And there was a void, devoid, and it was not good. Insulation anyone?
Let there be insulation!
Void - adjective - completely empty, free space, free from. From the Latin vacare 'vacate.'
Devoid - adjective - entirely lacking in. Origin from Old French, devoidier 'cast out.'
In the beginning the builder created the townhouse.
2 And the attic was without insulation, and void; and darkness was upon the the deep. And the Spirit of The Code moved upon the face of the builder.
3 The The Code said, Let there be light; and there was light.
4 And The Code saw that the light was good: and it divided the dark from the light.
5 The The Code said, Let there be insulation in the midst of the attic, and let it divide the cold from the heat.
6 And the builder said, What's that? Eh? I think my phone dropped your call.
Thirteen years ago this townhouse was built and moved into. It has had a single occupant all those years.
THE VOID OF THE ATTIC SPACE IS DEVOID OF INSULATION!
When he bought the house, the builder likely said something like, "You don't need a private home inspection. Don't waste your money! The County makes many, many inspections of this house before you get it. We have our supervisor in your house every day before you get it. We make sure of everything. Don't waste your money - private home inspectors are just placebos."
Can I believe that this seller, the original owner, looked into this attic space from time to time over the years and saw it was without any insulation at all? Yes!! Why?
BECAUSE HERE I ASKED MY CLIENT, A CIVIL ENGINEER, AND THE REALTOR, WHOM I HAVE KNOW FOR OVER 20 YEARS, TO LOOK UP THERE AND TELL ME WHAT THEY DON'T SEE. NEITHER NOTICED THE FACT THAT THERE IS NO INSULATION!
And there is no insulation! Anywhere on any horizontal surface! Zip. Zero. Nada. Never has been.
Now, as to wasted money --
- this homeowner has obviously been paying crushing energy bills, electric and gas, not knowing that they were very high.
- this homeowner had been living in a house with an upstairs that was cold in the winter and hot in the summer. How do I know it was hot up there? Because he had put a ceiling fan in every bedroom AND the upstairs hallway!
- this homeowner had been living in a house with dramatic temperature differences floor to floor. In placebo, um, home inspector circles this is called "stratification," and means that because of some undue influences (in this case no attic insulation) the single HVAC system can not regulate temperatures floor to floor. They vary a lot. Heat seeks cold!
But you say you see some insulation up there?
There is some! That is batt fiberglass there on the vertical walls and ceiling of the master bedroom cathedral ceiling.
Not only is it poorly placed EVERYWHERE, as you see in this photo, with holes and gaps EVERYWHERE, but ...
it is also R-11! The pesky code in this area said R-30 in 2001 when the house was built.
What you see is dramatically too little insulation!
And now, because a placebo, um, home inspector showed up, this seller will pay crushing insulation installation costs everywhere to bring this up to a proper condition for his buyer's purchase! (See how I used "crushing" in a different context to describe ANOTHER waste of money?)
And replace all the canister lights (seventeen of them) because they are all inappropriate for an attic space, and a FIRE HAZARD. The builder, and his subcontractor, the "electrician," installed these inappropriate light fixtures because they were, go on, say it -- cheap. The electrician, knowing that, probably ASSUMED they would be protected from insulation.
Signs, signs, everywhere the signs. Blocking out the scenery, changing our minds. Do this, don't do that, can't you see the signs?
What you see are signs of the times!
My recommendation: the next time you are told not to get a home inspection, on ANYTHING you are buying in real estate, and you are thinking you don't need one - call me. I will talk you down from that bad place. I will help you off the ledge and lead you to a safe spot. I will hug you back to reality. I will feel like slapping you silly, but I won't. I'll hug. (sigh) I'm not a placebo...
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560