The listing information said brand new water heater, and the serial number confirmed that. The water heater had something much, much more to say however.
So, what about this scorch?
This is the lower panel of two on a 50 gallon electric water heater.
Electric water heaters have typically have two access panels.
Behind each is a thermostat and one of the two heating elements.
The elements protrude into the water 10" or 12" and the two work in tandem to heat the water.
Usually I don't go inside things, or take them apart, during a home inspection.
I made an exception in this case however.
Taking this suspect cover off and looking inside you can see how much heat has been happening!
Wet is also visible as dripping trails.
The insulation there is wet.
The drip pan underneath is wet.
This unit, recently installed, has a problem!
It was broken during shipment, delivery or installation such that it leaks.
Or a component inside leaks.
This is a fire hazard waiting to happen!
I'M GLAD WE FOUND IT AND COULD ALERT THE SELLER!
This unit probably needs replacement, and in my opinion right away!
Sometimes a home inspection finds issues that a seller should know about right away. It is Best Practice for a home inspector to alert a seller about potential danger and dangerous problems.
SAFETY IS EVERYTHING!
My recommendation: in my opinion a home inspection benefits all parties involved. It protects everyone. Things can be found, like this issue, that were previously UNKNOWN to everyone that are crucially important for everyone to understand. Like this dangerous water heater. I'm sure it's still under warranty so it's replacement only scrapes the skin off the manufacturer's nose.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560