What I'm Seeing Now



No, I'm not referring to a dance but another intonation of the word, the more common word - CLOG.

Let's get some definitions out of the way.

Clog - noun - anything that impedes motion or action; an encumbrance; a hindrance.

Clog - verb - (used with object) -

   1.  to hinder or obstruct with thick or sticky matter; choke up.

   2.  (transitive) to stick; stick together.

   3.  (transitive) to encumber; hamper; hinder.

The origin of the word is unknown. 

Dryer lint - noun - fuzzy stuff.  Origin:  the dryer.  (This is the more esoteric, abstruse and recondite  definition)

Going into the attic of an older townhouse I immediately noticed the stained roof sheathing with very rusty nails.  Someone had the idea to add rolls of extra insulation, and piled it high and deep all the way to the edge of the roof, clogging the soffit vents.  There was no overhead venting.  The attic was full of dead air.

Yes, there was a significant amplification of apparent microbial growth evident in many places (we inspectors aren't allowed to say "mold" without doing a formal mold test, so that verbiage is the loophole).

With all that dead air, the attic smelled great!

Looking left, I noticed the only bathroom's vent tubing extending to the roof's surface, as it should.  It exhausted it's air into a scoop vent, properly installed and meant for the dust-free bathroom air.

But somebody, perhaps the builder, added something.  And it was added incorrectly. 

The dryer vent!

Bathroom and dryer vents should be independently discharged outdoors.

Who knows when this dryer vent was added to the bathroom vent opening.  Perhaps by the builder!

I have a personal pet peeve with dryer vents through the roof.

But no matter where the air goes, dryers should never vent through a scoop vent intended for a bathroom!  There needs to be a larger, flapped opening for the air to exhaust. 

Scoop vents have small, slotted holes.  As the hot dryer air heats up the scoop vent the cooler air around it will create condensation, sticking excess dryer lint to the openings.

Over time the ultimate result, indeed the ONLY result, is a CLOG.

This vent was 100% closed off, and caked with lint, for nobody knows how long.  The inside of the attic was littered with fuzzy stuff, aka dryer lint (origin:  the dryer), everywhere.  The sheathing was similarly and smartly decorated.

Going from lower to upper level a odor pervades the air.  My clients asked me what the smell was.  Before I even saw this I thought it smelled like dead air.  And I suspected why - attic ventilation.

So here we have the perfect storm - the confluence of many things incorrectly done.  And everything done was in the attempt to do it right or improve what was already there! 



My recommendation:  good and bad smells happen for a reason!  When unpleasant odors drench the air it is for a reason, or reasons.  Sometimes things combine to create a problem, or make it worse.  Hire a home inspector and maybe he can figure out why!

So now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to put on my clogs and head to the barn, move the bales that clog the dance floor, spread some hay all around, and do some country clogging!

Well, I always do better in my PF Flyers.

I'll go with that.  But you gotta like the tails and cane!


Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

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


Comment balloon 19 commentsJay Markanich • October 19 2014 12:09AM


 Good morning Jay. It is amazing the stuff that we find. One of the things that I always put in my report is to have the dryer venting cleaned and inspected by a professional. It certainly eliminates a lot of goofy things like this.

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) almost 6 years ago

Lovely.  Yes, it probably has been happening for a very long time.  Hopefully, someone will fix it now.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) almost 6 years ago

Good morning Jay Markanich it's hard to believe people really do this stuff....and you are one, very funny guy....now let's see a video of that cane and tails act...

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) almost 6 years ago

Michael - my dryer vents under my deck and is eye level.  I can easily get to it.

Debbie - certainly a new, proper dryer vent needs to be provided.  But on this house neither of the front or rear roof is visible from the ground.  So knowing when to clean the vent is another matter!

Barbara - I don't really know how to clog.  But my wife's mother does!  There was a lot of it in the most recent Beverly Hills movie.  And I think PFs go best with tails and a cane.

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

Morning Jay, the home we are closing on October 27 has the dryer vent going through the attic.  The inspector recommended it be insulated.  The builder has other ideas so which one is right?

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

Around here all the dryer vents that pass through the attic space are insulated in new construction James.  So why not a newer one there, or even an older vent?

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

One thing I can promise with some assurance.

The owner has been wondering why their laundry takes so long to dry.  Bet the dryer filter is full of lent too.

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

This was a mess top to bottom Lenn, inside the house and inside the attic.

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

Good morning Jay,

Micrcbial Growth; I have to remember this for when giving feedback on homes.

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) almost 6 years ago

Jay, love onomatopoeia----clog is one of those words that sounds like what it is.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 6 years ago

Clog is a dance that no home owner should be doing...and every inspector finding,.

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) almost 6 years ago

Being able to get to the problem regularly is so important in the regular maintenance of home Roger. The roof is not one of them.

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) almost 6 years ago

Jay: I have been on the receiving end of a home with a dryer vent terminating in the attic. What a mess!

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (HomeSmart Realty West & Lend Smart Mortgage, Llc.) almost 6 years ago

It's a good, generic concept Raymond.  Multi-use!

Playing with words is fun too, Charlie. 

S&D - I can't remember the last time I went clogging, but I do remember a few times with the toilet.  Mostly because of my daughter.

Too hard to maintain the vent when it's up there Tom.

S&N - it is a mess!  Inside the laundry room too!

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

Jay- I'd much rather have your clogging than the clogging about which you wrote.  It irks me when things aren't done correctly in the first place.

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) almost 6 years ago

Thanks Kathy.  I do a great foxtrot too.  Actually I took ballroom dancing as a teen and have done it ever since.

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

I think they were merely trying to add to the insulation while heating and adding moisture to the attic area. I see no problem :-)

Oh, and clogging with PF Flyers on is quite the feat... or feet... or pheat! The talent you exude is extraordinary!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) almost 6 years ago

Jay Markanich solves yet another venting problem. These slack builders better watch out...

Posted by Suzanne Otto, Your Montgomery County PA home stager (Six Twenty Designs) almost 6 years ago

Hello New Guy.  Nice to meet you!  Heat and moisture - what every attic needs! 

And I can do anything in PF Flyers!  By the way, I love the song "Dixie Chicken," by Little Feat.  Oh, and it's only Little Pheat in Vietnam.

Hope things are well in Sunland.

Suzanne - this one was amazing.  It's a true clog!

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

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