A Note on Home Inspections

Some time ago, before I became an inspector, our dryer went on the fritz.  By that I mean the laundry room was so hot and humid that there was moisture on every wall and you couldn’t breathe.  We immediately shut it off, did some minor investigation and called an appliance repairman.  A couple hundred dollars later, we had a working dryer- for a day.  It was overheating, quickly.

Thinking perhaps the line was blocked, I checked the duct from dryer to roof.  Connections were good although I did realize that the distance was quite long with several bends along the way.  That and what looked to be a flying saucer attached to the duct about halfway along the span.  A quick investigation led me to believe that it must be a booster fan.  Something didn’t seem right though as I couldn’t find any means of power getting to the fan.  There was also a clear tube coming from the duct near the fan and this was attached to a metal box on the wall.  A power cord came out of this box but wasn’t plugged in.  Unfortunately, plugging it in did nothing.  There was still the problem of no power to the fan itself.  I managed to locate the installation instructions online and sure enough, there was a noticeable difference in what had been done vs. what should have been done.  The tube was there to detect a pressure change in the duct from the dryer running, it would trigger a switch that would turn on the fan.  They had simply failed to wire the switch to the fan.

I reached out to our builder as the home was only a couple of years old.  He sends out the HVAC team that initially worked on the house.  They seemed confused so the builder sent out the Electrician that worked on the house.  I found myself in the middle of a blame game.  I printed out the instructions, handed it to them and said “figure it out”.  A couple of hours later, my booster fan was working.

When the house was being constructed, the HVAC crew installed the fan.  Apparently nobody communicated with the electrician so he did not know it was there and needed to be wired.  The City Inspector did not catch it, nor did the Home Inspector that was hired, before closing.  It took me, the homeowner, to find the problem.

The point here is that there is no perfect home- new, old, big and small.  They all are going to have something wrong and it might not be noticed until it causes a larger problem.  In this case, it was a newly constructed home that had been inspected on more than one occasion and had been missed.  Don’t skip the inspection and hire a reputable, qualified inspector that will spend the necessary amount of time inspecting the property.