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There is no WAY this can be safe!


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. 

Return air grille

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.

Safe in a wall

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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Seattle Home Inspector


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Comment balloon 66 commentsCharles Buell • June 25 2012 06:08AM
There is no WAY this can be safe!
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