What I'm Seeing Now

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Two Out Of Three Isn't Bad. Unless It's Bathroom Vents.

Really, when it comes to averages or percentages, two out of three isn't bad.  Unless it's bathroom vents.

They need to be 100%.  They need to not fail.  They need to find their way directly outdoors.

During home inspections I like to see where the bathroom vents are blowing.

If I can't see where I ask my client to turn on the fan(s) so I can hear the sound in the attic space.

But for sure actually seeing where they blow out is best.

In this case there are three bathrooms upstairs.

So I should see three vents tubes, and one, two or three exhaust ports going outside.

Such an arrangement as this is common these days, where all combine to blow out a single covered opening outdoors.  From the yard outside, if I see the big cover, I know to look for a combined exhaust location in the attic.  And I know where to look.

Unfortunately, the fabled and oft-used taped connection is also an oft-poorly-taped connection.

And disconnections are common.

So, in this case, seeing the above I looked for the recalcitrant vent tube.

I finally found the little hoodlum, around the corner, by itself, hanging around the bars, doing nothing good, and blowing in the wind.  When the bath fan was turned on, the tube moved aimlessly from side to side.  Pathetic and embarrassing.

Yes, there's a metaphor in there somewhere...

My recommendation:  bathroom vents are supposed to blow outdoors!  Poorly taping them onto a receptacle high on a roof is probably a recipe for a problem down the road.  But when the tubing comes apart, it really does need repair.  There's no point in adding humidity where it does not belong.  What would a better connection be?  A Best Practice  connection? Aluminum tape AND a well-tightened plastic strap.  A dependable, strapping little fellow like the ones to the left.  I have a jar full of them in my garage.  Everyone should!

 

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 44 commentsJay Markanich • March 29 2014 03:50AM

Comments

"The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind."

Bob Dylan knew.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 4 years ago

Hello Jay, thanks for sharing.  We see a lot of fans vented into the attic.  This is a typical inspection finding.  Can lead to mold problems over time, in our area.

 

Posted by Deborah Laemmerhirt - REALTOR® Brookfield,Newtown,Roxbury,Bridgewater,Washington,Sherman, Luxury Homes,WaterFront,Equestrian,NewConstruction (Keller Williams Luxury Homes International) about 4 years ago

I nearly went there too Lenn, but stayed on point!  You are welcome to bring the new wrinkle to life!

Deborah - it is typical, but I thought to have a little fun with it.  Instructive, but fun!

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

Good morning Jay,

Just lost a deal because of this and mold in the roof!

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) about 4 years ago

Failed duct tape? Where have I heard that before. Why is duct tape even still available?

You could have used Zip a dee doo dah you know?

 

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) about 4 years ago

Raymond - too much moisture blowing in the wind often ends that way.  In an attic.  In a sale.  Losing a deal.

Isn't it amazing Scott?  The tried and true isn't, you say?  You are right, those little cables are called zip cords too.  I actually bought that jar of them for my roses and tomatoes.

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

We see SO many vents that vent straight into the attic.  It's something that my buyers and I ask the sellers to fix.  

Posted by Amanda Christiansen, Christiansen Group Realty (Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843) about 4 years ago

And it should be fixed A&J.  By code and by common sense (which is Mother Nature's code).  She enforces the code naturally - mold, mildew, muck.  Think M.

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

Love cable ties! They have so many uses. Many I sure I  haven't found yet. 

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

Jim - certainly one of the best 100 inventions ever!

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

Jay, I need to take a look in my attic. I have to replace an exhaust in one bathroom.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA about 4 years ago

I don't think I've ever encountered the vent not being attached in a home inspection.  Give it time, I know! lol

Posted by Chris Griffith, Bonita Springs Listing Agent (Downing-Frye Realty, Bonita Springs, FL) about 4 years ago

Mike - the newer fans have a different dimension than the old, so you might have to work to get it installed.  And connect away!

Chris - good for you!  I see it a couple of times a week!  You sure they are looking carefully?

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

A little sheet metal screw doesn't hurt either and then tape over it all.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) about 4 years ago

Cable ties is the new duct tape! Anything, anytime, anywhere...

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) about 4 years ago

Cable ties are great, but I know from past experience they can slip as well. It's probably all in the technique!

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

Hi Jay,

I know it's hard to believe but I did have a home inspection yesterday. Woo HOO.

This home yesterday had Three exhaust vents that were terminated in the attic.

The listing agent said, "I can't believe that, this home has been so well maintained"

I looked at her and said "Out of sight and out of mind, it's in the attic".

Have a very good day in Bristow.

Best, Clint McKie

 

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

Details details....and when do homeowners look in places that inspectors find interesting...that seems to be the problem...like never.

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (Keller Williams 414-525-0563) about 4 years ago

Can I borrow a few of those plastic thingys Jay? I've seen some thing out there.  :)

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 4 years ago

I can't see how anyone doesn't have a bunch of the ties around...especially someone in the plumbing and venting craft!

Posted by Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC, ... a small office, delivering big service! (Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC) about 4 years ago

good posting and that plastic makes for e z doing....Its up there with duct tape

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) about 4 years ago

Do all three of these actually go to a cap with a back-draft damper?  And will just one of the fans operating, open the flap?  Usually when I see this arrangement it merely goes to a screened box vent---with no back-draft damper.

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

Jay,

Here we are not allowed to use those connections to vents like Charlie stated. I see this often when the contractor forgot to put the proper vent hood in. I was just in a code class and had this discussion with several of the AHJ's here.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Improper venting can be an issue. Had this come up on one of the last homes I sold. Was a first time. Guess it is a sign of the future.

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

I've personally never been able to look in attics, I rely on home inspectors to, so I'm wondering if bathroom vents are connected properly. I've seen many stove exhaust hood vents that go directly to the cabinet above -- not to the outside as they should. 

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) about 4 years ago

Jay:

I love your posts about problems found in your inspections.  They are very informative.

Posted by Evelyn Kennedy, Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA (Alain Pinel Realtors) about 4 years ago

Love hearing your tips and "stories from the field". I learn so much by what you share. Thanks!

Posted by Stephen Turner, The BIG Guy of NEW HOME SALES (TriCorner Homes (TriCorner Realty)) about 4 years ago

Ed - the exhaust tubing is very much like aluminum foil, so a screw would not help much.

I love them Fred.  I use them everywhere - garden and all!

You have to tighten them with your teeth Tom.  Easy peasy.

All true Clint!  Well maintained only works for what people get to.

Obviously the homeowners have never made snow angels in the attic S&D!

 

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

Stop by any time Tom!  I have plenty.

Exactly Gary.  My question too.

It is Richie!  And drywall screws.

Charlie and Don - wow, an answer together!  The multiple containment cap, with a single screen at the bottom, has gained much favor here!  For double and triple venting!  I have seen it used more and more in the past year.  The interpretation here is that they vent "directly" outdoors, and individually.  This is the result of that interpretation.

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

It might be that Bill.  They must vent outdoors, period.

Take a walk on the wild side, Pamela!  Get up there!  Photo, please.

Thank you Evelyn.  And I'm glad for that.  Is my round room still available?  You see, I have a very, very good memory...

And thank you Steve.  Please stop back again!

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

You didn't answer the shadow's question about the required back-draft damper?  The shadow wants to know how they are getting around that.  Is there really one damper for all three?

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

The back draft damper is in the fan, "they" have told me.  "They" can get around anything "they" want.  "They" approve here what "they" want!

It's a penumbra of a flap...  Where have you heard "penumbra" before?  "They" found one to be very important!

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

Interesting. I always learn so much when I read your posts.

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

I have heard that having these vent into the attic can lead to moisture and mold problems.

Posted by Christi Hacker, Your Omaha Area Real Estate Specialist (Keller Williams Greater Omaha) about 4 years ago

Jay, your posts always throw light on something that I would never know. Thanks for sharing - now when I am at home inspection with my buyers, I look at it differently.

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) about 4 years ago

I really appreciate you sharing your stories with us--I learn so much!

Thank you :)

Posted by Althea Kippes, Esq., Serving all of Silicon Valley and San Francisco (Catarra Real Estate, Inc.) about 4 years ago

Just a group of random, fun facts Joan!  In story form!

Absolutely Christi.  I once had a realtor say my report was incorrect, that there could not be mold in an attic space!  So I sent her a bunch of photos and asked her to have the photos analyzed...

That is why I come to AR, Praful.  And I learn a lot too.

Althea - and I really appreciate you checking in!

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

I'm waiting for someone to bring up the metaphor...

And this is why those inspections are so important. I'm sure this could lead to mold in the future.

Posted by Suzanne Otto, Your Montgomery County PA home stager (Six Twenty Designs) about 4 years ago

It shouldn't be hard for someone to deduct that if you take a hot shower, and the mirror gets covered with condensation, that the moisture floating in the air that produced that condensation could easily be drawn into the the exhaust fan and create mold inside the vent and in the attic if the the vent pipe doesn't extend to the outside.

Posted by Jeff Pearl, Full Service Full Time Realtor (RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA) about 4 years ago

I thought that was pretty funny Suzanne - that tube is just hanging around, all those "bars" in the background...  Agents tell me all the time mold never gets in an attic space, and they believe it until I send them photos.

Jeff - that requires that thought follow a logical pathway and critical thinking.  The shower bone is connected to the condensation bone, the condensation bone...

Too difficult.

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

You sure do cross some interesing conditions!!  I enjoy your posts cause not only are they slightly unusual situations and you supply photographic evidence to understand!  Thanks!

Posted by Manuela Baginski, bilingual Real Estate Professional in Tampa Bay (Coastal Properties Group/Christie's International Real Estate) about 4 years ago

I'm glad you find the posts interesting and useful Manuela!

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

Well said!  Living in the Pacific NW, we are prone to mildew and mold.  Amazing how often we encounter poor or improper ventilation.

Posted by Brandon Vukelich, Broker - Greater Seattle metro area (Allegro Realty Group, Inc.) about 4 years ago

Moisture is surely a problem there!  And additional in the attic space cannot help at all Brandon.

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

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