Habitat for Humanity or Rodentity- Under the bathtub, air bypass.

By
Home Inspector with NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Habitat for Humanity or Rodentity- Under the bathtub, air bypass. Wenatchee and Cle Elum Home Inspection Services.

It has become all too often that I find myself showered with rodent fecal pellets.

As a structural pest inspector one of my duties is to evaluate all plumbing drops that I can access. This requires me to move insulation back and look at the plumbing drops for leak, possible rot and insect infestation.

This brings me to the infamous gaping hole below the bathtub or in some cases showers. This seems to be perfect habitat for my little rodent friends.

                                      Gap in sub-floor for tub plumbing trap

This also is a major fault in the building envelope that allows unconditioned air to infiltrate the conditioned space.  Washington State Energy Code builders guide actually states [502.4.3]: Drain traps penetrating floors over unconditioned spaces are often overlooked, but must be sealed.

                                           Tub gasket for air bypass seal

Washington State Builders guide-Air leakage and Moisture Control

I know plumbers will hate me here, but I really dislike those little black pellets falling in my face. This seems to be one of those items that never are checked by the local building inspectors, and maybe they scoff at it, but I would like to see them sealed.

It seems to me that we spend much time sealing around plumbing and electrical penetrations and one of the largest holes in the subfloor goes completely disregarded.

Okay I can live with a little air bypass but I still hate that shower of rodent poo in my face.

So if bypasses of the building envelop are not enough, exclusion of rodent habitat should be.

“I think one's feelings waste themselves in words; they ought all to be distilled into actions which bring results. “


Florence Nightingale

 

NCW Home Inspections, LLC  is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service


www.ncwhomeinspections.com 509-670-9572

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Rainer
53,128
Susan Shaw
Premiere Plus Realty Co.Marco Island, FL - Marco Island, FL

Very interesting. I had never thought about this problem. I'm just glad I'm not doing your job.

Sep 29, 2012 06:49 AM #1
Rainmaker
368,740
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Susan, It can be an adventure down below at times. I guess I am hard on rodent and spider habitat.

Sep 29, 2012 06:58 AM #2
Rainmaker
1,245,904
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Here, pre-drywall, that large gap requires a metal sheet for fire block.  And it needs to be screwed.  Any gaps need the orange caulk, not foam.  And the reason is rodents?  I didn't know that!  Having everything fall on you has got to be fun though.

Sep 29, 2012 03:51 PM #3
Rainmaker
368,740
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Jay, Well I know that never happens out here. Let alone any gasket. Would be nice though : )

Sep 29, 2012 04:04 PM #4
Rainmaker
635,962
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Rodent poo, yum. Hardly any crawl spaces out here. As for the bypass, never seen one sealed. 

Sep 30, 2012 03:58 AM #5
Rainmaker
368,740
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Jim, You are missing out on such fun on a regular basis ; ) Here they spend a lot of time caulking the penetrations on newere construction yet the tub goes unnoticed.

Sep 30, 2012 06:20 AM #6
Rainmaker
692,546
Clint Mckie
Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections - Carlsbad, NM
Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586

Hi Donald,

I have never seen this sealed off. Always open and subject to rodent ifestations.

But the buyers seem not to care.

Have a great day in the great Northwest.

Best, Clint McKie. 

 

Sep 30, 2012 06:46 AM #7
Ambassador
1,090,661
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Don, very true---these openings are never sealed and people end up trying to figure out all the exfiltration/infiltration issues in the home.

Sep 30, 2012 11:58 AM #8
Rainer
170,132
Robert Butler
Aspect Inspection - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection

I see it as a fire code issue. There should be no air bypass between floors that is not ducted or fitted with a closable grate. Just picture a basement fire and how quick fire would get into that wall at the head or side of the tub.

Sep 30, 2012 05:46 PM #9
Rainmaker
368,740
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Clint, I do get much poo from them ;)

 

Charlie, These are usually buried in those areas that are not ventured often ; )

 

Robert, That can be an issue depending on how they fire-stopped the wall adjacent to the tub. Usually very hard to know what they did there. But a very valid point.

Oct 01, 2012 10:05 AM #10
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Rainmaker
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Donald Hester

NCW Home Inspections, LLC
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