of fact only to find out you didn't have all the facts.  Oops!

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) over 9 years ago

Right, John.  He pays particular attention to the drip pans...

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

Recently had an issue in a condo where a drip pan from the W/D clogged and made a mess in three units.  A stuck mouse?  I'll keep an eye out for that problem :-)

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) over 9 years ago

It could have filled with lint Cindy.  Those stackables can leave lots of stuff in the pan unawares.

But the mouse theory works!

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

I hear crickets right now...and cicadas. I once found a air handler pan in an attic with the drain pipe ending on the walk way a few feet from the pan.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 9 years ago

I guess so they would know the water was there when they walked in the attic Jim?  Nothing like hot water on the feet to let you know the condensate is clogged.

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

Erica - for sure they are problems, and provide me a lot of fun!

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

Why do people have hissy fits?  When people get super defensive, I assume it's because they're in the wrong.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 9 years ago

He was already upset because I said the deck was very unprofessional Reuben.  And it was absolutely butt ugly.

By the time he showed up later, he had changed his glasses from rose colored to something else, and he looked right at me.

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

I enjoyed your presentation and you have shared some very valuable information.

Posted by Kathy Sheehan, Senior Loan Officer (Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021) over 9 years ago

Great Kathy!  Drip pans are essential and it is crucial that they be plumbed correctly.

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

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