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Leaking Dishwasher


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This is a long story that I will try to shorten. Inspection yesterday in a vacant house. Dishwasher was run through a cycle and water poured out of the bottom went through the ceiling tiles onto the carpet in basement. Listing agent arrived after the fact and just happen to mention the house was not winterized and some pipes had previously burst and been replaced. Greg always takes the panel off the bottom of the dishwasher to check for leaks after the dishwasher has run. He said he has never seen this much water run out of the bottom of a dishwasher. It may have something to do with not winterizing the home and everything freezing. Now the seller's agent and seller is wanting Greg to pay for the repairs in the basement mainly because she called Ray Sandbek, in case some of you don't know, the Chairman of the KY Home Inspection Board, and Ray told her that Greg knows better and that he is responsible and can turn this into his insurance. So now, she thinks the Home Inspection Board is telling Greg that he has to take care of this, so there's no negotiating at this point. Need feedback from anyone as to whether they think Greg is responsible and why, plus how they feel about the chairman of Ky board getting in the middle of this. I thought any complaint against a home inspector had to be filed on a form that the board provides on their website and talked about in a board meeting among its members.

Sunny Lee, Greg Jones Home Inspections, Louisville, KY

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Maybe it's just me, but I can't figure out what you're trying to say.

When you introduce folks' names, and you don't identify who those people are or what their role is, it's devilishly hard for a reader to understand the story. It would be even harder for a reader to offer any meaningful guidance.

WJ

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It probably was not a broken pipe but a worn out seal on the dishwasher. When they are not used for a long time they dry up and leak like crazy when next used. Regardless of the reason it does not sound like a lot of money – some ceiling tiles and maybe a carpet cleaning. Not enough to bother with an insurance claim, the deductible is probably twice as much as the cost of repairs. So you can bit your tongue and pay for the repairs; you can say it failed testing and not pay…you’ll get a lot of opinions on this one

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I think that the thread was typed by Sunny Lee who works for Greg Jones Home Inspections. Greg would be the inspector/owner.

Did Greg turn the water on to the home or was it already on when he got there?

If the water was on, the dishwasher failed during testing and as unfortunate as it is, Greg most likely did not cause the failure. However, Greg probably should have the water running across the floor and caught that leak before it caused so much damage. Was it the drain line that was busted and not discovered until it pumped out?

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Walter, sorry for the confusion. I work for Greg Jones Home Inspections. To answer another post, the water was on when Greg arrived. I don't know how long the house has been vacant, but it has only been on the market since October. The water never ran out on the kitchen floor. Greg sat at the counter for 10 minutes putting info in his computer after turning on the dishwasher. He then went down to the basement to find water pouring out of the ceiling. He ran back upstairs and took the panel off the dishwasher to discover water coming out of the pump. I think Greg should just take care of this and write it off as another expense for being in business, but after the Chairman of the KY Home Inspection Board put in his 2-cents to the seller's agent, Greg has dug in his heels and being stubborn. I guess there's no difference than when he is running the water to check for leaks and a pipe would bust behind a wall. Who would be responsible for that mess? Greg just because he turned on the water? He always takes the panel off the dishwasher to see if the pump is leaking sometime during the inspection, but I guess now he'll do it as soon as he starts the dishwasher to eliminate this from happening again. Right when you think you've got all your bases covered, something like this happens and you have to do things different from that point on. Sunny Lee - GJHI

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"However, Greg probably should have the water running across the floor and caught that leak before it caused so much damage. Was it the drain line that was busted and not discovered until it pumped out?"

The first thing I do when I enter the house is turn on the dishwasher. Then I go into the attic and work my way down. I don't stand around waiting for the dishwasher to run.

If I get to the kitchen and the dishwasher leaked; hey it ain't my problem.

Do I want the unit to leak? NO. But if it does, it's a defect that gets written in the report.

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Taking the panel off the dishwasher constitutes disassembly. For the 30 years that this business has been around, I think that the only accepted disassembly is that needed to open a service panel and take the covers off of a boiler or furnace or furnace filters. If you're going to start taking the panels off the bottom of a dishwasher, you might as well pull the covers off the bottom of refrigerators, unscrew all of the registers, and remove all of the receptacle covers. Where's it stop?

If the Kentucky standards state that it's a "visual" inspection, the appliances should be operated without disassembling them and if they leak then it's got nothing to do with the home inspector. In fact, one could argue if he had taken that cover off, that he'd somehow caused it to leak. I wouldn't pay for it and I'd be penning a letter to whoever overseas that licensing board, because the fellow on that board has no business voicing an opinion unless/until there is a complain made following the prescribed complaint practice and all members of the board have seen the evidence, weighed in on it, and voted to determine who's at fault.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Sunny,

Something similar happened to me last year. A dishwasher began leaking after I'd left a house and the water destroyed a wooden floor. There's a thread on this forum that explains what happened in more detail.

The seller was a realtor, and if she'd been kind and tried to understand what happened, I would have offered to pay a few hundred dollars to help pay for the damage. She was a screaming, blathering ninny, however, so I told her to file a homeowner's insurance claim and not to bother me again.

I suppose it would be instructive to explain that I'm somewhat of a prick.

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Sounds to me (from your further description) that this item failed under normal testing procedures. If there was not an indication in the kitchen that the dishwasher was leaking, there is no way that he could have known until he got into the basement. I usually start the dishwasher when I start the kitchen inspection. If it leaks onto the floor I will be there to see it and shut it off, but there is no way that this could have been seen and Greg should not be at fault. This would be like blaiming your OB/GYN because he/she didn't discover that you had a bleeding ulcer.

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I'm having a hard time understanding why anyone would think he would be responsible for this. He was hired to find defects and he found one.

He had permission to do the inspection and that includes operating the applainces. If one happens to leak while it's being operated, I'd feel bad for a second, possibly had over a card of a good applaince repair guy that I know and move on.

As far as removing the dishwasher kickplate, I started doing it on every unit about 2 years ago after talking to a friend of mine (thanks Jerry S.). Between the leaks and the open slices, I was suprised how much I was missing.

BTW, the guy on the KY board had no right getting involved without a formal complaint.

Tony

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Well, hell. Ran a dishwasher and it failed under testing and now it's Greg's fault? I thought he was there to find those faults. I don't think I'd be paying.

Remember though, not ALL inspectors even run the dishwasher or inspect other appliances. Some are minimalists to the core.

Did Greg talk directly with Ray to see exactly what was said versus hearing it translated by the realtor to the realtor's advantage.

Another question is, did Ray express his opinion as Chairman of KBHI or just that of another inspector the realtor happens to know. If it was as the Chairman of KBHI, I WOULD be filing a complaint to the board about the Chairman of KBHI. There is a complaint process. It should be followed instead of off the cuff opinions being expressed.

If it was just Ray's off the cuff opinion (as another inspector) that the realtor's blowing out of proportion because Ray is the Chairman, I'd blow it off. Hell, we express opinions here everyday on other inspectors work, etc.

John: "it would be instructive to explain that I'm somewhat of a prick." Somewhat????[:-yuck][:-yuck][:-yuck]

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Well, for what it's worth, I turned on two dishwashers a day, five days a week, for 20 years. A few leaked. I mopped up a few kitchen floors, but nobody ever asked me to pay for damages. If anybody had asked, I doubt that I would've paid. If a dishwasher leaks as soon as an HI turns it on, the thing was going to leak the next time somebody hit the go button. That's not even "failed under testing." That's "failed before I got there."

Best I know, standard of care for HIs re dishwashers is that we don't have to touch them, or any appliances (except for Texas ovens).

If I went back to inspecting houses for sale tomorrow, I'd tell folks that there are three things I'm not going to monkey with: bubble tubs, garage doors and dishwashers.

WJ

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For what it is worth - we stopped inspecting appliances several years ago. We took a bunch of grief, but now just inspect and report the hook-up.

I have always thought it crazy to inspect appliances. Most of the time you really don't have a clue what is going on.

I would not pay anything.

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Hi,

Re. disassembly; last time I looked, the flooring under every dishwasher that I've ever seen was wood or a wood-based product. If a dishwasher is leaking into a floor, the floor will absorb the moisture and, if you've got a decent moisture meter that uses scan mode, that moisture will show up when you scan the floor in front of the dishwasher using your moisture meter. My wife Yung has found a bunch of leaking dishwashers that way and has never had to remove a single toe-kick plate.

To eleborate on what Les and Walter have said, during the pre-talk I tell 'em that I'm doing appliances as a courtesy only and that if the thing fails when we test it, or even shortly thereafter, even if it's when I'm backing out of the driveway, we aren't going to be responsible for it. Every agent gets to hear that - none have ever tried to get me to pay for anything.

Sorry to jump back into this one; it's just that this whole idea of blaming inspectors for stuff that would have occurred anyway just rubs me the wrong way. [:-gnasher

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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If a dishwasher is leaking into a floor, the floor will absorb the moisture and, if you've got a decent moisture meter that uses scan mode, that moisture will show up when you scan the floor in front of the dishwasher using your moisture meter. My wife Yung has found a bunch of leaking dishwashers that way and has never had to remove a single toe-kick plate.

That is true if it is a major leak. Quite often vinyl flooring will be installed beneath the dishwasher and water will just sit beneath the dishwasher and evaporate, but leakage will probably get worse.

I used to pull the covers, now I just get creative with my flashlight and stick an eye in at the edges-- usually I can see well enough to tell if leakage is occurring.

I have often found a leak while in the crawlspace-- subfloor is wet or water drips out of the insulation.

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