Plumbing Problem

During a recent San Ramon home inspection, the inspector was surprised to see a fallen drain/waste pipe under the house.

In a large household, it’s conceivable to be flushing a toilet, taking a shower, running the dishwasher and using the washing machine all discharging water at the same time.

A gallon of water weighs approximately 8.4 lbs… 10 gallons of water weighs 84 pounds.

The main drain/waste line fell to the ground most likely due to these older pipe support straps or possibly due an earthquake at the time water was flowing through the main drain/waste line.

Remarkably, there was no water leakage.

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What Goes Up…

After several thousand home inspections, The House Whisperer is still amazed about what’s discovered.

Just when you think you’ve seen everything… the home inspector spotted something embedded in an Oakland roof. It turned out to be a 9mm slug.

They say a 9mm bullet shot exactly straight up will tumble as it falls back to the ground and not have the velocity to kill… but if shot at any angle… the slug can be lethal.

How did the bullet get there, probably due to celebratory gunfire, an old and irresponsible practice… and it’s not as uncommon as one thinks.

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C-Clamp Concern

The home inspector is looking at a damper plate in the exhaust flue above a wood burning fireplace with a gas log lighter pipe.

When the damper is open, it allows exhaust gases and smoke to draft up the flue… when closed, it stops cold air from coming down the flue.

The gas log has a gas control valve, typically installed outside of the fireplace in the wall.

If an older gas valve leaks or the valve is accidentally turned-on… natural gas will accumulate in the fireplace with the damper plate closed 100% – a big health safety concern.

Building requirements call for a $3 C-clamp to be installed on the edge of the damper plate to keep it slightly open in the event there’s gas flow in the fireplace.

Now if gas does leak into the fireplace, it will rise to the top of the chimney flue and not come into the household.

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Seeing Double

The home inspector occasionally finds within an electrical panel, a condition known as double-lugging.
Double-lugging or double tapping is where two electrical wires are connected to a single screw or lug – usually done by a wannabe electrician.
The amateur electrician does this because they didn’t want to buy another circuit breaker or there was no more space for an additional circuit breaker.
When two wires are secured under one lug, one of the wires might not be completely secured (loose), especially when two different wire sizes are used.
If a wire becomes loose and pulls out, it can arc and cause a spark or create high electrical resistance where the wiring over-heats and starts an electrical fire.
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What’s Wrong

Occasionally, home inspectors discover several things requiring attention from a single photo.

Here’s what was in the inspector’s report:

A floor joist under the Danville subfloor was over-notched to accommodate a drain pipe causing the floor above to sag.

The black plastic drain/waste line didn’t have support straps as required and was supported with a wood post and shim.

The plastic pipe was manufactured by Spartan Plastics between 1984-1990, which had a history of cracking and failure; and was involved in a class action lawsuit.

The parallel copper water pipe isn’t properly supported which can cause water leakage at a connection.

The electrical cable lying on the ground is subject to mechanical damage should be secured to floor joists.

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