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Leak in a house I inspected.


Brandon Whitmore
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I inspected a new construction home that had sat vacant for about 2 years a couple of months ago.

My client is a friend, as is the guy who plumbed the house.

My client called me last week because he noticed a spot on his ceiling in the kitchen, which is below the laundry room. There was no water stain, but was a small sag in a seam, and the seam was sagging. I had him push on the drywall and he said it felt soft, which I told him sounded like wet drywall. He works in residential construction so I had him check things before I went out there.

I told him to call the builder so someone could check things out before I got there. The builders rep came out about an hour before I did and said that the there was no leak, and that it was just a blemish in the drywall-- no repairs needed.

I showed up with a moisture meter to check things out. I checked the ceiling in the kitchen, and the drywall was damp, so we proceeded to go upstairs to check his laundry room. The wall around the plumbing was completely dry, as was the floor beneath the washing machine. All plumbing connections looked fine, with no signs of problems at the connections. The weird thing was that there were slightly elevated moisture readings beneath his dryer.

His laundry room happened to be on an exterior wall (washer against the exterior wall, with the dryer towards the inside of the home). He had just cut into the exterior wall to install a patio cover, so i thought that maybe he had screwed something up outside, and that water was seeping in from there. It didn't look like it, so I told him to call the builder to get his guys back out there. Since I knew the plumber, we called him to discuss what was going on. I happened to know that the plumber had 2 separate insurance claims in the same neighborhood-- it turned out that the PEX pipe fittings he used in the neighborhood were defective and that the supplier ended up paying out a large sum of money to repair 2 houses (one was 80k plus in repairs). I just assumed there was another fitting issue developing.

I finally had to tell my client to have the builder cut the ceiling open in the kitchen to find out what was going on.

What did they find? As usual, all of the exterior vents had been painted shut, including the dryer vent cover. 2 months worth of moisture from the dryer never vented to the exterior of the home, and it finally showed. My client thought he had just purchased a crappy dryer (didn't tell me this during my review).

Thankfully, I write up all of the painted vent covers I find, including this one. I'm assuming the builder won't be letting his painter seal any more of the vents in the future.

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I had a Bosh dryer that would run for about 10 mins then cut off and say "lint filter" and give an error code. Ended up being the dryer duct clogged with lint and filled up with water (condensation). It was a older house with flex duct. Ended up running a hard duct no screws, less than 4 bends and less than 20' long per owner’s manual. This is a safety feature that alot of new dryers have to help prevent house fires. Dryer is working great now.

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