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  1. #1
    Susan Cook's Avatar
    Susan Cook Guest

    Default New Mexico plumbing

    Hi all! We recently bought our first home (hooray) but it's been a disaster! Our inspector and realtor went through the house without us, then called to say "They forgot to call" Anyway, we have a horrible sewage smell coming from the vents as well as a lot of dampness now showing up in the wall of the closet that houses the water heater and is also the back wall of the shower. It's a 1963 frame house on an extremely low crawl space. Sometimes we even seem to have a sewage smell coming from the sink drains. There is water coming out of the ?condensate pipes on the HVAC units. Any ideas or suggestions?

    Thanks so much!

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  2. #2
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    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: New Mexico plumbing

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Cook View Post
    Hi all! We recently bought our first home (hooray) but it's been a disaster! Our inspector and realtor went through the house without us, then called to say "They forgot to call" Anyway, we have a horrible sewage smell coming from the vents as well as a lot of dampness now showing up in the wall of the closet that houses the water heater and is also the back wall of the shower. It's a 1963 frame house on an extremely low crawl space. Sometimes we even seem to have a sewage smell coming from the sink drains. There is water coming out of the ?condensate pipes on the HVAC units. Any ideas or suggestions?

    Thanks so much!
    Hi Susan,

    Not much to go on. What you describe sounds like something that would have a history rather than something that suddenly showed-up.

    Some useful questions for us would be: Was the home owner-occupied? Was the house a "flip"? Any recent work such as paint, remodeling, etc? Was this a foreclosure? Any mention of this in any of the documentation from the seller (disclosure statement)?

    The first thing to do would be contact the home inspector, explain the situation and ask him/her to come out. The seller should be notified and questioned as well It will probably be necessary to contact the agents in order to get in touch with the seller. If the inspector is of no help, the next step would be to contact a plumbing contractor.

    Unfortunately, it is difficult to diagnose a problem or series of problems without actually seeing the property. If you have more information, please post. Photos might help, but since much of what you describe is olfactory, it would probably be of little use. I would also ask that you keep us informed as to what your inspector says. We might be able to help you there as well.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Re: New Mexico plumbing

    when homes are vacant for a while the water in the waste traps evaporates. if there is an old trap noit in use it will be a source for the waste systen to vent into the home. you have to make sure all waste lines that are not in use are capped.
    + what gunnar said,
    have the inspector come back out to check for you.
    have the broker come too.


  4. #4
    Susan Cook's Avatar
    Susan Cook Guest

    Default Re: New Mexico plumbing

    Thanks! It was not occupied at the time of purchase, or a flip or any recent remodeling. There was nothing regarding these issues in disclosure either. Lol, seems like every issue has boiled down to poor maintenance which voids our home warranty. We'll contact the Realtor and inspector right away, the warranty company is sending a plumber over tomorrow to take a look.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: New Mexico plumbing

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Cook View Post
    Thanks! It was not occupied at the time of purchase, or a flip or any recent remodeling. There was nothing regarding these issues in disclosure either. Lol, seems like every issue has boiled down to poor maintenance which voids our home warranty. We'll contact the Realtor and inspector right away, the warranty company is sending a plumber over tomorrow to take a look.
    Susan,

    It would be best to arrange to have the inspector and plumber there at the same time, if possible. That way, you can get each person's point of view. There are limits to what we as home inspectors can see and do in the limited amount of time that we have available to do an inspection. In addition, given that the area under the house was restricted, it might be that whatever the problems are, it might not have been possible to identify them. That said, a good, honest home inspector will try to work with you, if indeed he/she missed something that should have been found.

    As a general rule, the best way to deal with something like this is to be firm/assertive with the inspector. Rudeness and anger will tend to stop all discussion (you don't come across as rude or angry here, and I get the impression that you are a reasonable person). But, don't just give in by being too nice.

    If the plumber says "your home inspector should have told you about this". Find out why the plumber believes that. What were the clues that the plumber feels should have been picked-up by the inspector? If there is a broken line under the toilet and the crawlspace was accessible (minimum 18 inches), then the inspector probably should have found it. However, buried piping cannot be inspected (I had a plumber say that to a new homeowner about buried piping in the yard).

    Once again, please keep us in the loop, if you can.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  6. #6
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    Default Re: New Mexico plumbing

    Susan,
    Did your agent recommend the inspector to you ?

    Was the inspection report given to a narrative report or a check list report ?

    How long after you moved in did you start noticing the problems ?

    What type of vents are you referring to that are producing a sewage smell ?

    How long had the property been vacant ?

    What type of shower , fiberglass/plastic or tile, is adjacent to hot water heater closet ?


  7. #7
    Susan Cook's Avatar
    Susan Cook Guest

    Default Re: New Mexico plumbing

    Well, the plumbers just left. They smelled it right away, lol. Turns out the old ceramic tile shower must have been leaking for quite some time as the floor is starting to rot. They were really nice, though and are checking with our home warranty company. Our inspector was really a luck of the draw thing.....we used VA for our loan and there are only 2 inspectors in our area. We were told one was really laid back, the other super strict...any guesses on to which one we got? The plumbers felt like it should have been caught as it was in an area that should have gotten a close look since so many things converged into that area.

    Gary, the report was a checklist, we started noticing the smell I think about 2 months in. The vents are the AC/heating vents and we think the house have been empty a couple of months. Hope that helps!


  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Default Re: New Mexico plumbing

    Ut Oh...

    I see you've mentioned a VA "inspection"

    A property inspection/property existance-verification-asset condition/appraisal report on behalf of the lender's underwriting insurance program (HUD/FHA, VA, etc.)

    is not the same thing

    as a "real" Home Inspection on behalf of a purchaser in contemplation of a real estate transaction!

    Are you SURE you acquired a "Home Inspection" and a home inspection report?


  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Default Re: New Mexico plumbing

    Susan,
    Had an idea that it was a shower issue.
    We have had a long discussion on two other threads on checking shower pans for leaks. The fact that the property had been vacant may be the reason that the inspector did not notice any issues. Which is why an extensive inspection is always needed for a vacant property.

    If you have been smelling the odors via the HVAC vents you may have an issue of mold in those vents, or just a result of the HVAC system circulating the odors through the house. Have a close look at the HVAC vent duct system.

    As HG Watson mentioned that you may be under a misconception on what type of inspection you received. If the Inspection was for the lender involved for the VA loan, then you really did not have an exhaustive Home Inspection. You may want to have another inspection performed so that you have a better idea of what the house may be presenting to you in the future.

    In my opinion a check list report is almost worthless in presenting the client a good view of the condition of the property. Furthermore, any report should exceed the Standards Of Practice for you state (if the state has SOP and Licensing) else exceed the SOP of any Home Inspection organization that you may look at.


    You are on the right track.

    Good luck with you home and may all of your problems be small.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    New Mexico
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    1,258

    Default Re: New Mexico plumbing

    You mentioned a very low clearance in the crawl space. I've seen several over the years that you literally could not get into, like 6 - 8" of room. Is there room to get down under the shower in your crawl space? I'm curious what the condition of the wood and area under the shower is like.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

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