Recipe for a Fire Hazard

Furnaces produce hot exhaust gases. These gases are carried to the exterior through vent pipes. These vent pipes become hot and are required to maintain proper clearance to any combustible surfaces. This is a photo of a vent pipe which is in direct contact with combustible asphalt impregnated felt paper and the combustible plywood roof sheathing. This is a significant fire hazard and a condition which I see several times each week.

Overheating Discovered in Questionable Panel

This photo is part of a Federal Pacific electrical panel. It is a very common panel in older homes. This brand of panel has been associated with multiple deficiencies, including overheating, as I discovered in this subpanel. The breakers can become loose causing arcing and overheating. The discolored metal (buss bar) was caused by overheating. The overheating condition may never have been discovered by the homeowner or buyer without a thorough home inspection. This panel will need to be replaced.

Garage Door – A Hazard for Children

In a properly installed garage door opener, light beams are installed across the garage door opening. When the garage door is closing, and the light beam is interrupted, possibly by a small child or family pet, the garage door will reverse preventing injury. This important safety feature has been rendered useless by installing the light beams in the roof structure. This is an unsafe condition and could cause serious injury. The light beams will need to be relocated to the bottom of the garage door opening.

Reason for Cold Foreclosure

The house was cold. Unoccupied houses usually are. The buyer assumed the furnace had been turned off since the home was an unoccupied foreclosure. He was partially correct. The furnace had definitely been turned off. More than that, it had been removed. Without an inspection the buyers would not have known he was going to have to replace the furnace as well as the air-conditioning unit. Armed with an inspection report, he was able to negotiate a new furnace and air conditioning unit from the bank.

Multiple Hazards in a Subpanel

Improper wiring and damaged components are among the most common electrical deficiencies found in electrical equipment. The damaged circuit breaker is not the only deficiency I discovered in this subpanel. There are at least five others. This panel will need to be replaced. Electrical hazards are a leading cause of residential fires. A thorough inspection can discover hazards which may otherwise go undetected.

Damaged Roof Structure

This is a photo of truss which was cut to make way for the installation of a whole house fan. The truss is part of an engineered structure which supports the roof as wells as the ceiling. The roof and the ceiling support have been compromised. The damaged truss will require an engineer to design a repair and a general building contractor to complete the repair.

Reason for Birds and Rodents in the Attic

This picture shows a gap between an upper roof section and a lower roof section. The metal is part of the roof flashing on the lower roof. The builder neglected to provide an exterior wall covering between the upper and lower roof sections. Birds and rodents were freely entering the attic causing, damage to the attic insulation and leaving behind droppings. This condition was not discovered until the house was thoroughly inspected.

Potential for Smoke Damage, or Worse

The bricks are part of the fireplace firebox. The handle is the fireplace damper handle. The fluffy stuff is fiberglass insulation. Insulation should be in the attic, walls or under the floor not in the chimney. The damper is open but, the chimney has been blocked with insulation. In its present condition the smoke would be prevented from going up the chimney and would enter the dwelling causing smoke damage. A thorough home inspection discovered this unhealthy and unsafe condition.

Leak Waiting to Happen

This is photo of a copper water line secured with a wire strap. The rubber coating on the strap has worn off and the wire strap is not in direct contact with the copper pipe. The copper piping has started to deteriorate (electrolysis). Given enough time a leak is inevitable. This condition may have gone unnoticed for years without a thorough home inspection.