I don’t go out of my way to be a nit picker as a Seattle Home Inspector—-sometimes it just happens. I think the kind of nit picker that most agents have a problem with is when those seemingly unimportant items end up in the “Summary of Significant Findings” section of the report. This is “bad form”—-as Captain Hook would say. While this kind of information should be mentioned in the context of general “information” about the home, placing it in the Summary gives it “weight” that it doesn’t deserve.
Take for example this P-trap connection at a Garbage disposal.
At first glance it looks almost normal, when actually it is installed backwards.
With the next couple of pictures, I will attempt to explain what is wrong with this installation.
Traps are engineered to be self scouring (cleaning) by virtue of their shape. Note how in the first picture below the flow of water enters from the sink (disposal in this case) at Point C and the blue arrow. The force of the flow of water accelerates when it hits the bottom helping it flow up and over the hill and down the drain at the left blue arrow.
In the bottom picture we can see that when the trap is installed “backwards” the distance labeled “B” is much greater than distance “A”—–a much higher hill for the water to get over. It also doesn’t have the help of acceleration provided by its being installed the other way. The flow of water is actually reduced because the flow of water runs into a more vertical wall in the lower installation.
So what will happen if this is not fixed? Well eventually the trap will clog up with debris and water will just not drain properly. It isn’t “typically” a difficult fix (although there are instances where it might be fairly difficult)—something any plumber can do when they are at the home for other reasons or something that even a knowledgeable homeowner or other qualified repair person can fix.
It just isn’t the sort of “deal killer” or “safety” issue that warrants placing it on the summary.
Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector
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