At a recent home inspection in northeast Tarrant County, our inspector saw these safety hazards in the water heater closet. He knew right away what had happened. When new roof shingles were installed a few months earlier, the workers on the roof knocked the gas flue vent pipe loose, dislodging it from the top of the water heater inside the house. No one noticed it from inside the house, because the water heater was in a garage closet. The roofing crew saw enough of the vent pipe sticking out above the roof that they thought everything was OK. So no one suspected a problem.
Since this savvy home buyer decided to have a professional home inspection, however, our inspector saw several things wrong. Let’s count them.
First, the gas water heater has heated gas fumes coming out the top of the unit when the burner is fired up, and the water is heating. See the open draft hood at the top of the unit in the photo? That’s where the pipe was that ran all the way through the roof. With that pipe gone, there is nowhere for the heat to go but the drywall ceiling inside the closet – fire hazard!
Second, if the gas burner is not burning efficiently, there may be carbon monoxide byproducts hanging around in the air – health hazard.
Third, since the vent pipe at the roof is not fitting properly, water is coming down the pipe when it rains, wetting the drywall inside the closet. In this photo, you can see that the ceiling has been wet. Look a little lower on the wall and you can see that it has been wet there, too. If a moist, dark, unvented area stays that way for long, it will create a perfect condition for mold – health hazard.
Our client, the home buyer, was very pleased that we found these deficiencies while he was still in his option period, because he and his real estate agent can ask the home seller to make the necessary repairs before they proceed with the purchase. We have found such problems, worth thousands of dollars for our previous clients.
In our seven years in the inspection business, we have learned that it is a good idea after a new roof is installed to have an experienced home inspector come around and look things over. In fact, a professional inspector can help you make sure that any home repairs are done properly and safely. If you have questions about home repairs, call us, or post a reply below, and we’ll be glad to respond. At House Exam Inspection and Consulting, we’d like to be your home inspection and maintenance consultants for life.