Sagging Floor Mystery 

A bedroom had been added onto a 55-year old San Leandro house. As the home inspector walked across the floor – there was a discernible sag/slope in the center of the room.

A large steel ball bearing was placed at the baseboard and it rolled slowly towards the center of the room in a spiral pattern – very odd.

The inspector entered the crawlspace under the bedroom sweeping the flashlight in front of him. What greeted his eyes was a wood support post, a concrete pier and footing floating above a large hole.

It turns out the bedroom had unknowingly been built over an abandoned Redwood septic tank where the lid had collapsed.

Before concrete, plastics, metal… early septic tanks were made from Redwood boards.

Now you know the rest of the story.

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Garage Ceiling Hole

During a Pleasant Hill home inspection, a section of the garage ceiling had been removed to work on plumbing pipes.

This was a two story house with a bedroom above the garage.

At first glance, it’s just a cosmetic condition – there’s a hole in the gypsum, sheetrock, drywall panel.

However, the home inspector would note in the inspection report, that this condition was a breach of the fire separation wall/ceiling between the garage and the interior of the house.

One of the requirements for a fire separation wall… is that no hole, void or gap larger than 1/8 inch is allowed.

The purpose of a fire wall/ceiling is to contain a fire to the garage and to give the home occupants time to escape by slowing down the progression of fire.

This won’t happen with a hole in the garage ceiling.

Do your home buying clients know the condition of the firewall?

Schedule an inspection – mention “I’d like a peace of mind inspection” – Save $25

Scary Fireplace

This deteriorated Orinda fireplace was flagged by the home inspector.

There are still people who live in older homes with fireplaces where gaps have developed between the bricks and/or the fire bricks are cracked and deteriorated.

Why would these conditions be a cause for concern?

Cracks, gaps and damaged brick in the walls of a firebox or interior chimney lining are considered a fire hazard by the National Fire Protection Association.

Smoke carries waste particles from a fire and eventually causes deposits to form on the walls, and inside and behind any cracks.

This oily substance, called creosote, can re-ignite these deposits and possibly lead to a chimney fire… Now, that’s scary. It’s important to repair any cracks, gaps, voids, and/or damaged bricks, if a wood burning fireplace will be used.

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Extension Cord Mania

This Walnut Creek homeowner had plugged in multiple power cords into a garage power strip.

Every year, thousands of fires result from surge protectors, power strips and electrical cords being over-loaded.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that about 3,300 residential fires originate in extension cords/power strips each year, killing 50 people and injuring about 270 others. What’s the big deal?

The most frequent causes of such fires are short circuits, overloading, damage, and/or misuse of extension cords. Surge protectors, power strips, or extension cords are not a substitute for permanent wiring per electrical installation requirements.

If there isn’t enough electrical wall outlets for what will be plugged in – Call a licensed electrician.

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Wannabe Electrician

Have you ever had the urge to grab a roll of electrical wire, a couple of junction boxes and a few wall outlets and switches and connect them together?

This wiring mess was spotted in the back of a garage in Concord.

In the home inspection report, the home inspector recommended – Calling a licensed electrician.

Schedule an inspection – mention “I’d like a peace of mind inspection” – Save $25