Reuben's Home Inspection Blog


Top 20 Home Inspection Photos from 2012

We post a new home inspection photo on the Structure Tech Facebook Page five days a week.  After pouring over all of our photos from the last year, we've come up with our favorite home inspection pics from 2012.  Click on any of the photos for a larger view, and feel free to share.

Bent Outlet Cover - Problem: I want an outlet right where the wall is angled, but I can't get the cover plate to fit.

Solution: Cut the cover plate and then caulk it in place.

Bent outlet cover

Worst Common Vent Ever - How can you get four water heaters to backdraft at the same time?  Just do something like this.

Worst Common Vent Ever

Outlet in duct - Moving the outlet would have been too much work, so someone just cut a hole in the exhaust duct for the kitchen hood fan.  Nice touch with the masking tape on the sharp sheet metal edges too.

Hole in duct for outlet

Furnace covers reversed - furnace manufacturers intentionally make it impossible extremely difficult to get the upper and lower covers reversed.  With enough tenacity, one can make it happen though.  This allows most of the air to get sucked from the furnace room, completely bypassing the furnace filter.  No wonder the furnace filter was so clean.

Furnace covers installed backwards

Deteriorated Chimney - Flue gases from combustion appliances like furnaces and water heaters are corrosive; that's why you see a metal liner sticking out of most chimneys in Minneapolis and Saint Paul.  When the appliance vents in to the chimney without a liner, the flue gases often condense near the top and then drip down and destroy the inside of the chimney.

This is also just one more reason why it's important for the home inspector to get on the roof whenever possible.

Deteriorated Chimney Liner


Optional Combustion Air - Have you ever had one of those days where you felt... y'know... a little too fresh?  Thanks to this person's nifty invention, the combustion air being pumped in to the furnace return plenum can be manually turned off.

Combustion air valve

Leaking Drain - Awww, isn't that cute?  We noticed a bunch of water on the floor in the basement after testing all of the first floor plumbing fixtures.  To confirm the source of the leak, we filled up the kitchen sink with water, pulled the drain stopper, then ran downstairs to catch the leak in action.

Leak at Cast Iron Pipe

TwoFur - Early attempts at one-piece kitchen faucet / sprayer combos failed miserably.

Leaking Faucet

Leaning Porch - no photo editing performed here.

Leaning Porch

Leaves in Attic - this huge piles of leaves in the attic was a mystery.

Leaves in attic

Not-so-frost-free faucet - Frost free faucets have a long stem that allows the water to be turned off inside the home, preventing them from freezing.  It doesn't work so well when they're installed like this.

Not-so-frost-free faucet

Missing Roof Vent - Nice solution.

Missing roof vent

This deck puts the can't in Cantilever - The word of the day is 'fulcrum'.  Now, everyone over to the right for a demonstration. 

Wicked Cantilever

Medusa's House - we think we know where she lives.

Medusa plumbing

Obstructed Vacuum Breaker - Over/under on how long it will be before that vacuum breaker is removed after the Bloomington inspector leaves: 9.5 seconds.

Obstructed vacuum breaker

Scorched 'Safer Cooking' Manual - Alanis Morissette would love this photo.   Dontcha think?

Scorched Safer Cooking Manual

Strategic Bath Fan Placement - this gives new meaning to the term 'point source ventilation'.

Strategic Bath Fan Placement

Worst.  Roof.  Ever.

Worst roof ever

Exploding Range - what happens when you take a range designed for natural gas and install it in a home with LP gas?  You create an explosion hazard.   DO NOT test the oven if you ever come across this defect - a huge fireball will shoot out when you open the door, which will singe your hair and give you half a heart attack.  Don't ask us how we know.

Yellow Flames at Oven

My crawl space has a flat tire - we couldn't believe our eyes when we found this trailer frame partially buried in concrete in a crawl space, supporting the addition at the front of a house in Hopkins.

Crawl space with trailer

Men make things fit - We've seen plenty of doors notched out to get around toilets, but this might be the worst one yet.

Door cutout for toilet

That last photo was a 'bonus' photo sent in by Rick Norling, past owner of Structure Tech.   If you enjoy these kinds of photos, remember to like our Facebook page.  Thanks!

Related Post:  Top 20 Home Inspection Photos from 2011

Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections


Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections


Comment balloon 46 commentsReuben Saltzman • December 31 2012 04:01AM


Great Pics!!!!!!!! Keep up the good work, also good luck with your business in 2013 and beyond,  E

Posted by Ed & Tracy Oliva, The Oliva Team Arizona Agents (West USA Realty - Arizona) over 6 years ago


Are these too funny to be sad?

Or, too sad to be funny??

Fabulous collection.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Ed & Tracy - thanks!  Same to you.

Lenn - ha!  I know what you mean.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 6 years ago

Wow - it's scary thinking of what people try to do.  This just validates the absolute necessity of a home inspection by a good and competent inspector!  Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Pat Mistretta, Atlanta Lofts and City Living (PalmerHouse Properties & Associates) over 6 years ago

First, I have to disagree slightly on the last photo - that is the BEST fitting door I have ever seen.  As to the rest, well, we are home inspectors!  We will NEVER see it all!

I could comment on every one!  But won't bore you...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Wow, so many of those are so sad, and some are so funny you have to laugh.  The toilet and faucet ones are hilarious.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 6 years ago

The bent outlet cover and the toilet/door thing both made me laugh out loud.  Thanks for the chuckle this morning.        

Posted by Amanda Christiansen, Christiansen Group Realty (Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843) over 6 years ago

That last one is sweet! Someone spent a LOT of time making that door fit.... he should get extra points for that one!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 6 years ago

You just can't make this stuff up!!  Wonder how that door works when it is closed?!

Posted by Christine Smith, Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA (Buyers Brokers Only LLC - over 6 years ago

Reuben, just when you think you've seen it all. At least it makes life interesting.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 6 years ago

Great idea for a blog. Don't be upset if you see a similar post someday, OK? 

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) over 6 years ago

OMG!!! So many creative home owners. This keeps your job so important and interesting.

Posted by Ritu Desai, Virginia Realtor-Fairfax/Loudoun/PW-703-625-4949 (Samson Properties) over 6 years ago
Reuben, great photos of examples of how ingenious people can be when trying to find solutions. It's a very good thing inspectors exist so people know what they're buying. My favorites are the outlet cover, vent fan and Medusa plumbing.
Posted by Marie Fox, Lake Mary, Florida, Home Stager & RE Photographer (Foxy Interiors Inc. Lake Mary Florida) over 6 years ago

Rueben, I think I laughed louder after scrolling to each of the photos. Thanks for the entertainment and Happy New Year!

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage Mobile - 916-765-5366) over 6 years ago

People actually lived in properties like this. Some are way too funny.


Posted by Robert L. Brown, Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic ( over 6 years ago

The best part is that there will be a whole other bunch at the end of 2013.  And I can't wait!

Posted by Rob Spinosa, Vice President of Mortgage Lending, Marin County (Guaranteed Rate, Marin County, CA) over 6 years ago

Great post, thanks for sharing! Hope you have a great


Posted by Dave Jones, Broker/Owner - e-PRO Dave Jones Realty llc Prospec (Dave Jones Realty, llc.) over 6 years ago

WOW, I do hope that most of these jobs were NOT done by contractors....I'm thinking husband, friends, ??

Posted by Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®, Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate (Vision Quest Realty) over 6 years ago

Great picts Have a Happy New Year!

Posted by Jeff Rickert over 6 years ago

Reuben, these are almost too good to be true---awesome finds.  I really like the combination cat door/bathroom door/clear the toilet door :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 6 years ago

Excellent montage of what you see. Always get a home inspection people just for these reasons above!

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) over 6 years ago

This is so funny and sad at the same time.  I am suprised some of the houses are standing.  The porch was crazy.

Posted by Sajy Mathew, Making your real estate dreams become a reality! (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 6 years ago

That's just funny....and a little scary sometimes.

Posted by Joel Weihe, Helping you to use your VA home loan benefits (Realty World Alliance) over 6 years ago

I have to say my favorite is the last one with the toilet and the cut out door. Sheesh....amazing pictures.

Posted by Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner, Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395 (Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395) over 6 years ago

thanks for the laugh, have a GreatNew Year.


Posted by Mike Warfel, Associate Broker (Bauer-Reno & Assoc.) over 6 years ago

The sad part is I have seen worse on more than a few occasions.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 6 years ago

You make it look amusing, thanks for sharing, but it's scary to think of some of those items in a home with unsuspecting owners. As to the mystery of the leaves in the attic - animals?

Posted by Olga Simoncelli, CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management (Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate) over 6 years ago


   Great photos!  And I really enjoy your blog, as well.  Happy New Year and thanks for the entertainment and the education!


Posted by John J. Woods, Going where no man has gone before - wouldn't you? (Big Dog Press, LLC) over 6 years ago

Thanks for the end of the year giggle.  I think I know the guy who cut the toliet door, he lives in my house!

Posted by CJ Johnson, Sales Consultant - Build On Your Lot @ DWH (David Weekley Homes ) over 6 years ago

I know we see some really strange things as agents, but I think a home inspector has the most fun job of all when it comes to "You a re neve rgoing to believe this one" photos

Posted by Jeanne Kozak, REALTOR and Broker/Owner in WV and VA (RE/MAX In Action) over 6 years ago

Reuben - Oh my.  I don't even know what to say about some of these photos.


Happy New Year!

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) over 6 years ago


I like the High Efficiency Unit modification the best. Pic: Optional Combustion Air - Have you ever had one of those days where you felt... y'know... a little too fresh. 

But the space saver deck comes in as second. This deck puts the can't in Cantilever - The word of the day is 'fulcrum'.

Sometimes the conditions we find make you scratch your head, but in the end its our job to find the repairs and unusal handyman/homeowner alterations.

Posted by Steven Wessler, CMI, CCMI (SpyGlass Inspection Services) over 6 years ago

Awesome stuff! You have to love this job :)

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 6 years ago
Those were GREAT! I truly enjoy looking at these epic failures of home improvements. All I can do is scratch my head and wonder what were they thinking.
Posted by Gary Frimann, CRS, GRI, REALTOR and Broker (Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates) over 6 years ago

Great pics, Reuben.  Happy New Year and all the best for 2013.

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 6 years ago

Pat - you're not kidding.  This was just our top 20 :)

Jay - I've seen a lot of doors notched out for toilets, but that one defititely takes the (fill in the blank).

Debbie - the toilet and faucet were definitely 'fan favs'.

Jared - me too :)

Fred - agreed.


Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 6 years ago

Christine - not well!

Michael - definitely.  This is never a boring job.

Scott - please do.  I would enjoy seeing it :-)

Ritu - "creative."  That's a nice euphemism.

Marie - there are a million ways to do it wrong.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 6 years ago

Tom - thanks, and same to you.

Robert - you said it.

Rebecca - I sure hope so too.  How about "wife" ?  lol

Jeff - thanks.

Charles- "clear the toilet door" - ha!  Nice title. 

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 6 years ago

Lyn - always always always.

Sajy - I can tell you that the porch is definitely no longer standing :)

Joel - agreed.

Karen - that was definitely the most shared photo from our facebook page.

Mike W - same to you!

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 6 years ago

Randy - hopefully the times that happens are few and few between.

Olga - my best guess on the leaves was that the vents were situated in a way that caused the blowing wind to suck at a few of the vents, causing leaves to pile in to the attic.  No signs of animals.

John - thank you!

CJ - ha!

Jeanne - no question about it :)


Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 6 years ago

Christine - I know how you feel.  Happy new year!

Steven - those were pretty crazy, huh?  We had one other alternative title for that deck, inspired by the movie "The Mexican".  

This deck would be a "Mexicantilever".  I didn't want anyone to get the wrong idea about the photo title though, so I skipped that title.

James - I sure do.  Never boring.

Gary - same here.

Chris - thanks, and same to you.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 6 years ago

Reuben, those were very good.  Were they all from the same house?  (Just kidding).  Thanks for starting my year off with a big smile.

Posted by Nancy Frimann, California Real Estate Broker (Eagle Ridge Realty/Signature Homes & Estates) over 6 years ago

Actually, I could have made another comment about that toilet in question - it does not have a visible nut attached to a bolt.  Could it have been "glued" down to the floor?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

I've got a few of 'those' photos. I call them my OMG file. I've made slde shows of them and even with the shortest display time, I have over an hours worth of slides.

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) over 6 years ago

Reuben, these photos are OOC! They are too surreal for words! Thank you for posting. I hate to admit that I got a chuckle out of it, which is actually sad.

Posted by Lisa Friedman, 29 Years of Real Estate Experience! (Great American Dream Realty) about 6 years ago