What I'm Seeing Now

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One Year Inspections - I Am Looking High And Low

People can live in a house and not notice things.  I find that out all the time on warranty inspections.  And because of that, on one year inspections - I am looking high and low.

These photos come courtesy my client as my camera was on the wrong setting!

This is your basic water main.  It is located in the furnace room.

What I don't see often is this kind of proximity to the main drain stack.

But I always check the water main assembly for leaking, pin holes, damage, and so forth.

Often I have to move things to get to the main!  It is blocked.

One thing I noticed on this house was a musty odor in the furnace room.  There usually is no odor there.

Moving things out of the way so I could see this arrangement high and low, I saw how they come into the house at the same place.  And something at the bottom I have never seen.

Water!  And a little mud!

What is causing this?  Is it sewage?  Well no, the lick test proved it was not.  OK, I'm kidding, but it wasn't sewage.

So it must be one of two other things -

1.  a high water table percolating up through a hole in the floor slab, a hole that shouldn't be there or
2.  a leak in the water main.

And this has been happening for a while because the pressure-treated sill plate, the 2x6" board secured to the concrete slab, was already damaged by moisture.  Everything there looked muddy and like it had been there for a while.  There was even a little algae.  This is certainly a location conducive to microbial growth like molds and fungi. 

SO THIS IS A PROBLEM!

Does that protective plastic tube protecting the water main line, which is a glorified hose, extend beneath and slab and all the way to the buried meter?  We don't know!  

Is the water main damaged?  We don't know!

Was the house built on a spring, like my neighbor's across the street?  We don't know!

WHAT DO WE KNOW?  WE KNOW THIS DEMONSTRATION OF WATER IS A PROBLEM!  WE KNOW THAT THIS KIND OF PROBLEM NEVER GETS BETTER!  WHAT HAPPENS NOW?  AFTER DETERMINING THAT THE WATER MAIN IS NOT LEAKING, A HYDROLOGIST NEEDS TO GET INVOLVED!

Was this the only problem with the house?  No, not by a long shot.  Was the number of problems found typical of a one-year warranty inspection?  No, not by a long shot.

My recommendation:  be regular with one-year warranty inspections!  Every new home should have one!  And these inspections always, always, always require follow up to insure that the problems found are problems no more.

 

 

 

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 44 commentsJay Markanich • September 08 2011 05:59AM

Comments

Again, I learn something new - these are inspections occuring just before the builder warranty expires? 

Posted by Linda Edelwich, Glastonbury Office's #1 Top Producing Agent-not on (William Raveis Real Estate) about 9 years ago

Hi Jay,

Nice to see you are on top of things when the "one year" rolls around.

Good post. Too many people forget to get the year inspection, even with a reminder.

Thanks, Clint McKie

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

Jay: Your client took some pretty good pictures! Is there a fix for these issues?

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

Yes Linda.  My post yesterday was about this same house.  Be careful - sometimes the "one year" inspection happens at 11 months!  Check the contract.

Thanks Clint.  I do 8 or 10 of these a month!

Anne - they will need an engineer to determine what is going on, after it is determined that the water main is not leaking.  So I don't know!

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

Good morning, Jay. If it is a leak under the slab - dig deep!!! This is the downside of slab construction...

Posted by Michael Thornton, Nashville Area - Photography & Videography (RadnorLake Video) about 9 years ago

There is a hill behind inclined toward the house, and a hill in front inclining away from the house Michael.  This won't be much fun, no matter how you look at it!

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

Jay, I always learn something from your posts - thanks for keeping us informed. I think it is important to get a home inspection ever so often, even if not thinking of selling.  Getting an inspection is a great was to get a check list of things to do to properly maintain your home.    

Posted by Barbara Hensley, Homes for Sale in Rockwall County, Texas (RE/MAX Properties) about 9 years ago

Never mind the 11 month for 1 year inspection, where was the before I buy it inspection?

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) about 9 years ago

Yes, it is important ot get those 1 yr home inpsections.  I hope it's still covered in their warranty and glad they didn't wait another month.

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

Good morning, Jay....every builder's warranty is written differently....there are some issues that might not be covered...

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired ) about 9 years ago

Jay, 

Folks just ignore a lot of things that they think will just work forever without any issue.  (There are certainly areas of the house that should not be blocked off by storage items, so that you CAN see issues that arise.)

All the best, Michelle

Posted by Michelle Francis, Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease (Tim Francis Realty LLC) about 9 years ago

Jay,

That looks like it will not be a fun issue to deal with. Having an "one-year" inspection should be on every ones list if buying a new home.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Jay, as you've said in blogs before (and here) water inside the house is never a good thing, unless it's inside the pipes and only inside the pipes.

Good catch!

Posted by Jeremy Wrenn, C.O.O., Winslow Homes (Winslow Homes) about 9 years ago

Jay,  Sounds like you might have a week's worth of blogs from this one house.  It is too bad that so many things can crop up as issues in a year's time.  Hopefully the builder will stand behind his product fully.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) about 9 years ago

With your observation skills, Jay, you must be "murder" at the game of Clue

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

So the house is being morphed into a boat. Did they pay extra for this feature?

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

I've identified about half a dozen water main leaks just by putting my ear against the pipe; if it's leaking, you'll definitely hear it.  

I assume you're familiar with this trick?

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

You're welcome Barbara.  Add this one to your filing cabinet!

Ed - don't know!  The wife found me on line because they wanted something before the final builder walk through.

Debbie - they were aware of what their contract said, unlike lots of folks.

Barbara - I can't imagine this one isn't, but I sure hope so!  It's going to be a difficult one to correct.

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

Michelle - sometimes I have to move stuff.  When the owner is present and gives permission, or helps, I don't mind moving it!

I think so too Don.  It could be many things.  I hope they don't just slop come mortar onto the spot and say it's fixed!

Jeremy - thanks.  I don't see that one very often, at least not that I remember.  Water is THE killer of houses.

Steven - I have SO MUCH blog fodder!  Really, and every one is instructive in some fashion.

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

Chris - the builder, in the furnace room, with the camera.

Gets'em every time.  I played Clue with my kids a lot.  They almost always won...    ;>)

Jim - the past few days it surely has had a water view!  It's an ark now.

Reubs - injun listen train track.  Train come now.  Yeah, I'm familiar, but...

You think that's gonna fly with some builder?!  I recommend they call the water company, get a number on the meter at the street, turn off the water inside and wait a couple of hours, have the water company come back to see how much more water is sent to the house.  Or under it in this case...  When the water company says it's a problem, it's a problem.  My ear on the track would be viewed by the builder as, well, as...  a buffalo pie on the prarie.

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

Jay, I agree, water is THE killer of houses.  It's what keeps us in business and why PVC trim and HardiePlank were invented.

Posted by Jeremy Wrenn, C.O.O., Winslow Homes (Winslow Homes) about 9 years ago

Jeremy - which ALSO have to be installed correctly!

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

Correct.  I often wonder how many times these new products are not installed correctly and just allow rot to go on behind them in the framing of the house.

Posted by Jeremy Wrenn, C.O.O., Winslow Homes (Winslow Homes) about 9 years ago

THAT'S the key Jeremy.  Water gets behind stuff!  Behind, for proper protection, they builder could use the copper naphthenate they spray on the garage and lower-level studs and such, but I doubt they would be that conscientious.

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

More ammunition for new build inspections. Great post!

Posted by The Derrick Team - Indy Metro Realtors, Your Pet Friendly Realtors (Carpenter Realtors) about 9 years ago

I would definately agree that you can live in your home for quite some time without knowing about problems.  It is a good idea to get this type of an inspection done before the warranty expires.

Posted by Rocky Dole (Revelation Real Estate) about 9 years ago

Eek! Bummer for the homeowner. I hope they're grateful you found it before it was worse...

Posted by Tim Bradley, Commercial Real Estate Expert in Jackson Hole, WY (Contour Investment Properties) about 9 years ago

Would love to know the solution to this issue, if it is an issue. Enjoy your posts.

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max By The Sea) about 9 years ago

Jay, i have had a spring fed basement in a 250 year old house with 2 sumps but this house is probably not that old...i am sure the homeowners are quite upset...

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

Hi Jay,

I'm sending this post to a friend of mine who recently purchased a new construction in NC. Despite my begging and pleading for him to have a buyer's agent, he chose to do a dual agency with the listing broker and ::sigh:: didn't have an inspection because the owner did a "thorough" walk through with him.  I cringed when he told me his decision not to have an inspection, and begged and pleaded with him some more to hire an independent home inspector, but he trusted "his" agent's advise and went along with just the builder walk through. Hopefully this post will be helpful in talking him into having a 1-year inspection - if there is even a warranty on the house.  

Posted by Talena Noriega (Kenneth Brown, Licensed Real Estate Broker) about 9 years ago

That's more than a little scary. Hope you'll post what the findings are.

Posted by Marshall Brown, BSEE, CHI (Mid America Inspection Services, LLC) about 9 years ago

Good advice.

Posted by Jim McCormack, Nashville Short Sale REALTOR - Stop Foreclosure (Nashville Short Sale Specialist - Jim McCormack - Edge Advantage Realty, LLC - 615-784-EDGE (3343)) about 9 years ago

Derrick Team - new construction inspections are important from pre-drywall to the warranty!

Rocky - glad these folks caught this before it got to be a bigger problem!

Tim - the shock on the owner's face said it all!  Yes, they were very grateful.

Thanks Bill.  I will let you all know when I know.

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

Ginny - one year old and I hope this isn't as serious as it could be.

Talena - a walk through does not an inspection make!  As you seem to know!

Marshall - I asked them to get back to me.  I hope they do!

Thanks again Jim.  Short and sweet!

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

Great information to keep in mind when I get involved with new home construction.

Posted by Gerard Gilbers, Your Marketing Master (Higher Authority Markeing) about 9 years ago

I hope they do let you know how this turns out - and that you share with us.

Posted by Marte Cliff, Your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) about 9 years ago

Dear Jay,

Funny how new houses often have more issues than old ones. With all this rain, I just noticed water in the floor vents of a slab house. Do you know, how this can happen without the aid of an earthquake, or should that be blamed? I saw another house that looked like it had cracked in half from the earthquake.

Posted by Dörte Engel, ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland (RE/MAX Leading Edge) about 9 years ago

Gerard - new construction must be looked at, and at various stages of construction!

Me too Marte.  I am waiting to hear, but it might be a while.

Dorte - it's pretty common!  Floor vents under a slab can have water, mud, animals, etc inside!  I had a post on that last summer.

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

It's been a little rainy in your area so the water table is mighty high. Good luck with figuring this one out. New houses need time to work the bugs out so better get this fixed before it's too late.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) about 9 years ago

I don't think this is rain related Lyn, but wow, have we had some rain!  At this time the big rains had not happened yet.  But yes, this needs fixing immediately.

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

This is a very good post featuring the sort of information I like to share with my clients.  I have been meaning to ask or suggest that you Inspectors out to have a group where we could go to find all the Home Inspection blogs and tips.  If there is one let me know.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) about 9 years ago

There are a lot of home inspector groups Gene, but none for everybody.  That would necessitate that everyone join it and voluntarily post there each time they write something inspection related.  Doubtful that such a thing could be pulled off!  But thanks!  Glad you find this stuff instructional and useful!

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

All I can say is thank heavens thaty know they have a problem.  That's the first step!

Posted by Beverly Femia, Broker Realtor Stager - Greater Wilmington, NC Are (BlueCoast Realty Corporation) about 9 years ago

Beverly - and that the builder is still bound to fix it!  I hope it gets done right.

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

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