improper plumbing installation: Our Church Stinks - 11/08/17 03:47 AM
Our church stinks.
I guess you could take that a couple of ways.  But they meant that it really did stink.  Especially on Sundays when so many people were there.
The stink had been getting worse for a month and was so bad some people had stopped coming to church.  The administrators did not know why.
Originally the church authorities had called me to investigate some structural issues.
Built in the 1800s they noticed some things that weren't right.
When I arrived they showed me the opening to the not-very-high crawl space, and before I entered said, "For about a month the sanctuary has been getting … (17 comments)

improper plumbing installation: The Shower Drain That Doesn't Exist - 11/03/17 04:00 AM
The shower drain that doesn't exist.
I have seen this before.  People who don't pull permits to do "improvements" and try to sneak a fast one on an unsuspecting buyer.
Seeing this new shower I was immediately suspicious.
Why?  Because this model house, built in this area in the late 60s and early 70s, always has a powder room in this location.
Seeing it and seeing where the new shower was placed really got my Spidey Sense tingling.
The main drain stack could be seen beside the framing in the furnace room, as well as the drainage vent stack which proceeded from there to exhaust sewer gases … (17 comments)

improper plumbing installation: Should A Builder Change An Installation To Accommodate The Buyer? - 04/17/17 02:46 AM
Should a builder change an installation to accommodate a buyer?
This is a good one.  The buyer of this house wanted a basement laundry room in addition to the normal one on the bedroom level.  The builder said fine.
This is what we found on the pre-drywall inspection.
But when the installation was complete the buyer was not satisfied.
Because the supply plumbing (plastic CPVC) runs under the duct right in front of where the washing machine will sit.
What's wrong with that?
That supply tubing is only 6'3" high.
The buyer is 6'5" tall!  And he wants it moved.
In my opinion the installation as it is now … (7 comments)

improper plumbing installation: We All Have Gas, Which Needs Venting. Just Not Under The Kitchen Sink. - 05/17/16 08:40 PM
We all have gas, which needs venting.  Just not under the kitchen sink.
This is new construction, and a final walk through.
Looking under the kitchen sink I noticed the problem immediately.
Pointing under there I asked everyone present to have a look and tell me what was missing.
Nobody knew.*
The red arrow came later for the report, but shows you what was in question.
As the house has not really been used there was no residual odor.
This is missing the vent cap, a special cap called an AAV, or Air Admittance Valve.
This valve has special baffles which allows air in to vent … (4 comments)

improper plumbing installation: How To Change The Classic Linen Closet Into A Shower - 03/28/16 08:31 PM
How to change the classic linen closet into a shower.
Sure, we see that every day!  We have a storage room, with a powder room attached that services a finished family room.  A linen closet used to be the back wall of the powder room.
So, why not create a new "bedroom" from the storage room, and put a shower there, so we can sell the house with four bedrooms and three and a half full bathrooms!  The bedroom is 8'x8', so it's just right for a child.
First, we need to change the wall in the powder room so it's no longer a closet.  … (22 comments)

improper plumbing installation: Trapped Goop - The Oft-Told Tale Of Accordion Plastic Drain Lines - 10/25/15 05:35 PM
Uh oh - trapped goop - the oft-told tale of accordion plastic drain lines.
In this "Newly Remodeled Kitchen," or so the MLS and "Special Features" list stated, there was a very old disposal, which was rusted and stuck, and a drain that was very slow.
The drain was VERY slow.
A drain should always be made of approved, smooth material so what it is flushing moves freely. 
Whether the fixture is a toilet, tub/shower, or sink, you want whatever is being drained to move freely!
And the codes concerning drains, and drain material, all say the same thing - "smooth"  material.
P3201.1 Design of traps.
Traps … (15 comments)

improper plumbing installation: Askew, Askant And Aslant - 05/31/15 07:43 PM
What do you do on new construction when the water heater is every bit of askew, askant and aslant?
What, you say?
Isn't a water heater supposed to be straight up and down and rest flat on the floor?
Well, yes, yes it should.
In some places they even strap them so they not only are straight and rest flat, but don't move.  Here they are not strapped, but still they should be plumb and flat on the floor.
This one is not only askew, askant and aslant, but it wobbles dramatically as well.
This isn't good since the plumbing is plastic and can so easily snap.
Why … (16 comments)

improper plumbing installation: Honey, Can We Please Move The Laundry Room? - 11/21/14 07:21 PM
On home inspections I imagine hearing this question a lot - "Honey, can we please move the laundry room?" 
And the answer - "Sure.  I can make it work."
Ladies and gentlemen, let the games begin!
Later - veeeeooola!  The new laundry room!
It is now in the old, and current, furnace room!  The spot the architect designed was dumb anyway.  Well, just sayin'.
If you think that dryer looks like it's crammed into a small space you are right.
The dryer is wider than the opening between the door frame and that metal return duct for the furnace. 
And it's … (29 comments)

improper plumbing installation: The Indoor Hose Bib Shut-off Valves Need To Be The Right Ones - 08/06/14 08:22 PM
If you are going to winterize your exterior hose bibs the indoor hose bib shut-off valves need to be the right ones.
And what are the right ones?
To the right is a valve which has a brass cap on the side.
That is called the "bleeder valve."
It's intention is to break the vacuum in the pipe for winterization.
In winter the indoor valve, like you see here, should be shut off and the exterior hose bib opened.
Then the bleeder valve can be opened, or even removed, so any water in the pipe can drain.  Then the pipe can … (10 comments)

improper plumbing installation: New Water Main Shut Off And Water Heater - 07/20/14 08:20 PM
The features list said, "New water main shut off and water heater."
Not bad!  That's always good news, especially with an older house like this one. 
The old water mains in such houses are often so stiff they do not operate.  Most home inspectors will check that.
And there it is!  The new valve is a lever valve, always easier to operate than the older turning handle valve.
And the bottom of the new water heater can be seen.
But I saw the problem with this new installation immediately.
My clients didn't.  And the Realtor didn't either.
So I demonstrated.
The … (17 comments)

improper plumbing installation: Testing The Plumbing In New Construction - Here The Master Bath Shower - 05/22/14 06:57 PM
This can happen when testing the plumbing in new construction - here the master bath shower.
Builders never like to see this happen.  I have even been blamed in the past for making it happen!  But this is why we do the inspection!
You would think that this shower had been tested, and examined, more than once by now by the installing plumber and the supervisor building this house.
In new construction I like to turn the shower on when there is a glass surround to see if the surround will leak.
I just spray around the edges for a while … (19 comments)

improper plumbing installation: Everyone Loves The Calming Sound Of A Gentle Waterfall - 08/04/13 08:43 PM
Everyone loves the calming sound of a gentle waterfall - except when it's a plumbing drain!
Frequently the laundry room is in the basement.
And very often, when in the basement, the washing machine drains into the laundry tub.
Looking further, that dark tube on the left is the condensate line from the AC unit in the next room.
The AC condensate tube is drained into a little box, which pumps the water up and into the sink in the next room.
Nothing is wrong with any of that.
Except that the laundry room wasn't always in this location!
The former … (56 comments)

improper plumbing installation: Biff, "Should We Screw It Or Glue It?" Boff, "Aw, ... - 06/08/13 08:42 PM
I love looking in a bathroom, seeing a creative toilet installation, and imagining the contractor's conversation - Biff, "Should we screw it or glue it?" Boff, "Aw, screw it.  Just glue it!"  
When you go into a bathroom adorned with new vinyl flooring, and see the toilet set up on shims, with the cap stuck up with a really long screw and the toilet wobbles dramatically, you know you are dealing with creativity!
There's simply no other word for it.
Imagine people using this toilet for a while!
In no time it will be cracked, or leaking, or whatever.
Properly … (21 comments)

improper plumbing installation: How Do You Turn A Dishwasher Air-Gap Device Into A Water-Gap Device? - 05/03/13 06:07 PM
So, how do you turn a dishwasher air-gap device into a water-gap device?
Remember the old air-gap devices?  Those little domes on the edge of the kitchen sink which AIR is supposed to come out of when the dishwasher drains?  If it clogged water would spray instead.
Now dishwashers are mostly drained directly into the disposal, which is alright if the drain hose loops over the disposal so you don't get goop back washing into the dishwasher.
People sometimes call me to ask why there is rice on their plates after the dishwasher finishes.  Ummmm...
However, arriving at an empty house, … (21 comments)

improper plumbing installation: After All The Inspections And County Approvals, The Shower Won't Drain - 02/22/13 06:59 PM
Can you guess from the title that after all the inspections and County approvals, the shower won't drain.
Something plumbing happens on new construction inspections more often than I can mention.
Certainly one of the things during a new construction inspection is to see if all the plumbing works properly.
This is the master bathroom shower stall.
I ran the shower for a while, along with the other components, all at the same time.
Doing that not only tests them for function, but also the water pressure.
In this case the shower did not drain.
So I left it for a … (23 comments)

improper plumbing installation: Gluing Down Toilets To Make Sure They NEVER Move! - 02/06/13 06:55 PM
You have to love consistency and you have to admire somebody who loves his job so much he wants permanence in what he does!  And this consistent, permanent fellow likes gluing down toilets to make sure they NEVER move!
In fact, the buyer and I were admiring one of these when the wife of the duo, who actually found the house and wrote a contract without his husband seeing it, screamed about an oddity she had just found!
Certainly these are glued down so well that those silly, extraneous bolt things are absolutely not necessary!
Flanges - don't need them!  Bolts … (61 comments)

improper plumbing installation: How Not To Drain The Dishwasher After A New Counter Top Is Installed - 01/31/13 06:28 PM
The title says it all - how not to drain the dishwasher after a new counter top is installed.
But some people really should be given a prize for ingenuity!  Uncle Bob is alive and well, and making his rounds.
In the olden days, the dishwasher used to drain to something called the "air-gap device."  There are other names, like vacuum breaker, but it's all the same.
The water would be pushed out of the dishwasher, the air would flow up and out over the counter top and the water would make a tight turn in a crotch in the line … (36 comments)

improper plumbing installation: I Finally Found Where The Sump Pump Drained - 11/14/12 08:25 PM
The front facade was new, there was a new porch on the rear, and the inside had been redone, including a newly-finished basement, with lots of new stuff, like a sump pump!  I finally found where the sump pump drained.
And they spent a lot of time and effort to drain it - INCORRECTLY.
But you knew that was to follow.
From the basement I could see exactly where the sump's discharge tubing exited the house.
But it was not visible outdoors!
This time of year there are a lot of leaves in some yards.  Such was the case here!
So … (21 comments)

improper plumbing installation: The "FIX" Is In! - 11/07/12 07:40 PM
Well, I had to laugh yesterday as I did a re-inspection for a bank wanting me to look at various repairs to see if the "FIX" is in!  The appraiser wanted certain things on my report to be redone and reported on that they were "FIXED."
Yes, the "FIX" is in, and the quotes around that word are absolutely necessary!
Why?  Because, apparently, the same people who put in the first "remodel" did the final "FIX!"
If you don't understand plumbing, you shouldn't be doing plumbing!
Here is the first attempt at installing a kitchen drain.
There are many problems.
All … (62 comments)

improper plumbing installation: One Out Of Two Ain't Bad - 10/06/12 08:10 PM
When I think of the old college try, giving it your best shot, trying and trying again until success, and all those other cliches intended to spur one to excel, I have to admire Flippers and remodelers!
This Flipper showed me that, like the bowler safely going for only one pin in a 7 - 10 split, one out of two ain't bad.
To what, you might ask, do I refer?
Well, the old, "Hey, let's add a full bathroom where the laundry room used to be," thought.
Every Flipper's dream, you know, is to add another bathroom!  And, hook or … (40 comments)

Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) Rainmaker large

Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Bristow, VA

More about me…

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Address: Bristow VA 20136

Office: (703) 330-6388

Mobile: (703) 585-7560

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An experienced home inspector's look at current home inspection events and conditions along with his useful recommendations.




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