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Optional Systems

Photographs of issues found during home inspections with systems that are considered optional in Texas. This can include septic systems, water wells, outdoor cooking equipment, pools, and other items which are not found on every home.

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pol and porch

The problem here may not be entirely clear. You have to realize that there is a door form the house to the porch. To keep young children safe, there needs to be two features: 1) a fence between the door and the pool to slow the children down; and 2) the door should have an alarm warning parents that children are going out of the door. This situation can cause some insurance companies to deny coverage until these changes are made.

Lawn Sprinkler System

sprinkler conduitsprinkler valve pipe
sprinkler control panelsprinkler control cover

We know about the sprinkler heads, but there are other parts to the lawn sprinkler system that need to be checked. The picture of the control panel is to show you the basic design of a common control panel. Builders will usually leave the complete instructions in a bag attached to this box, but the inner cover also will have operating instructions. The big problem here is checking scheduling. Builders set this to water often to establish new plants, and homeowners forget to change the settings. The green cover in the ground is part of the sprinkler system. The water is coming through the system to valves which direct the water to the heads for a certain station. These covers are for access to those valves (they are not always green, but this is becoming common). Check here to see if you find standing water. A pool of water in this location could indicate a leak. The conduit tube coming out of the building is for the control wires. I find that these conduits are hardly ever properly attached to the building, and that the conduit will be hit by lawn mowers and weedeaters. Enough damage to this conduit can damage the wires sending out the control signals. The pipes forming a upside down U are also for the sprinkler system. This is the valve that prevents dirty water from backflowing into your clean drinking water. I see two common problems here that lead to leaks. First, during freezing temperatures, the pipes burst or the valve becomes damaged. There is a drain cock to allow you to remove water from the valve, but people forget to do this before we have our first freeze. Second, like the conduit for the control wires, yard equipment damages these pipes, which can cause a leak. Another problem that will happen with the backflow valve system is access. This often ends up behind shrubs.

propane tankWhat do you do when you live in the country, and there are no natural gas lines to your home? You install a tank. In this case propane was used by the homeowner in the past to be used like natural gas for the home’s water heater and cooking appliances. The home was changed over to use electric appliances instead, so this tank was no longer being used. This equipment is not usually included in a normal home inspection, because it is not found on most homes. You do want this tank well away from the home (this was by a green house about 50 feet away from the home), and condition of the components should be examined.

© Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Home Inspector Houston, Texas
Frank Theodor Schulte-Ladbeck
home inspector, TREC# 9073
Houston , Texas , 77063 United States
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