home inspection question

I recently had two issues with a house in california that I purchased that should heve been identified as a problem when the house was inspected… I had a fire above my stove in the exhaust fan that is over the stove. When I took the unit down to replace it since it was severly burned and found out that the fan was never ventilated to the outside of the house. There would be a visual evident hole covered by a cap where the fan would be ventilated out to exhaust fumes and odors out of the house. Since there was no ventilation at all the grease eventually overtime built up and started the fire when it became so full of grease it was obvious the overlooked vent almost cost me my house. I was lucky to have caught it. The other issue was with the plumming, the house is on septic which had been emptied right before I bought it and said it would be fine for several years. Last year I had a problem and had to have the plumming cleared due to clog in the line. At the time nothing was mentioned about any problem and it cost me 800.00 to fix it. This time the plummer charged me 200.00 after I went under the house with a friend who is familiar with plumming and pointed out that the plumming was going up hill and that the washing machine was not plummed into any thing and was just a pipe going for a few feet and then that was it. It wasnt being sent anywhere but under my house. The plummer after clearing my clog brought this to our attetnion as well and stated that any idiot could see that the plumming was done incorrectly and was very obvious even to me when I looked which I know nothing about how its supposed to work. The plumber stated it would be 10,000.00 to repair?? since the primary job of a bldg inspector is to check the plumbing is he or the owner responsible for not telling me that there was a problem>??? I am a mother of 3 who depended on the report and my realetor and the seller to make sure my home was safe for me and my kids, we could have all been killed and due to the neglegent job regarding my plumbing which could have caused serious health issues had the problem not been found. I want to make one of them liable for these issues, how do I go about it and are the punishible for their neglegence?

You talk to a lawyer familiar with property law.

Here’s a link to a Washington Post column talking about that very issue.

some exhaust fans are not vented, just a filter that needs to be cleaned or replaced. the unit may have been one that could be used vented or not. there is no way of telling which type of unit it is without opening it.

not on the issue of inspection:

your plumbing problem might be able to be fixed for less than $10,000. there are pumps you can use to have basement plumbing discharge pumped up to go to sewer or septic.

people do discharge washing machines and bath water to places other than a septic in order to reduce the burden on the septic system. doing it poorly may cause problems. it may be illegal in some areas to do so or is only legal if done to plumbing code for gray water.

Whether the home inspector (likely) or real estate agent (unlikey) can be held accountable - that depends on the local rules, and whenever contemplating suing, that’s what real lawyers are for and this board is not.

I assume the first thing any lawyer is going to ask is - how much will it cost to do the repairs? Popping a vent hole through the wall or re-doing a length of drain pipe may not be very expensive.

Or is the problem that your insurance (you had some, right?) did not cover the fire damage?

Yeah, from my vast experience, mainly of watching “Holmes on Homes” shows, exposed plumbing and checking all vents are “through” is the first thing a home inspector should do. I guess the question is - did he give you a report with “Plumbing - no obvious problems” checked off? (And what weasel words disclaiming responsibility also on that report?)

However, I assume you mean that the drain runs slightly uphill (instead of what - by code a slope of 1 foot in 12 downhill?) for a stretch under the house. The question is - how easy to remedy this? At the end where it goes down, could a plumber just chop a few inches out of it and restore the downhill? $10,000 to do a maybe 20 feet of drain???

My wife found this where she worked. Assume due to building settling, the drain goes uphill for a few feet. Modern low-flush toilets don’t have enough water to carry the “load” over the hump, so it builds up in the low spot until it is sufficiently clogged to prevent further flow. At least your problem isn’t buried under the concrete floor of the building itself.

You can probably hook up some piping to carry your washing machine waste out away from the house - the question being - wherever it goes, will it flow back into th house? Maybe build a hole filled with just large rocks, to hold 3 or 4 loads from the washer. From there it can sink over time into the ground. If you’re going to have standing water, best that it’s not under or beside the house. (I assume the pipe freezing in winter is not an issue). A simple solution if you have the muscle (or your kids do) to dig a drainage pit.

OTOH, those fancy new front loaders use a lot less water than a top loader; might be worth looking into.

The home inspections we had done this summer when we changed houses where done by a certified inspector, with me present for him to show things to and ask questions of him, and I received a written, signed report afterwards. Did your home inspection meet all these criteria? The first home inspection that was done at the house we were selling was done by the prospective buyers, and we suspect they just got a friend to come in and pretend to be an inspector - they came back with a whole bunch of non-existent problems and tried to get us to lower our price based on them.

The home inspector does have responsibility, sure enough, but so does the homeowner, to make sure you hire a qualified inspector and go through the house with him.

As has been said not kitchen exhausts are vented to the outside. That is not an inspection problem. Where does yours exhaust to.

The inspector should have went under the house to check the plumming. This you can check with a lawyer to see if he can be held responsible for.

$10,000 to fix drain line sounds a little high, but that will depend on what it will take to fix.

The washer drain piping can be added to the drain to take the water from under the house. But the washer watrer is gray water and the local authorities may frown on this.

If the previous owners neew about the darin line they should have revieled before closing.

[nitpick] Before this goes any further - it’s plumBing, people. Plumbing. [/nitpick]