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Skipping a home inspection when purchasing a home can lead to some nasty surprises after you take possession.
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Skipping a home inspection when purchasing a home can lead to some nasty surprises after you take possession. Getty Images

March 22, 2021 | Geoff Geddes

Unearthing the unusual: Calgary home inspectors share their strangest finds

If you ever doubted the need for a home inspection prior to purchase, the unusual finds of some Calgary inspectors might be enough to convince you.

"The worst thing I see are walls with no insulation, something you can only discover with thermal imaging," said Randy McKay, certified master inspector and owner of Mr. Home Inspection Services Inc.

"I was inspecting a 4,000-square-foot house a couple of years ago and the entire attic was uninsulated. When I opened the hatch, water started dripping down on my head and there was mould everywhere."

During a different inspection, McKay was examining a child's room in Airdrie when he found a cold spot and looked behind the dresser, only to find mushrooms and mould growing out of the baseboards.

Ryan Davidson, owner of House To Home Inspections Calgary, has also made several "interesting" discoveries. They might unnerve some people, but he tries to approach the finds with a sense of humour.
"They were creepy, as I could hear them everywhere, but couldn't see them. The worst part, though, was when I opened up the attic hatch and a dead bird, along with a whole lot of feathers, rained down on me." - Ryan Davidson, House to Home Inspections Calgary

"I opened up a furnace once and when I pried off the cover, there it was: the beast. Chock full of bloodlust and venom, and ready to strike," he said. It turned out to be a dead mouse, so he was glad he didn't turn and run, but it did make for a good story.

Then there was the unsettling spectre of wires detected behind a wall with thermal imaging.

"Properly installed wiring should not be visible, unless you're seeking to collect on that fire insurance policy," said Davidson.

At another home, the lights on a ceiling fan stopped working. In response, the owners had drilled a hole through the base of the fan and haphazardly run a wire to a nearby light.

"They may have been patting themselves on the back for that workaround, but their satisfaction would have been short-lived when the home burned to the ground from an electrical fire," he said.

Other discoveries by Davidson include a dead mouse in a bucket and yet another house fire waiting to happen.

"Everybody seems to need just a little extra closet space," he said. "At one house, they solved the problem by hanging clothes on the electrical wires. If there's a lesson to be learned here, it's that just because you can do something, it doesn't mean you should."

One of Davidson's most memorable, and unsettling, finds was an attic infested with birds.

"They were creepy, as I could hear them everywhere, but couldn't see them," he said. "The worst part, though, was when I opened up the attic hatch and a dead bird, along with a whole lot of feathers, rained down on me."

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