What I'm Seeing Now


Duct Tape Medusa

When I first looked at it, I was a afraid the duct tape Medusa might turn me to stone.  But quickly reaching up and feeling sweat still pouring from my face I knew I was safe.

While in the upper chambers of a house, with the temperature 100 degrees outside, and enjoying my 145 degree sauna immensely (he says with a slight cough), I was first alerted to the Medusa by the TracPipe and interesting horizontal sediment trap.*  This trap was obviously intentionally installed this way to point me in the right direction!  Like the North Star!

Following the convenient pointer I saw her!


Quickly turning my head I was relieved to see she was not turning me to stone.

Looking back and examining her again, she was a beauty alright.

Apparently the flexible duct work had come loose and the "professional repairman," terms used loosely, carefully and decoratively re-installed it.

His thoughtful placement of duct tape strips in just the right places worked like a charm!  I could only feel 6 or 8 leaks!  The largest was underneath and I could nearly get my entire hand in it!

That must be for fresh air for the sauna.

And looking at the remainder of the roll left nearby, he had nearly used it up!

This was one special job!

Very glad I was not turned to stone, I saluted Medusa and left my sauna for cooler climes.  My time was up!

My recommendation:  sometimes it's really hot, but you simply have to venture into the attic space.  That is an area used for many things and they all must be investigated - insulation, ventilation, HVAC (when up there), any appliances, fans, truss structural integrity, sheathing condition - well, you name it, the attic is one fun spot!  Don't miss out!

* To work properly a sediment trap needs to be vertical!  If there is debris (a big IF) it will FALL into it, but not get conveniently pushed into, a "trap" provided that happens to be there horizontally!



Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 26 commentsJay Markanich • June 24 2012 03:48AM


You mean that duct tape really doesn't cure EVERYTHING ?  It is at the top of every DIY homeowner's tool kit !

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

Well at least they left the roll of duct tape in the attic and, unless they have another, won't be able to do harm to the house on the other levels.

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

Surprise, a duct tape tale that shows is not the solution for everything. . 

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

Looks like the homeowner subscribed to my theory-- if it can't be fixed with duct tape or WD40, then one must call in the pros.  It is this kind of repair that gives duct tape a bad name!

Posted by Gary Frimann, CRS, GRI, REALTOR and Broker (Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates) about 8 years ago

Good morningJay....and I thought duct tape could be used for everything!  Someone recently showed me some pictures on Google where creative teens made their prom dresses out of duct tape.

Posted by Linda Blumenthal, NYS Licenced Real Estate Salesperson, CBR (Hampton Crossing - Licensed Real Estate Salesperson - 631-466-4087) about 8 years ago

S&D - this would have been fine had they used duct tape with Redskin colors, but ... alas!

Lenn - the roll is gone, but wait!  At Costco they sell a pack of three!  Hooray!

Fernando - it can't be when there's caulking yet, and, oh, those wonderful Molly bolts!

Gary - maybe they did call in the pros, who used this!

Linda - my son made a duct tape wallet and it lasted for years!

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

Good morning Jay. Not sure if the whole horizontal trap thing will catch on. Wonder why they used one at all if not correctly.

Posted by Randy Ostrander, Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI (Lake and Lodge Realty LLC ) about 8 years ago

Sounds like there were a lot of "professional" jobs up there!  What fun for an inspector! I hope you did not run out of ink writing up your observations...

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach (GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881) about 8 years ago

Another demonstration of the versatility of duct tape. 

145 degrees, a tad warm, but a little sweating is good.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 8 years ago

Don't miss out huh? LOL, in that heat that "miracle" tape turns in to a gummy ball of goo! Yuck! I don't mind going into attics, it's always an adventure! But the time I like best is when I come down from there :-)

Have a great day Jay!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) about 8 years ago

Hi Jay,

Looks like Uncle Bob has been busy there with you and your inspections now. LOL

I hate seeing all the duct tape. It will come loose over time.

Glad you did'nt turn to stone. How would they have gotten you down from the attic?

I was in an attic yesterday the attic temp was 145 degrees. Hot, Hot.

Have a great day in virginia.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) about 8 years ago

Clint and Jay, you guys get i to inspect some interesting homes! The problem is they may be more the norm then the exception! Inspect on as they say! And, report these funny findings!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) about 8 years ago

WOW... what a mess. 

On a bright note, just think of all the weight loss happening while we traverse around in the saunas attics.

Posted by Joshua Frederick, Home Inspector in Defiance & all of Northwest Ohio (Home Inspector for ASPEC Residential Services, LLC) about 8 years ago

Jay, You gota luvvv duct tape. In my days as a Mack Truck dealer I have seen duck tape in places that make your pics above look like a good use.

Posted by Tom Bailey (Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc.) about 8 years ago

I wish they would finish the job. They should use more tape to hold up the gas line, wrap it around the flex where it enters the furnace cabinet, and around the gap in the lineset insulation.

Posted by Rob Ernst, Reno, NV-775-410-4286 Inspector & Energy Auditor (Certified Structure Inspector) about 8 years ago

Jay, very cool.  When I first looked at the picture of the drip leg my brain tried to convince me that the picture was in on its side but then it couldn't reconcile why the brick was glued on the side of the furnace :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 8 years ago

Oh, and it was nice of the installer to leave the maintenance roll of duct tape there

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 8 years ago

Come on, McGyver uses duct tape for everything. Sounds like the professional repairman was a homeowner. I have found it is best to have a 'true' professional do repairs

Posted by Doug Dawes, Your Personal Realtor® (Keller Williams Realty - Topsfield, MA) about 8 years ago

Jay, Now that is one sweet installation ; ) The horizontal trap was a very special and inventive touch.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

C'mon Randy!  Because it needs a sediment trap!  Everyone knows that...     ;>)

I think a little multi-colored car pulled up into the attic and pro after pro kept coming out of the door Kathryn!

Jim - amazingly, when I got down my shirt was a darker color.  Who knew!?

Coming down is fun Fred.  But it takes a while to cool off!

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

Clint - are the 145 degree attics there as humid as they are here?  And duct tape is more fun when gooey!

Wayne - I usually report on the funny stuff.  But when I see something really good I report it in the Best Practices group!

Joshua - yeah, but I gain it back when I fill up the Jacuzzi to test it and then drink all the water.

I bet Tom.  Its versatility is its doing AND undoing!

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

Rob - they could have made a sediment trap out of the duct tape and faked me out completely.

Shadow 1 - totally horizontal, the only level thing up there!

Shadow 2 - that's for touch ups.

Doug - no way!  There's money to be saved!

I see them now and then Don.  And they are fun to report on.  The seller probably sees the report and wonders what's wrong with the thing...

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

Thanks for the link!  I haven't had much time for commenting, but I still read your posts :)

.I checked the attic temp during a particularly hot inspection last week, and it was 137.  Very uncomfortable... but 145 is crazy hot.  Do you wear shorts while inspecting?

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 8 years ago

Good morning Jay I see the tape man has struck again.  I would like to meet him and shake his hand he has you know taught us many uses for the amazing gray matter  (not his brain)

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

Reubs - I wore shorts all last week, as we approached or hit 100 every day.  I still wear my work shirt with logo.

An attic lately had no venting and it was 170 up there.  I could not touch the wood!  And I always come down drenched.  But, hey, that's healthy!

I send people/clients to your TracPipe link a lot.  I also have a PDF on my report.  It's not to frighten, just inform.  But, if you remember, a year or so ago a client had me inspect his mother's future condo, and the building was plumbed with TP (a lot are around here).  I talked about it and they, their realtor and the listing agent all laughed at me.  Two weeks later (karma) this couple's house virtually exploded after a lightning strike.  It was something.  They were home and neighbors said their house looked like a firework.  Guess what - they aren't laughing anymore...

And your habit of reading blog after blog of mine, in a row like that, must make your eyes bleed.

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

That gray matter is everywhere James!  And not used for what it was intended (plugging bullet holes on the amphibious landers during D-Day - they were called "ducks," and the tape "duck tape.")

Actually I am not sure what it is intended for anymore!

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

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