Please don't Pee in my Crawlspace!

By
Home Inspector with Perfection Inspection, Inc.

Believe it or not this post is not about incontinent home inspectors.  That will have to be another post. This post is about fuzzy critters and how they get under your home.

These tight, nasty, potentially wet areas are easy to neglect.  Low, out of sight and most likely disgusting it is usually best to not even think about these places.

This mentality also leads to the fact that I will often find defects in these areas.  One of the most popular defect I note is openings that allow pest access.

Most crawlspaces have these neat little vents for air flow.  Compared to the concrete foundation the metal screens on these vents are much easier to bash and slash to allow access for pipes and wires.   Most contractors care more about their next few hours than about the damage that occurs to the home due to pest infiltration over the years from a hasty hole cut into the crawlspace screen.

As an active, preventatively thinking home owner one of the best things to do (short of actually go into your crawlspace because really who wants to do that?) is to open the lid to your crawlspace and smell.   Yeah, seriously take a wiff.  If you are slapped in the face with years of rodent urine……you may have some more investigation to do.

Today as I was doing a home inspection and crawling around looking for damage to my client’s potential home, I put my arm down and something, ……rather large…..*gulp*….pushed back.  I figured it was a healthy rat under the plastic vapor barrier.  This close encounter along with the smell of a public urinal led me to look for the rodent’s access opening.

Finding the hole was easy.  Right where the downdraft vented out, the metal screen was completely open.  This gave most neighborhood rodents plenty of room to move in.

The point of my wonderful, rambling tale is that you can and should check your vents.  These are on the perimeter of the home, which means you do not need to enter my place of business (your crawlspace) to see these open critter funnels.  Just take a stroll around the outside of your home and look and bend down to get a good look at those vents.  Especially the vents near the AC unit, cable, and or satellite connections.

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Rainer
311,705
Michael Delaware
North Sky Realty LLC - Battle Creek, MI
REALTOR®, CRS, GRI

I do not envy your job!  Yuck!

Oct 06, 2010 03:34 AM #1
Rainer
33,002
Stephanie Williams, Realtor Murrells Inlet
Seaside Properties - Murrells Inlet, SC

So your title drew me in to read your post, but that top picture just ran me out.  Yuck!!  There is something to say about building on a slab.  

Oct 06, 2010 03:37 AM #2
Rainer
127,396
Heather Russo
Keller Williams Realty - Kerrville - Kerrville, TX
SRES , REALTOR, Kerrville, Texas Homes for Sale

Growing up... I moved into one house where the homeowner had buried.... YES BURIED... all of the dead pets in the basement.

I SAID IT! BURIED THE DEAD PETS INSIDE THE HOUSE IN THE BASEMENT!!!!

There was a dirt area under the wooden steps that went to the basement from outside... and in that area, there were... my father counted... 6 cats, 4 dogs and 4 birds.... 14 animals accounted for!

It's NOT just crawl spaces!!!  *shhivverr*

Oct 06, 2010 03:42 AM #3
Rainer
322,805
Don MacLean
Simolari & MacLean REMAX EXECUTIVE REALTY - Franklin, MA
Realtor - Homes For Sale - Franklin MA

LOL

I'll stay on this side of the home.

I enjoy the different things inspectors encounter and they are not for me.

Enjoy the day

Oct 06, 2010 03:44 AM #4
Rainmaker
176,535
Jim Allhiser
Perfection Inspection, Inc. - Salem, OR
Salem, Oregon Home Inspector

Michael:  Yeah, but, I don't exactly have to do any real work down there!  I just crawl around poke stuff and take pictures

Stephanie:  Sorry about that.

Heather:  That wins the prize for the most disgusting thing I have heard all week!

Don: Oh, come on!  I need someone to keep me company down there!

Oct 06, 2010 04:29 AM #5
Rainmaker
681,572
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Fortunately here on the East Coast in Ct we do not have many crawl spaces. Rodents are a problem, but not to the degree it seems out on the west coast.

Oct 06, 2010 08:14 AM #6
Rainer
17,435
Greg Code
Keller Williams/Portland Central - Portland, OR

Jim,

 

Good post!! I've been down in plenty of crawl spaces and I have yet to find a decomposing cat!! WOW!! 

Greg

Oct 06, 2010 08:52 AM #7
Rainmaker
176,535
Jim Allhiser
Perfection Inspection, Inc. - Salem, OR
Salem, Oregon Home Inspector

James: "If you give them a hole, they will defecate in it." ....sounded better in my head

Greg:  That was only one of FOUR Opossum carcasses!  good times.

Oct 06, 2010 03:15 PM #8
Rainer
130,893
Jason Channell
Diadem Property Inspections - Serving Southeast Michigan - Troy, MI
The House Sleuth

Jim, crawl spaces are the worst part of the job in my opinion. I've seen lots of dead and gross stuff in them, but never a rotting opossum carcass. Yuck.

Oct 11, 2010 07:27 PM #9
Rainmaker
642,181
Dawn A Fabiszak
Private Label Realty ( Denver metro area, Colorado - Aurora, CO
The Dawn of a New Real Estate Experience!

Jim ~ here in Denver, we hear about the family cat using the crawl space for their litter box more so than rodents.

Oct 12, 2010 04:51 AM #10
Rainmaker
176,535
Jim Allhiser
Perfection Inspection, Inc. - Salem, OR
Salem, Oregon Home Inspector

Jason:  Very true however it is not like we have to do any real work down there.  Before I was a home inspector I spent a while doing basement/crawlspace de-watering.  Awful job.

Dawn:  Cats are probably the worst violators here too.  More per household probably.

Oct 12, 2010 05:42 AM #11
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Rainmaker
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Jim Allhiser

Salem, Oregon Home Inspector
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