|AtlantiCape Inspections, LLC||P.O. Box 3350||7809 Wellington Ave., Margate NJ 08402||Phone (609) 431-0202|
BUYING A NEW OR RENOVATED HOME OR CONDO? WHY YOU REALLY NEED A HOME INSPECTION
Wondering if the home you are purchasing needs a home inspection? If you are buying a newly constructed or completely renovated home or a condominium, you may have additional reasons to struggle with whether a home inspection is needed. Perhaps your real estat agent remarked, "It was just inspected by the municipal code official" or "the condo association will pay for any problem, so why waste your money?" Well, for you "doubting Thomas's" out there, the following are a series of photo images showing defects found in brand new construction, condos and pre-owned homes - all of which passed a certificate of occupancy at some point. This is but a small sampling of the many serious defects found during typical thorough AtlantiCape home inspections.
DECK OPENING - FALL HAZARD
This image shows a new townhouse condominium fresh from the final certificate of occupancy inspection. A spiral staircase leads from a lower deck to the upper deck, through a square opening. Well, someone forgot to put a guardrail up, and there are two openings big enough for an adult to fall through! Maybe the sharp metal edges of the staircase will slow you down as you quickly visit the lower deck!
OPEN SEWER DRAINPIPE - PLUMBING OVERSIGHT
This photo was taken in the crawlspace of a new multi-million dollar beachblock home in Avalon. With the plug missing, the soil pipe is open to atmosphere. A blockage at the street would guarantee loads of waste in the crawlspace, not to mention sewer gas permeating the area. (What's that awful smell???)
UNCONNECTED SEWER DRAINPIPE - NEW CONSTRUCTION BLUNDER
Here's another great shot of a plumbing defect in a brand new million dollar vacation home in a shore town. There is a 2" offset where the plumber forgot to finish the main drain line connection. You may wonder how much human waste would have deposited in the crawlspace once the family moved in. And, the plumber's bill to shovel it out in the middle of the summer! Again, this home just received its certificate of occupancy from the municipality.
CAPPED PLUMBING VENTS AR ROOF - NEW CONSTRUCTION OVERSIGHT
Another plumbing boon-doggle - this one in a brand new construction beachfront side-by-side in Sea Isle City. The spa tub was drained after being evaluated during the home inspection, resulting in every plumbing trap in the home being evacuated because the plumber forgot to remove the caps from the roof plumbing vents after he tested it. Both units had capped vents. This may have gone on a while before someone figured it out, but not before many episodes of sewer gas entering the home.
INCOMPLETE CONDENSATE DRAIN IN ATTIC - LIKELY WATER DAMAGE ISSUE-IN-WAITING
A January inspection yielded this plumbing "oops", where the plumber must have taken a break - and never returned. The builder remarked to the inspector, "don't waste your time in the attic, the code inspector just approved it". Here, the A/C condensate drain line was precut but never installed and solvent-welded. So, come summer, the condensate would have poured into the attic, loaded up the insulation and ceiling, and ultimately causing substantial damage if not immediately found.
NO LANDING AT HEAD OF STAIR - TRIP & FALL HAZARD
Here's a side-by-side where the builder failed to install a landing on the exterior stairs. Most people, and perhaps this builder, may have believed that a landing is not needed on a patio slider, but the 36" landing is required for safe egress. This was found just before the expiration of the home warranty's first year. Both units had no landing. Its a loooooong way to the pavement for the person who misses a step!
BLOCKED DRYER VENT - FIRE HAZARD
Fire professionals have told me that fires caused by blocked dryer vents are a leading cause of house fires. How about this one? The builder used the wrong type of vent for a dryer - this is a bathroom vent termination. Its blocked with fiberglass insulation, probably occurred during installation. Think this is a fluke? Look below.
ANOTHER BLOCKED DRYER VENT
Another poor choice of dryer vent termination caps. The problem is either inexperienced labor or poor supervision of the job. This type of vent should NEVER be on a dryer outlet. A thorough home inspection can not only save a buyer money, but may also save a life. Visit CSPS.gov for a product safety alert addressing this particular area of concern.
ELECTRIC SERVICE WIRES BY REAR ENTRANCE - SAFETY HAZARD
Yikes! Check out the clearance of the electric service wires to the back door of this home. Anyone can reach out and touch the 240 volt service cables - with their hands or a metal broom handle. This may be missed by the seller, but not by a trained home inspector.
CONGESTED AIR CONDITIONING OUTDOOR UNITS - TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT
These air conditioning condensers are sitting cozy in an enclosure at an oceanfront townhouse. Trouble is, they are a little too cozy. Condensing coils need airflow for proper operation and efficiency, and the resulting high compressor head pressure will shorten the equipment life. This violated the manufacturer's specifications for proximity to walls and adjacent units. A thorough home inspection uncovers these defects.
CONGESTED AIR CONDITIONING OUTDOOR UNITS #2 - GIVE 'EM AN INCH.....
After I reported this arrangement as a defect, the seller's real estate agent found a heating and air conditioning contractor who told him that this arrangement with 1" spacing between condensers is "fine", reportedly saying, "we do it all the time". Well, its definitely not fine according to the equipment manufacturer, whose installation manual clearly specifies a minimum of 16" clearance bertween units.
CONGESTED AIR CONDITIONING OUTDOOR UNITS #3 -PLUS INCORRECT WIRING
Another bonehead condenser placement. Like those above, these units were placed way too close to the building and each other. However, that was not the biggest problem here. The electrician wires these heat pumps to the wrong living unit thermostats, so when the occupant turned on the heat, the electric resistance coils took over instead of the efficient heat pump, causing huge electric bills.
GARAGE DOOR SAFETY FEATURE - INCORRECT INSTALLATION RESULTS IN SAFETY CONCERN
Most people don't think twice about the safety of their garage door. This garage door opener infrared sensor was improperly installed on the very bottom of the track against the manufacturer's instructions. Under certain conditions, a child on a bicycle or wagon could be caught beneath the decending door and floor. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has an alert on the safety issues associated with garage door openers. For more information on the CSPS alert, click here.