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Home Inspection Nightmares XXXII

Electrical fire hazards, carbon monoxide horrors, and other strange discoveries made by the home inspectors in The ASHI Reporter

What Not To Do

Taking shortcuts is risky when it comes to the safety of our houses. Yet home inspectors continue to report all sorts of questionable "fixes" that we not only find scary but laughable, too. In our latest roundup, read on to learn about a propane tank in a kitchen cabinet, a deck propped up on cinder blocks, a BBQ addition supported by cinder blocks, a chimney cap with no ventilation, and more.

Time for a Change

Matt Leahy of The Edge Home Inspections, Tucson, Ariz., asks…

How often should you change the air filter on your HVAC unit? More than this guy. Notice the date on the filter: 11/16/11. The inspection was done on 4/16/14. That's definitely overdue.

Courtesy of The ASHI Reporter

Delusions of Preparedness

Tim Hemm of Tim Hemm Inspections, Yucaipa, Calif., says…

It looks like a hazard, but don't worry! These homeowners have a fire extinguisher on top of the water heater for when the mattress pad, the rug, and the highly flammable Styrofoam cooler—also on top of the water heater and stuffed against the vent pipe—catch fire.

Courtesy of The ASHI Reporter

Perfect Place for an Outlet?

Michael Chambers of The BrickKicker of St. Louis, St. Louis, Mo., notes…

It's important that electrical boxes be properly secured. This 240-volt outlet box is fastened well. Unfortunately, it's fastened to the water-inlet pipe.

Courtesy of The ASHI Reporter

Solid Footing

Mike Lauby of Sunland Home Inspection/Phoenix Mold Inspections, Phoenix, Ariz., says…

This client wanted to add a BBQ to the pool area, which you see the back of here. He ran out of materials for a proper foundation, but who needs a foundation when you can simply stack up a couple of cinder blocks for support? It's not clear if the lawn roller is playing a crucial structural role.

Courtesy of The ASHI Reporter

Decorative Roof Only

Mike Lauby of Sunland Home Inspection/Phoenix Mold Inspections, Phoenix, Ariz., notes…

It doesn't rain much in Arizona, but when it does, the flashing and half-hammered nails on this flat roof should help any rainwater travel right inside the house. Useful—if you want an indoor pool.

Courtesy of The ASHI Reporter

Chimney Cap Gone Wrong

Michael J. Ashburn of ACI of Ashburn Inspections, Murrysville, Pa., says…

It's a birdhouse! It's a plane hanger! No, it is a carbon monoxide accumulator.

Courtesy of The ASHI Reporter

Ductwork Debacle

Lawrence Transue of BP Inspections, Easton, Pa., points out…

There's a flaw in the setup of this HVAC system. Both the supply and return registers are on the same wall in this room. While that might make for efficient circulation, the system sure doesn't heat or cool the room as well as it should.

Courtesy of The ASHI Reporter

What's Missing Here?

Lawrence Transue of BP Inspections, Easton, Pa., generously notes…

The homeowner did a very nice job of retiling this shower floor. That said, he forgot one minor detail: the drain.

Courtesy of The ASHI Reporter

Gas-Stove Hack

Bud Rozell of ACI of Good Home Inspection, Dallas, Texas, asks…

Want a gas stove in the kitchen but don't have a gas pipe to connect it to? Just hook the stove up to a propane bottle in a cabinet and trust a carbon monoxide alarm (also in the cabinet, and atop the propane tank) to keep you safe. Just kidding! Don't ever do that.

Courtesy of The ASHI Reporter

The Flue Doesn't Go Through

Jess Alvarez of ACI of A Plus Home & Building Inspections Inc., Morris, Ill., found that…

This chimney from a gas-operated fireplace didn't quite make it through the roof on a newer home. The insulation and firestop flashing are a bit deficient too. On the plus side, carbon monoxide buildup probably kept critters out of the attic.

Courtesy of The ASHI Reporter

Meter Reading

Ken Meyer of ACI of Portico Home Inspection LLC, Portland, Ore., has a backup career as a comedian. He quips…

"Either, 'the electrician slipped up,' or, 'the electrician got the pink slip' today."

Courtesy of The ASHI Reporter

Misplaced Fireplace Cleanout

Trent Wilson of Safe-T-House Home Inspection Services, Sunbury, Pa., reports…

Found this ash hole where one would be least likely to find it: under a sink in a cabinet. While you expect custom-built homes to be unique, you don't expect surprises like this.

Courtesy of The ASHI Reporter