When I opened the closet door I saw something that I have seen many times–flexible plastic duct. While generally speaking I can’t really think of any truly useful purpose of this type of pipe, it is still commonly used for all kinds of venting purposes. When used for dryers it is considered downright dangerous–a fire hazard.
My first assumption was that it was from a bathroom exhaust fan in the level below or that it was possibly even a dryer vent. My buyer wanted to know what it was and I said that by the time I was done with the inspection I would get it figured out. I was thinking, that once I was in the attic, I would be able to see where it went. Since I had seen no roof vent caps during the roof inspection I told them that it might be a duct from an exhaust fan improperly terminated in the attic.
I was not really prepared for what it actually was.
Once in the basement below, I found the duct–changed back to plastic again–connected to the furnace heat plenum.
I proceeded to have one of those “what-the-heck” moments and pointed out the duct to my buyer, and we both had a good laugh at the oddity of it all.
Imaginations ran wild as I found the duct terminated in the attic at a screened cap–and the screen was plugged with lint on the “inside” of the cap.
Now why would anyone want to heat an attic? I can think of a few places in the country where this would create icicles all the way to the ground.
There was a little area where some flooring had been installed–and some extension cords lying about.
I will leave it to your imagination as to what the purpose of all this was.
Fortunately even when you can’t come to appropriate “conclusions”–laughter is almost always just as good a result.
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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