As houses sit for months, and in the case of this house over a year, conditions can develop that buyers might not consider. This one photo is reason enough to get a home inspection! This buyer told me he had been to (and since there was a combo box on the door INSIDE) the house many times. He had not noticed a lot of what I had on my extensive report, but certainly had not noticed this.
Unfortunately it was a very cloudy and dark day, so this picture may not do this circumstance justice.
This is the gas water heater vent.
IT HAS BECOME A BIRD CONDO!
At the lower center hole a little one is actually looking out, but not too visible!
This is what I was reminded of when I saw it.
It's a virtual apartment building for birds!
There was grass or a little head peaking out of all eight holes the water heater vent had to offer.
These birds are very clever little fellows. They know that nobody is living in the home.
Finding this convenient place to locate their nests, probably last spring, they moved in and have raised their families there ever since!
BUT WHILE THIS LOOKS CUTE, IT IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS THING FOR A NEW HOMEOWNER!!
I mentioned that the buyer had not noticed this. What if he had decided NOT to have a home inspection? He would have moved in. That water heater is located in an attic space, right beside the upstairs bedroom in this cape cod home! They would have lit the pilot light and began heating the tank.
This flue goes down vertically about 2' below the roof, where it turns at a 45 degree angle for about 3' and then to a slight incline for another 4' or so.
Birds would have been killed by the CO produced by the heater. As they died, they may have fallen into this vent, partially or totally clogging it!
As that poisonous exhaust was discharged it would have been blocked, forcing CO into the home, and that bedroom.
NEED I ASK YOU THE RESULT?
The simple removal of bird nests will prevent all of this, and it was discovered during a home inspection.
My recommendation: Get a home inspection before you buy! It may save a life, or two, or more. Maybe even yours!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia