What I'm Seeing Now

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A Double Moisture Whammy

What does a client do when there is a double moisture whammy in a vacant house?

It's a foreclosure.  No appliances left - they were taken.  But there is clear evidence that two things have combined in the past to cause a current condition.

It wasn't easy to get to to see.

My tip off was a spongy, bouncy floor around a powder room toilet.  That toilet, and that bath's sink, were against a wall where the washing machine's spigots and drain were inside the abutting wall.

In the laundry room, there was no washing machine or drip pan. 

There was no evidence of leaking on the floor.

The dryer vent was into the wall, obviously from there turning downward.

We saw this because I removed a panel to see what I could see.

And this is what we saw!

The toilet and spongy floor are to the left.

And there was obviously previous leaking from those supply lines or the drain spout in the wall.

But they are not leaking now because the water has been turned on for some time.

Is the problem, therefore, in the drain line?

The double whammy is of course the dryer vent.

It has been disconnected for a long, long time.

How do I know it has been disconnected?  Because the other end of the tube is far away, and there is lint inside. 

It used to be connected, albeit a long time ago.

It has been blowing its condensation onto the floor below for some time now.

Why would they disconnect it?

Who knows.  To clean it?  Put in a different one? 

And then never get around to it.

Maybe what they needed was a Roun-tu-it!

Well, now this buyer has a lot to get around to.

At least we were able to find it!

My recommendation:  when something feels funny, like a spongy floor, and yet there is no evidence as to why, there is always a reason!  It might take an extra minute, but it's always best to find out why!

 

 

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 16 commentsJay Markanich • February 06 2012 08:27AM

Comments

Jay, I never underestimate the value of a solid home inspector! Thanks!

Posted by Carol Zingone, Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty) almost 7 years ago

Water damage is a killer. In a situation like this, you have no idea, how long the problem went on. I run into these problems all the time, when we buy properties to flip. Great post.

Posted by Joe Petrowsky, Your Mortgage Consultant for Life (Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709) almost 7 years ago

And you shouldn't Carol!  And thanks!

Joe - water is THE killer of houses, as you know.  This particular problem was hidden, but evident with some investigation.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

I tell clients all the time I see this or that, but I have to look further to have a better idea of what might be happening. And water is the enemy. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Jim - a floor is squishy for a reason, and it usually isn't because of dryness and strength!  Fortunately here I could remove something and see it.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Jay - A "squishy" floor may feel good to tired feet, but can indicate potential disaster for the home. Your clients are fortunate to have you protecting their assets.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) almost 7 years ago

Thanks John.  I always make it a point to step around the toilets and beside the bath tubs.  Hard to see through stuff, so my weight helps every time!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Squishy bathroom floors are definitely a dead give away something is going on that shouldn't be. Your one of the rare inspectors that actually look for the cause.  It becomes a mystery to me too and I take off to find the cause.  Great job Jay.

Posted by Jack Gilleland (Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton) almost 7 years ago

One time someone asked me when I was going to do something and I told him "when I got around to it."  He immediately reached into his pocket and pulled out a large steel washer with the words "round-tu-it" stamped on it.  I carried the thing around for a couple of years until somone said the same thing to me---kind of hated to see it go actually. 

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 7 years ago

And I check every one Jack.  The harder ones to determine are the recently ceramic tiled floors.  Not enough time to crack!  I usually pull out the moisture meter to see if there is moisture around the bowl.  Often there is.  In this case, the house had been vacant a while and even after a few flushes there was still no moisture.

Charlie - and what was the rule that you had to give it up?  I have given paper roun-tu-its to people for years!

HA!  While I was writing this a guy (foreign accent) called and said he got my name off the internet and wanted to hire me to do an inspection.  He asks me a bunch of questions, all of which are answered on my website, the first of which is, "Do you charge more than $150 for a home inspection because that is what I am willing to pay."  I told him good luck with the inspector who charges that and we departed friends!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Around the washing machine is another area of interest for water problems! Maybe they were trying to supplement their heat by leaving the vent apart! Bad idea for many reasons and even worse if it was in a confined area.

Posted by Gerard Gilbers, Your Marketing Master (Higher Authority Markeing) almost 7 years ago

Jay, water is a funny thing.  We need it to live, but it can also do so much damage, as a liquid or as vapour...

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) almost 7 years ago

Jay -- squishy floors near toilets are not something one would want to leave go for very long.  I once bought a wooden dowel (@1") and cut it into 1/4" rounds- with "2 It" written on it with sharpie.  Gave away a lot of those. 

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) almost 7 years ago

Gerard - agreed.  In this case there was no evidence near the washing machine, or a drip pan.  Adding all that moisture and lint into the house is not good in any case.

Chris - it is the most beneficial and damaging substance on earth.  Did you see that guy's post about dihydrogen monixide?  Terrible stuff!  As I recall,you were very impressed!

Steven - good idea!  That's a permanent little coin!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Squishy and spongy....two words you don't want to hear except relating to the kitchen mop...nice catch !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) almost 7 years ago

S&D - I step around every toilet and beside every bath tub to see if there is floor rot under the floor covering.  Sometimes, with ceramic tile, it is hard to determine!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

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