Jay Markanich, a Virginia area Home Inspector wrote this blog about his finding on a house being renovated to flip. When I see anything like Jay describes below, the first thing I think of is "what don't I see"... and start running for the hills...
If you want to leave a comment, click on Jay's link below:
Something like this post is about would in fact keep you SLEEPLESS in Virginia, if not checked!
One of the advertising points of a recent flip was "Gorgeous New Powder Room." And it was gorgeous! But in looking around, first with my nose, I discovered more Flipper Fodder - trapless in Virginia.
New flooring, very nice cabinet and sink combination, granite top - this is a very pretty piece to see when you walk by the powder room.
Okay, the receptacle is too close to the sink and no, it is not GFI protected.
Did I expect it to be? I report, you decide.
On the other side the toilet was a new toilet and installed properly. The service line was a good one and miracle of all, the toilet didn't wobble on the floor!
Then I flushed the toilet.
My client, at the door, said, "What's that smell?"
I smelled some really prime-quality sewer gas. And said that.
It was a powerful odor!
The sink had not been tested yet. I was pretty sure what we would find.
The client asked, "Why would we be smelling sewer gas when the toilet gets flushed?"
"It has nothing to do with the toilet, it has to do with this." And I opened the cabinet door.
Now, I want you to notice some things. This Flipper used good stuff!
The service lines are braided metal, very good.
He used purple primer on the joints, not often done in bathroom sink installations, also very good.
The assembly is not too deep, a common mistake.
He notched the cabinet floor to accommodate the drain, and did it attractively.
What did this unprofessional Flipper do wrong?
He forgot the trap! The diagram is an example of a P-trap. So called because turned sideways it looks a bit like a P.
What does it do? It TRAPS water. Why? So sewer gases will not pass from the drain system and up through the sink drain hole!
What happened when we flushed the toilet? Water entered the drain system, displacing the "air" in there. Displaced air should go through the plumbing penetration in the roof, having no where else to escape. But in this case it went also to the most convenient spot - the nearby sink!
Sure, this is an easy fix, for a PROFESSIONAL!
What bothers me the most is that this indicates that the Flipper and his friends are not professionals. If what we can see is wrong, what about what we can't see!? THAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH FLIPS! They are not professional contractors. It's also why they don't pull permits for their work.
But, that is also why they are so fun to inspect! And so full of blog fodder!
My recommendation: if you go into a house and smell sewer gas, there is a reason! Something is left open, like a clean out, or some plumbing somewhere has no trap. Follow your nose and look around. You might just find it!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia
Chris Smith CSSBB
Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage