Thank Goodness For Duct Tape

Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC 3380-000723

You have to understand before I even begin that I am being facetious when I say thank goodness for duct tape.

From outside this house we saw a rather large vent covering on the front of the house.  It was rather ugly too, and damaged as if it had been hit by a fallen tree limb. 

Of course my client asked me what it was.  "A vent cap.  Likely a bathroom vent, but we will see once we get into the attic."

Little did we know what we would run into in the attic!

It was an older house, and both bathrooms had new vents.  And they both had new, wonderfully plastic vent tubes which met inside the one wide vent directing their air toward the attic penetration.

The smaller bathroom vent tubes each barely entered the wide tube.  So how much air was actually exhausting outdoors is minimal.

But the wide tube is not even directing the air toward the hole!

Fortunately, though, the tube is held in place (not the right place mind you, but in place) with DUCT TAPE!

And not that fancy, schmancy aluminum tape.


It is not going anywhere!

Well, actually, I'm not sure about that.

But I am sure that this is not a very effective vent.

The reason there is no mold on the sheathing is probably because not much air is actually getting to the roof!

In order to accommodate both bathroom vent tubes, he bottom of this wide tube is positioned such that for the rafter, and DUCT TAPE,  to hold it in place, it cannot really be directing the air outside the house.  So it is a failure in every respect.  But to fix it into this incorrect position intentionally, and with DUCT TAPE, might not be the mark of a true professional.  Who knows how long these sellers have lived with this installation.

My recommendation:  be sure to check the attic space!  You never know what you might find!  When people ask me what in the world I could possibly be interested in when I go into the attic I say that there are more than a dozen things I want to look at, and only one of them is the underside of the roof! 




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Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


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Richard Iarossi
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Crofton, MD
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate


If the original intention was to duct tape that piece so it wasn't stolen, I'd say they're successful so far. The air flow stuff is just to complicated for us civilians.


Nov 20, 2011 11:41 PM #10
Patricia Feager
Selling Homes Changing Lives


Isn't it funny how some people go through so much trouble to go up into the attic with a roll of duct tape and say they fixed the problem?

It makes me wonder if the homowner actually paid a handyman or someone else to fix the problem and the owner just assumed the work was done?

The last time I paid my deductible on a Home Warranty Policy to have an HVAC technician go up into my attic he spent about 30 minutes up there. I did not follow up or check up on him. He finally came down, he told me my unit was at the end of its life cycle and he did the best he could to keep it going for awhile; however, I should expect to replace it in the very near future. Then he handed me a card and told me he had connections to get a new unit outside of the Home Warranty Company.

I went up into the attic and saw pieces taken apart and nothing was put back together - not even with duct tape! Plus the unit didn't work! I reported him and I know he isn't working for the company anymore; however, I'm sure he's working for himself or somebody else and it frightens me to know there are people out there who will do such a thing.

Well, I just had to vent!

Have a nice day!


Nov 21, 2011 12:20 AM #11
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Jay, they must've gotten that missive: when in doubt, use duct tape. What I love about these inspection posts of yours is that they are both fun AND informative.

Nov 21, 2011 04:05 AM #12
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Jay, got to love ducting in the attic. Always some fun to be had.  You must know by now that duct tape is an essential element of all engineering design.

Nov 21, 2011 05:00 AM #13
Jason Sardi
Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina - Charlotte, NC
Your Agent for Life

Jay - I don't care what anybody says; I heart duct tape:)  I learned about the importance of checking the attic at my first abode.

Nov 21, 2011 05:20 AM #14
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

It's complicated because air is invisible Rich, so it's hard to see what is happening.

Patricia - that is totally out of bounds for someone to do that.  And to leave you hanging to boot.  Good for you for turning him in.  But you're right, these guys are certainly out there.

There are many ways to teach a lesson Gayle.  I try to make it as understandable and light as I can.

Don - I went up into an attic this morning wondering why it was so warm.  I found five ducts completely disconnected, so they were heating the attic more than the upper level!  We'll hope this afternoon's appointment is just as fun!

Jason - I love those guys on TV with their fun - got a broken window?  Duct tape!  Is the drawer on your bureau loose?  Duct tape!  It is really funny, my opinion of course...


Nov 21, 2011 06:24 AM #15
Margo Otey

love the 1,001 uses for duct tape, but this was not to be one of them!  Yet another reason why it's a good thing to have a home inspection.

Nov 21, 2011 07:38 AM #16
Chris Smith
Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage - New Tecumseth, ON
South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta

Jay there is an episode of "Mythbusters" that you might find amusing... Adam and Jamie, along with the gang explore the possible uses for duct tape... like building a bridge or stopping a speeding automobile...

Nov 21, 2011 07:54 AM #17
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Marge - I was happy to be able to add reason 1,002!

Chris - didn't they use it to wrap around and pick up a car?  I think I saw that one.  There, 1,003 uses!

Nov 21, 2011 08:48 AM #18
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Jay, this reminds me of the old bathroom sign:  We aim to please---will you aim too please?

Nov 21, 2011 09:04 AM #19
Steven Cook
No Longer Processing Mortgages. - Tacoma, WA

Jay -- maybe the person who used the duct tape had aimed the large vent tube closer to the vent cap, and the tape just stretched over time, to allow the tube to move away from where it should be.   Wonder why they went with big tube when it would have been cheaper to just add to the separate smaller tubes?

Nov 21, 2011 10:52 AM #20
Randy Ostrander
Lake and Lodge Realty LLC - Big Rapids, MI
Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI

Good evening Jay. Good to see another fine use of duct tape to add to our already impressive list. Yikes.

Nov 21, 2011 11:42 AM #21
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

That was not a very good shot, was it Charlie?  A bit hard to tell from the angle of the picture, but the vent is totally missing the hole.

Hard to tell Steven.  I think the rafter angle made it impossible to get that vent pointed in the right direction.  And the "repair guy" left it like that.

Randy - the list is impressive!  I think it's growing myself.

Nov 21, 2011 11:52 AM #22
Reuben Saltzman
Structure Tech Home Inspections - Minneapolis, MN
Delivering the Unbiased Truth.

If the air was just a little smarter, it would know to leave the attic.

Nov 21, 2011 01:38 PM #23
Michael S. Bolton
Michael S. Bolton,Inc. - Zimmerman, MN
MN Appraiser

Ah shucks Jay, I thought you were going to have a another great tip on how to use duct tape. For all of my FHA appraisals I have to at least poke my head and shoulders into the attic, at least now I've learned something to look for.

Nov 21, 2011 01:56 PM #24
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I don't know Reubs.  Air must be pretty smart - it understands physics.  I don't...

Michael - I see duct tape in attics all the time!  Just yesterday I saw it on various HVAC ducts, all of which had become disconnected over time.

Nov 21, 2011 08:41 PM #25
Jeanean Gendron
The Address Realty - Redding, CA
Specializing in Selling Unique Properties

Jay, Sardi always cracks me up. The men in my family also heart duct tape. It seems to be the solution for everything. My son was too funny with duct taping everything imaginable. Great post and I agree that it is so nice to combine the humor of it all along with the knowledge base. You write well and it is enjoyable!

Nov 22, 2011 12:23 AM #26
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thank you Jeanean.  Duct tape has its uses!  Don't discount that.  But there are many more NON uses!

Nov 22, 2011 09:18 PM #27
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

My two girls have duct tape in patterns. My favorite is the flames. How cool is that? They use their duct tape to make duct tape crafts. Yes that's right crafts from duct tape. You gotta love duct tape :)

Nov 23, 2011 06:38 AM #28
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Years ago, Jim, my son made a duct tape wallet and it lasted a long time!

Dec 03, 2011 10:07 AM #29
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