There is no WAY this can be safe!
It was a long inspection of a very unusual house. I suspect this will not be my last blog post about this home.
As I headed from the master bedroom into the living room I noticed a return air grate on the wall. Now I don’t usually pull the covers off these air returns---unless the furnace filter is behind it. This particular one was clearly not the type that would typically have a filter in it.
Like I said, I don’t usually take the cover off of them, but I do get down at an angle such that I can look through the grille with my flashlight to see what I can see. Sometimes they are plugged with pet hair, usually they are uneventful.
By checking them I can get a little bit of an idea of the condition of the ductwork---the same as sticking my camera down a heat register to see what those ducts look like.
When I aimed my flashlight into this one I was surprised by what I saw.
I smiled at my buyer and said, "check this out,“ when I really wanted to say, "I don’t see how this can be safe!”
I started to unscrew the grille, to show them what was inside, when the whole thing just fell off in my hands.
The screws were fake and the grille was attached with a magnet to the steel cover of a hidden safe!
Who would have guessed?
Well I guess at least the family jewels were safe---and they even left the key!
Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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WA State, Home Inspector Advisory Licensing Board