Home Inspection??

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by enosez, Feb 25, 2007.

  1. enosez

    enosez Member

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    Long Island NY
    Had a home inspection on a house my mother in law is planning on buying and had a couple of issues, all having to do with plumbing. The house which is a high ranch is located in Suffolk County, NY.

    *Can a Fernco formed Elbow be used to attached the vertical from the trap to the horizontal into the wall stub?

    *In the bathroom and kitchen the stub out from the wall is very low, to the point that it is just above the bottom of the cabinet. The traps are not p-traps but if you can imagine an "s" with the fernco elbow that turns the pipe back into the wall. Does any one see a problem with this setup?

    *The previous homeowner put in a stand up shower in the downstairs and tied it into a drywell in his back yard, it does not attach to the main waste line. Even worse is when you run the shower for about five minutes it backs up into shower base. After 30 minutes the water still did not go down?

    *When you run all the plumbing in the house at once, the toilet downstairs begins to bubble and gurp and the water rises to the brim. (When we got there the water level was very low in the toilet. After 30 minutes, the water level went back to the low level.

    *The previous homeowner has a kitchen sink "tee"ed into what I beleive is called the house fresh air vent. Is that legal? (Is this considered a wet vent? And will it work or will it be trouble in the future)
    From what is seen, the upstairs remodel was done with PVC and the piping under the slab appears to be CI.

    Help should we run or stay?
  2. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    This place my wife and I got a little over two years ago had its own variety of similar problems, including some electrical ones and seeming evidence of an apparent attempt someone had made to either gas someone else out or possibly even set the stage for an explosion. I did not realize the full extent of the problems at that time, but I was not afraid to tackle them, and the most serious ones have since been resolved, including replacement of the gas meter.

    For the sake of overall relations and your mother-in-law's general comfort, I would suggest the seller be required to either attend to all issues beforehand professionally or that some money be placed in escrow or whatever to cover the related costs.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,272
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    house

    *Can a Fernco formed Elbow be used to attached the vertical from the trap to the horizontal into the wall stub?

    NO!!!!!!

    *In the bathroom and kitchen the stub out from the wall is very low, to the point that it is just above the bottom of the cabinet. The traps are not p-traps but if you can imagine an "s" with the fernco elbow that turns the pipe back into the wall. Does any one see a problem with this setup?

    A picture would help, but from your description it is wrong.

    *The previous homeowner put in a stand up shower in the downstairs and tied it into a drywell in his back yard, it does not attach to the main waste line. Even worse is when you run the shower for about five minutes it backs up into shower base. After 30 minutes the water still did not go down?

    Once the drywell fills with water it will no longer drain until some of the water seeps away. If it has been used for a few years, soap, etc., has probably coated the exterior ground surface making it difficult for the water to escape.

    *When you run all the plumbing in the house at once, the toilet downstairs begins to bubble and gurp and the water rises to the brim. (When we got there the water level was very low in the toilet. After 30 minutes, the water level went back to the low level.

    Their is a problem with the drain line or septic tank, it could be a problem similar to the one with the drywell.

    *The previous homeowner has a kitchen sink "tee"ed into what I beleive is called the house fresh air vent. Is that legal? (Is this considered a wet vent? And will it work or will it be trouble in the future)

    No way to tell without actually seeing it.

    From what is seen, the upstairs remodel was done with PVC and the piping under the slab appears to be CI.

    Doing it with PVC is not a problem. The problem would be that given the shortcuts he took with what you can see, there is no way to be sure what is in the walls is done properly. The odds may be against it however.

    I would not buy it without getting a very deep reduction in the price, or it has to be listed at well below market price.
  4. Cal

    Cal New Member

    Messages:
    228
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    Let me just say this from a professional's point of view ,,,,,,,,,,,,


    RUN , And RUN FAST !!!
  5. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    Let me chime in with Cal.

    Unless you are getting this house at such a low price that you can afford to dump maybe many $1,000.00s into it.... RUN.

    Depending on its age it may need a whole new septic system aside from all the other problems. When was the house built?


    The present owner may be selling for that very reason.
  6. enosez

    enosez Member

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    Long Island NY
    I cant get a picture only because I dont know when we'll be able to get back into the house.

    RE: The low stub out....

    Normally I would see a stub out coming out of the wall at about 18". The stub out in the house comes out about 6" off the floor (horizontal) or at the bottom of the cabinet.

    What "they" did was add the fernco from the stub out. From the fernco it goes vertical with a piece of PVC about 12-16" where it ties into a PVC solvent trap.

    Hope this helps, I am trying to get the realtor to get us back in for some pictures.
  7. enosez

    enosez Member

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    Long Island NY
    House was built in 1972.
  8. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    If the house is on a septic system, and like many home owners they only had it (the tank) pumped when it backed up, your leach field is most likely at or nearing the end it's useful life. If it is on city sewer you may have a root intrusion problem and should have the waste line going to the street cameraed.

    I would find out pumping records if possible and find out the cost of a new field. Make it a consideration when making an offer.

    The shower needs to be re plumbed to meet code and tied into the homes sanitary system. This also could be a considerable expense that should be taken into consideration.
  9. salesmanship?

    Home inspectors/inspections are way more common than 30 years ago and I've actually made comments to the fact about such things.


    Like when a customer is hedging on certain code violations or high water pressure, I always tell them that home inspectors when you sell pick up on that sort of thing now and even though you're hedging on whether you want to do it or not, you will be having it done in order to sell.

    The only time I mention these sorts of things is when I have a customer in general convo make statements that they are selling in the near future.
  10. Since you are asking these questions, you're barely qualified to be fixing a house up that has such a high number of serious problems. There'll be more that you have not yet seen.

    Besides, you don't want to be involved with such difficult dilemmas with a mother in law.

    If she hires someone to fix it up, she'll spend a year's salary in no time.

    -david
  11. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Ah, there you go again, David ...
  12. Phil H2

    Phil H2 New Member

    Messages:
    125
    Location:
    Tujunga, CA
    A lot of negotiation can occur when buying or selling a house. If your mother-in-law wants to proceed, she should have the house inspected by a licenced plumber. The problems should not be taken lightly.
  13. enosez

    enosez Member

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    Long Island NY
    hey DAVID,

    I DIDNT KNOW THAT YOU COULD READ BETWEEN THE LINES.
    Where in my post does it say anything about ME fixing the problems, OH YEAH, thats right..... you assumed I was. My questions are more of a way to let my mother in law know what she was getting into.......

    Good luck with that know-it-all attitude.
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