While it is not quite on a par with Dirty Harry, every home inspection brings with it the question of, “Do I feel lucky?” There are instances where it is often better to be “lucky” than “good.” A nice mix of the two keeps most inspectors out of trouble.
Today’s story will start at the end before I can get to the beginning.
Inside the crawl space of this home there was obvious flooding. There was a lot of standing water on top of the moisture barrier/ground cover and even more water underneath it. This is not all that uncommon and the causes are varied. It might be from plumbing leaks or water flowing into the space from underground. Sometimes it takes some head scratching to figure it all out—but usually the full story reveals itself.
It was pretty obvious that a great deal of water had been flowing into the crawl space through one of the vent openings in the area with the most flooding. Since no other obvious sources of moisture were apparent, and this one was so dramatic, this became the primarily suspect.
Now we must go back to the beginning of the story.
When I was walking around the home, prior to either the agent or my buyer showing up, I noticed a great deal of water flowing onto the property from under the fence–between this property and the neighbor’s property.
When my buyer and the agent showed up I wanted to show them this water coming from the neighbor’s property but when we got to the location there was not even a trickle.
I kept checking back periodically throughout the inspection, but never saw the water flooding under the fence again. I considered myself REALLY lucky to have seen this water flowing initially. It certainly helped to explain the flooding of the water into the crawl space that I found at the end of the story. Instead of saying there were “signs” of water intrusion through the vent opening I could actually state more emphatically that the water flowing under the neighbor’s fence was the primary suspect in the crime.
Looking over the fence it was pretty clear the neighbor had a sump pump tied into the downspout drain—accounting for the intermittent nature of the water running under the fence. This drain was apparently draining underground across the yard and terminated at the fence. Under times of heavy rains the pump would likely work more frequently, as well as the roof water would also be draining to this location. The water would then be of sufficient quantity to flow through the crawl space vent opening and into the crawl space.
It will be interesting to see whether Dirty Harry will be necessary to get it all sorted out with the neighbor.
Doing nothing would certainly beg the question, “Do I feel lucky?”
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