Many of the defects inspectors note in reports are accepted, negotiated and repaired, sometimes without a true understanding why. Phil Thornberry, President of Security Home Inspections, answers some of those defects below:
- Double keyed dead bolts
While this is mostly a recommendation, it is noted due to the lack of fire egress that can occur if someone needs to exit a door and doesn’t have the key. We understand there is a balance of fire safety and security from burglars. At least post a key nearby that does not get moved. (Builders are not allowed to install them.)
- Returns to wall for stairway handrails
Introduced in 1997, this requirement was due to people catching clothing on handrails and falling down stairs as a result.
- Radon mitigation system discharge termination
When the EPA did testing as they formulated the rules, they found that the air discharging from the radon pipe was typically 10 times the indoor level. As a result, they wanted to make sure the systems used to lower the indoor levels were not raising them in other parts of the house. They termed this re-entrainment.
- Heat ducts in garages
This was not always officially improper. The separation between garage and house has over time become an important part of the building process. Ducts to garages are a pathway for noxious fumes that can originate in a garage. Fire separation is also a consideration.
- Drywall installed under basement stairs
The purpose is to protect the pathway out of the basement during a fire. The drywall will extend the time the stairway structure will be usable.
- Weep holes in brick or stone veneer
When brick or stone is installed onto a frame structure there is a requirement that there be a ¾ inch gap between it and the exterior sheathing of the frame wall. Masonry walls will leak during adverse weather. The gap allows the water to have a path down, and the weep holes give it a path out.
- Air conditioner breaker size
This is a manufacturer requirement. They want the breaker to trip if the unit starts pulling more amps than designed. They don’t want the unit to damage itself.
- PVC flue pipes to be 12” above grade
This is also a manufacturers requirement. If the flue on a high-efficiency furnace becomes blocked, the furnace will shut down. The 12“ high-efficiency rule is to keep the flue above the snow level. The same requirement is also in high-efficiency
Article by Phil Thornberry, President of Security Home Inspections, www.securityhomeinspections.com