Seattle Home Inspector's Blog


Grateful for the wind in my face!


My last post was about excessive moisture in an attic due to breaches in the air barrier between the indoors and the attic space.

As that post discussed, these by-passes can be obvious or hidden.  There are often multiple breaches in the same home and some may be easy to find and other may be very difficult to fine.  When I find these breaches I point them out and recommend that proper repairs be made.  These breaches, if not a problem now, may become a problem in the future.

The picture below is an example of an obvious breach in the connection of the ceiling heat register to the insulated duct in the attic.  The picture is looking down at the insulation and the pink insulation is part of the wrap that goes around the heat duct that runs to the ceiling register.

It was pretty easy to find because the heating system was running and this little hole in the insulation was blowing air in my face as I climbed through the access hatch into the attic.

 air leakage

If the heating system had not been running, I like to think I would not have just thought it was a mouse hole.

The truth is though---it does not look at all like a mouse hole because there is no trail.

I’m just grateful for the wind in my face.


Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle

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Comment balloon 15 commentsCharles Buell • January 17 2013 06:48AM


Interesting, as usual....I would have freaked if I saw a mouse, etc, but I am sure you are used to that now :-)

Posted by Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®, Giving Back With Each Home Sold! (RE/MAX Realty Center ) about 6 years ago

I am grateful for your educational posts. Good observation on "NO trail" indicating no critters about...A good Real Estate Scout this Charles is....

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) about 6 years ago

Perhaps there were very conscientious mice about, thus leaving no trail :)

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 6 years ago

Kristin, thanks.  I don't see many mice---just "evidence" typically :)

Richie, thanks,

Jim, this looks more like the work of moles :)

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

That insulation that had been displaced was a great indicator of the air flow.  I don't think you would have thought it was a critter hole!

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach ( (757) 560-0881) about 6 years ago

Charlie, See mouse trails all the time also and their little hole. Glad you were not behind me and getting wind in your face ;)

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

It sure is convenient when that little puppy is blowing air on you!  Good thing that cobra in the attic left such a wide hole. 

How many by passes can a man look down, before they can call him a man?  The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind, the answer is blowin' in the wind.

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

Imagine if you lived in a place that get to -30 at times - like it was last week. This stuff really matters. Great post Charlie.

Posted by Charlie Dresen, Steamboat Springs, CO e-Pro (Steamboat Sotheby's International Realty) about 6 years ago

Hi Charles,

So they wanted to keep the mice warm. What's the big deal anyway. No one cares about the heating and cooling costs anyway. LOL

Good find as we inspect homes more and more we find all kinds of short cuts done by the sub contractors.

Have a good day in the Seattle area.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) about 6 years ago

Kathryn, especially with the edges of the hole flapping in the breeze :)

Don, that goes without saying from my view point :)

Jay, and Dylan likely had no clue to the extent that things blow in the wind

Charlie, yes---a little hole like this can vent a tremendous amount of moisture into the attic and become a major player in ice-dams.

Clint what is a little heat loss amongst friends? :)

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

Sure...That's a mole hole, for you know, Moley. Surely you've read "The Wind In The Willows"....:)

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

Charles we just had our HVAC expert over and he found a few places just like this....and I'm grateful he did. All that nice warm air going up and out.

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS 602-380-4886, Arizona's Top Banana! (Phoenix Property Shoppe) about 6 years ago

Cute title!  Good that you discovered this for the clients!  Good eye!

Posted by Paula McDonald, Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury, TX 936-203-0279 (Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury) about 6 years ago

Charles, when I first saw the picture I thought it was a mouse hole.  But not being too familiar with mice, I wasn't aware to look for a trail, but now will be.

Glad you were able to spot the ol' geyser!

Posted by Jeremy Wrenn, C.O.O., Winslow Homes (Winslow Homes) about 6 years ago

Charles, you are a virtual machine when it comes to writing quality content and getting featured. If I didn't know better I would never guess you're a successful home inspector also... 

Posted by Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS, Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority! (RE/MAX Northwest.) about 6 years ago