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Do you look behind clothes in closets at the walls? I usually don't. I have a disclaimer that says stored items may prevent me from seeing all the wall.

I did a one year warranty inspection Monday on a home that I had done the final inspection for. I knew that the main water shut off box was in the Master Bathroom closet so I didn't bother to take a look at it. Besides, it was behind the clothes rods with all of the ladies dresses on it and I don't move clothes.

I get a call today saying the plumber working on the new pool told the homeowner the faucet was leaking and there was some water on the foundation face. She wanted to know if I saw anything Monday when I was out there. I said "No" I hadn't, but I was in the neighborhood and would drop by and take a look.

When I got there she had all the dresses taken down or pulled back from the water shut off box and there was a big ole black blob of mold about the size of a football on the wall around the shut off valve.

Sure enough, my Protimeter picked up moisture up to about 18" above the box and about 2 foot to each side. Outside on the brick veneer there was just a small wet spot at the top of the slab. The only way the plumber saw it was that he was down at ground level working on the pool line.

Needless to say she called the builder and told them to come out quick. I told her I was sorry I missed the leak, but I really couldn't see behind clothes. She said not to worry that she understood and was happy I had stopped by with my moisture meter.

I probably won't start moving clothes to look for damage, but I will make sure I look around the shut off boxes from now on. Even if I have to move clothes.

Just something for others to think about checking if you don't already do so.


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It's just my humble new-guy philosphy, but to me water is always the biggest enemy of a house. You never want it anywhere near the building, period.

The plumbing fixtures and drainage lines are ways of (hopefully) controlling the enemy for the (hopefully) shor time that it's in the building.

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