What I'm Seeing Now

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Get Real! You Can Do Better Than This!

Again, on new construction, you just want to grab the guy and say, "Get real!  You can do better than this!"

This is what we saw coming around the back side of the house.

This is a guy who knows purple primer should be used on PVC tubing.

This is a guy who does not understand aesthetics.

I notice that the sump pump guy understands both of those things to the point where he did not make his installation so ugly.  He didn't take the UPC stickers off, however.  Why not?

When my clients asked me what could be done now about this ugly installation, I said either replace the tubing and don't use the purple primer, or that possibly it could be sanded off.

But the sanding might make it look just as ugly!

This furnace exhaust is also 3' from the opening of the window.  My understanding is that it should not be within 48".  There is no guarantee that this window will not be open when the furnace discharges its exhaust (full of Carbon Monoxide).  I pointed that out on the pre-drywall inspection and the clients asked the County about it, but the County approved it on the final mechanical inspection, so what appears to be dumb to me is just fine.  The builder skirts again.

In addition to this furnace discharge being so near to the window, it will be right beside any deck or patio built there as the rear door is beside the window.

The intake tubing, the one pointing downward, is 18" from the ground.  That is "considered" acceptable here, but I bet would be considered too low in areas that get regular, deep snows.  It is important that this intake not be blocked in anyway.

What can I say?

My recommendation:  it's the little stuff!  If the little details are taken care of, you can expect that the larger things have been taken care of too.  When they are not, well, it can be hit or miss.

 

 

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 29 commentsJay Markanich • October 26 2012 04:31AM

Comments

It looks like the upward facing pipe should have a screen to keep out birds, squirrels,etc..

Posted by Richard Burge Realty/ Burge Homes, Broker in Charge/Owner (Richard Burge Realty/Burge Homes) over 6 years ago

They actually recommend against that Richard, in colder climates.  Theoretically enough condensation could collect there to freeze and literally block the tube.  Personally I have never seen that happen.  The intake tube is equipped with a screen.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

"too low in areas that get regular, deep snows "

Which points to the importance of understanding that conditions will not always be as they are at the time of inspection, or construction.

 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Its the little things that tell you how they handle big things too. Shoddy, lack of pride...not a good statement.

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) over 6 years ago

Morning Jay as you are aware I usually have comments to be made but on this one I'll plead ignorance and let it go

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 6 years ago

I agree Lenn.  On the inspection I can only point out to them that they need to pay attention to this when it snows.  It may be that there isn't a snow in the next five years that is deep enough to be a problem here.  But we may have a dozen!  The homeowner needs to be diligent and mindful.

Gary - this does demonstrate a lack of pride.  Aesthetics sometimes trumps function, but not in this case.

I think the purple stains are ugly on the outside of the house like this James.  Especially if someone is sitting beside it on a patio!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

I totally agree with Gary! What kind of care did they take to do the major things correctly?  Or were they just looking to get the job done.  Reputation lasts LONG after the check is cashed!

Posted by Brenda Mayette, Getting results w/ knowledge & know-how! (Miranda Real Estate Group, Inc.) over 6 years ago

Brenda - this installer is most likely a guy they picked up at 7-11 and was told that when gluing PVC you should use purple primer.  I'm not sure how important the primer is outdoors (really it's not) and why he would do it so blantantly ugly.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

I might be wrong but doesn't common sense ever play a part in home improvement?

Posted by Winston Heverly, GRI, ABR, SFR, CDPE, CIAS, PA (Winston Realty, Inc.) over 6 years ago

Oftentimes not Winston!  But this is a new house!  The buyers were disappointed, by the way.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay, It's strange to me for what people pay for homes that things like this still happen.  I'd expect that if it was me putting the PVC together, but a professional???

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

Bliz - this is a very, very expensive home.  The house I grew up in is smaller than the master bedroom in this house!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay~It comes down to integrity, and taking pride in a job well done. And shame on the county for letting him skid by again.

By the way, did I ever tell you that you could pass for looking like a football coach?  Hope that makes your day!

Posted by Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate, "Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905 (John L Scott Market Center) over 6 years ago

Coach?  A football coach Gayle?  Oh yeah, maybe.  A guy named Mark Moseley, who used to kick for the Redskins, lives nearby.  I see him periodically at the grocery story.  He and I were talking one day and someone came up asking for our autographs.  Moseley thought that was the funniest thing he had seen all day.  What name did I sign?

Jimmy Johnson.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

I'd say it was a miss! It looks like a periscope to me... lol, put a camera in it and spy on the neighbors!!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 6 years ago

So I guess the purple primer is camouflage Fred?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

I take issue with the open faced (horizontal) exhaust. Its prime for water entry , snow and debris. In the non heating seasons, nest building insects and small birds just move right in.

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) over 6 years ago

Jay -- this is one big mess.  Are the buyers getting a discount for having to get these things fixed properly?  This issue is not whether there is 15" of snow, but which way the wind will be blowing and piling snow against the house when it snows.  Six inches of snow being blown and piled up could be over 18" deep.  And who wants to go out in midst of snowstorm to check on a white pipe?

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) over 6 years ago

There are two kinds of those vents Robert, and this is one of them.  It is the most common around here.  I have never heard of anything moving in, but something could!  It is a condensing furnace vent, so, as you know, it tilts back towards the unit so the moisture inside can be eliminated.  I doubt much precip would get inside, but it wouldn't hurt.

Steven - the pipes are fine.  The ugliness of the purple color is the issue.  The intake is another thing altogether, and most installers don't consider height as much as they should, in my opinion.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay,

I try and help my clients understand that some codes are simply the bare minimum of how certain equipment should be installed. As you brought out in your post, this installation is likely to create problems down the line.

Posted by Eric Middleton, Professional Property Inspector (Closer Look Property Inspections Inc.) over 6 years ago

Well, for somebody Eric.  But the builder's contention would be that the county approved it.  So what do they care?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay,

I had an inspection similar to yours concerning the installation of some exhaust vents. The buyer, builder and myself reviewed what was required by code. It took some time but I was able to convince the builder to go beyond the code and re-install the vents higher up from the ground and further away from the living room window. Sometimes we win some, sometimes we don't.

Posted by Eric Middleton, Professional Property Inspector (Closer Look Property Inspections Inc.) over 6 years ago

Honestly, Eric, even if the code had not addressed any of that, what would common sense dictate?  And would that builder have put the vent 2' from his daughter's bedroom window?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

I think you have bigger issues than the cosmetics. Like Robert mentioned, those openings should be screened to keep vermin out. Like you said the exhaust is too close to the window. Those pipes need to be moved. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 6 years ago

I said that pre-drywall Jim.  The intake is screened, but too low for my thinking.  They don't recommend screening the exhaust.

But the county approved it!  No move-o.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

What I find more than a bit amusing and confusing with regard to the placement of the exhaust near a window is this, direct vent gas fireplaces are allowed insides houses, but the exhaust from a high efficiency heating system can not be within 4 feet of window. Seems a bit incongruous, but hey, I don't make da rules. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 6 years ago

I know Jim, and I think ASHRAE is the "testing and measurement" group which sets the standards from which the codes are derived.

Incongruous to say the least.

You are expecting later what we are just starting to get now.  Good luck.

Tell the girls that if the wind gets to 70mph, I am going outside to experience it!  I have never felt that.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay,

I had a friend tell me once that common sense is not that common. In our profession we find a lot contractors and builders that simply build and renovate. Sense common sense is not that common, that's where we come in and make money.

Posted by Eric Middleton, Professional Property Inspector (Closer Look Property Inspections Inc.) over 6 years ago

Agreed Eric.  Sometimes common sense isn't good sense either!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

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