Plumbing vent caps are installed during construction to pressure test the drain-waste-vent plumbing system before it’s filled with water and used regularly. Once the test is passed (e.g., the pipes hold pressure and don’t leak), these caps are supposed to be removed to ensure proper drainage within the home. This vent cap was discovered at a 1999 home on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands. Surprisingly, I call this out all the time. If the vent has been abandoned, the cap is appropriate; but this usually isn’t the case. Usually, the plumbing contractor forgets to get back on the roof to remove caps. So, if you see caps, I’d remove them if the pipes aren’t abandoned.
Tim Hance with All Islands Home Inspections recently discovered unconventionally constructed trusses in a garage that have been cut at a home inspection on Orcas Island. Cutting trusses is expressly NOT ALLOWED as it can, and likely will, lead to structural settling and failure over time. In this case, the roof plane showed clear evidence of settling/sagging when viewed from the exterior; when I went inside, it was clear why the roof was settling. With an appropriate snow load, or with time, some of these trusses will likely crack and fail. In this particular situation, repair was difficult because the trusses were cut to accommodate large garage doors; the recommended interim solution was to install intermediate posts and beams, in the middle of the garage, to properly support the roof and allow for vehicle access and egress.
“Fogged” windows, or windows with condensation between glass panes, are commonly discovered at home inspections. From my perspective, it’s a cosmetic issue because the condensation between panes isn’t a water intrusion issue for the home’s health itself. Sure, you’ll lose some thermal efficiency when the window panes lose their seals, but it’s somewhat negligible in the grand scheme of things. In my experience, Realtors are about 50% successful in negotiating replacement of “fogged” windows in real estate transactions. The Seller typically takes the stance that the “fogged” windows were obvious when the offer was made. The Buyer, on the other hand, may take the position that (a) they didn’t notice the “fogged” windows or (b) they had no idea what it would cost to replace. If you have a significant number of fogged windows, replacement adds up quickly. Standard “fogged” windows typically cost $300-$500 each to replace; contractors can usually pop-out the old glass pane and install a new one, without having to encumber trim and siding elements. These pictures were taken at a recent home inspection on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands.
At a recent home inspection on Orcas Island, I discovered plywood sheathing in the attic that was stained with a mold-like growth. This typically, almost always, indicates an insufficient ventilation or elevated moisture issue within the attic. Vents could be restricted, vent ducts may be discharging into the attic, or the interface between the main home and attic may need to be better sealed. In any event, a contractor needs to first resolve the underlying cause of elevated moisture and make necessary repairs. The mold-like growth is then typically remediated with a mildicide and then painted with mildicide paint to encapsulate historic mold growth. I recommend tinting the paint TAN because white or black mold growth will be obvious if it returns (e.g., you’ll see it on tan paint). If the attic is forever tan, you know the issue has been addressed satisfactorily. Because most home buyers want this issue addressed prior to closing, and remediation can be expensive, I recommend peeking into your attic on an annual basis and dealing with any apparent mold-like growth sooner than later if noted.
AFCI breakers, common to newer homes, provide added protection to homes in the event of an arc-fault. AFCI stands for “Arc Fault Circuit Interruptor.” If there’s an arc fault, the AFCI breaker “trips” the circuit, turning off power to help prevent the possibility of an electrical event or fire. The video above explains how to best test AFCI breakers to ensure they’re working properly. Technically, manufacturers typically recommend testing these breakers every thirty (30) days. If they don’t “trip,” replacement by a qualified electrician is advised.
Colored granules on your roof coverings are what protect the roof coverings themselves from the elements. This is why it’s important to NOT pressure wash your roof as doing so can lead to granular loss and reduce the roof’s life expectancy. In fact, I’ve seen newer roofs completely destroyed by pressure washing (treatment with zinc granules is the most common way to keep moss off your roof). Pictured here is substantial granular loss and exposed underlying fiberglass underlayment. These roof coverings were in poor condition, clearly due for replacement. This was discovered at a recent home inspection on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands.
Tim Hance, owner of All Islands Home Inspections, recently discovered a “fogged” window at a recent home inspection on Orcas Island. “Fogged” windows have lost their seals and exhibit a “foggy” appearance; this is considered a cosmetic issue in the home inspection industry and doesn’t mean that water is coming into the home or putting the home at risk of water or insect damage. That said, you can expect “fogged” windows to become progressively “foggier” with time and most homeowners want them replaced. Window contractors can replace most “fogged” windows by simply replacing the glass panes, e.g., without needing to remove the entire window and trim.
Electrical wiring needs to be protected where it enters junction boxes for appliances and fixtures. Pictured here is wiring vulnerable to mechanical damage, a safety issue. A simple bushing can be installed in this application to protect wiring and keep the house safe. Wiring practices like these suggest the fixture wasn’t professionally installed and should be further evaluated and repaired by a qualified electrician. This photograph was taken at a recent home inspection on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands.
Standing water was discovered at a recent home inspection on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands. If you see standing water or water intrusion in your crawl space, it’s important to deal with it sooner than later as standing water can lead to structural settling and WDO (wood destroying insect) activity/damage in the home, together with moisture related issues within. The longer water intrusion persists, the more expensive the fix typically becomes.
At a recent home inspection on Orcas Island, I discovered water stains around a toilet that the Seller informed us were “historic.” Probing with a moisture meter, it was clear that the subfloor was clearly saturated with the possibility of underlying damage not visible without pulling the toilet and invasively inspecting. Moisture meters and infrared thermography help home inspectors determine elevated moisture conditions not visible to the naked eye.