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Bloopers and Blunders

Home inspectors sometimes find things in houses that are a bit unusual. Here are some examples of bloopers and blunders they’ve found along the way.

What a trip.

Photo: Charles A. Gabriels

This bathroom outlet is not a GFCI. Thank
goodness, this homeowner had the presence
of mind to leave all of the tags on, advising of
potential shock hazard, should one carelessly
remove the tags.

Q & A

Q: What do you look for while inspecting
a rubber roof?

A: Bullet holes, of course.

Photo: Val Sarko, Reliable Inspections

Automotive heating?

Photo: Scott Sharp
Guardian Home Inspections LLC

You’re looking at some fine Ozark engineering.
Yes, that is an automotive radiator attached
to floor joists with hot water piped to it. All the
pipes and the wood-burning boiler were
constructed of recycled components from
who knows what. And this is only what I
could see. The system never did function
to their satisfaction. I wonder why?

Classic plumbing

Photo: Ken Harrington
Kustom Home Inspection

The work of an auto mechanic turned plumber?
A radiator hose from a 1945 Pontiac was used
to replace piping leading into the main
drain stack.


Photo: Ron Pasaro
ASHI Founder

Here’s another brilliant idea: Keep the supply.
and return registers close together so the hot air.
can flow freely back to the furnace.

Um . . . . . no

Photo: Bob Mulloy
Allsafe Home Inspection Service

Maybe it's best not to put the smokestack
right next to the windows.

Details, details

Photo: Lon Grossman
Technihouse Inspections, Inc.

Flashing—who needs flashing?!


Photo: Jack Harper II
ProTection Inspection, Inc.

“Bee” careful when looking down chimneys,
especially on an old two-story farm house
with a steep pitched roof. It was quite a
surprise to find honeybees. Usually, we
encounter wasps, hornets, raccoons, etc.


Photo: Mark Underwood
Clear View Inspections, Inc.

Here you have your basic downspout planter,
with an attractive — and healthy — sword fern
contrasting nicely with the red window trim.
You too can have one of these beautiful planters.
Just don’t clean your gutters for five years.

The good news

Photo: Tom Brooks
Extra Mile Home Inspections

Harry Homeowner installed this CPVC pipe
touching the flue pipe. The fix? Slip some
cardboard between the warm flue pipe and
meltable plastic! The good news? The gas
was turned off and I recommended repairs
by a licensed plumber before re-inspection.

A (potentially) shocking discovery

Photo: Tom Brooks
Extra Mile Home Inspections

The photo shows an unprotected light bulb
in a homeowner-constructed shower in the
basement of a home I inspected. As if that
wasn’t bad enough, the second photo shows
that in that same bathroom, he located a switch
INSIDE the shower stall!

Tree house?

Photo: Scott Scheuer
Protection Plus Home Inspections

What do the Standards of Practice
say about “tree houses”?

Nailed it

Photo: Jason Ostby
First Defense Home Inspections

How to secure the column to the I-beam
that supports the floor? “Well, if we can’t
find the bolts or the welder, just stick
some nails in there.” I can’t imagine
any other explanation for this find in
a one-year-old home.

Foiled again!

Photo: C. John Limongello
Southern Home Inspection Services

This section of water heater flue pipe
is made entirely out of aluminum foil!

Making both ends meet

Photo: Doug Zimmerman
Independent Inspection Service, LLC

I found this rain gutter capped on
both ends. I wasn’t surprised to
find decayed material inside.

Down the drain

Photo: John Cranor
Cranor Home Inspections

I captured this photo in the crawl space
of a new-construction home after it had
passed all municipal inspections. The
bathtub drain was never completed.


Photo: Daniel Dunham
Englewood Home Inspections

I found this on a recent inspection.
When the toilet was flushed, water and
whatever spurted out around this bottle.

No support

Photo: Stephen Giesen
Home Survey, Inc.

Another I-beam fiasco. I hope there
never is an earthquake near this house!!

Homemade humidifier

Photo: Brian Mishler
HomeStudy Inc.

Saw this at an inspection today, and it
was good for a chuckle. Apparently,
the homeowner didn’t want to mess
with all that high-tech gadgetry in a
humidifier, so he replaced it with a
Cool Whip container filled with water!

I smell a rat

Photo: Luciano Marquez
Mr. Home Inspector

This is a photograph of a rat that
entered an electrical panel through
an open knockout. When it came in
contact with the grounded box, it got

I show this picture, which I carry to all
inspections, to homeowners who pooh-pooh
my complaint of open knock-outs at
electrical panels.

A plumbing odyssey

Photo: Tom Smith
The HomeTeam Inspection Service

Wasn’t there a screen saver like this? This is
a picture of some amateur plumbing work for
the drain system of a home.


Photo: Al DeLong
Double Check Home Inspection Group

Generally, a solid shim block or steel plate is
used between a support column and girder.
When not available, is it OK to use a rusted
old pipe wrench and weightlifter’s plate?

Duct tape to the rescue!

Photo: Stefanie Brandenburg
Upstate Home Detectives

If you have a broken framing member in your
attic, use the all-purpose structural repair kit
— duct tape!

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Photo: Pete Jung
Hinson & Jung, LLC Home Inspections and Services

I guess we would call it a 1921 oversized
junction box (1′ x 1.5′)! Someone left a note
attached indicating some of the wires were hot!!
This ‘box’ was located on the basement ceiling
and open when I found it!

Water heater suspense

Photo: Chris Brown
Florida HomePro

Not only did the homeowners install the water
heater on its side, but they replaced the TPR
valve with a large pressure gauge. Fortunately,
the house was vacant and the heater was not
pressurized at time of inspection.

A bit too snug

Photo: Bob Mulloy
Allsafe Home Inspection Service, Inc.

I had to stop while driving by a home to take
this picture of a chimney.

Recycling gone too far

Photo: Kim Thormodsgard
Thor Home Inspection Service

The homeowner thought: “I knew I could find
a use for that old jockstrap someday.”

Not so warm and fuzzy

Photo: Russ Augustine
Augustine Home Inspections by Russ Augustine & Assoc. Inc.

Here is a photo of a dryer vent showing why
they’re not supposed to be screened. I’ve heard
of saving your pocket change for a rainy day, but
saving the pocket lint? This was someone’s idea
to keep out the birds; it took quite a bit of work
to make it this nice.


Photo: Chris Wunderler
Tru-Blu Home Inspections

This is a picture of an electrical panel with an
apartment-size washer/dryer combo sitting right
in front of it. Hope the owners don’t have to get
into it in a hurry in case of an emergency.


Photo: Mark Oldroyd
A Realty Check

I found this tree, used as structural support,
at a recent inspection.

Flexible seating

Photo: Todd Moelker
Alert Inspection Services LLC

Have a seat and tell me about proper flex duct
support. I found this in the crawlspace of a
manufactured home.

Dryer wire

Photo: Charles H. Nance, P.E.
CHN Inspections, LLC

Here is the latest in electrical wiring techniques
for dryer hookups. I guess he ran out of electrical
tape in the middle of this project. My guess is
that the homeowner turned off the breaker
before connecting this.

Double door duty

Photo: Ron Cook
Close-Up Home Inspection

The homeowner of this house apparently did
not want to buy two garage door openers.
Instead, he installed one in the center of the
two doors and connected them.

Put a lid on it

Photo: C. John Limongello
Land America Property Inspection Services

The people at Rubbermaid may be proud
of a new-found use for a garbage can lid!


Photo: Jim Krider
House Smart

Some fireplaces are easier to inspect than others…