I’ve done construction law for many years, and I’ve seen a lot of construction defects. Roofs that leak. Walls that crack. Inadequate foundations. Improper framing. Corroded piping. Missing sheet metal. But some construction defects are more memorable than others.
Several years ago I inspected a house with a number of construction defects. The owners had recently bought the home, and after moving in they found a number of construction defects they hadn’t noticed before. But the most unusual one involved the backyard irrigation sprinklers.
I went outside to the backyard and saw irrigation pop-up sprinklers placed in the lawn. When these types of irrigation systems are turned on, the water pressure forces the sprinkler heads up out of the ground and water is sprinkled for a distance of eight or ten feet. I stood in the back yard and watched as the sprinklers were turned on, and the most amazing thing happened. Steaming hot water came out of the sprinkler heads. The water was hot enough that it would scald you if you touched it for any length of time. The water temperature must have been 180º or more. The steam rising up from the several sprinkler heads was clearly visible.
How could such a thing happen? Why would anybody want steaming hot water to come out of their sprinkler heads? I suppose this could be a creative—though expensive—way to melt snow off your yard—except that snow is not a problem in the Bay Area.
The property sellers had apparently done a lot of their own work on the property before listing it for sale. Lacking the necessary plumbing expertise, they had apparently crossed the hot and cold water pipes with the result that they hooked up their backyard sprinklers to their hot water heater. I doubt their lawn appreciated the extra warmth—and I’m sure their pocketbook didn’t.