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Richard Moore

Why new homes need inspecting - part 437

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I had an easy one today. 2005 home with very little to write up. Basically some gutters that need re-sloping and this...

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I had found it odd that a large laundry room just off the garage didn't have a heat register and as soon as I dropped down the nearby hatch into the crawl I saw this about 8 feet away. Even the most incompetent HI would have seen it. No accommodation at all for a register above. Evidently the HVAC and flooring guys didn't get their act together. I don't know what percentage of the heating bill this would account for, but it was the shortest duct in the house, blasting unrestricted hot air into the crawl, and I'm guessing that the original owner would have more than saved the price of an inspection over the 6 years they lived there!

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I had an easy one today. 2005 home with very little to write up. Basically some gutters that need re-sloping and this...

Click to Enlarge
tn_2011218195731_0082.jpg

28.08 KB

I had found it odd that a large laundry room just off the garage didn't have a heat register and as soon as I dropped down the nearby hatch into the crawl I saw this about 8 feet away. Even the most incompetent HI would have seen it. No accommodation at all for a register above. Evidently the HVAC and flooring guys didn't get their act together. I don't know what percentage of the heating bill this would account for, but it was the shortest duct in the house, blasting unrestricted hot air into the crawl, and I'm guessing that the original owner would have more than saved the price of an inspection over the 6 years they lived there!

My all time stupefying find on a new home was actually four years after the fact. I was doing an inspection on a home that the owners had built for them. The attic was really hard to get into, through a hatch in a very tall attic ceiling. From that garage attic you had to walk the bottoms of the truss cords to get to the main attic, through a little hole in the wall sheathing. When I peered into the main attic, I realized that these poor home owners had been heating a 4000 SF house for four year with NO ceiling insulation... NONE. I couldn't believe it, and the home owners were so mad they could have spit.

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I had an easy one today. 2005 home with very little to write up. Basically some gutters that need re-sloping and this...

Click to Enlarge
tn_2011218195731_0082.jpg

28.08 KB

I had found it odd that a large laundry room just off the garage didn't have a heat register and as soon as I dropped down the nearby hatch into the crawl I saw this about 8 feet away. Even the most incompetent HI would have seen it. No accommodation at all for a register above. Evidently the HVAC and flooring guys didn't get their act together. I don't know what percentage of the heating bill this would account for, but it was the shortest duct in the house, blasting unrestricted hot air into the crawl, and I'm guessing that the original owner would have more than saved the price of an inspection over the 6 years they lived there!

Hi Rich,

I found that multiple times up on English Hill in Redmond last year in a certain very large builder's development.

Maybe we should start noting the names of HVAC contractors when we find this kind of crap and then compare notes to see if it's the same idiot doing this stuff often.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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This was Redmond, but in the Trilogy complex. Builder had a little brass medallion set into the garage slab (begins with an "S"). I don't recall seeing any installer's HVAC sticker (certainly none for service).

I also hope they have found a new gutter installer. One equipped with a level! 2 story home with lots of gable projections, etc at the upper level and subsequent short sections of gutter. There may have been one out of 6 or 7 sections that wasn't badly sloped the wrong way and holding a lot of water. Mosquito breeding farm!

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Where I am, new-construction contracts specify that gutters will be installed with NO slope and that capillary action will allow the gutters to drain correctly, yada, yada, yada.

Why, you wonder? 'Cause builders got tired of getting busted by people like us.

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Why shouldn't gutters be sloped?

Not sloping the gutters is asking for problems in my opinion. Tell an installer to make a gutter level, and he's got close to a 50/50 chance of ending up with a back slope somewhere.

Issues as I see them:

1) Water will stand in the gutters, so some types of gutters will rust out more quickly.

2) Combine a back slope in a gutter with a plugged up gutter system and you have the potential for water to continuously spill out over an end cap jammed up against a wall.

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I remember my old man telling me that 1/4-inch for every six feet was fine. I also have this feint memory that ideally downspouts should be installed every 16ft. but I don't remember where I learned that.

According to Carson-Dunlop a slope of 1:25 is ideal but impossible and anything up to 1:200 (1 inch fall for every 17ft. of length) is typical and acceptable as long as there aren't any low spots in the gutter system.

The JLC Field Guide says that gutters should slope at least 1/16-inch per foot of run or drop an inch for every 16ft., which is a little steeper than what the old man used to use (And there's that 16ft. Hmmm.) JLC Field Guide goes on to say that, "The number of downspouts a roof needs will depend on the size of the conductor pipe. Allow 1 sq. in. of downspout cross-section for every 100 sq. ft. of roof area. Place the downspouts at least 20ft. apart but no more than 50 ft. apart."

The Metal Gutters guide put out by the Metal Gutter Manufacturers Association says:

A roof drainage system comprises of gutters, outlets and downpipes. Each can be designed separately provided the outlet and pipe work are large enough for the flow to discharge freely from the gutter:

a) The gutter slope is assumed to be less than 1 in 350, that is nominally level.

b) The gutter has a uniform cross section.

c) The distance from a stop end to the outlet is less than 50 times the upstream water depth. Adjustment in design is recommended if the length of gutter is greater than 50 times upstream water depth.

d) The distance between outlets is less than 100 times the upstream water depth.

e) With large eaves and valley gutters it is important to provide sufficient adjustment within the supports to avoid any significant ponding.

f) Particular attention should be paid to the gauge and support centres if the gutter is likely to, or is required to, take foot traffic for maintenance or access.

g) It is recommended that weir overflows are incorporated within internal gutters

I'm going to stick with the 1/4 inch per six feet. It's kept me out of trouble so far.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I tell people that the end of the gutter that has the drain should be 1/8" lower than the other end. Doesn't matter how long the gutter is.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I'm going to stick with the 1/4 inch per six feet. It's kept me out of trouble so far.

That's a 2" drop in 50' ft - on a long gutter, depending on the roof, water may overshoot gutter.

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I tell people that the end of the gutter that has the drain should be 1/8" lower than the other end. Doesn't matter how long the gutter is.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

That makes more sense than anything else I've read in this thread. Don't want to end up with a slope that can be seen from the street. Too ugggleee.

Marc

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I tell people that the end of the gutter that has the drain should be 1/8" lower than the other end. Doesn't matter how long the gutter is.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

That makes more sense than anything else I've read in this thread. Don't want to end up with a slope that can be seen from the street. Too ugggleee.

Marc

That's my take on it too. Basically, if a marble will roll in it (I don't carry one), it's good to go. Standing water in a gutter is a mosquito's best friend. And, we've had a few years here where the mosquitos were so bad that local building departments and radio stations were hammering the public about dealing with standing water.

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I'm going to stick with the 1/4 inch per six feet. It's kept me out of trouble so far.
That's a 2" drop in 50' ft - on a long gutter, depending on the roof, water may overshoot gutter.
Yeah, if you're foolish enough to put a 50ft. long gutter on a house with only one downspout, but who the hell does that? With a 50ft. long eave two or three downspouts would be warranted.

With gutters, one size does not fit all. Sure, if you went 50ft. at 1/4-ft. for every 6ft. without a downspout and with the conventional ogee K-profile gutter the water would probably overshoot the gutter at the far end. However, if you're a gutter guy and know that you have to put on a 50ft. long gutter with only one downspout, common sense tells you to choose a gutter with a wide profile so you won't overshoot.

The conventional ogee K-profile gutters around here are 5-inches wide at the top but only 3-1/2 inches from the top of the outer lip to the bottom of the trough. If you put only one of those on a 50ft. roof around here the roof had better be pretty damned narrow or it's going to overflow because the one downspout won't be able to handle the volume of water it collects during a typical rain.

Gutters have to be designed and installed to handle the anticipated volume. Once he's calculated what that volume is likely to be, the installer has to adjust the number and positioning of downspouts to be sure that it will be sufficient to allow the gutter to drain without overflowing - even when partially plugged with tree debris. That means deeper and wider troughs and more downspouts when necessary.

Around here most builders use the typical 5-inch K-profile and try to put a downspout at all four corners of the house. It works most of the time but occasionally it's not sufficient and they have to use deeper gutters. The deeper beveled profile gutters are only 4-1/2-inch wide at the trough but they are 5 inches deep. For really big roofs like I've seen on some mansions around here they use the same beveled profile with a 5-1/4 or 7-1/4-inch deep trough. The nice thing about these beveled profile gutters is that they are deep enough that they can be installed perfectly level and still drain well, as long as there are sufficient numbers and sizes of downspouts to handle the volume of water that they capture.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I've never specified any particular slope. But I do know is that water won't run uphill. So when there's two inches of water at one end of a gutter and the other end, the one with the downspout, has none, it's wrong and needs fixin'.

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I've never specified any particular slope. But I do know is that water won't run uphill. So when there's two inches of water at one end of a gutter and the other end, the one with the downspout, has none, it's wrong and needs fixin'.

[:-thumbu]

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back to OP, I hate to say it but HVAC is the category where I have seen the stupidest stuff, except for plumbing, that is.

New construction yesterday: Two long stretches of drain/waste line dead level....

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BTW, you can download a nifty little level into your Android that apparently works off solid state Gyros. It's very sensitive. Featured in the pics.

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back to OP, I hate to say it but HVAC is the category where I have seen the stupidest stuff, except for plumbing, that is.

New construction yesterday: Two long stretches of drain/waste line dead level....

Click to Enlarge
tn_2011220133840_DSCN7964.jpg

21.61 KB

Click to Enlarge
tn_2011220133918_DSCN7966.jpg

49.82 KB

Click to Enlarge
tn_2011220133951_DSCN7961.jpg

31.03 KB

BTW, you can download a nifty little level into your Android that apparently works off solid state Gyros. It's very sensitive. Featured in the pics.

If I had an android, I'd let him inspect the damned crawlspaces and wouldn't need to download a level into him for me to look at.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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back to OP, I hate to say it but HVAC is the category where I have seen the stupidest stuff, except for plumbing, that is.

New construction yesterday: Two long stretches of drain/waste line dead level....

Click to Enlarge
tn_2011220133840_DSCN7964.jpg

21.61 KB

Click to Enlarge
tn_2011220133918_DSCN7966.jpg

49.82 KB

Click to Enlarge
tn_2011220133951_DSCN7961.jpg

31.03 KB

BTW, you can download a nifty little level into your Android that apparently works off solid state Gyros. It's very sensitive. Featured in the pics.

If I had an android, I'd let him inspect the damned crawlspaces and wouldn't need to download a level into him for me to look at.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

That's probably not too far off... I hope it doesn't come with a mode where the android starts rocking side to side with its arms flailing in the air as it exclaims, "Danger! Danger! Will Robinson..."

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