What I'm Seeing Now

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The "New Laundry Space In The Furnace Room!" Added Unintended Problems

I love seeing smart remodeling, but in this house the "New laundry space in the furnace room!" added unintended problems.

Another feature was added to the list:  "New washer and dryer!"

The laundry room on the upstairs bedroom level was closed off and the space was used to add to the master bathroom, increasing the size of the shower and adding a linen closet.  It looked great!

What's the problem?

There are a couple really.

First, the dryer is too close  to the heat pump to be able to work on the unit, or replace it if needed.

Second, and very important, the dryer is too close  to the heat pump to remove the filter!

This heat pump has been in the house since 2006.  It is fine, was installed well and is in good condition.

The homeowners chose to install a large media filter with their new system.  It is fine, was installed well and is in good condition.

But the new laundry room makes it impossible to get the filter out!  In that photo the filter is pulled out as far as it can be, and there are still 9" or so to go!  It can't be removed.

Looking underneath the filter it is very dirty.  It has been a while since it was replaced!  Media filters all have their replacement requirements, every 2 or 3 months is usually recommended.

How long has it been since this filter was replaced?  Perhaps since the installation of the new washer and dryer in the new laundry room?

My recommendation:  all furnace manufacturers have requirement as to working space in front of their units.  They have those requirements for a reason!  In the unit above even a regular filter could not have been inserted or removed, without bending it severely that is.  And bending filters is not good.  It damages the filter structure and can cause weakening and gaps.  But this media filter cannot be bent at all!  Remodeling is great.  Unintended consequences are 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 49 commentsJay Markanich • December 28 2013 01:00AM

Comments

Oh gosh, talk about poor planning.  I hope they can find another place to put the washer/dryer.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 4 years ago

At this point there isn't one Debbie!  This space utilizes the plumbing from the powder room behind the wall and the upstairs laundry no longer exists!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Good morning, Jay. so much for forward thinking. Let Me Stand Corrected. So much for no thinking at all!

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 4 years ago

This is one of those things you find out later Michael.  Like Mr. Ford not being able to get his car out of the shop!  Then he created the first garage door.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Morning Jay I wonder if its time for them to come up with a new game plan or jsut go back to the drawing board? 

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 4 years ago

Could they maybe stack them on top of each other?  I get that they may need to hire a plumber to help out.  Seems like seller needs to foot the bill on whatever needs to happen.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 4 years ago

What would be drawn on the board James?

Debbie - that was my solution, but it would require some rewiring and replumbing.  But possible.  Will the sellers do it?  I no know!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Good morning, Jay.... what a shame.... good intentions without thought....

Posted by Barbara Todaro, "Franklin MA Homes" (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) over 4 years ago

Do you think they realize it even now Barbara?

If not, they will after getting the report!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

What made one area easier and more attractive, complicated another...what fun, doing wash in the furnace room besides being a hazard..!

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 4 years ago

And there's so much room for all the clothes on wash day S&D!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

I found something similar the other day. The filter I found was one of the cheap blue ones. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 4 years ago

Unintended consquences is right, Jay. I have a rental that has a wall 12" in from of the unit. No problem until I had to replace the ignitor last year. A nightmare. 

Posted by Mike Cooper, Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) over 4 years ago
Lol oh man!
Posted by Juan Jimenez, The Richmond Home Inspector (A House on a Rock Home Inspections LLC) over 4 years ago

Hi Jay,

I don't think they were taking into account replacing the filters in the furnace. In many cases I find the furnace filters had not been changed in a long time. So dirty they would not even let any air through them.

Good way to have an exception in the closing.

Have a great years end and a better 2014 my friend.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 4 years ago

Jay,

People often do not think things through. Looks like a stacking kit installation is in order.

Posted by Bill and MaryAnn Wagner, Jersey Shore and South Jersey Real Estate (Wagner Real Estate Group) over 4 years ago

I guess cleaning your furnace filter is an over rated procedure. 

Posted by Marc McMaster, Putting my clients before myself (RE/MAX Centre Realty) over 4 years ago

If you could see me right now, I am just shaking my head in amazement.  I blame Home Depot for this:  "You can do it.  We can help." LOL That has lead to a lot of Harry Homeowners thinking they CAN do it, when, in reality, they should leave certain things to the pros. 

Posted by Susan Haughton, Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results. (Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545) over 4 years ago

The good news is those W/D could be stacked, if there is enough ceiling height, so maybe the problem is solvable?

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) over 4 years ago

Jay - It's crazy how people do renovations and don't think about the physics/physical limitations of what they are doing... two bodies cannot occupy the same space.

Posted by AJ Heidmann ~ CRS, YOUR Alexandria & Arlington, VA Real Estate Expert (McEnearney Associates, Inc.) over 4 years ago

Hi Jay,

Just stopping back to say congrats on the Featured post. good for you. This is crazy. and no one had a clue?

Have a great year end in Bristow.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 4 years ago

That is just crazy. We had a similar issue (not to this degree) when we added a new heating and air-condition unit to the last home we were in. The contractor did some "unique" work to the door to get into the filters.

I was not happy and my husband was not happy.

Posted by Sussie Sutton, UTR TEXAS Realtors - Rep for buyers and sellers. (UTR Texas Realtors) over 4 years ago

So what did the prospective buyers do about this?  Was there a workaround?

Posted by Geoff ONeill (John L. Scott Medford) over 4 years ago

It reminds me of the old outside water closets that held these skinny 20 gallon heaters. Now, fast forward a few decades and you cant get a larger unit in

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 4 years ago
What a really good point. You must see a lot of unusual things in your business.
Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com) over 4 years ago

Hi Jay,

Wow, I have never heard or seen this before, very interesting, thanks for bringing it to our attention.

Happy Holidays and a Pfanntastic 2014

Posted by Peter Pfann @ eXp Realty Pfanntastic Properties in Victoria, Since 1986., Talk To or Text Peter 250-213-9490 (eXp Realty, Victoria BC www.pfanntastic.com) over 4 years ago

This reminds me of an apartment complex that has a copper pipe running vertically right in front of the filter slot - in every unit! The filters have to be crushed to get past the pipe, then expanded under the unit. It doesn't always work out too well!

Thanks for the post, and the need to plan ahead.

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) over 4 years ago

Jay, who installed the washer and dryer? They had to see right away this was not going to work!

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) over 4 years ago

Funny how it looks like you stuffing 10 pounds of stuff in a 5 pound bag.

Posted by Chuck Mixon, Cutler Bay Specialist, GRI, CDPE, BPOR (The Keyes Company) over 4 years ago

Jay, you just can't fix stupid sometimes---oh well.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 4 years ago

Someone obviously didn't look around when installing the washer & dryer!   Oops, bad planning.

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com) over 4 years ago

Jay, Looks like a lot of people were not paying attention.  What a pain! 

 

Posted by Randy Shamburger, FHA, VA, USDA and Conventional Mortgage Expert (Movement Mortgage) over 4 years ago

What I'll never understand is why sellers, who obviously knew this was happening, would not correct the situation before putting their house on the market. Oh wait... maybe the washer and dryer didn't convey.

Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 4 years ago

Have to believe that whoever installed the washer and dryer new that the filter was not changeable. Chose not to fix it.

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max Southern Realty) over 4 years ago

Just like you, I see things like this all the time when looking at homes. Hard to explain what people were thinking when the do things like this.

Posted by Bruce Swedal, Denver Real Estate over 4 years ago

Jim - people sometimes bend the heck out of those to fit them into spaces and ruin them.  They are so bent they leave large gaps or completely break and get sucked into the unit!

They have clearance requirements for a reason Mike.

Juan - as soon as I saw it I could see it was too close!

Filters Clint?  We don't need no stinkin' filters!

That would be the only solution at this point Bill.  But other things will have to be moved.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Definitely Marc.  And obviously.

And all the TV DIY shows Susan!  You know, everything gets done in half an hour!

That's the only move now Cindy.  There is no room in the inn on the second floor.

AJ - well, obviously, some things just need to change.  Physics is very overrated.

Thanks Clint.  I guess they did and hoped we would not find it!  I saw it right away.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Sussie - they should not do things like that without consulting with the homeowner first.

No Geoff.  The only thing would be a stackable I think.

And who needs a larger unit in the water closet Richie?

Cheryl - stop by more often!  When I do I post it!

Peter - just trying to be instructive!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

You see Tom A.  The spirit of DIY is alive and well coast to coast.

And your point Tom W?  I think they hoped the inspector would not catch it.

Chuck - doesn't that happen every Thanksgiving?

Charlie - Henry Ford's first car was 2" wider than the shed door!  So he invented the first garage door.  With a sledge hammer.

Kat - another day, another problem solved, um, created.

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Randy - I bet they did when they finished and tried to get in another filter!

They do Rich!  They are on the "feature" list.

I have to believe you are right Bill!  And they hoped the inspector would not catch it.

Bruce - this stuff is as common as rain!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay -- this is an unfortunate situation.  Thanks for the information on what the issues were with this installation.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 4 years ago

This problem is a big turnoff and has to be cured by the seller. It could also be a fire and safety hazard so it should be removed 

Posted by Jimmy Faulkner, The Best Of St. Augustine (Florida. Homes Realty & Mortgage) over 4 years ago

Sometimes it's hard to think of all of these details-hopefully they'll find a solution.

Posted by Michelle Carr-Crowe Just Call 408-252-8900 Top 1%!, 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) over 4 years ago

Trying to make use of all the space in a home can sometimes present a tight fit. They will need to switch to a stackable washer and dryer or try to reconfigure the space some other way. It's important for architects and builders (and remodelers) to think these things through so these types of challenges can be avoided.

Posted by Cheryl Dukes . . . . . Intown Atlanta (Solid Source Realty, Inc.) over 4 years ago

I think I want a job like yours...it is so interesting...the hundreds of things you find and write about that make's a person wonder if they should laugh or cry ro just shake their head in disbelief!

 

Posted by Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker, Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940 (Mike McCann - Broker, Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska) over 4 years ago

Oh no! That is a tough situation. I liked the earlier commenters idea about stackables. Hoping they were able to fix it without too many headaches!

Posted by Kaye Swain, Your Roseville Real Estate Agent (Keller Williams Real Estate Roseville CA) over 4 years ago

Joan - unfortunate to say the least!  The "improvement" proved tough to do!

Jimmy - there are lots of things associated with this installation.  All of which need to be corrected.

Michelle - but when you do remodeling you are supposed to think things through before you begin!

Cheryl - this is an older home the sellers were trying to reconfigure to make more modern.  They did so in the master bath!

Mike - we inspectors do all those things, sometimes on a single inspection!

Kaye - that's probably the only way to go at this point.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

 

   I can't tell from the picture if the dryer door (front loader?) can open all the way or not.  Is there a chance the filter can be changed with the dryer door open?  Looks like it's time for longer hoses/duct and casters under the W/D.

 

Posted by John J. Woods (Aardvark Appraisals) over 4 years ago

It is a front-loader unit John, but the filter is bigger than the hole on the front!  They have those drawer boxes under each unit already.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

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