What I'm Seeing Now

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Not A Good Place For Pipes To End

This is not a good place for pipes to end.

The ending tubes have been called various things.  Charlie Buell's recent post called them "dead legs."

Whatever you wish to call them, this is not a good place to end pipes!

This is an exterior wall.

The insulation has been pushed inward, and pushing it in like this significantly reduces it's R-value, or ability to provide resistance against the exterior cold.

The water at those ends is stagnate.  It does not move.

As such it is quite a bit more vulnerable to cold, and freezing.

May I suggest that freezing, and cracking, or popping open at either capped end inside the wall will be a disaster.

This second floor location is over the kitchen, with its cabinets and hardwood floor just beneath.  And below that is the finished basement. 

A leak inside the wall here would not be a slow, drippy leak.  It would be a gusher!

The resulting damage will be to wall material, insulation, cabinets, flooring and whatever else.

Buying this house, would you want to be set up for this possible problem?  And, thinking further, is it possible or probable?

My recommendation:  the pre-drywall inspection is the time to observe this sort of thing and point it out.  What can be done at this point?  That is not up to me.  I am merely predicting a potential problem.  My solution might be very different than the builder's.  But certainly, those pipes can terminate within the 2x4, with proper support.  And that would be quite a bit more freeze protection than what is there now.

 

 

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 38 commentsJay Markanich • July 25 2015 03:53AM

Comments

Thanks for pointing these things out.  Why would a licensed contractor do crap like this is beyond my scope.  But I have seen these dumb things before and walked away scratching my head!!!

Posted by Sham Reddy CRS, CRS (H E R Realty, Dayton, OH) about 5 years ago

Good morning Jay.  Frankly I've never seen this before.  Another reason to dance in the Rain.  Thanks

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty) about 5 years ago

Sham - I think this is a set up for an unsuspected, but huge, future problem.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

James - dead legs are everywhere.  But where they are found is relevant!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Good morning Jay,

Thanks for this tidbit of something to look for in a new build or rehab.

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) about 5 years ago

Jay,

When I saw that picture, of course I thought of our market.. and we have very few NEW homes being built.  Most are resale homes which means this would be hidden behind the drywall and a homeowner would never know that they were buying this potential disaster.  This concerns me that a contractor would do what you have shown in your photo for all of the reasons that you discussed.  Thank you for always writing such good articles about home inspections.  

Posted by 1~Judi Barrett, BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK (Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745) about 5 years ago

Raymond - this is a tidbit.  And one of hundreds of things to look for during a pre-drywall inspection.

Thanks Judi.  The fact that this will be hidden lends credence to the need for pre-drywall inspections.  Those are the ones the builders say buyers never need to do!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Good morning, Jay Markanich points well taken here.... every pipe needs to end somewhere.... some places are certainly safer than others, especially in New England!!

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) about 5 years ago

I learned long ago that depressed insulation is very reduced or NO insulation depending on how far it's depressed.

As for those pipes?  Good Grief!!

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 5 years ago

Where you are there would not be this thin a layer of insulation, Barbara.

Lenn - this insulation is compromised down to providing very little barrier.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Good morning Jay. Even I could see the problem in this picture. Scat stuff in a new build.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) about 5 years ago

Jay, further testimonial to having a home inspector during construction of a new home! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) about 5 years ago

I have never seen this sort of thing Jay, what is it's purpose?

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 5 years ago

You say dead leg... I say dead head!

 

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) about 5 years ago

So what future purpose where these runs?  Certainly dead-legs---perhaps done by a dead-head?

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 5 years ago

Sheila - I didn't like it when I saw it.  And I don't remember the last time I saw one like this.

Wayne - this is the only time such stuff is visible.

It's the end of a run servicing both master bathroom sinks, Tom.  I think they use the 2x4 for support.  I'd prefer to see the ends further from the cold.

Fred - you probably also say   po-TAH-to and to-MAH-to.  New Mexico people are so hoity toity.

Charlie - I think I answered that to Tom, not seeing your question yet.  I really don't like it.  Too cold in the winter.  I can just see those nipples popping off!  Dead head?  Do you say po-TAH-to like Fred?

Hey, I wove your dead leg word into the post!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Now that sounds like a plumber that knows nothing about dead-legs :)

 

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 5 years ago

It's not polite to speak badly about the handicapped Charlie.

Interestingly, the client on that house said the builder called him back the next day saying they reworked everything on my report.  I wonder what that means.

One of those things is to the right.  That stud array above is a major load point from the upper level to this location on the middle level.  Under, the 2x4 out of photo to the right of the red circle is bowing so badly it is cracked.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Jay- I'm not a plumber or handyperson, but even this untrained eye can see that that's not good!

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) about 5 years ago

I'm told the builder reparied it Kathy.  I'm curious as to what they did.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

I have never seen anything like that although I don't visit too many pre-drywall construction jobs.  Owners will never know until the problem pops up!

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) about 5 years ago

OK Jay, I never thoiught about pipes that go nowhere, but I guess I should. It is just another benefit of living in San Diego where it NEVER freezes.

Bill Roberts

Posted by Bill Roberts, "Baby Boomer" Retirement Planner (Brooks and Dunphy Real Estate) about 5 years ago

 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) about 5 years ago

 I am glad I didnt miss your post, thanks to Kathys Weekly round up! Great stuff!

Posted by Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®, Giving Back With Each Home Sold! (RE/MAX Realty Center ) about 5 years ago

Thankfully we don't have to worry much about freezing pipes here in Arizona but I've seen some pretty lazy builder shortcuts in my pre-drywall walk-thrus with a buyer. 

Posted by Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert, Broker/Owner of Zion Realty ZionRealtyAZ.com (Zion Realty) about 5 years ago

This is another good reason to always opt for a professional home inspection.

Posted by Roy Kelley (Realty Group Referrals) about 5 years ago

What is the point of pipes that don't lead to any kind of fixture? I don't get why they're there at all. 

Posted by Marte Cliff, Your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) about 5 years ago

Jay - little things like that make a big difference.  I have seen what has happened in that case and it is as you say and not pretty.

Posted by Grant Schneider, Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes (Performance Development Strategies) about 5 years ago

Gary - and if this pops, it's inside the wall.  How fun!

Bill - but the insulation is crushed, not a good thing anywhere.

Thanks Kathy!  Again!  Always a pleasure.

I'm glad you didn't miss it too, Kristin.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

No doubt Nicole!  They are infamous for that.

Roy - and a pre-drywall inspection, to say the least.

Marte - they drilled holes to provide support.  It could have been easily provided inside the cabinet, where it's safe.

Grant - this is a little thing that could made a BIG difference.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

WOW Jay, just thinking of what the damage could be is chilling. Glad they had you to inspect.

Posted by Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®, Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate (Vision Quest Realty) about 5 years ago

Good play on words Rebecca!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Jay - I learn something new every time I read one of your posts. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807, Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor (Good Company Real Estate www.ChandlerRealEstate.weebly.com) about 5 years ago

Thank you Troy.  I'm glad you do!

This is merely employing common sense for the supervisor to consider.  But someone has to do it!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

PERFECT reason why you get a home inspection before buying.

Dean Berlin- Alexandria Home Inspector 

Posted by Dean Berlin about 5 years ago

'Tis Dean.  I know inspectors who do not do pre-drywall inspections but I have been doing them for 15 years or so and like them a lot.  They are quick and fun.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

When I see work like this it makes me glad I don't plan on buying a new home again.  My wife and I are just going to age in place!

Posted by Stephen Weakley (Nationwide Mortgage Services) about 5 years ago

Clients say that to me all the time Stephen.  They also say, "My next home is THE home..."

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

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