Troubled Houses - The Home Owner's Resource sm
We see many interesting adverse conditions during our inspections, partly due to the many ways people can mess up a house, but also because we do a thorough inspection to reveal these adverse conditions. We hope these stories and illustrations help homeowners avoid these costly conditions by learning about causes, preventions, and remedies. A home purchase can create opportunities for the new owner to improve the home, possibly increasing its value, durability, and usefulness. Current photos of the month.
NOTICE TO BUYERS & SELLERS: This site does NOT encourage or discourage the purchase of any individual house, or style, age, location, or condition of house. Conditions shown and/or described in the following articles may have been remedied at the house where these conditions were found. These conditions typically can be remedied by qualified contractors. The presence of these conditions in any house is comparable to any other real estate consideration such as price, size, or location. Consult a qualified home inspector before purchasing any house, and consult a qualified real estate agent for more information on how to handle a real estate transaction where adverse conditions are reported in a home inspection. This site does not describe any house by address or knowingly show a readily identifiable exterior image. Further, no home actively listed for sale will be described on these pages at the time the article is posted.
THANK YOU for visiting HankeyandBrown.com. Learn more about our services, which now include IR Thermography, radon testing, and carbon monoxide tests. All photos copyright HankeyandBrown.com. All rights reserved. Licenses to use these copyrighted images can be arranged by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org "Troubled Houses - The Home Owner's Resource" is a SERVICE MARK of Hankey & Brown Inspection Service Inc.
TOPICS: Articles & Photos
Attic Bypasses aka Air Leaks Also see the Energy Savings & Ice Dam articles
Huge Air leak from house into attic at the chimney
Find the Heat Loss - Roof snow melt pattern
Multiple air leaks in a story and a half house
Typical air leak around a furnace vent
Carbon Monoxide Testing
Why we test for Carbon Monoxide
Water Heater making Carbon Monoxide
Very Insecure Deck railing
Potential deck collapse averted by home inspection
Details Matter: A screwed up deck
Faith in Bolts Deck beam
Decay atop decay - Wood deck on timber retaining wall
Uncovering the unexpected - Electrical conditions can change
Find the circuit breaker panel
Switch improperly installed with aluminum wire in 1971 still in use in 2007
The Electric Shower
Beautiful but not practical - Obstructed breaker panel
More wires ≠ More power
Why we uncover the service panel
Little creatures = Big mess (mouse infestation)
Also see https://www.inspectapedia.com/electric/Electrical_Panel_Moisture.htm
False 100 amp service
Experts recommend replacement of Federal Pacific Electric panels & Stab-Lok breakers
We uncover electric service panels even if they have an inspection approval sticker.
Overlamping light fixtures can create fire hazards
Energy Savings also see the Ice Dam and Attic Bypass articles
Unfinished Basement Issues
Roof snow melt pattern = Missing insulation
Improper insulation and ventilation details lead to condensation damage
Protect your insulation
Read the label - Exposed paper faced insulation increases potential for flame spread
Garage Door Spring Containment Cables
Water entry - Subfloor damage (also available as a quiz)
The Disappearing Downspout
Details Matter - Water must drain off the building.
First Impressions - May lead to fall.
Untrained Painter contaminates soil with lead paint
Heating & Cooling
Improper air ducts reduce comfort
Furnace inspections are critical
The Unintended Humidifier - Condensate leaks
Frosted (deteriorated) siding - Improper vent terminal
Incomplete return air duct installation reduces comfort
Undisclosed buried fuel oil tank - Abandoned
Chimney Cap Comparison
Why we inspect the attic
Attic inspections are necessary
Sooty gas fireplaces are a potential hazard
Drywall dust hurts furnaces and cooling coils
Use the recommended furnace filter
Heat Recovery Ventilator or Fancy Exhaust Fan? Its up to you.
Permitted, Installed, but NOT inspected! Incomplete and incorrect workmanship
Don't rely on inspections done for OTHERS.
Ice Dams Also see the Energy Savings and Attic Bypass articles
Condo roof gables form 52 valleys - Ice dams in abundance
Excessive Humidity Damages Attic - Extreme condensation
Valleys are Villians
Big valleys, air gaps, trampled insulation, & loose dryer vent = Ice Dams
Strict new EPA rules for lead paint abatement
Old Gas fireplace with hidden adverse condition overlooked by HVAC technician
Low levels of Carbon Monoxide: A common source
Snow covered grading problem
Also see our Wet Basement page
Hill versus Wall: Wall losing the battle
A Broken Roof Drain and a Deck over a crawl space - A bad mix
Leaky chimney chase - structural water damage
Beware of Partial Repairs in Foreclosed Houses - Deck flashing
Water Woes - Windows, Flashings, Brick veneer, Vapor Barriers
Crawl Spaces and Attics - A building science lesson
Contemporary Stucco house - Moisture intrusion
Complex Roof & Missing flashing - Following the moisture path
Clothes dryer vent air leak in an attic - Is it still leaking?
Moisture Intrusion in a 1990 built house
Abandoned water wells are required to be sealed.
Floor Drains - A potential sewer gas point of entry
Plumbing Matters - Water service - Sewer cleanout cover
Water heater vent connection - Wrong from the start
Water heater venting - An orphaned water heater
Size matters - or Deeper is not always better - Trap height
Warning? What Warning? Clothes Dryer venting
Sewer gas delivery system
Laundry standpipe with no trap
Lack of Knowledge & Maintenance - Garbage disposer use and installation.
Does your dryer vent work?
Let the Plumber do it! Gas piping
Clogged arteries in your house (old steel water pipes)
Also see Moisture Mysteries and Experience
Poor Choices - Some conditions are best described by a photo and a few words
Not the recommended filter
The most dangerous electric service panel we have found
Fenced Egress Window Well
Uncapped Gas line
Electric Service in clothes closet
Improper Nailing leads to premature roofing failure
Roof Forest - Maintenance - Real Estate Sales Exaggeration
Unwanted occupant - Squirrel damage
Deferred Fall Maintenance - Clogged Gutters
Raccoon Chewed Lead Flashings at Plumbing Vents
"Sawzall" School of Plumbing - Cut Floor Joist
Watch Your Step - Stair Construction & Maintenance
Watch for Improper/Incomplete repairs on bank owned houses
The most common improper attached garage modification: Folding stairs in ceiling
The "Open Look" at stairs increases the potential for falls
Crawl space surprises! Humans & insects create structural weakness.
Wood columns - Decay at base in old houses
Attached Garages & Fire Separation
Click here to return to topic list. Also see our moisture damage page.