Been in our new house coming up on two weeks now. (Our first house, an
early '50's ranch on a slab.) So far, an unexpected plumbing repair has
cost $1200, and today's chimney inspection has revealed a problem with a
fix costing $1200. Lemme guess what the electrician is going to say on
Monday to upgrade the panel: $1200?! I need an aspirin.
Well that sucks. Sorry to hear it.
Any reason to shoot the home inspector, or is it one of those failures
they couldn't possibly have observed coming? The chimney thing you'd
think an inspector could've at least noted as something requiring
a chimney specialist to look at.
If it makes you feel any better, as I type, $3700 worth of furnace is
going into the basement of a house purchased less than a year ago. I
don't hold the home infector responsible though--I'm sure none of the
heat exchanger he could visually see had a visible problem, you can't
see all of a heat exchanger in a viz inspection anyway, and I have my
suspcions about this crazy water test done by the HVAC folks who
recent came to clean the old furnace and informed me of leaks at the
sames of the heat exchanger cells and on the top of one of the cells.
On 22 Sep 2006 14:14:46 -0500, email@example.com (Todd H.) wrote:
I repeat this when I hear the words 'heat exchanger'.
You have been punked!
There is no such thing as a bad heat exchanger. It is just a ploy by
hvac criminals to get your money.
Think about it.
So what if the heat exchanger leaks. There are millions of homes
heated by natural gas and propane that dump 100% of the flue gases
into the home.
And funny thing is, they have been using this heating system for a
couple of hundred years without a problem.
The only precaution I suggest you use is to buy a couple of detectors
and hang one near your bed and another in your living quarters down
low. Many are made to plug in the wall socket and are just the right
height to give you an early warning.
Their solution: $1500. Mine: $40.
If nothing else, it will make everything in your house dirty. The
combustion of oil is rarely perfect, aiui, and certain in a furnace so
old that the heat exchanger leaks, it probably isn't.
Gas is supposed to be cleaner even when the oil and gas furnaces are
in pretty good condition. I can only guess if the HE is broken.
CO detector very important. My brother talked me into getting one, an
d 3 months later it went off. The pipe heading to the chimney was
mostly clogged with soot. Only a 2 inch empty hole at the end. My
detector is about 10 feet from my head, a foot above the floor (though
they say it doens't much matter) and it was loud enough to wake me up.
It displays the amount of CO and it would have I guess taken 3 days to
kill me, but otoh, it woke me up at 2 in the morning. Maybe the sun
and alarm clock wouldn't have woken me at 8. Then I'd be in bed 3
dyas until I died????
I turned off the furnace and opened the bedroom window. I wanted to
close it because my bedroom was getting colder and colder, and there
would be no more heat that night. but I didnt think I could. I think
I waited 30 or 45 minutes and closed the window. Eitehr I didn't
think of looking at the numbers on the CO detector or I didn't trust
them, and the number disappears when it is below a certain level.
The kitchen sink and laundry room are back to back (opposite sides of
the same wall). First load of laundry, dirty water backed up into
kitchen sink (double sink, very large both sides) and was a hair's
breadth from overflowing onto the floor. Plumber's snake came back with
mud on the tip, meaning the pipe under the slab was rotted through.
It's unlikely the inspector would have been able to eyeball this
problem. Plumber was sure the seller must have been experiencing this
problem. Neighbor (retired plumber, no less) reported Roto-rooter was on
site weekly for a number of weeks, including 2-3 days before close.
Got four quotes on the job, and three of the four did not recommend
jackhammering the slab, because it couldn't be certain that the problem
was only under the laundry room, that it may very well extend under a
good portion of the house. (Young guys recommended taking up the
concrete just in the laundry room, just to see, but the guy admitted
that's what he would do if it were his house because he would have a
truck full of tools in the driveway and it wouldn't cost him
anything.)Quotes ran $1200, 2 at $1600+/-, and one at $2400.
So the fix they all agreed upon, was to install a tub for the washer to
dump into, a laundry pump (Liberty 403, for those who care), and 30-odd
feet of pipe going up into the attic, over, and down to where the
plumbing leaves the house to connect to the street. Took one guy about
1/2 a day. FWIW, it was the young guys who wanted the $2400, and claimed
it would have taken the two of them a day and a half.
I know I've had inspectors run every single sink quite a bit to ferret
this out and run an empty load of laundry if appliances were included
in the sale to help ferret that out. But that was a bit more of an
above and beyond guy.
Man that sucks.
I'd be curious what a real estate attorney might say about that
situation of a latent defect that couldn't be detected on inspection
yet is such that the seller had to - to a reasonable experienced
person's view-- be aware of the problem. Then again for $1200 it's
probably not worth litigating over.
Buying a house is NOT "Buyer Beware!" Look at the papers -- there should be
one stating the seller in unaware of any problems not mentioned in the
documents. The purpose of an inspection is to discover problems NOT KNOWN to
If the seller knew of a problem that he did not disclose and such problem
caused the buyer to experience an unanticipated expense, the seller has
perpetrated a fraud upon the buyer. Slam, dunk, black-letter law.
I sure wouldn't eat over $6,000 worth of repairs foisted on me by a sneaky,
corrupt, goblin of a seller! I'd sue that sonofabitch and everybody he ever
Moreover, since you can PROVE he knew about the crappy plumbing, it is
reasonable to assume he knew about the crappy fireplace, the crappy wiring,
the crappy roof, the crappy foundation, the crappy carpet pads, the crappy
crabgrass, and generally everything crappy on your side of town.
In legal parlance, he does not "have clean hands."
Trust me on this: He's a goner. He, or his homeowner's insurance, will
settle for big bucks.
You should just hope he hasn't left town.
Our lawyer does think it's a legit case, unfortunately, the cost puts us
into small claims court, even if I add in the $200 I paid to get the
stove and dryer fixed as well (they were included as part of the sale).
And our understanding is they were divorcing and in need of the money to
do so, so I don't know that there will be any money left to get back
from them, as they were only here 3 years, so I can't imagine there was
much equity to get back.
Thanks for all the support and commiseration, everyone!
Two months after we bought our house and money was tight, the electric panel
in our natural gas furnace (original to the house - nearly 40 years old)
went up in flames. Fortunately the blower was still going and we were
home so we were immediately alerted to the fire and pulled the power to the
system. So while the furnace & closet was toast (literally and
figuratively), nothing else was damaged.
Things I learned:
1) Burning the furnace is an inefficient method of heating one's house.
2) One of the requirements for being a HVAC installer is a deer hunting
license. The fire occurred a week before the start of deer season, our new
high efficiency furnace was delivered to the HVAC shop the day before the
season opener. Unfortunately we had to wait another week for the furnace
to be installed because all the HVAC guys were out in the woods hunting
3) Sometimes there are silver linings to clouds. Even though we weren't
happy to be hit with such a sudden big expense, the new furnace is much more
efficient and comfortable than the old one. We compared our gas/electric
usage to the previous owner's records and there was a dramatic decrease in
gas/electric consumption after the new furnace was installed. According to
the HVAC guy, our old furnace was oversized (IIRC 140 BTUs). It would
alternate big blasts of hot air with nothing so the heating was very uneven.
The new (well it's now almost five years old) furnace is 80 BTU, gives out
constant heat and is very quiet.
Welcome to the wonderful world of homeownership. A house of that age,
which has not been maintained properly will require repairs. Depending
on the level of maintainace previoulsy performed will result in the
cost of the repairs now. Take your time and check the home over and
determine what needs to be done now and what can wait. If this is your
first house, then your about to learn alot. After you prioritize your
repairs, talk to several contractors about the repairs and get written
estimates. This, of course, is if your not going to do the work
yourself. Find a competent contractor, don't just look at the cost and
you'll be happy with the repair.
I don't know the details of your electrical work, but, a few years ago a
neighbor had his panel replaced. It needed replaced (it was in bad shape),
and he also upgraded to 200A.
The cost was about $1,200.....
Welcome to the joys of (not quite) "new" home ownership.
We moved into our 1969 two-story home a few years ago. Since then I've
replaced the electrical panel, water heater, a bunch of the plumbing, and am
currently working on replacing the windows. Roof will need shingled in the
next few years, and the A/C is about 20 years old.
I've been able to do the work so far (saves a little $), but roof and A/C
will be hired out.
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