WATER In the Frame and on Display. (A hidden defect in prior form?) POP QUIZ

water shut off valve

WATER In the Frame and on Display.

Most people put up framed photos or art work of some kind, under glass to protect it. Photos are usually people, places or events  that are memorable to the residents.

Art is put up for decor, colour or effect.

This sort of framed wall decor is rarer. In fact it’s the only one I’ve seen to date.

This ‘picture‘ is memorable to the owners here because they had a plumbing accident and needed to shut off the water.

But they couldn’t find the valve!. Somebody had enclosed it in the wall!

Now its been located, framed and on display ‘under glass’. So it’s art to those who live there.

As it was, it was hidden and because this hardware has a necessary function and was hidden, it was a kind of ‘hidden defect‘.

Most hidden defects are more complex and do not involve obstructed hardware controls, but the consequences of not being able to shut off the water in an emergency can be quite extensive.



What two other details are revealed in the ‘frame’ that will be noted by inspectors in this case? (not the size and type of plumbing)

(1) One is present to observe.   The presence of the bare wire indicates the location and existence of the electrical_________ ground_____ clamp______ to the plumbing, before the valve.

(2) The other is conspicuously absent. The lack of v_____ b______ is notable because the ‘covered frame’ a_____ h____is not a__ t____.


I’ll revisit this in 24 hours to give you a chance to fill in the blanks with your comments.






Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post

Is ‘CAULK’ a 4 letter word ? (Part 1) Connotations of ‘CAULK’ and ‘FLASH’ .

Is ‘CAULK’ a 4 letter word to you ?   Does that mean “FLASHING” reminds you of a ‘perv’ in the park.

I would think so judging by the number of places I’m seeing that should have flashing in use but has none or is relying on caulked seams instead.

A blog Relying on Caulking  by a fellow inspector, Steven L. Smith here in AR got me thinking about the defects that I commonly see regarding these products. His main points were about the life expectancy of caulking and their being used instead of the proper flashing.

I concur with the points he makes and I routinely advise clients that when caulking maintenance is required that this actually means that the old has to be stripped (not usually an easy job) and then new caulking reapplied.

Far too often I see newer caulking smeared over old, sometimes multiple layers. This does not work.

When caulking fails it has dried out and cracked. It is hard, inflexible and no longer adhering to the surfaces around it.

If you caulk over that you are either (1) caulking between the old stuff and the adjacent surface or (2) smearing new caulking over the old stuff trying to cover everything.

In both situations it is messy to do and hard to have a good looking result.

If you are caulking around the old stuff, that (old caulk) will continue to dry out and crack and let water in, so your effort lasts but a short time.

If you are trying to cover everything, even if you do a good job, what you have in the end is a too thin a layer that will rapidly dry out and fail.

The old does have to be stripped out and the new fully reapplied in full bead that will retain its’ volatile fluids, remain flexible and last at least a significant fraction of the time its’ maker claims.



Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post

Pop Goes The Hatch (Weasel) And So Does Your Energy Bill.

How many times do I see the following condition; a popped hatch.


Yes it’s popped open or lifted when a door or window is opened somewhere and it’s a windy day or the wind is hitting that side of the house. The sudden increase in air pressure will lift the hatch (it’s not heavy).

It can even be pulled up as sudden gust of wind create a low pressure zone over the roof. This partial vacuum will pull higher pressure air form the house, lifting the hatch cover with it.

Most times it will just fall back down to the same place but sometimes it will catch due to misalignment and will stay open or partially open.

In a closet this may never be noticed till the next service call or inspection requires attic access.

 The heated (or cooled) air that can be lost through this is just phenomenal. Just visualize the plug being pulled on a sink full of water. That’s a house loosing hot air through the hatch. The air is not as dense as water but the same principles of fluid dynamics are at play. So it won’t be as fast but it will be continuous as the ‘tap’ is always on (heating or AC system).

 For this reason I recommend hold down hardware unless you have the magnetic strip type.  (Hook and eye screws, barrel bolts, etc.).  The hardware also keeps the hatch tight against the weatherstripping to make it airtight.




Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post