What I'm Seeing Now

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New Basement Bathroom!

New Basement Bathroom! said the feature list.

It had a shower, a toilet and a sink.

It had a light.

It had a new exhaust fan in the ceiling.

It had a new corresponding breaker in the electric panel box.

It did not have a receptacle on the wall, however.

That was my first clue that there had been no permit pulled.

Or permit closed.

The toilet was dated 2013, so this is a fairly new bathroom.

Going into the laundry/furnace room next to this bathroom I saw this.

The exhaust fan tubing was connected into the dryer vent tubing.

NOT ALLOWED!

This was the second clue the bathroom had no permit.

Or one that was closed.

Vent tubing should never be shared.

Each appliance, the dryer and the exhaust fan, should vent separately and directly outdoors.

Theoretically this dryer could be venting itself directly into the bathroom ceiling!

And using the unforgivable plastic tubing to boot!  Well, I was embarrassed, for sure...

When I see dryer vents shared with other appliances, this is the comment I put on my report:

 

Dryer vent:  the dryer exhaust should ventilate directly to the outdoors and may not share itself with any other vent tubing.  From the International Residency Code:  M1502.2  Independent exhaust systems. Dryer exhaust systems shall be independent of all other systems and shall convey the moisture directly to the outdoors.  

 

It's pretty simple.  And important!

I can imagine that since 2013 that bathroom vent fan may have already accumulated its share of dryer lint!  Why not?

My recommendation:  permits are permits and codes are codes.  There are reasons for both.  Neither represents anything egregious or tough or represents a standard too stringent to meet.  Both necessities are full of common sense.  And when homeowners or contractors do things that are not full of common sense, it is a sure sign that codes were not met, or permits were not pulled.  Checking later it was discovered that, indeed, no permits had been pulled for this bathroom installation.  Let the games begin!

 


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 18 commentsJay Markanich • April 29 2015 03:11AM

Comments

Yes, short circuiting the process generally leads to more problems and more expenses.

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

Incorrect is incorrect Debbie.  And not good is not good.

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

I've run into a situation like this in one of the homes in my area, as well.  Unfortunately, it is more common than you'd like to think. 

Posted by Faith LaRosse, Serving Berks, Chester & Montgomery Counties (Springer Realty Group) about 4 years ago

I see it about 4 times a year Faith.  And always on the "new!" installation.

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

Morning Jay I learn something new every day I log in and today I've learned two new things this being one of them.  Thanks

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

James - most home inspectors are probably thinking a thousand things when they walk into a house that don't occur to most people.  I am one of them.

Glad you learned something!

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

Hello Jay,

Basements are rare in my area...as are non-permitted "new" bathrooms (thank goodness).  As I've said before, your client is fortunate to have you for the best inspection around Northern Virginia!

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) about 4 years ago

Howdie Miss Lisa!  Thank you.  And I am lucky to have them as clients!

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

For me, homeowner improvements and bathrooms are right up there at the top of the list that scream no permit and therefore not allowed. 

More importantly, no measure of safety.

It's never too late to call for a permit inspection. 

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

The side of No Permit that people don't think about is the insurance implications Lenn.  If there is no permit and then a problem, it is possible insurance won't cover the event.

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

I can't help but think of that shared air duct Jay, not good. It is never too late to get that permit!

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'm sorry to say that here in the Pocono's they are not as strict as they should be on permits. It depends on the inspector if a permit gets closed or not. Most of the time on an inside job a permit is never even pulled.

Posted by Michael Therriault, The name to remember when you want it done right. (Michael Therriault Contracting - M.T. Contracting) about 4 years ago

Man, you are tough! Obviously, the guy was trying to provide heat and humidity to his new bathroom... mission accomplished!

At least he didn't tap into one of those copper pipes....

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

They won't issue a permit here, but they will come to investigate and cause corrective action Tom.

Michael - that is probably true here too!

Fred - they already tapped the copper tube things to service the shower, toilet, and sink...

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

Jay,

The bathroom vent also acts as a heater in the winter months.  Just throw a load of clothes and the bathroom is nice and toasty!

Posted by Stephen Weakley (Nationwide Mortgage Services) about 4 years ago

You funny you Stephen.  Actually that's what I said to my client!

 

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

Picky picky...who plugs in toliet paper anyway ?  

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

Not in my experience S&D!  And I hope never to need to.

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

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