What I'm Seeing Now

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There's Nothing Like A Cooling Facial When Entering An Attic Space

I have to say, there's nothing like a cooling facial when entering an attic space.

Alright, it wasn't a really hot day, but very sunny and the attic space heated up nicely.  The blast of cool air on my face was welcome!

Looking to my left I saw why.

The "brand new" HVAC system had a long trunk in the attic, and attached to it were many smaller ducts going off to each side to service the upstairs rooms.

It was well done, as far as design goes.

But in such a design the connections are very, very relevant, especially long term.

This service duct has only been attached a short while!  How will the other ones act long term?

What's the basic problem?

See the metal teeth?  That is a connector, designed to fit efficiently and firmly into the side of the metal service trunk.

Once that inter-locking connection is made, and then taped, the insulated duct can be attached.  Usually those smaller ducts are attached with ratcheting nylon straps.

When well done, it is strong and long lasting.

The tape isn't used to connect.  It is used to seal holes from leakage.

In this case, the teeth and trunk were never interlocked.  The taped connection (and, wow, at least they used aluminum tape, NOT duct tape!) was not enough to handle air pressure and the whole thing popped off.  I felt one more nearby and it was similarly taped.  I could not feel the interlocking connection.  I could feel tape!

Well, at least this attic won't be as hot in the summer and as cold in the winter as, oh, mine for instance!  Unintended consequence, but at least there's some benefit here!   

I'm joking of course.  It's a

BIG BUMMER!

Now a PROFESSIONAL will have to get in there, remove all the connections, and do it right!  How fun!  I love attic spaces too!

My recommendation:  it's the same old, same old.  Just because it's new doesn't mean it is right.  And how do we find out if it's right, class?  Exactly!  We call a home inspector.  He will give you an objective and honest assessment.

 

 

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 59 commentsJay Markanich • October 19 2012 03:21AM

Comments

It's always a disappointment when we hear of supposed professionals not having completed their work properly. But then we wonder why the inspector passed the work when it was installed.... That's why home inspections are always a very good idea.
Posted by Ralph Janisch ABR CRS Broker, Selling Northwest Houston to good people like you! (Janisch & Co.) almost 7 years ago

well that's a big bummer.it's funny abt the 'upside' you pointed out...same thing  was going through my head.lol.

 

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) almost 7 years ago

J&R - if, and that's a BIG IF, a jurisdictional inspector goes into the attic space, no way would he feel the ducts to see if they are correct!

Debbie - well, try to see the silver lining!  That's what I always say...     ;>)

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

"Just because it's new doesn't mean it is right."

Fundamental!!

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Lenn - this is the same home as the "small holes."  Now you know a bit more!  And they don't like me.  Unfortunately for them, the one next to the scuttle hole popped!  Had it been the one in the far corner I likely would not have found out!

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

Good morning Jay,

Besides being bad how much extra did they pay in energy cost to make your job easier in the attic?

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) almost 7 years ago

This is a flip so those surprises were left to be discovered Raymond!  Season by season!  How fun!

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

Ah, flipper strikes again! I wonder at the level of competence of the contrators they use for their rehab.

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach (GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881) almost 7 years ago

Morning Jay congrats on the feature.  Looks like Uncle Bob is at least using the right tape to get the job done.  Enjoy the day

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty) almost 7 years ago

You never know what you're going to get when you walk into a home to take a listing or do an inspection. I really do believe sellers should get a pre-listing home inspection to avoid surprises after they are under agreement

Posted by Doug Dawes, Your Personal Realtor® (Keller Williams Realty - Topsfield, MA) almost 7 years ago

You forget the snow clearing benfit of heating the attic. A real selling point. 

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

Jay, At least it's now a cooler time of year for doing that work.  Going in the attic is one of my least favorite things to do, especially during the summer.  Bill

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) almost 7 years ago

Jay, who ever thought you would go up in the attic. You weren't supposed to see that. They didn't take into consideration the blast of cold air. LOL

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA almost 7 years ago

One of the many places that consumer really don't pay attention to....never used....it's "just there"....while checking the insulation levels...good idea to find out what else is up there !

 

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

Everyone once in a while, a good title pops up and if there is a picture and then decent copy...it produces a pleasant expereince. This is that post..thank you Jay

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) almost 7 years ago

Hopefully you get to go back and check it after the repair. I can see the potential for a whole lot of tape.

Posted by Rob Ernst, Reno, NV-775-410-4286 Inspector & Energy Auditor (Certified Structure Inspector) almost 7 years ago

Would have worked with more tape. You gotta run the tape vertically AND horizontally. Sometimes I use baling twine too.

Posted by Tim Bradley, Commercial Real Estate Expert in Jackson Hole, WY (Contour Investment Properties) almost 7 years ago

The value of a good home inspector is almost too huge to mention.

Posted by Nan Jester, Realtor, Exit Real Estate Gallery (Exit Real Estate Gallery Jacksonville Beach, FL ) almost 7 years ago

Good point Jay.  What's more, the owner thought they were getting their moneys' worth !

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) almost 7 years ago

Jay -- at least they couldn't complain that these were just tiny, little holes, which weren't too important, and should be ignored!  ;-)    Have a fantastic weekend!

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

During a recent home inspection for my buyer, the inspector found a huge block of ice where there had been a leak and the cold air around it just caused it to complete freeze into a growing block.  Thank god this was caught and fixed.

Posted by Andrew Ostrander, Ostrander Real Estate Group (Ostrander Real Estate Group) almost 7 years ago

I never know what to expect when I open that attic door. Whether it is the Texas heat or cooler temperatures of winter inspecting the attic its an important part of the home inspection.

Posted by Carl Winters almost 7 years ago

Good catch, but you sure weren't going to miss it. Tape never lasts under pressure. The lazy guys don't seem to know this.

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) almost 7 years ago

Kathryn - that about says it all.  And if everyone knew the entirety of this circumstance they might actually be surprised!

At least he is James!  But in the wrong applications!

Doug - you are right about all of that.  This case is a very special one though, one that I have not run into before.

Only a northerner would come up with that Jim!  And I thank you!  I will add this to my repertoire of comments when I see this next time!

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

Mine too Bliz, but I was especially thankfor for this wonderful benefit!

Mike - and it's fortunate for my clients that this break was where I would see and find it!  Had it been in the far corner I would never have seen it.

S&D - a house is a system and it's best to be a generalist to see it all!  Kind of like a doctor!

You're welcome Richie!  Titles can be fun, or they can be an SEO benefit - or they can be both!

 

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

Rob - I was thinking of bringing my own with me for touch ups.  Redskin colors will be best.

Tim - the twine is not in my bag, until now!  Thanks for the tip!

Thanks Nan, and I know a bunch of inspectors who would agree with that!

Bill - looking forward to going back one day for a reinspection.  We'll see if that happens!

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

Interesting you say that Steven.  Same house!

Andrew - what in the world caused the freezing?

Carl - I am betting those attics get somewhat hot there!  I had one last summer over 160F!

Robert - if it has broken here, where visible and feelable, what about elsewhere not yet discovered?

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

Interesting technique.  You know, maybe ac in the attic space is a selling point?

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) almost 7 years ago

Bummer that if it's new it isn't right. Shoddy workmanship which makes you question the entire system install now. I'd get the installers back to do it right.

As you say people assume that when it's new - it's good, it's better, it's best.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) almost 7 years ago

Hi Jay,

Never a dull day when we find things like this.

A simple oversight by the hvac tech and the report gets bigger.

When will they ever learn how to do things right/

Have a great day in Bristow and congrats on the FEATURED POST.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) almost 7 years ago
How considerate to have the attic a comfortable temperature just for you. Hope you thanked them. Margaret
Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) almost 7 years ago

Great - I love Learning info from Inpspectors' posts here on AR. Not only for business, but for my own property!  Thank you!

Posted by Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Associate Broker, email: Travis@theSOLDman.me / cell: 334-494-7846 (Team Linda Simmons, Enterprise, AL 36330) almost 7 years ago

Wow, thinking something like that would cost a fortune in electric bills here in Arizona.  

Posted by Doreen McPherson, Phoenix Arizona Real Estate ~ (Homesmart ~ Scottsdale ~ Tempe) almost 7 years ago

Goes to show that the owner should always check the work before signing off on it.

Posted by Cyndi Carver, Newcastle & East Renton Specialist (PRSI Choice Gallery Homes) almost 7 years ago

Hi Jay, our sympathies to you.  We have gotten photos from our inspector and you could tell he was dying in the Florida heat in the attic.

Posted by Bob Miller, The Ocala Dream Team (Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty) almost 7 years ago

Jay, that it's so not funny - 

Posted by Terkel Sørensen, Realtor, 951.805.0773 , Bank owned and Short Sales (Real Estate Places) almost 7 years ago

I'm always amazed when I go to home inspections at what they find. And why no one has noticed the problems before.

Posted by Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner, Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395 (Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395) almost 7 years ago

Having a list of good home inspectors is very important.  And all homes, icluding new construction need to be inspected.

Posted by M. Lynn Delatte (Developers Realty) almost 7 years ago

Maybe the builder likes home inspectors or was afraid of lawsuits.  Afterall, he didn't want you to get heat stroke in the attic...

Posted by Rafi Footerman, Home Inspector, Mold Inspector, Radon and More! (Mid Jersey Inspections) almost 7 years ago

Thanks for the tips on what to look for.  I love when inspectors share their experience and expertise.

Posted by Rob Renk, AE | Fast Fix/Flip Loans for Residential Investors (Center Street Lending) almost 7 years ago

Nothing like paying good money to cool your attic space, lol.

Posted by Justin Dibbs, REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale (Pearson Smith Realty) almost 7 years ago

Jay, Got to love the HVAC guys. I had a fun one just yesterday with issues on main trunk line.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Jay, if only all inspectors were as knowledgeable, as you are!  You teach us so much here in the Rain.

Posted by Sharon Parisi, Dallas Homes (United Real Estate Dallas ) almost 7 years ago

Jay, you do run into the most interesting problems. This one is scary - makes you wonder if anything that crew did was right.

Posted by Marte Cliff, Your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) almost 7 years ago

The really sad part is if it hadn't separated before you got there it would have been your fault later when it did. "How could you have missed that, blah, blah........."

Posted by Marshall Brown, BSEE, CHI (Mid America Inspection Services, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Gary - I think it is the next level.  That unit heats too!

Lyn - and we all know what happens when we assume!

Clint - they do know.  They try to get away with quick and easy.

It was considerate Margaret.  Should I have left a thank you note?

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

I'm glad you do Travis!  That's one of AR's many benefits.

No doubt Doreen.  And it will lose heat in winter!

Cyndi - especially when the owner is the installer!  We call that "busted!"

Bob - attics can be hard!  I had one 165F last summer!

 

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

I have yet to see a system pass the new energy/building codes that didn't have all connections sealed with mastic. Duct tape is horrible, but aluminum tape will dry out the same way and often fail. When attaching flex to hard pipe, this means mastic under the duct itself and not on top of the insulation!

Posted by Andrew Herren (Craig Massee Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Dear Jay,

That is why we hire the likes of you to figure these things out. I am always amazed at the creativity of some contractors. Maybe these were Monday morning or Friday afternoon ducts.

Posted by Dörte Engel, ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland (RE/MAX Leading Edge) almost 7 years ago

Right Andrew.  The tape is merely to seal gaps, not make attachments.

Dorte - I happen to know who the contractor is and they are this contractors' ducts!

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

Terkel - it isn't!  And good thing the hole opened up where it did, because the space was such that I could not get everywhere!

Karen - this is newly installed and sure didn't last long!  With reason.  Great new photo, by the way.

Lynn - I couldn't agree more!  And I like being the inspector!

Rafi - kind and considerate, for sure!  Even in the winter - nobody should be too cold up there!

 

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

And I'm glad you do Rob!  Stop by any time.  I learn a lot on AR.

Justin - it's just another room after all.  The biggest in the house, but just another room...

Don - did you crawl in to have a look?  Photo, photo!

Sharon - the guys you read on the AR site surely are.  I think there is a good collection of inspectors on this site.

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

Marte - and you have seen this SAME house lately in a couple of posts!

Marshall - you got that right!  "It's right beside the attic entrance.  How did you miss it??!!"  I would have said that I couldn't have missed it! 

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

Good job Jay...most homeowners never go up in the attic and if it wasn't caught on inspection it would have costed the new owners lots of wasted energy/money!

Posted by Goran Utvic, We Buy & Sell Chicago Houses Fast (606 Homes LLC | Chicagoland Brokers Inc, Chicago IL 60656) almost 7 years ago

A lot of money for sure Goran!  And they would have not known better, thinking their bills were normal.

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

Nothing like a comfortable work space.  Just proves you should always get a home inspection.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

I like a comfy work place Gene, and appreciated this very much!

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

Jay - Just be glad you weren't the one paying this guy's electricity bill.  LOL

Posted by Brad Baylor (ERA Coup Agency) almost 7 years ago

I am too Brad!  Who knows how long this had gone on!

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

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