In Part 1 we listed 4 possible reasons a typical Home Inspector may miss something. To Recap they are as follows:
1. Lack of experience (maybe in a specific area of the Home Inspection discipline)
2. Defect was hidden or somehow concealed
3. Conditions necessary for defect to be found was not present
4. Not having the correct tools required
5. Distraction at the time of inspection
In this installment (Part 2) of the series, we will detail an actual situation from start to finish. It will also demonstrate that a good inspector is also an investigator. Somewhat not unlike a detective. The story goes like this….
Our founder and lead inspector is also a Master Electrician. While working in the basement of a home doing some wiring, he noted what he thought was an upstairs shower running. Not realizing there was no one on any of the upper levels he ignored it. Because of other obligations, he could only work a few hours each day. So the wiring of the basement took a few days. He did noticed though that it appeared as if the shower was always going everytime he was there, even though the homeowner was always in the basement with him. So he asked, “Is someone using the shower or faucet upstairs?” He was told no. He went over to the meter and took a look.
The meter (shown here) definitely was not moving or registering any flow at all. However, holding the pipe detected some kinetic energy. Being the inspector he is, after leaving the home, he thought about it some more and figured the whole thing does not make sense and decided to look into it a bit further. He discussed this with a few colleagues, and one had a theory: leak external to the building resulting in sound propagating through the pipe.
A plumber was consulted. The plumber found no leaks inside the home, nor inside any of the neighboring properties. After a number steps taken by the plumber, he decided to dig. He started at the point where main valve outside was located because he noticed the sound stopped when the valve was turned off. He did not dig far before he encountered a sink hole filled with water. The supply was turned off, and the hole pumped. The image shown to the left is the sink hole after being pumped. The damaged copper pipe was clearly visible.
It is worthwhile to state that this happened during the winter of 2016. The water was actually turned off and for a variety of reasons, it was only turned back on after the repairs was completed which was 2 weeks later. The damaged portion of the pipe is shown below.
The hole was filled. Repair completed.
This problem was not discovered during an home inspection. Given a typical home inspection last 2.5 hours on average, many inspectors would not been able to put the pieces together so quickly and realized that there is a problem. Afterall, most homes we inspect have the sellers or residents present during the inspection. Anyone can run a faucet while in the home. We only discovered this issue because we were making multiple trips, and kept hearing the propogated sound on each trip. No instrument we had or carried by home inspectors, could have detected that leak.
Any client that uses Qualitex Home Inspection can feel comfortable that if something looks odd or does not make sense, it will be fully investigated on site and researched until an acceptable outcome is realized.
Qualitex Home Inspection services the Greater Toronto Area: Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Milton, Oakville, Burlington, Vaughan.