Everyone can relate to how “inhospitable” crawl spaces can be, and I am not going to delight you with more horror stories typical of those places.
This is more about what contortions your inspector will endure to get him or her self into these spaces; and what limitations are logical and necessary to keep them out of the “hospital.” Obviously, the fire department cutting through the living room floor to retrieve a stuck home inspector would be very embarrassing no matter what the inspector found-----it would be good blog fodder though.
For me it is my head and shoulders----an opening of 8” by 14-1/2” will do. If I can get my head and shoulders through the opening----I am in there.
So what about heating/cooling ductwork in crawl spaces? Most inspectors are usually dealing with how to get around, over or under these installations----without doing more damage to them than the last wanker did.
But what about the INSIDE of the ductwork----does your inspector go INSIDE the ductwork if he can fit?
Well of course I am kidding----sort of.
In a recent inspection of a houseboat of all places, I had to inspect a crawl space that was the heating system plenum----the cold air return to the furnace. This was not the first houseboat that I had inspected but it was the first that had a crawl space (it was also not the first heated plenum I have inspected). It is kind of weird to be in a crawl space that you know has water slapping against the foundation all around you. The floor of the crawl space was at water level or a little below.
One might think that this crawl space would be a water nightmare, but in reality it was one of the driest crawl spaces I have been in for quite a while----and no vents either----a great example of why venting of crawl spaces is unnecessary and should not be allowed. By making this space what we called “conditioned” space it ultimately has no higher moisture levels than anywhere else in the house----assuming there are no plumbing leaks to fill it up. This space has performed as designed for 26 years.
The problem with the installation is that clearances throughout the space (1000 sq ft) were a little less than desirable----with less than 14 inches from the floor to the joists above. When there is this little room, I am more than likely accurate in assuming that no other inspector has considered the space “accessible” since it was built 26 years ago. This just reinforces even more the importance of me being the one that gets to do it. It did make me wish I had a little rodent home inspection assistant like my buddy Steve.
But no-----I get to be the rodent.
PS, for those of you that are new to my blog (or for some other "unexplained" reason have never noticed)all pictures and smiley-face inserts (emoticons) (when I use them) have messages that show up when you point at them with your cursor.
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WA State, Home Inspector Advisory Licensing Board