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  1. #1
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    Default What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    IMG_6479.JPG.
    What's your boilet plate for this isue on cast iron pipe( the brown seepeage around the joint).
    All the pipe was silver as well. Could this be cast galvinized?

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    When I verify that it's the oakum (or whatever that stuff is) and not water leaking, I don't mention it at all. I see it on almost every old house with cast iron drains.

    Jim Robinson
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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Is that really leaking? I don't see any corrosion or rust there. So, unless you confirmed a leak, I don't see a problem. There is usually some goop hanging out of those kind of connections and that's what that looks like.

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Robinson View Post
    When I verify that it's the oakum (or whatever that stuff is) and not water leaking, I don't mention it at all. I see it on almost every old house with cast iron drains.
    Same here. I have too many defects and issues to document as it is. This is a non issue and I do not mention in the report but I do advise the client verbally as to what it is so they know it is not a leak.

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Yes its called Oakum.
    Yes you better report it because it is seeping.
    If you aren't reporting that what the hell are you doing there.
    Its slow seepage that will eventually really leak. It needs repair and any decent plumber isn't going to do it for cheap. Expensive repair means pissed off client.
    Not reporting something that looks like that essentially gives free license to any contractor, reporter or TV personality to proclaim you are a moron who didn't protect the client.

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    Yes its called Oakum.
    Yes you better report it because it is seeping.
    If you aren't reporting that what the hell are you doing there.
    Its slow seepage that will eventually really leak. It needs repair and any decent plumber isn't going to do it for cheap. Expensive repair means pissed off client.
    Not reporting something that looks like that essentially gives free license to any contractor, reporter or TV personality to proclaim you are a moron who didn't protect the client.
    Ditto.

    But it is lead over oakum stuffing

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    Yes its called Oakum.
    Yes you better report it because it is seeping.
    If you aren't reporting that what the hell are you doing there.
    Its slow seepage that will eventually really leak. It needs repair and any decent plumber isn't going to do it for cheap. Expensive repair means pissed off client.
    Not reporting something that looks like that essentially gives free license to any contractor, reporter or TV personality to proclaim you are a moron who didn't protect the client.
    Wow! I disagree.........I have seen hundred year old lines with this gunk and no leak. Hell, everything will fail eventually.
    Your report must read like a list of doom and gloom. I envision a sample as, "Dark oily substance on door framing around the front entrance door hinges indicates a loss of lubricant from the hinges. Loss of lubricant can lead to excessive friction. Friction can lead to wear and failure. Determining the extent of wear is beyond the scope of this inspection. Further evaluation by appropriate experts is recommended and/or replacement of the hinges."

    I used to write up all kinds of things, but as I gained experience, I learned to better determine what deserved mention and what deserved to be called out as a potential problem. What I see in the photo barely deserves mention and nothing more in my not so humble opinion. No doubt writing it up is "CYA" but then what the hell are you doing as an inspector if all you do is practice CYA instead of acting like someone with the experience to recognize actual problems.

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    It most likely is leaking (seeping).
    Yes, this is very very common to see on cast iron pipes. That's because old cast iron joints are common to leak.
    From the photo I am not certain if this is vertical or a horizontal.
    If vertical, it will likely not be a concern, but if horizontal, then it is a concern.
    The photo looks like it's horizontal to me. If so it would be in the report that it is leaking.
    Most cast iron pipe over 40 years old will likely be badly rusted on horizontal lines.
    Always gets a mention in the report, leak or no leak.

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    When I look at the photo I see a failing joint and it will be included in my report.

    I think it would take alot more than this photo to equal gloom and doom, but if there are enough additional conditions to equal gloom and doom; so be it. I did not create the gloom and doom, I just report what I see. If that is not exactly the reason why someone hires a Home Inspector, please tell me what is.

    I dare anybody to advertise on their website "We ignore certain things (including plumbing leaks) to ensure that the inspection/report that we provide does not look like gloom and doom".

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Thanks all for your input. One thing that did not get answered was the color. I have never seen galvanized cast iron before. is that what this is?
    FYI it was horizontal and I did write it up as leaking and needs further evaluation by a plumber. There were supply line leaks everywhere so they were going to have one there anyway so let him put his name on it after mine.


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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by ren ramsey View Post
    ... One thing that did not get answered was the color. I have never seen galvanized cast iron before. is that what this is?
    ...
    Painted, not galvanized.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Painted, not galvanized.
    I don't know why a homeowner would paint his pipes and do it so meticulously that he did not get it anywhere else on the framing etc. Not saying your worng just can't imagine that occuring. Why would he do it?


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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by ren ramsey View Post
    Thanks all for your input. One thing that did not get answered was the color. I have never seen galvanized cast iron before. is that what this is?
    FYI it was horizontal and I did write it up as leaking and needs further evaluation by a plumber. There were supply line leaks everywhere so they were going to have one there anyway so let him put his name on it after mine.
    I agree with your evaluation. By the way, had it been a vertical joint; I would have also considered a blockage, and not had been as concerned with the seepage (but would have included it).

    I would also look for a leak above.

    Last edited by Steven Turetsky; 03-27-2013 at 11:51 AM.
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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Also, painted not galvanized, fairly common around here.
    "You write what you see".
    If you are inexperienced or whatever the case is and you don't see much, well then that's the way it is. Hopefully you'll learn and improve.
    As HI's it is our place to report the condition of the home. It is NOT our place to make value judgements as to whether something isn't important. If you want to make a judgement about whether something IS important and HOW important it is that's fine. Making a judgement that 'it really isn't a big deal' is a flagrant disregard for why the client hired you.
    Sure those 5,10,20,30 little things aren't a big deal to you for whatever reason. You are a DIY god, have a buddy who's a contractor etc.
    However, your client the cubicle drone doesn't know one end of a wrench from the other. So for him every little thing is most likely important and will cost money. Add all those $50-$300 repairs up and it could run a few grand. That's real money out of a new homebuyers budget. There goes the new flat screen, the winter tires, the fridge, you name it. All because you thought 'it's not that important'.
    Let the client decide what is or isn't important for their situation. You write what you see.
    Can't help including a recent photo. Either the checkbox idiot was too stupid to see this or didn't think it was important enough to report.
    Paint bucket with bottom cut out and glued onto floor over a floor drain.
    2 holes cut into side of bucket. 1 drains the vanity, the other the tub.DSC06484.jpg

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    Also,
    2 holes cut into side of bucket. 1 drains the vanity, the other the tub.DSC06484.jpg
    It's also a urinal. and if you remove the drain cover....

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    I guess I am inexperienced if you call 17 years worth of inspections. Never seen it painted before so call me a rookie.


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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    "The visible portions of the drain pipes include an older cast-iron type (including the main waste line), which are not as dependable as modern PVC drainpipes. They cannot be expected to last forever. A video scan of the main waste line is recommended, as its replacement would be very costly."

    Joe Funderburk, CBO, CMI
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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    FWIW
    Often, cast iron leaks because it was not supported correctly.
    The unsupported pipe puts a strain at the joints.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    My snarky comment portions were not directed at you Ren

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Snarky, really
    A witty mannerism, personality, or behavior that is a combination of sarcasm and cynicism. Usually accepted as a complimentary term. Sometimes mistaken for a snotty or arrogant attitude.

    Now mine was snarky.


    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Ohh Painted at factory, Had not thought of that. Sometimes my linear thinking gets in the way. Also I use to drive by the Charlotte Pipe factory all the time and see the black stacks of pipe for shipping and never saw any silver so it never occurred to me that the factory would paint galvanized on cast iron. I like it though. Sure makes leaks easier to see.
    IMG_6493.JPG


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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Is that from the same house?

    Finding a few rusted spots on drain pipes is like seeing a few roaches.
    You can be certain there are many more that you cannot see.

    FWIW
    Cast iron pipe in good condition will have a solid metallic sound when tapped with a hammer (tapped not hit). While a rusted pipe makes more of a thud sound. Tap on the top of pipes.

    I would bet you a Coke that there are many other places in that pipe about to leak.
    Don't get me wrong, it will likely be many years before some of them show up.
    The problem happens when a plumber comes to make a seemingly minor repair and tells the HO that all the pipes are badly rusted and need to be replaced. I can hear him tell the HO "Your HI should have caught this". Now the fun begins.

    Added in edit
    You as an HI should have caught it (rusted pipes) and reported it.

    Note: I have been saying "Rusted pipes, when it is really is more accurately described as "Corroded pipes".

    Last edited by Rick Cantrell; 03-28-2013 at 08:00 AM.
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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    As HI's it is our place to report the condition of the home. It is NOT our place to make value judgements as to whether something isn't important. If you want to make a judgement about whether something IS important and HOW important it is that's fine. Making a judgement that 'it really isn't a big deal' is a flagrant disregard for why the client hired you.
    Another thing that I disagree with. You are worthless for your uninformed client if you aren't telling them that something like a FPE electric panel is a documented safety risk and should be replaced or the hail damage on the roof is severe or the displacement of the foundation walls should be evaluated by a structural engineer.
    Of course we should make value judgments! Your client thinks they hired you for your knowledge, experience and often advice. If you don't have any advice, then you are nothing but some guy handing them photos. They don't need you to take photos.

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Lon
    Before we wander off in another direction.
    After reading the post and seeing the 2nd photo of the corroded pipe. If you were to see something similar to this again, do you think you would include it in the report or not?

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Lon
    Before we wander off in another direction.
    After reading the post and seeing the 2nd photo of the corroded pipe. If you were to see something similar to this again, do you think you would include it in the report or not?
    As I said earlier, I see this kind of seepage on very old plumbing fairly often with no leakage. So, the answer is no. In my experience which is quite a bit at this point, I don't think you can make a point to point connection between this sealant seepage and leakage. The reason may be simple. The original Oakum is a saturated rope or twine. It may in fact, be over saturated. And excess sealant material, oozes out over time, but leaves the basic infused rope doing its job. Of course, whenever I see this sort of thing, I examine it closer to confirm if it is leaking or not, but if not, I don't consider it anything worthy of writing up. (based on what I see in the photo) Sometimes, there is more going on but, based on what I see in the photo, I don't see anything worthy of mention.

    However, I concede that this discussion has given me pause to ponder and I'll reconsider my position on this.

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    That was a fair and honest answer

    Thanks

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Ren, what did the floor look like directly beneath the fitting in question? Was it stained or did it show any evidence that the fitting had leaked?

    You oughta see what some people do to these drain lines around here. Paint, dry lock, stucco, you name it. When I see a line that has obviously been coated with something, I look even harder too find something because more often that not, it was done in an attempt to hide something.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    This has been a thought provoking discussion.
    Ranks up there with testing shower pans and garage doors.


    I want to say that I appreciate the opinions of everyone who have posted (or will post) their opinion. My intent is not to belittle anyone, but to educate (myself included),so that we as HI's can form an opinion that is supported by facts.
    My opinion will be different from some,and by definition that means I think you are wrong. But I think that each of you are sincere in your opinion, and will be respectful of you.


    Referring to the OP's photo
    There are two basic thoughts:
    1) It should not be reported
    I presume those saying it should not be reported are in essence saying there is no defect,therefore, there is nothing to report.
    Or they are saying:
    The defect is so small it is of no consequence and therefore does not merit being reported.


    2) It should be reported
    There is evidence of a defect, and even if the defect is small it should be reported.


    My thought is “It should be reported”
    I will (try to) provide a logical explanation of why I think it is a reportable condition.
    I will also quote what some of you have said and (again, try to) explain why I disagree with the statement made.


    I'll start with why I would report this condition as a defect and why I think it is a defect.
    Some have described it as “Seepage”,I call it a leak, but lets look at seepage.
    The first result on a Google search of“seepage” is;
    The slow escape of a liquid or gas through porous material or small holes“.
    So in reality, seepage is really just a small leak. But it is a leak and being a leak I think it should be reported.
    Looking at seepage in more detail.
    Cast iron pipe should not be porous. If the pipe is porous there is a defect.
    The packing (oakum) should not be seeping (leaking). If the packing is leaking it is a defect.
    Some have indicated that a substance of the packing is what the seepage is and it is not sewage leaking out at the joint.
    This line of thought would have merit,IF the packing (oakum) under normal conditions, is expected to migrate out of the joint WITHOUT there being a fault (defect) of the joint.
    I have not seen or heard of any evidence to support this view.
    Even if Oakum can migrate out of the joint, this is an indication that the joint is loose. A tight fitting joint would not have any “seepage”. Basically. if the joint is seeping it is loose, a loose joint is a defect, and a defect should be reported.


    Now it comes to degrees of severity.
    Is a joint that has “Seepage” severe enough to be reported?
    Remember, saying “seepage” is just a softer way of saying “there is a small leak”.
    At what point do you report the cast iron pipe joint is leaking? When you have (see) evidence of a leak.
    I'll repeat that; when you see evidenceof a leak you report it PERIOD.
    In your customers eyes, do you think it is ever acceptable for the HI to not report a leak, even a small leak? NO


    Statements saying “It should not be reported” include:


    There is usually some goop hanging out of those kind of connections
    I see it on almost every old house with cast iron drains.
    Old houses have old pipes, old pipes are more likely to have loose joints, loose joints have leaks.
    Just because it's common to see does not mean it is not a defect.




    I don't see any corrosion or rust there.”
    So your saying it cannot leak unless there is rust.
    A loose joint can leak, but not necessarily have rust.
    A loose joint is most often caused by improperly supported pipes. The weight of the pipe puts stress on the joint causing the lead to come loose. The lead is what holds the joint tight. A joint where the lead has come loose is evidence that the joint has moved. The packing needs a tight joint in order to do it's job. Seepage is evidence of a loose joint. A loose joint cannot get better. In time it will get worse.


    I have too many defects and issues to document “
    I'm sure you did not intend that as it sounds.
    I'll rewrite that as what I think you intended to say
    It's so minor that I don't think it should be reported. ( Is that more inline with what you intended?)
    It's only minor if your looking at that one photo by itself.
    Think of it like this , it is not a single or isolated condition, but a symptom for the condition of the cast iron pipe.
    It is not minor when you consider the problems normally associated with having old cast iron pipes.
    It is not minor when you consider the cost to repair this condition.


    I don't consider it anything worthy of writing up. (based on what I see in the photo)
    Let's look at the photo closer.
    Right click on the photo
    Click on “ Open in new tab”
    Now the photo can be enlarged.
    What I see is a crack at the lead where it meets the pipe. This is a loose fitting.
    I also see evidence of leaking around the joint, especially on the lower portion of the hub.


    what did the floor look like directly beneath the fitting in question?
    Are you waiting until you see crap on the floor.
    Seeing crap on the floor is not the only thing to look for.
    Also look for the conditions that will lead to “crap on the floor”, thereby eliminating there being any crap on the floor.

    Last edited by Rick Cantrell; 03-29-2013 at 09:47 AM.
    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    To me even saying that is "is seeping" in the present tense is more than likely not accurate. I would be willing to bet that the pipe has looked exactly like that since shortly after it was installed. A more accurate description would be that the drain line connection "has seeped". For our snapshot inspection, we don't actually know what the condition was like last year or 40 years ago. The material is not water, so I am not going to report it as leaking. Like I said earlier, I see it in almost every house that has cast iron drain lines. I have not seen any correlation between that condition and actual leaks. I've seen far more leaks at no-hub/Fernco connections. I don't flag every one of those that I see as a potential leak source. You could say that about just about every fitting. I'm not going to be reporting a condition like that as an issue. You are all welcome to if you want to.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Ren, what did the floor look like directly beneath the fitting in question? Was it stained or did it show any evidence that the fitting had leaked?

    You oughta see what some people do to these drain lines around here. Paint, dry lock, stucco, you name it. When I see a line that has obviously been coated with something, I look even harder too find something because more often that not, it was done in an attempt to hide something.
    Nick to answer your question, this was a finished basement and the floor was stained with drip marks from the " seepage" leak" whatever you want to call it. I told the client that this would continue to stain her floors when she renovated. I too see it a lot but it it is usually not above a finished floor.
    Here is a pic of another section clearly with a drip so somehting active is going on and I informed them of such and referred it out.
    IMG_6484.JPG

    - - - Updated - - -

    As far as the components of this construction, I have 24 year as a commercial contractor. We routinely install cast iron in projects ( plumbing sub ). Some use a rope with tar like junk on it and some just use the plain rope oakum and them pour the lead in the joint. The question about the seepage becomes, is it the tar from the oakum or the color of the effluent leaching through. Rope will decay os eventually it will leach through the lead when it does. Id don't matter though because it is staining her floors and she needs to know that it will continue to do so without some repairs.


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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Robinson View Post
    To me even saying that is "is seeping" in the present tense is more than likely not accurate. I would be willing to bet that the pipe has looked exactly like that since shortly after it was installed. A more accurate description would be that the drain line connection "has seeped". For our snapshot inspection, we don't actually know what the condition was like last year or 40 years ago. The material is not water, so I am not going to report it as leaking. Like I said earlier, I see it in almost every house that has cast iron drain lines. I have not seen any correlation between that condition and actual leaks. I've seen far more leaks at no-hub/Fernco connections. I don't flag every one of those that I see as a potential leak source. You could say that about just about every fitting. I'm not going to be reporting a condition like that as an issue. You are all welcome to if you want to.
    Jim
    Thanks for posting your opinion
    Sorry to pick on you
    But the post from Ren after your post confirms what I suspected and have been saying since my first post.
    There are other joints that look the same.
    At least some of the joints are leaking enough to leave evidence on the finished floor
    Note: If the floor was not finished (dirt) it would likely have gone unnoticed and unreported by some.
    Yet it is leaking, finished floor or not.
    It is not the Oakum on the floor.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Ren
    Thanks for the updates.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post

    I have too many defects and issues to document “
    I'm sure you did not intend that as it sounds.
    I'll rewrite that as what I think you intended to say
    It's so minor that I don't think it should be reported. ( Is that more inline with what you intended?)
    It's only minor if your looking at that one photo by itself.
    Think of it like this , it is not a single or isolated condition, but a symptom for the condition of the cast iron pipe.
    It is not minor when you consider the problems normally associated with having old cast iron pipes.
    It is not minor when you consider the cost to repair this condition.


    I don't consider it anything worthy of writing up. (based on what I see in the photo)
    Let's look at the photo closer.
    Right click on the photo
    Click on “ Open in new tab”
    Now the photo can be enlarged.
    What I see is a crack at the lead where it meets the pipe. This is a loose fitting.
    I also see evidence of leaking around the joint, especially on the lower portion of the hub.


    what did the floor look like directly beneath the fitting in question?
    Are you waiting until you see crap on the floor.
    Seeing crap on the floor is not the only thing to look for.
    Also look for the conditions that will lead to “crap on the floor”, thereby eliminating there being any crap on the floor.
    Well, I meant what I said. Maybe you're misinterpretting me Rick. I don't document what I know to be a non-issue. I have plenty of actual and known defects to document from my inspections. I don't waste my time reporting what is not defective. If there is a crack there (and I can't tell by the pic because the resolution distorts as I enlarge it), that is another matter and should be reported. But absent of that, this not a defect to me. As strongly as you may feel we are wrong, I as well feel you are wrong. But if you want to report it on your inspections, that's your call.

    No, there doesn't need to be crap on the floor but if there is, the call is easy. Without being there and seeing everything Ren saw, I'm sticking with my thoughts based on the first pic Ren posted.

    I'm with Jim on this. I see cast iron fittings looking exactly like this on a regular basis. And many of them have the oakum staining in the floor because the plumber used an excessive amount that oozed off the pipe. The next time you see something like this, keep some toothpicks on hand in your tool bag and use one to test the ooze. Is it gooey or a water drop? Is it crusted and hard? If it is gooey and tar-like, it's oakum. If it's either a water drop or crusted, it's a leak.

    Last edited by Nick Ostrowski; 03-29-2013 at 04:26 PM.
    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Jim and Nick
    Thanks for posting your opinions.
    If we all agreed on everything there would never be any discussion.
    Without open, honest and uninhibited discussion, nobody would have the chance to make a decision one way or the other.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    While I accept the fact that there are contrasting opinions, personally I just can't imagine coming across this and not including it. Even if I felt that is was not a big issue, which by the way; I don't consider it (alone) to be. But I will still include in my report and explain the issue. When I walk into a building for a client, I like to be the one to tell them what is wrong and would be very embarrassed to have a client tell me what I missed, or even worse; me having to admit that I consciously omitted it.

    Would they then ask me what else I may have left out? What happens to credibility? Where is the reliability?

    I am the eyes of my client, and I am as loyal as a Bull Dog. I don't believe I have the authority to leave something out, and at the same time accept the responsibility to make sure my client understands the severity... or lack of severity for each item (individually and collectively). While I am concerned about what is right and what is wrong; I am more concerned about the effect the item is having on the structure/system.

    When I do an inspection, I don't do any less than I advertise on my websites, business cards, or telephone spiel.

    I try to be careful, fair, accurate, level headed and realistic when reporting, and in no way will I deliberately leave something out or sugarcoat something(s) to change the appearance (outcome) of a report.

    So let me throw this out there;

    If you were hired by a homeowner that wanted his home prepared to put on the market, and he wanted to know everything that was there so when he is ready to put his house on the market, it would pass a Home Inspection with no problems.

    Would you not mention this in the report??

    Steven Turetsky, UID #16000002314
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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Turetsky View Post
    .......
    So let me throw this out there;

    If you were hired by a homeowner that wanted his home prepared to put on the market, and he wanted to know everything that was there so when he is ready to put his house on the market, it would pass a Home Inspection with no problems.

    Would you not mention this in the report??
    Nope. I'd give the homeowner a verbal explanation but leave it at that.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Along this theme, I ran across this (photo below) a couple of days ago.
    pipe.jpg

    A soldered cap leaked in the past. Over time the drying minerals plugged the minute leak and today it's dry. I see this several times a week and long ago stopped writing it up. In my mother-in-law apartment, I had a soldered connection that had a miniscule leak. Rather than try to re-solder it, I knew from many observations like this over the years, that if I was patient, it would likely seal itself. It turned out that I didn't have to be all that patient. In two weeks the the tiny drip sealed itself.

    What do you guys do? Mention it or move on?

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    Along this theme, I ran across this (photo below) a couple of days ago.
    pipe.jpg

    A soldered cap leaked in the past. Over time the drying minerals plugged the minute leak and today it's dry. I see this several times a week and long ago stopped writing it up. In my mother-in-law apartment, I had a soldered connection that had a miniscule leak. Rather than try to re-solder it, I knew from many observations like this over the years, that if I was patient, it would likely seal itself. It turned out that I didn't have to be all that patient. In two weeks the the tiny drip sealed itself.

    What do you guys do? Mention it or move on?
    Wow, you see this several times a week.

    Copper pipe in good condition with properly sweated joints will not leak.
    If there are (or were at any time) leaks in the piping either there are problems with the copper pipes (fittings) or they were not properly sweated.
    It is similar to gal water lines that have rusted from the inside out. They may not be leaking at this time, but the condition is still there.
    Also could be compared to using bubble gum as a patch to stop a roof leak. The patch did stop the leak, but using bubble gum is not the correct way to make a repair.
    In your photo there was a leak. The leak has since stopped only because of mineral buildup.
    The condition that caused the leak (hole) has not been repaired.

    So to answer your question, yes, this is a reportable condition.
    Maybe something like this:
    I observed a copper water pipe fitting that has been improperly installed (sweated).
    The fitting has evidence of leaking in the past. However, at this time I did not find the fitting to be leaking. If not properly repaired this fitting could develop a leak at any time, causing water damage. Recommend appropriate repair by a qualified contractor.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Wow, you see this several times a week.
    Yep, although this example has a heavier mineral buildup than most, but is nicely illustrative of the condition. Apparently, our plumbers aren't as good as yours.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    It is similar to gal water lines that have rusted from the inside out. They may not be leaking at this time, but the condition is still there.
    I don't think so. Galvanized plumbing isn't failing or hasn't failed unless you see specific evidence of a failure. Just because you know that it is rusting from the inside out, doesn't mean that it has failed. Someday, it will fail, but then you can say that for every roof that you ever see. Surely, you don't write up every roof as failing slowly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Also could be compared to using bubble gum as a patch to stop a roof leak.
    I saw a buddy try this many years ago. It didn't work for even a minute.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    So to answer your question, yes, this is a reportable condition.
    Maybe something like this:
    I observed a copper water pipe fitting that has been improperly installed (sweated).
    The fitting has evidence of leaking in the past. However, at this time I did not find the fitting to be leaking. If not properly repaired this fitting could develop a leak at any time, causing water damage. Recommend appropriate repair by a qualified contractor.
    That is very close to what I used to write when I started in this business. But, similarly to my comment about seepage from Oakum, I have seen this condition on very old copper plumbing and still dry. So, while it seems reasonable to say that "this fitting could develop a leak at any time", experience shows that that is not the case at all.

    However, experience has also taught me something else. The photo is illustrative of the maximum amount of mineralization that tends to successfully stop a leak. Mineralization greater than depicted in the photo, tends to be a weak plug of the leak. In my early days of inspecting, I'd give plumbing with these mineralized connections a little shake to see if they'd start leaking. Connections with very heavy mineralization (worse than in the photo), occasionally would begin to leak even if miniscule. My unverified conclusion is that very heavy mineralization is indicative of a larger leak and the mineralized plug is weaker simply because of the size of the hole. So, the mineralized plug can easily be dislodged. But connections with small mineralized deposits, do not start re-leaking with minor vibrations.

    So, it becomes a judgment call. Which takes us back to the original discussion (sort of). Some, maybe, many inspectors practice exhaustive "CYA" on every aspect of how they complete their reports. Every furnace older than a few years should be certified safe by a HVAC tech. Every roof older than five years needs to be certified by a licensed roofer. Any crack in a foundation should be evaluated by a structural engineer. Seeping sealant material from old Oakum should be evaluated and/or repaired by a licensed plumber and so on.......... As you have no doubt deduced, I'm not one of those inspectors. I like to think that I've learned a few things over the years. I like to think that I'm capable of making qualified judgment calls based on what I've learned over those years. Of course, I see things that bear further evaluation and/or repair by qualified experts or tradespeople, but that's never my default comment in my reports.

    I suspect that we are alike in some ways. We like this business and find it interesting and even fun. We like considering, evaluating, and just thinking about things like this. Actually, that probably includes all of the regular posters at this forum. That we disagree here and there, is natural. We all have different backgrounds and experiences. After fifteen years of inspecting, I still see things that give me pause to ponder.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    I would not rely upon pressurized lines to heal themselves.

    When I look at this photo, I see sloppy workmanship. It looks to me like the flux and excess solder was not wiped off, and ran down from a repair above.

    Although neatness counts, if there was no indication of an active leak, I would not include it in the report, unless there was an additional indicator.

    Steven Turetsky, UID #16000002314
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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Lon,

    Are you calling the "green patina" mineralization? And are you stating that this is what plugged the leak?

    The green patina is caused by the flux that is used when sweating copper. if you don't wipe it off it will turn green. This is not a chemical/mineral in the water that has built up on the outside of the pipe.

    Because of the way the flux (green) looks, it looks like it ran down, along with solder; in my opinion there may have been a leak above, and a great deal of flux was applied (along with solder) in an attempt to repair the leaking joint without taking the joint apart (which is the best way).

    By the way, I always comment on galvanized pipe, even if I see no active leaks/damage.

    Steven Turetsky, UID #16000002314
    homeinspectionsnewyork.com
    eifsinspectionsnewyork.com

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Lon
    I think that your evaluation and my evaluation of the copper water pipe (and even the sewer pipe) are essentially the same. The difference being if the conditions are included in the report.
    FYI I do not practice CYA. I do believe that by providing the customer with a report of what I find is important. If you think that is CYA then thats your opinion.

    I will give you a short bio of me:
    I have installed burglar and fire alarms since 1985 or 86 (I don't remember)
    I own several rental properties
    Most people agree that these occupations are high liability.
    I have found that the best way to reduce liability is by performing the proper procedures and documentation.
    Performing the proper procedures and documentation is not CYA, it's just good business and many times required by law.
    For me documentation is something that has to be done.
    Just before this post I had to sent a letter of denial to a prospective tenant.
    I must notify them of why I'm not renting to them, and on what information I based my decision on. It's required by law.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Turetsky View Post
    Lon,

    Are you calling the "green patina" mineralization? And are you stating that this is what plugged the leak?
    No. The whitish/light gray mineralization is the crusty buildup on the pipe.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Lon

    FYI I do not practice CYA. I do believe that by providing the customer with a report of what I find is important. If you think that is CYA then thats your opinion.
    Please re-read my examples of CYA. I'm not saying that merely reporting a condition is CYA but I am saying that recommending further action on all conditions is CYA.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    If I may presume, you consider the water pipe to be a "Blemish" and not a defect.
    A blemish affects the appearance of something, but does not affect the usability or function.
    IE; In your opinion, the water pipe is unlikely to ever leak because of this condition.
    Where as I consider it a defect, more accurately a latent defect. A defect that is not easily observed. Even though this defect is easily seen, the future performance can only be guessed (not observed), Where as the future performance of a water pipe without this condition can be relied on for many years. This has been documented through decades of research and in the field studies. However I know of no studies that have determined water pipes such as you pictured, as being reliably.


    Because not everyone agrees with the analogy used, I don't use they often. However I can't think of a better way to illustrate my position than by using an analogy.

    Let's compare the water pipe to a roof.
    The roof was improperly installed, lets say the roofer used only 3 nails on a tab over the entire roof.
    The roof is not leaking, so it is performing it's intended function.

    Questions;
    Does a defect exist in the roof?
    If a defect is present, is it a reportable condition?
    My answers
    Yes, a defect exist in the roof.
    Because the roof is performing it's intended function the defect is considered a latent defect.
    The roof was improperly installed using only 3 nails per tab. The manufacturers installations require 4 (or more) nails per tab.
    Yes, this is a reportable condition.
    The roof was improperly installed, a description of the defect is to be reported.

    Even though the roof is not now leaking, the buyer has every reason to believe that the improper installation of the roof will be included in the report.

    A dishwasher is not secured to the underside of the counter top.
    The DW is working.
    Is this a defect?
    Is it reportable?

    This is not CYA, this is informing (reporting) known defects to the customer.


    Today is the 1st of the month (rent day).
    I camp out at the office on rent day so as not to miss anyone.
    Lots of time to post on the forum.








    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: What is your boilerplate for this cast iron issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    I am saying that recommending further action on all conditions is CYA.
    Even though Georgia does not have a state license, it does have state laws covering home inspections/ inspector.
    IIRC Anything included in the report must also have a recommendation of action.
    Even if the recommendation is to do nothing, it must be recommended.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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