Your home’s plumbing is a complex network comprised of three systems designed to supply water, transport waste, and provide fuel for key areas in the home, like bathrooms and kitchens.
The water supply system supplies fresh water to faucets, toilets, sinks, and appliances such as water heaters and dishwashers. The drain-waste-vent system (or DWV) transfers greywater and waste to a public sewer or septic tank, ventilates sewage gases, and helps maintain optimal pressure in your drainpipes. Though not as common as the Water Supply and DWV, some homes have natural gas plumbing that distributes fuel to gas-powered appliances such as stoves, water heaters, and furnaces/boilers.
Your home inspector is going to be most concerned with inspecting the following:
Main Water/Fuel Supply
One of the first things your inspector is going to look for is the location of the main water and fuel supply shut off valves, checking for signs of leaks or clogging, as well as the functional flow of the water supply. This is usually done by running two internal water supply fixtures/faucets simultaneously and checking for any flow deficiencies between the two.
The inspector will also determine the source of the main water supply (public or private), and identify the location of any observable fuel-storage systems/tanks.
Toilets, Sinks, Tubs, and Showers
These are the most commonly used plumbing-based features in any given home. The inspector is primarily going to be looking for any signs of leaks, broken seals, loose connections (especially with the toilet), cracks, or missing/non-functioning drain stops/components.
The inspector will be checking that the toilet is operational by flushing it. It is also important that the inspector check that all sinks, tubs, and showers demonstrate functional drainage (draining in a reasonable time and not overflowing while another fixture is draining).
The DWV system is one of the most critically important systems in a house. Fixtures and sump pumps not draining—due to clogs, ventilating, or obstructions—could result in a build-up of waste water, sewage, and sewage gases. If unchecked, this could result in potential plumbing, structural, and foundational damage.
Interior Water Supply
There are multiple different fixtures and faucets in any given home. Your inspector will want to check that they are functioning with no perceivable pressure issues or deficiencies in the installation/routing of hot and cold water faucets.
Water Heating Equipment
There are a few different features of your water heating equipment that your home inspector will look at. The first is the energy source; as with HVAC, there are a few different energy sources for water heaters, including but not limited to: electric, natural gas, and wood. It is also important to check the unit capacity and venting connections to make sure there are no signs of blockage or malfunction.
The inspector will also check the different safety features of the heating equipment, including temperature/pressure-relief (TPR) valves and seismic bracing. A TPR valve is a safety device connected to the heater’s discharge pipe that automatically releases water when the pressure or temperature of a water tank reach unsafe levels. Seismic bracing is system meant to brace and protect the heating unit from moving or incurring damage due to an earthquake.
If your water heater uses natural gas, there will be an extra safety component your inspector will check: a Watts 210 valve. This is a special type of valve that automatically shuts off the gas supply to the water heater if the unit’s temperature reaches 210°F. Similar to a TPR valve, the Watts 210 valve is intended to prevent potential water heater explosions.
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Buying a house is one of the largest purchases you will ever make. While a home may look perfect on the outside, there could be a lot of potentially expensive issues hiding under the surface that you need to know about before closing. Don’t leave anything to chance; get your home inspected.
Yes. Just because a home is new doesn’t mean it won’t have problems; it just means that someone hasn’t lived in it yet to discover any of its potential defects.
While it is not a requirement for you to have your home inspected prior to putting it up for sale, a pre-listing home inspection can be beneficial. It reveals the true state of your home and allows you to identify and repair potential deal-breakers prior to being discovered by the home buyer inspection.
Normally you would contact a home inspector after a purchase agreement has been signed. To protect your best interests, we highly recommend that you make sure there is an inspection contingency clause in the agreement prior to signing, specifying buyer and seller obligations after the completion and findings of an inspection.
On average, you should expect the inspection of a typical single-family home to last between 2-3 hours. For larger properties, it may take longer, and require an additional inspector onsite.
Absolutely! In fact, we encourage you to be there. As a prospective home buyer, the purpose of our inspection is not just to inspect the home, but to also educate the buyer and make sure you are the most informed about a property prior to moving forward with a purchase.
Our inspector provides a comprehensive report in line with the InterNACHI Standards of Practice that identifies material defects of the components and systems of a home along with our recommendations for repairs. Usually, the full report is ready for you within 24 hours of the inspection! For a sample of our reporting, click here.
No home, new or old, is going to be free of problems. However, not all problems require major fixes. Having a home inspection helps you identify possible issues before they potentially become bigger and costlier.
No. A home inspection is not the same as an appraisal or municipal inspection. A home inspector reports on the physical condition of the home, and any possible material defects in need of repair or replacement. It’s not pass/fail; it’s just the facts.
In compliance with the InterNACHI Code of Ethics Article I, Section 11, we, as InterNACHI certified inspectors, are prohibited from performing or offering any repairs or related services to any home for which we have prepared a home inspection report for a period of 12 months. For any suggested repairs, we recommend consulting a specialist.
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