What I'm Seeing Now


New Construction HVAC - Installed, Supervised, Inspected And Approved

Here we are again - new construction HVAC - installed, supervised, inspected and approved.

It looks great!  Very professional!

This type of installation is getting more and more popular - the cabinet base on the side or the front is used to install an HVAC register. 

Especially in areas where there is limited wall space.

Somebody from one of the trades - the HVAC professional, the cabinet professional - some professional  cut the hole in the side of the cabinet to heat and cool this bathroom.

And it looks fine.

The professional  supervisor had to have known this was done.  It's very important that HVAC is not only installed well but forcefully blows air.  The professional  supervisor's job is to answer installation questions and inspect what has been done.

The County, of course, is there quickly for their final "inspection" and approval of the finished house.  Yep, all looking good here!

The home inspector, said to be unnecessary to all this other professional oversight and series of serious previous professional  installations and inspections, comes to have a look around.

This home inspector has been around long enough to actually feel to see if an HVAC register blows air.


He even has a CFM  meter to see how much C ubic F eet of air is flowing per   M inute when the air flow from a particular register is weak.  What, he has THAT gadget too?

In this case the home inspector (um, that would be me) did not feel any air at all!  Imagine, no air coming from an HVAC register?  What?  Gee, that just shouldn't be.  He is pretty sure air is supposed to blow from HVAC registers.

Well, lookie here.  This home inspector's camera saw something interesting! 

The professional  installer actually saw that the HVAC register was in a difficult spot.  The bathroom cabinet would cover half of the HVAC duct opening, and the other half would be covered by floor molding.  Oh no!  What to do?

The professional  supervisor said that it was no biggie - just cut out the back of the cabinet base to the edge of the HVAC register and install a register in the side of the adjacent base beside it!  Problem solved!  The trash beside everything is just a nice cosmetic touch.

Oh, by the way, no air actually blows from that special opening in the front of the cabinet base.

My recommendation:  as has been said so many times before and in so many places by THIS home inspector - you can't always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.  AND WITH NEW CONSTRUCTION YOU NEED, NEED, NEED A PROFESSIONAL HOME INSPECTION!  Not a professional  one provided by others.  You want a  REALLY PROFESSIONAL home inspection by a certified and licensed home inspector.

All sigh.  The end.



Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

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


Comment balloon 31 commentsJay Markanich • May 28 2014 02:55AM


Interesting Jay never heard of that one before.  This again is why I visit the Rain to learn something every day and I'm never disappointed.  thanks

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty) about 6 years ago

Oh, I have seen it many times James, in bathrooms and kitchens!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

Great catch, Jay.  I've seen this in homes that have been around for years and no one ever did anything about it.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) about 6 years ago

Yepper Gabe.  I check, and when I see things like this sarcastic blogs result.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

Apparently that's one of those fancy new "wireless" HVAC ducts!

Posted by Marc McMaster, Putting my clients before myself (RE/MAX Centre Realty) about 6 years ago

Supervisors often see a register and assume that there is air flowing.  Big mistake to assume anything.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 6 years ago

Jay, this is the very reason all buyers, even those buying brand new homes, should get a home inspection.

Posted by Joan Cox, Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time (House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373) about 6 years ago

But it does look professional Jay.  :)

So much can be missed if looked at surface level.

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 6 years ago

"To boldly poke your camera where (obviously) no camera has been poked before."

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) about 6 years ago

Amazing!  Jay, I know the buyers must be hugging you right now!  Did you find any other infractions????  thanks for sharing

Posted by Alicia Utz, REALTOR & Military Relocation Professional in NOVA (EXIT Realty Associates) about 6 years ago

Jay, The ol heated cabinet trick. I see that so often.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

I am curious at this point. Are most of these short-comings found in new homes built by small independent builders, or do you find them in large national builder (Shea, Horton, Ryland etc) products as well?


Posted by Sylvia Jonathan, Broker Associate, SFR (Coldwell Banker Platinum Properties) about 6 years ago

Jay, good catch. We have a vent similar to that in our kitchen that actually works. I double checked before I wrote this comment!

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) about 6 years ago

Not bad Marc!  Wireless indeed!

You are very right about that Lenn.  They can make many assumptions, and do!

Joan - and this was only one weird thing in a series of weird things in this house.

It does Tom.  And going into the bathroom one would simply think everything was working.  The light fixture there was merely resting on top of the cabinet - it had never been installed on the wall!  But it looked great!

It was the same TREK throughout that inspection Robert!  Apparently nobody had been where I went or saw the things I sqw before!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

You are kidding, right Alicia?  Other things?  Um, let me begin counting and I will get back to you later.  Much later.

Keeps the TP in the cabinet warm and ready Don.  Hot cross buns, or something similar...

Sylvia - it is quite the same with both.  The key word is professionalism and we really suffer from a lack of it in the building trades.

When hooked up properly they work great Tom!  But you have to check!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

Maybe it was the girl from the stones song that did the install. She was, as you know, Practiced at the art of deception.  Good catch.

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) about 6 years ago

All I sell is new construction homes and I always highly recommend my clients get a home inspection. 

Posted by Bill Snuggs (ERA Strother Real Estate) about 6 years ago

You didn't mention the how to fix it? Great you caught it but now what for that poor buyer with no AC in the bathroom?

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) about 6 years ago

Hey Jay, great post! Hope you don't mind if I repost it to my http://activerain.com/groups/manufacturedhomes group. Please feel free to contribute to this group anytime. There's a lot of good info the FACTORY BUILT housing industry needs to know.

Posted by John DL Arendsen, Crest Backyard Homes "ADU" dealer & Contractor (CREST BACKYARD HOMES, ON THE LEVEL GENERAL & FACTORY BUILT HOME CONTRACTOR, TAG REAL ESTATE SALES & INVESTMENTS) about 6 years ago

The homes on my street have heat coming into the bathroom cabinet, sans register cut-out. The cabinets are nice and warm.

Posted by Cynthia Larsen, Independent Broker In Sonoma County, CA about 6 years ago

What?  A brand new house has problems?  I'm shocked... not

Posted by Rafi Footerman, Home Inspector, Mold Inspector, Radon and More! (Mid Jersey Inspections) about 6 years ago

Great reminder that "code" and "enforcement" doesn't always mean it conformed to begin with!  Thanks!

Posted by Victoria CB Trees, Principal Broker (Victoria CB Trees Real Estate Services) about 6 years ago

It is not a new thing.  It is a "ductless" vent. LOL.  Good catch

Posted by Ric Mills, Integrity, Honesty, and Vast Real Estate Knowledge (Keller Williams Southern Az) about 6 years ago

As I tell people a home is built by hundres of people using thousands of parts and they all got the job due to low bids.  Check and Double Check.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) about 6 years ago

Wow - great job on this one Jay.  Imagine that  professional with one of my buyers- he'd never hear the end of my rants!

Posted by Jan Green, HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN (Value Added Service, 602-620-2699) about 6 years ago

A register adjacent to the floor, isn't that unusual and perhaps ineffective?

Posted by Kimo Jarrett, Pro Lifestyle Solutions (WikiWiki Realty) about 6 years ago

Scott - I have heard of her!  Deceptive girl.  And from another band (BS&T), Lucretia McEvil!

That last reference may pre-date you...

Bill - that would be a best practice!

Lyn - the duct is have covered up!  It will never blow properly!  At minimum the half that is blowing air has to be hooked up to the register, but the airflow will be very low.

Just reblog it John.  And thanks for the reblog!

Excellent Cynthia!  Your cabinets will love the attention!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

I know Rafi.  I couldn't believe it either.  How unfortunate that these things are sometimes found.

Ha!  Builders are shocked and often mad at me for the list of problems I produce!

Victoria - it's always nice when things come together.  In this house they did not!

That's one way to look at it Ric!  And thanks!

Something like NASA, Gene!  And it pays to do all that checking!

Jan - you might have to spruce up on a different language!  But call me when you do rant!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

Kimo - it isn't the best place, but air flow is air flow.  And, by the way, no air flow is no air flow!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

Nice catch. That looks like a toilet wax ring wrapper.

Posted by Wayne B. Pruner, Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI (Oregon First) almost 6 years ago

Might be Wayne.  Or the bottom of a milkshake cup?

Either way, not too professional!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 6 years ago

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