What I'm Seeing Now


What Did I Spy With My Little Eye? A Mobile Home In Northern Virginia

This mobile home in Northern Virginia was a mess from top to bottom.

Perusing the outside of this mobile home I stumbled across this interesting hole.

It is poorly insulated.

It is exposed to the weather.

It is shiny and clean!

It is close to the ground.

It is crushed.

It is made of sharp metal and dangerous to the touch, particularly little hands playing with it.

It caused me pause.

So, what is it?

What do you think?

1.  An interesting new doggie door?
2.  Kind of a sideways dumbwaiter, to bring small groceries into the house?
3.  A clever way to spy on the neighbor?
4.  A dryer vent?
5.  A fire hazard?
6.  Both 4 and 5?

In this case, while 1 would be very fun (and only for very small dogs) the answer is 6.

The dryer is a very dangerous appliance if not maintained regularly.  It is probably the most dangerous appliance in the home.  See a previous blog HERE.

Notice how clean the metal is?  There is no accumulated lint clinging anywhere.

That is because the exhausting air and lint are not getting out!  Inside the home, and looking behind the dryer, there is an impressive accumulation of lint.  And when asked the seller says it does take a long time to dry clothing.

The air only exhausts about 12"!  It should not take long to dry.

The dryer is pushed so tightly against the wall that the vent is crushed and totally clogged.  Not only is this a terrific energy waster, but a HUGE DANGER as well.

It is all unnecessary.  Not crushing the dryer vent from inside is crucially important.  Understandably space is a premium in these small mobile homes.  But still, common sense has to reign when the dryer is positioned. 

Also, the outside needs to be kept lint free and should be covered so rain and animals do not get inside.

If these two things are not paid attention to everyone is exposed to a potential fire as the dryer overheats.

Just outside this dryer-vent opening is a wooden storage shed.  A fire would likely ignite it as well.  The shed is very close to the mobile home next door.  Fire might spread there too before the fire department can arrive.

This is a sorry situation all around.

My recommendation:  check your dryer connection and outside vent opening regularly.  Clean it as frequently as necessary.  Love your family and your neighbor by treating your dryer with common sense.  Pay attention!  You, your family, your house and your dryer will last longer!




Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 18 commentsJay Markanich • November 14 2013 01:36AM


Every year we learn of fires that homes...and unfortunately lives because of the attention not paid to dryers and the proper installation, insulation, etc. that surround them.

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

There are some 50,000 report to the fire department every year S&D.  And you all need to go to bed!

Your foot and my knees.  That'll keep us up!

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

Good morning, Jay.... simple maintenance is all it takes.... fires happen when people put that maintenance off....

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired ) about 7 years ago

In this regard it would be simple, although moving stuff around to clean it is necessary Barbara.  Still, it has to be done!

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

Well thank goodness you found it and hopefully the owners will get it fixed before a fire does start. 

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

It was hard to miss James.  Right by the side door!

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

Yes, this doesn't look good.  But, at least it reminded me to clear the lint in mine before it got bad.  Thx.

Posted by Women of Westchester Working Together, Women helping Women get ahead (Women of Westchester Working Together) about 7 years ago

Good morning Jay,

Part of my October get ready for winter maintenance.

Make yourself a great day.

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

Good morning, Jay. Oye Veh! How many times have I seen that one? Great reminder that we all have to periodically clean the vents.

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) about 7 years ago

I got the question wrong Jay, I chose #6. May I challenge the correct answer?  :)

The risk of fire is so often overlooked in homes until it is too late. If your clothes are taking a long time to dry, this is a good intication of a problem. 

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

Hi Jay,

A dryer vent was my first guess. Many people think because they can't see it then there is no issue.

Boy are they wrong.

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, what's the old saying, "out of sight out of mind"? They could see the problem outside if they looked but the inside problem was hidden from view. Time to check mine!

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

Boy oh boy, how some people live continues to perplex me!

Posted by Lani Stern, Your lifetime agent about 7 years ago

Dang it... I have always wanted a dumbwaiter! "Hey babe... send me up a chicken leg and a beer"

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

Jay, sometimes me thinks people need to put on their thimkin caps

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 7 years ago

I think it's all of the above!

I can't believe somebody would have their exhaust system set up like that. How does that even happen??

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

WoW Cuz - no time like the present!

Raymond - an excellent practice as it's during winter that most dryer-vent lint is generated.

Michael - I think one dryer-vent post a year, with the whacky one, is appropriate!

Challenge away Arch Digest Model.  Slow drying is a sure indicator! I just went back to see what you meant and had added another number, but when I did forgot to update the answer to the question!  The answer is definitely 6!

Clint - it's amazingly clean!  You should see the inside!


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

Crawl back there Tom.  Share a photo with us!

Lani - this was one dangerous vent!  And four little children to boot.

Fred - works for me!  That Mr. Jefferson had some cool inventions.  His dumbwaiter at Monticello is very cool to see.

Charlie - but then what would you and I do?  We'd have nothing to look at...

Suzanne - I would love to see the little dog that uses that entrance!

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

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