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Real Estate

Top home inspection photos of 2012

Each week, the Structure Tech team posts new home inspection photo on the Structure Tech Facebook page. After poring over all the photos from the last year, here are our favorite home inspection pics from 2012.

Bent outlet cover

Problem: I want an outlet right where the wall is angled, but I can’t get the cover plate to fit.
Solution: Cut the cover plate and then caulk it in place.

Worst common vent ever

How can you get four water heaters to back-draft at the same time? Just do something like this.

Outlet in duct

Moving the outlet would have been too much work, so someone just cut a hole in the exhaust duct for the kitchen hood fan. Nice touch with the masking tape on the sharp sheet metal edges, too.

Furnace covers reversed

Furnace manufacturers intentionally make it extremely difficult to get the upper and lower covers reversed. With enough tenacity, one can make it happen, though. This allows most of the air to get sucked from the furnace room, completely bypassing the furnace filter. No wonder the furnace filter was so clean.

Deteriorated chimney

Flue gases from combustion appliances such as furnaces and water heaters are corrosive. When the appliance vents into the chimney without a liner, the flue gases often condense near the top and then drip down and destroy the inside of the chimney.

Optional combustion air

Have you ever had one of those days where you felt … y’know … a little too fresh? Thanks to this person’s nifty invention, the combustion air being pumped into the furnace return plenum can be manually turned off.

Leaking drain

Awww, isn’t that cute? We noticed a bunch of water on the floor in the basement after testing all of the first-floor plumbing fixtures. To confirm the source of the leak, we filled up the kitchen sink with water, pulled the drain stopper, then ran downstairs to catch the leak in action.


Early attempts at one-piece kitchen faucet/sprayer combos failed miserably.

Leaning porch

No photo editing performed here.

Leaves in attic

This huge pile of leaves in the attic was a mystery.

Not-so-frost-free faucet

Frost-free faucets have a long stem that allows the water to be turned off inside the home, preventing them from freezing. It doesn’t work so well when they’re installed like this.

Missing roof vent

Nice solution.

This deck puts the can’t in ‘cantilever’

The word of the day is “fulcrum.” Now, everyone over to the right for a demonstration.

Medusa’s house

We think we know where she lives.

Obstructed vacuum breaker

Over/under on how long it will be before that vacuum breaker is removed after the inspector leaves: 9.5 seconds

Scorched ‘Safer Cooking’ manual

Alanis Morissette would love this photo. Don’t cha think?

Strategic bath fan placement

This gives new meaning to the term “point source ventilation.”

Worst. Roof. Ever.

Enough said.

Exploding range

What happens when you take a range designed for natural gas and install it in a home with LP gas? You create an explosion hazard. DO NOT test the oven if you ever come across this defect — a huge fireball will shoot out when you open the door, which will singe your hair and give you half a heart attack. Don’t ask us how we know.

My crawl space has a flat tire

We couldn’t believe our eyes when we found this trailer frame partially buried in concrete in a crawl space, supporting the addition at the front of a house.

Men make things fit

We’ve seen plenty of doors notched out to get around toilets, but this might be the worst one yet.

That last photo was a “bonus” photo sent in by Rick Norling, past owner of Structure Tech. If you enjoy these kinds of photos, remember to like our Facebook page. Thanks!


Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections, Minneapolis, Minn., is a second-generation ASHI Certified Inspector whose experience with home remodeling and construction began at age four when he helped his father steam wallpaper. He has worked for Structure Tech since 1997 and joined ASHI in 2004. Visit his blog at

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

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