What I'm Seeing Now

head_left_image

Everyone Loves The Calming Sound Of A Gentle Waterfall

Everyone loves the calming sound of a gentle waterfall - except when it's a plumbing drain!

Frequently the laundry room is in the basement.

And very often, when in the basement, the washing machine drains into the laundry tub.

Looking further, that dark tube on the left is the condensate line from the AC unit in the next room.

The AC condensate tube is drained into a little box, which pumps the water up and into the sink in the next room.

Nothing is wrong with any of that.

Except that the laundry room wasn't always in this location!

The former laundry room location, and drain, was turned into a toilet and sink area, beside a new basement bathroom!

So, what's my beef with this new installation?

Just that the "gray" water from the washing machine, and whatever is put into the laundry tub, drains into the former floor drain for the furnace room!

I did the old smell test.

Yes, you know the one.  I had my client flush the toilet in the bathroom next door and I listened, and smelled, here at this drain.

I heard and smelled nothing untoward.

The unusual white tube stuck in the drain line presented a problem.

If it is tied into the main drain underground I looked and there is no trap so it would be an incorrect installation.

If this drain remains plumbed as it was originally, as a floor drain which sent possible basement water into the storm sewer, it would be similarly incorrect as plumbing is not allowed to send "gray" water into the storm sewers.

It also introduces a lot of moisture into the air inside the house.

My client did ask me how costly I thought it would be to correct this and my answer was an honest "I have no idea."

Perhaps the easiest repair would be to have this laundry tub drain into a pump which sends the water up and into a sanitary drain line near this room.  But really, an experienced plumber would have to look at it to determine the best course of action.

This installation leads me to wonder if there was a permit for the new basement bathroom as the county probably would want to know where the new laundry room would be located.  This arrangement would not have been approved.

My recommendation:  houses are systems.  When one thing is changed, it often demands changes to other aspects of the home.  All those changes must end up meeting code or not affecting other house systems detrimentally.  What initially seems like a good idea or an easy solution to a problem often times is not. 

 

 

 

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 56 commentsJay Markanich • August 05 2013 03:43AM

Comments

It is important to hire a good home inspector when buying a home and to ask sellers whether they got permits for the renovations.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) about 7 years ago

Morning Jay cascading rainfall is soooo pleasing but not what you'e describing.  :)

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

Gita - permits are always an issue when I run across things like these. 

James - I agree!  This waterfall has not been calming my clients, I assure you.

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

GREAT Answer...the cost of correction....Few inspectors are mummm on tihs subject...and they all should be...they are inspectors...not contractors and best to get quotes from the people who are hired to do the work.

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

Well, honestly S&D, let's say I would charge $XXX for this and they get quotes for $XXX+Y!  Then where am I? 

Beyond that, around here, depending on where the house is located the price for work can vary dramatically.

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

No water seal means sewer gasses which means el stinko! That whole thing looks a mess to me. I had one with a condensate line tied into the laundry tub drain once, it gurgled loudly all the time when the A/C was running. Wreaked of Uncle Bob!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) about 7 years ago

This one can't gurgle Fred!  It's a gentle cascade!

Kind of a slosh.

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

This is one area of the home that really needs attention as we can tell from the pictures.

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia III, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (RentVest) about 7 years ago

Jay, those are interesting pictures to say the least. And if it has you stumped, well... guess it's time for a plumber to inspect. Not the one who did the job though... but most likely it was Uncle Billy Ray Bob. I just hope he isn't related to Billy Jays.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) about 7 years ago

Jay, I once saw something similar to this except for one thing. The sink drain could barely keep up with the water flow. On day someone left a clean rag on the sink that fell in and blocked the drain. Created quite a mess.

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

I learn so much from your posts, Jay! Thanks for sharing!

Posted by Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl, The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate (Samsel & Associates) about 7 years ago

Harry - no doubt.  Exactly what can be done is yet to be determined.

Billy would never put out a product like this Andrea.  Well, maybe.

Blocking it is always good Mike.  That way there is a more gentle cascade to the floor!

W&J - And I'm glad you stop by!

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

Another great post from you Jay. .thank you for educating us to spot on potential problems and offer sensible solutions. .

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 7 years ago

Another great title to pull us in Jay.  I absolutely LOVE your writing style!                                                                     

Posted by Amanda Christiansen, Christiansen Group Realty (Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843) about 7 years ago

Jay another great post. Your pictures really help us see what is going on in this messed up laundry room!

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) about 7 years ago

This is another good example of the importance of a good home inspector. 

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) about 7 years ago

Upstairs laundries that the snorkel jumps out of the drain, rut rho. Ceilings, floors..mold..what a mess happens. Making sure there is a good connection, drainage is so so important. With laundry, any plumbing or sewerage drains.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) about 7 years ago

Good morning Jay, That is so gross. What is it with water? Leaky pipes, roof leaks and my personal favorite pool leaks and pump issues. I hate water.

Posted by Kelly Taylor (Keller Williams) about 7 years ago

I have two home inspections today; so glad I read this!  Thank you for sharing.

Posted by MaryKay Shumway, Door County Wisconsin's Real Estate Expert (The Kellstrom Ray Agency, Inc. (Est. 1948)) about 7 years ago

I'm thinking that correcting this drain is important, things can get a bit smelly otherwise Jay. Great explaination of the situation here.

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366) about 7 years ago

This is a superior sharing and point making post....I also could help but think that you could get creative with that used running water

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

You always have such great information for us. Another good blog. Thanks for keeping us informed.

Posted by Tanya Van Blake-Coleman, Improving the Quality of Your Life (Van Blake-Coleman Realty, St. Thomas/www.talk-to-Tanya.com) about 7 years ago

I love the title of your blog. I was conjuring up a pleasant waterfall with a lovely sound. I don't like the kind of waterfall that you described. Ha. Having a water problem in your home is disastrous. There are so many hidden dangers if it is not taken care of properly.

Betty

Posted by Team Honeycutt (Allen Tate) about 7 years ago

Im surprised the home owners didn't notice any odor. Or maybe they did and just thought nothing of it.

Posted by Suzanne Otto, Your Montgomery County PA home stager (Six Twenty Designs) about 7 years ago

A connection to the storm sewer which could allow critters to migrate into the house could be interesting.

Posted by Dwight Puntigan, Dwight Puntigan (DRP Realty, LLC) about 7 years ago

Hi Jay,

I bet they seller wanted more for the property seems how they has tranquility sounds going on. LOL

That is a mess. Waht are or were they thinking?

Have a good day in Bristow my friend.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) about 7 years ago

Jay -- Reading this all I could think was 'doesn't sound like they had a permit to do this work'.  Sounds DIY to me. Thanks yet again for a great educational post.

Posted by Barbara Altieri, REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale (Kinard Realty Group Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Jay - You just can't make these things up... and I'm betting that the renovation was done without any permits or licensed vendors.  Of course, the sellers got what they wanted, but now it appears that there is a big problem to be corrected.

Posted by AJ Heidmann ~ CRS, YOUR Alexandria & Arlington, VA Real Estate Expert (McEnearney Associates, Inc.) about 7 years ago

Not in plumbing, but I've seen a similar domino effect with moving walls and re-routing electric wires.

Posted by Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Broker/Owner, email: Travis@theSOLDman.me / cell: 334-494-7846 (Travis Realty) about 7 years ago
Thinking about houses as a set of systems makes lots of sense; a problem must first be examined from all angles to see how a given solution might affect other areas.
Posted by Ralph Gorgoglione, Hawaii and California Real Estate (310) 497-9407 (Maui Life Homes / Metro Life Homes) about 7 years ago

So much learned  and what to look for. Especially, the older homes where the owners were "SO PROUD" of their jiggy rig detours.

Posted by Theresa Akin (CORPUS CHRISTI REALTY GROUP) about 7 years ago

Jay -- surely ALL the water coming down from the laundry tub makes it into that floor drain, so they thought they had it done up properly.  ;-)

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

Fernando - I don't know if my thinking is sensible, but this arrangement surely isn't!

Thank you A&J.  That is very nice to say.

Tom - gotta focus!  It's best to see the whole thing and focus in on the smaller issue.

Thanks Joan.  I don't think many inspectors would have missed this one!

Andrew - it all has to work and work properly.

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

Kelly - water is THE killer of houses, inside and out.  It must be treated properly or Mother Nature's Code Book will slap the house down!

MaryKay - let me know if you run into this!

Tom - I don't know how long it's been like this, but it isn't something I would want to buy.

Richie - sure, the snail darter fish can probably thrive in it!

Tanya - my fodder is "out there," in more ways than one!

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

Betty - conjure all you want!  This IS a lovely waterfall!  Just not where it should be!

Suzanne - there wasn't much to speak of, but that doesn't matter to the point of the problem!

Funny Dwight, I told my clients that all the local cobras in the area would use it to come in!

Clint - everytime the washing machine discharges or the condensate pumps water here you get bathed in white noise!

Barbara - sound and looks!  No permit for this, for sure.

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

AJ - unless they end up selling the house to someone unawares.  My clients are very aware, and wary!

Too much alliteration?

Travis - the one-thing-leads-to-another-thing renovation pervades all the trades!

Ralph - that's exactly what it is.  Just like a human body.

Theresa - I expect these folks thought this was a very practical and useful solution.

Steven - um, yeah, sure!  That's it, sure!

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

Jay- Looks like a big ole mess to me! Sounds like the seller may have a costly repair bill on the way..

Posted by Scott Fogleman, Greater Good Group (New Home Team 804-573-9592) about 7 years ago

No basements in my part of Florida. Haven't seen this. Always a new one. Thanks for the info.

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max By The Sea) about 7 years ago

Ha ha! Yes, people love the soothing sound of a waterfall, but loathe the sound of a plumbing leak.

Posted by MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900, Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years (Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty) about 7 years ago

Jay, you always have such interesting findings and I love reading your Posts. Thank You for another good read! Have a Great Week!

Posted by Tamra Lee Ulmer, NRBA ~FORCE~ Over 1000 REO Assets SOLD! (Arizona Resource Realty) about 7 years ago

Great advice, Jay.  It looks like someone handled this themselves and assumed they did it all right.  I'm sure the thought never occured to them.

Posted by Matt Kombrink, Your #1 Source For Real Estate (RE/MAX All Pro) about 7 years ago

It is Scott.  But that's what we run into sometimes!

Bill - basement or not, this could happen on a slab!

Michelle - what, splashing and sloshing onto the floor is not soothing?

Thanks Tamra.  I will and hope you do as well.

Matt - well, openly running water is usually not a good thing!

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

That is unbelievable... how could you not notice!  Love your eye-catching title!  Kathy

Posted by Kathy Schowe, La Quinta, California 760-333-8886 (California Lifestyle Realty) about 7 years ago

I needed an eye-catching title, Kathy - it was an eye-catching drain!

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

Jay, another great post, thanks for the information.

Posted by Brian Sharkey, SharkeyRE - #SouthFloridaBroker (SharkeyRE LLC) about 7 years ago

Sounds like an item that would have been missed by most people! I love the headline, the article was not what I expected about waterfalls.

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

Anytime Brian!  Keep stopping by!

Gerard - the idea was to hook you in!

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

LMAO this is hilarious. The title got me to read the opening statements got me hooked. TOTALLY agree love the waterfall just not inside the home for an items that SHOULDNT be making that sound

Posted by David Shamansky, Creative, Aggressive & 560 FICO - OK, Colorado Mtg (US Mortgages - David Shamansky) about 7 years ago

When you touch one thing it will affect other parts of the whole. In housing the water flow is critical and when it is changed, it affects other things. When you change water anywhere, it changes other things. Was the bathroom inspected.

Posted by Jimmy Faulkner, The Best Of St. Augustine (Florida. Homes Realty & Mortgage) about 7 years ago

David - one of those things we run into on a home inspection!  Don't often see it, I have to admit.

Jimmy - I don't know if the county did it to close a permit, but it was sure inspected by me.

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

It always amazes me Jay how many things one can find in a home that just makes you wonder who thought of this and how to avoid doing it to code.

Posted by John F Muscarella, Broker/Owner, Venice, FL, Florida's Suncoast (RIVER FARM PROPERTIES, LLC) about 7 years ago

Who would not realize that an open drain in and of itself is not to code John?

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

Now that is special. Free fall and open drain for all to enjoy. 

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

Do you feel calmed by it Jim?   Being in the room was very zen.

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

Calming waterfalls and gentle and rhythmic drip drip drip...ahhh "Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain..."...roof, faucet...not a good thing...

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

Isn't this a hoot S&D?  Good that you can put it to music!

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

This blog does not allow anonymous comments