Shake, Rattle and Blow

One thing to check for in new construction is proper installations.  For a home inspector that can be daunting.  The building supervisor has been on site for 100 or 120 days.  The inspector only gets a couple of hours.

You would think everything would be installed properly!  After all, there are various subcontractors coming in, each a specialist in their field, and they are putting things together piece by piece.

Certainly one of my jobs is to test equipment.  I always cross my fingers that no serious damage will result - dishwashers not connected, sparking electrical, overflowing toilets or washing machines (each of which has happened to me on new home inspections).

On this particular inspection, when the basement furnace was turned on, there was a serious vibration sound through the returns.  My client's eyes bulged a bit, "What is that!?"  I knew immediately.

"Walk this way."  Then I do the Mel Brooks thing with a cute, albeit obnoxious, sashé toward the basement stairs.  Sure, tell me you don't do this...

Furnace connections are made up of two basic sections.  The gas burner, AC and air handler are on the bottom, and immediately above is the main supply duct which services the house with hot and cold air.

Those two sections are separated by what is called a vibration damper.  It is made up of two pieces which attach to the ducts and are separated by a rubber membrane.

Properly installed, no vibration or sound from the mechanisms below transfer through the house via the other duct work.

A bit hard to see in this photo, that membrane has been crushed and the two sections are touching.  More too, the membrane was split during installation and air was pouring out!


The vibration sound we heard will only get worse with time.  Why?  Because gravity works.

I'll bet that when my clients pointed this out to the supervisor his response was that it was already on his list...

My recommendation:  Even though it's new construction, don't assume anything!  You know what happens when you assume...  Oh, and hire a home inspector!

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Jay performs inspections Monday through Saturday, throughout Northern Virginia, from his office in Bristow to Leesburg and Centreville, to Great Falls and Vienna and everywhere in between!