improper plumbing installation: Honey, Can We Please Move The Laundry Room? - 11/22/14 03:21 AM
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 - 08/07/14 03:22 AM
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 - 07/21/14 03:20 AM
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 - 05/23/14 01:57 AM
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 - 08/05/13 03:43 AM
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, ... - 06/09/13 03:42 AM
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? - 05/04/13 01:07 AM
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 - 02/23/13 02:59 AM
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! - 02/07/13 02:55 AM
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 - 02/01/13 02:28 AM
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 - 11/15/12 04:25 AM
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! - 11/08/12 03:40 AM
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 - 10/07/12 03:10 AM
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)

improper plumbing installation: Thinking Too Deeply - 07/19/12 03:55 AM
When someone is thinking too deeply, they can get trapped in an idea.  And what was imagined ends up not becoming exactly what it should, and isn't right.
Getting trapped in an idea is exactly what has happened here.
Turning on the water in this sink to test it I noticed that it drained very slowly.  VERY slowly.
The pop up drain maybe could have opened a little higher and needed an adjustment.
But still, it drained VERY slowly!
Hair?  Goopy clog?
Looking underneath I think we know why!
Ideally a trap under a sink is about 4" deep.  That's deep … (35 comments)

improper plumbing installation: Tipping The Toilet - 04/09/12 02:32 AM
I know it sounds alliterative, but on a home inspection one of the tests I do is tipping the toilet.
It is important that a toilet be secured properly to the floor and that the tank secured to the bowl.
Especially important, when I see new flooring, I want to know if the flange, which seats and anchors the toilet to the floor, is still in place and the toilet is bolted to it.
This bathroom has a new vinyl floor.  I could see that the bolt under the one cap is very loose.
Difficult to see perhaps is the huge … (56 comments)

improper plumbing installation: Solid Geometry - Area Of A Cabinet = Pi Times Plumbing Squared - 04/07/12 02:34 AM
For some reason, when I took solid geometry in school, one day the formulas for figuring out the area of an object just clicked.
And it has helped me!  When doing energy audits, one of the things I have to do is figure out the area of all the rooms so I can calculate the area of the house needing to be environmentally controlled.
Wow, you mean high school math has helped me?  Yes!
Who knew that would ever happen?
So, imagine my joy when it came to determining if this cabinet is large enough for the plumbing?
Or was it … (19 comments)

improper plumbing installation: Multi-tasking Plumbing Clean Out - 04/01/12 03:10 AM
How about a multi-tasking plumbing clean out?  It's always good to see two things knocked out with one throw of a stone! 
If your drain should clog between the house and the street, in older homes there is a port on the main drain stack that a plumber can screw off to send down a snake to dislodge the obstruction.  Newer construction has such ports on all drain stacks and even one in the yard.
In this house, built in 1954, there is a sump pump, obviously installed in recent times as these were not in use in the 50s.
Notice … (57 comments)

improper plumbing installation: Shower Gone Wild! - 02/03/12 06:00 AM
Don't you love to see a new shower installation.  And upgrades!  Well, it just doesn't get better than upgrading that shower. 
Take an old shower, with old tile, and boom!  Make it new!
Such was the case here.  The house had been vacant for some time, so the shower had not been used.  But it works!
Nothing better than an adjustable shower height!
Professionally done, professional looking, well, professional all around.
Well, until you look behind.
And underneath wasn't any better!
It was the underneath that got me upstairs to investigate the installation!
It was a mess, had been a mess … (29 comments)

improper plumbing installation: Caulking, The Universal Plumbing Repair - 10/13/11 04:43 AM
What to say when you find that caulking, the universal plumbing repair, was used to fix plastic CPVC plumbing?
Entering the REO the agent said to my clients and me that the bank will do nothing more to repair the house?
I asked, "Nothing more?"
"Yes, there were many plumbing problems and the bank already sent someone to fix them," she responded.
I got that "home inspector tingle" so many inspectors understand and even write about!
And I wasn't disappointed!!
My "Spider Sense" was right again.
This little gem of a repair was over the water heater.
The "repair" guy obviously … (84 comments)

improper plumbing installation: A Slow Drip Of Water Can Be Torture - 07/11/11 07:48 AM
We have all heard the stories of the slow drip of water onto someone's forehead that eventually drives the person nuts, and then to death.  I don't know how true it is, but if there is a torture that works well mankind will find a way to employ it.
We also know about how over time water can smooth rocks, displace millions of tons of earth and create canyons, even a really grand, Grand Canyon.  Even a drop of water over time will do damage. And a slow drip of water can be torture.
How about the teensiest of a drop … (16 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: 12315 Sherborne Street, Bristow, VA, 20136

Office: (703) 330-6388

Mobile: (703) 585-7560

Email Me

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




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