So Many Wrongs

By
Home Inspector with JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC HOI 394

There are times when inspecting a home that I find something that has been installed with several things wrong. It almost becomes a comedy of errors, except it’s not funny when those errors have the potential to cause harm.Water heater in a Connecticut ct home

Take for example a water heater. Water heaters look pretty harmless standing humbly in their chosen spot. They do not look scary or dangerous. Yet there are numerous potential dangers that can exist.

Take for example this gas water heater from a recent inspection. My first thought was it hasn’t been installed by a licensed plumber. The first issue is the missing TPR valve extension, certainly one of the more common issues with a water heater. The reason for the extension is that in the event the valve opens the hot water and steam is expelled at the floor not at near face level. The yellow gas line to the unit is CSST, a known defective product. Any time CSST is installed it must be electrically grounded. It wasn’t, again a very common defect.

Now let’s look at some more serious issues which show a lack of knowledge and or good sense and or concern for the installation.

Water heater flue vent with a negative pitchLook at the flue vent from the water heater to the chimney. It’s clearly pitched downward, not up. It is also very close to the plastic covering on the duct insulation. The other issue which no one can see is this unit is venting into a very tall unlined chimney. This unit has a venting combination that is almost sure to cause back venting.

One more issue I will mention is the lack of a required expansion tank. I almost never see expansion tanks installed on a water heater, but they have been required for quite some time.

The number of errors is almost comedic, but this is certainly not funny.

 

James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
Former SNEC-ASHI President
NRSB #8SS0022
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

To find out more about our other high tech services we offer in Connecticut click on the links below:

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Serving the Connecticut Counties of Fairfield, Hartford, Middlesex, New Haven, Southern Litchfield and Western New London.

Posted by

James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
Former SNEC-ASHI President
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

 ASHI Certified Inspector

To find out more about our other high tech services we offer in Connecticut click on the links below:

Learn more about our Infrared Thermal Imaging & Diagnostics services.

Serving the Connecticut Counties of Fairfield, Hartford, Middlesex, New Haven, Southern Litchfield and Western New London.

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Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Jim for such a simple thing it is amazing how many things can be wrong with them

Jan 23, 2012 03:55 AM #1
Rainmaker
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Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Uncle Bob alert!  A comedy of errors is true!  Looks like a small tank.  I had a new home today with the biggie master bath tub, with a 40 gallon water tank.  And that's how the builder advertised it!

Jan 23, 2012 04:40 AM #2
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Jason Sardi
Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina - Charlotte, NC
Your Agent for Life

Hey James - Water heaters can be a pretty big deal.  I learned that awhile ago.  I don't take this stuff lightly, especially considering I'm pretty ignorant on most things that an Inspector would deem as everyday fodder.

Jan 23, 2012 05:02 AM #3
Rainmaker
179,891
Jack Gilleland
Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton - Clayton, OH

Good calls all James.  Water heater probably sold by home improv. store and installed by Uncle 
Dick. 

Jan 23, 2012 07:39 AM #4
Rainmaker
1,844,065
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Clearly, Jack, it was Uncle Bob...

Jan 23, 2012 11:38 AM #5
Rainmaker
841,417
Barbara Altieri
RealtyQuest/Kinard Realty Group, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Jim -- Sounds like someone's DIY project to me. Those can indeed be very scary as I am sure you know.

Jan 23, 2012 12:50 PM #6
Rainmaker
490,607
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Jim, Guess What I had today, CSST, next guess what was not there ; ). Same old, same old!!! Shocking huh ; )

Jan 23, 2012 03:55 PM #7
Rainmaker
179,891
Jack Gilleland
Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton - Clayton, OH

Jay, Bob and Dick worked together, and I think they were each other's mentors.

Jan 24, 2012 06:23 AM #8
Rainmaker
684,559
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Charlie, Indeed it is...and how many of them one installer can get wrong.

Jay, Tanks 40 gallons, more than enough for the house (1 bath).

So I have one better than that. Today, or actually yesterday had a 5 full, 2 half bath home with a 30 year old tankless coil providing all the hot water. Temp at the faucet in the master bath was 90. Big time Uncle Bob alert!

Jason, You my friend have the good sense to know that you don't know. The guy that put that water heater not so bright, at least about water heaters.

Jack, Thanks. I'm with Jay, Uncle Bob :)

Barbara, Sometimes they sure are a bit unnerving. 

Don, Wow, gas in your area. Ummmm, let's see your lunch wasn't there? ;)

Jack, I think you are right about that one. And don't forget all the cousins.

Jan 24, 2012 11:17 AM #9
Rainmaker
233,467
Reuben Saltzman
Structure Tech Home Inspections - Minneapolis, MN
Delivering the Unbiased Truth.

How were the water supply lines?  That's about all they had left to get wrong...

Jan 29, 2012 10:59 AM #10
Rainmaker
684,559
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Reuben, No unions.

Jan 30, 2012 12:11 AM #11
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James Quarello

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