When you see this, what does it say to you?
What, you don't see it?
When I get to a house to conduct an inspection, I try to arrive early.
And early enough to walk around the house twice.
The first time I am looking up.
The second time I am looking down.
Then I connect dots.
This is what this home inspector saw.
Did you notice it?
In the first photo it is somewhat small.
But I show the photo trying to demonstrate what this looked like from the ground. It is high up! So this clue is a small one, but evident. YOU HAVE TO PAY ATTENTION TO POTENTIAL DOTS!
That rust stain is significant. It is to me anyway. It indicates a problem with the AC system, which unit is located in the attic space. IT'S THE FIRST DOT!
Looking directly underneath that small stain I saw the roof to a bay window directly below. THAT'S THE SECOND DOT!
And looking to the right from that bay window there is significant rust staining on the stucco siding. AND, THAT'S THE THIRD DOT!
All that says AC condensate clog in the primary condensate discharge line servicing the unit in the attic unit.
So that water will not leak into the house there is (usually) a drip pan underneath the unit.
The drip pan also has a discharge tube, which typically drains outdoors.
In the photo here that secondary discharge is attached onto the front, on the lower right of the photo.
From the amount of staining on the siding outdoors, it is evident to me that this drip pan has been discharging the condensate as it fills up with water, and for some time!
Going into the attic space the pan is currently full of rusty water! THE END OF THE DOT LINE!
This water cannot be coming from the AC system as that has not been used since the fall. Any water draining into the pan last fall would have evaporated by now. So what's the source of the water?
That box on the upper right is the humidifier. It is unplugged! Is it leaking?
The furnace is a high-efficiency condensing gas unit, which creates condensation all the while it is operating. Is the drain line for that clogged? And if so, is that the source of this water?
That's where I put my money, but I don't know and do not diagnose on home inspections.
I observe and report. That reports starts verbally, outdoors, and I tell them what we are likely to find inside. We did!
My recommendation: problems inside can manifest outside! Problems outside can manifest inside! A home inspection covers hundreds of things and it takes careful looking, thinking and experienced anticipation to conduct one properly. Be sure to walk around with your inspector and listen to what is said. It can be a bit of an information overload, but fortunately, when it's concluded, you will get a report to lay it all out.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560