What I'm Seeing Now

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Missing Drip Pan

It's not often, but on this pre-drywall inspection there was a missing drip pan.

Drip pans do what they say they do - catch small leaks and send them elsewhere.

You will find drip pans under any appliance that handles or produces water - washing machines, water heaters, AC units and even high-efficiency condensing gas furnaces.

This is a three-level condo.

But it is above a retail space.  So it's a four-floor building.

The heat pump and water heater are located in a closet on the fourth level.

You can see the heat pump here has a drain line connected to its drip pan.  It drains into the floor, which in turn drains any collected leaks outdoors.

But they forgot the drip pan under the water heater!

It is sitting propped in the corner, indicated by the yellow arrow.

If this water heater was to have a major leak, it would be a disaster.  The leak would flow through the entire condo, ruining whatever ceilings, walls, floors and furniture, but would also go into the retail space below. 

THAT would be a big deal.  Hence the need for the drip pan.

So now they have to disconnect the gas water heater to place the drip pan underneath.  That drip pan would have its own drain line running into the floor, just like the heat pump beyond.

My recommendation:  you never know what you might find on a pre-drywall inspection, but this was easy to see.  Easy to see, but crucially important nonetheless!  My clients did not know what a drip pan was or why one was needed.  They did not know that pan was there.  Without an inspection it could be that the pan might never have been installed, and nobody would be the wiser.  Well, except the supervisor who knew it wasn't there but, um, maybe didn't mention it.

 

 

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 11 commentsJay Markanich • July 30 2016 02:29AM

Comments

Good morning jay,

Must have come back from a coffee break!

Make yourself an astonishing day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) about 2 years ago

We just spoke with someone building and made your wise pre drywall inspection suggestion...they were amazed !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) about 2 years ago

Or they were going to get to it after lunch, Raymond.  And, oh, forgot.

S&D - amazed at what was found, or that someone would suggest such a hare-brained idea?  The builder said they already have done a zillion inspections after all!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 2 years ago

Jay Markanich I am sure that directly as a result of your inspection findings, the seller will be paying a tradesman to correct this deficiency. Good call!

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (Realty National) about 2 years ago

It's a pre-drywall inspection S&N, so the builder will be fixing it, and then inspecting it (another one of their thousands of inspections that preclude the need for a private inspection...).

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 2 years ago

Ah, the lowly drip pan, so must much rests on its use. Have a mishap once and you'll never forget the need!

Posted by Kevin J. May, Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida (Florida Supreme Realty) about 2 years ago

Kevin - on a home inspection many years ago I told a client to replace a cracked drip pan before he put in his new washing machine.  He did not.  The new one leaked and ruined his living and dining room cielings, and hardwood floors.  Bummer...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 2 years ago

I see so many water heaters installed in the heated space that have no drip pans...

No need to inspect that they are there though, the "Builder" will take care of everything 

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) about 2 years ago

And when it's on the fourth level, with a retail space underneath, the potential problems are enormous, Fred.  In the olden days all this stuff was in the basement, and there was a drain hole in the floor.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 2 years ago

The sad thing is the people that installed the water heater do this day in and day out and know better.  With the drain pan there it had to be an unsupervised trainee or someone cutting corners.  Either way, it is just sad.

Posted by Stephen Weakley (Nationwide Mortgage Services) about 2 years ago

Yeah, they went to lunch, forgot about it, and never came back, Stephen!

I bet the supervisor told them everything on my report (about 9 things) were already on his list of things to do.  More than one client has told me that.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 2 years ago

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