Mold on the underside of the roof sheathing. The idea is to get rid of it and stop it from returning. Each of those small dots is a new, growing colony of mold. ______________________________________________________________________________________________
A leaking foundation such as this one is something you never want to see in the home you're thinking of buying. This is as big a worry as having your daughter bring home a professional athlete. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The extension pipe at the relief valve at this water heater has been capped. THIS IS DANGEROUS. Again, not done by a plumber. If pressure builds up, the water heater will become a missile, maybe hurting someone in the process. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The underside of this roof sheathing is not stained or painted, IT'S WET!!! Heat loss, inadequate insulation and improper ventilation combined to create this situation. Mold growth will be next. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
This enterprising homeowner has installed a gas-powered generator in the basement in case the grid power goes down. This is dangerous and is not approved anywhere on the planet, as far as we know. The EMT (electrical conduit) exhaust piping does nothing to make this safer. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
In order to get power into this home in Chicago, someone has jumped the lugs in the meter socket (the meter is yet to be installed) with small-gauge wire which has already started to scorch. This is literally the "hot" setup!! Maybe hot enough for a fire . . . ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Always good for a grin. Look at the door latch. It has been installed backwards (sloped side of the latch should FACE the jamb, not point away from it). We aren't sure who did this, but it wasn't a carpenter. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
This "plumber" hasn't heard about "stuff" not running uphill. Also, those flexible joints will cause clogs, and the "T" connection isn't entirely proper either. Seriously, it wasn't a plumber who did this work . . . ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Amateur whirlpool tub installation
There are rules for whirlpool or jet tubs. The most important is that they have to be safe, which means protected by an electrical ground fault interrupter (GFI) device. The idea is to keep you from being electrocuted if a short circuit develops when you're using the tub.
Here we are looking under such a tub in Chicago. The black cord is the tub power cord, plugged into an outlet which not only is NOT a ground fault interrupter type, but is installed by someone other than an electrician. Wiring should go into and out of the receptacle box via the knockouts, and strain reliefs/connectors must be used. The outlet isn't properly or securely attached to the box, and the box itself is the wrong type for the application, another sure sign of amateur work (the box is a junction box; notice the outlet screwed into a corner of the box). The outlet, as mentioned, should be a GFI type for safety. Finally, the outlet should have a cover on it. All of this work is obviously done by a hack, and with no regard for safety. Would you trust this lash-up?
The prospective buyer decided the risk of discovering even more amateur workmanship in this condo unit was not worth it.
This dark-colored plywood roof sheathing is the older (20+ years) Fire Resistant Treated material which was discovered to be prone to deterioration and rot due to the treatment it received to resist burning.
It is still in use today, and we find it occasionally. This material can be picked apart easily by hand, and if someone stands on it while working on the roof, it will not support any weight. Further, the noticeably darker areas along the truss are wet--more problems. This stuff will have to be replaced, which involves removing the shingles, making repairs, and re-shingling the roof.
This was found in a townhouse attic and the prospective buyer was moved to see if the homeowner's association knew about it and had plans to repair it--and if any special assessments were to be levied because of it.
You're looking down into a heating/cooling duct in a slab. For one reason or another, the duct lining (in this case it was metal) has rusted completely away. The brown material at the bottom of the duct is the sand subgrade under the slab of the home. The sand was completely wet and saturated, and the moisture could well be finding it's way into the home, causing mold.
Ducts in slabs can often fill with water. When your furnace starts, some ducts can be blocked completely, or the air that does get thru is now able to load up with moisture. It's also a great place for bacteria to grow.
Finding someone who can repair/re-line the ductwork can be a challenging mission, if not downright impossible, but repairs should be done.
This laundry tub sink air admittance valve, sometimes referred to as a Studor vent or auto-vent, is intended to supply plumbing venting where vent piping can't feasibly be routed to the exterior atmosphere as directed by modern standards. These are not permitted in our area and thus are a sign of do-it-yourself plumbing work.
Investigating issues with thermal imaging: Using the thermal camera can often reveal issues not easily seen or detected otherwise. Here is a photo of two vents, one in a kitchen and one in a room addition. The kitchen vent as seen in the thermal image (bright yellow color, showing heat) delivers good airflow, while the vent alongside in the room addition (barely visible in the thermal image) delivers practically none. This probably is due to a duct problem, but now the HVAC technician will have an idea of where to concentrate his investigation.
This installer decided not to try to mount those pesky photocells at each side of the garage overhead door opening. These provide an invisible "beam" at the bottom of the door opening which, if interrupted by a car or child, etc. passing through it, will cause the door to stop closing and open again. It is a safety feature on all modern garage overhead door openers.
To avoid having to align the beams for proper operation, this technician has simply hung the receiver and transmitter units in the garage ceiling, taped together so the beam can't be interrupted. He also didn't put a cover plate on the outlet box. Not so safe anymore.
We see this more than you'd think, and no--actual garage door installers DON'T install these in this manner.
The roof on this home is worn out, and to make matters worse a roof vent is missing. From the looks of things in the attic, the vent had been missing a long time. The insulation was wet and the ceiling in a bedroom was very obviously stained from water getting in.
This is how galvanized iron pipe dies, whether it is for water supply or for waste. The inside of the pipe is full of rust, and the rust finally eats it's way out. This old waste pipe we found recently leaked every time water drained from a fixture upstairs.
This material shows the age of the home also, as copper piping is used for supply now and plastic piping gets rid of the waste. If you see old iron piping in the home you're purchasing, you will have some maintenance to do periodically along the way.
We occasionally see evidence of termites or ants, etc. and we immediately point it out to buyers. Since we don't do the pest inspections firsthand, we urge a separate inspection to look for these damaging bugs. In this home, even if they're no longer present they've done a lot of damage and you can be sure we didn't see all of it. This photo is of the roof sheathing and framing, taken in the attic.
Water heater exhaust hood flat against top of water heater
Here, the hood on the water heater that attaches to the exhaust flue is installed flat against the top of the water heater. The hood is meant to sit on legs which hold it up above the heater body a bit. This installation as shown here means impaired, reduced draft or flow up the exhaust ducting and can be dangerous. If you see this, you can be sure it's an amateur installation, and should consult a plumber right away for repairs.
Just one example of many we've seen of amateur work. When you see wiring stapled onto the studs and not run thru them, you know a hack has been at work. In many areas locally the use of this plastic-sheathed wiring is not permitted, but even if it is it has to be done right. This job is crude and amateurish, and to make things worse, the perpetrator left out the ground leg of the circuit.
These work by blocking a door from being opened, and should be installed on the inswing side of the door. In this application in a local condo building, it is doing nothing that we can see. If someone wants to walk into the room or hallway, no problem. If someone on the other side of this door wants to open it, no problem.
But the installer probably has a great sense of accomplishment and is blissfully unaware of this gaffe.