How To Do A Home Plumbing Inspection

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Household Plumbing Inspection Checklist

How To Do A Home Plumbing Inspection-a-plumber
A Plumber

Buying a home is one of our greatest investments therefore we should be very cautious when it comes to this type of investing because of the amount of money that is spent. It’s said that “a man’s home is his castle” of cause women as well, therefore we don’t want our dream home to become our nightmare. There are so many things to consider to ensure that we are getting a great deal for what (money) we invested.

In inspecting a home before we close the deal one of the most important factors to consider is the plumbing, no matter how great the house may appear, a plumbing system that has issues can cost thousands of dollars to repair which can be a drain on your wallet so before you make the final decisions or close the sale do a thorough inspection of the entire house first including the plumbing system.

How to Do My Own Plumbing Inspection?

Once you have decided to do a plumbing inspection get with the real estate agent so the plumbing can be inspected, if you can’t do it yourself then a professional should be called in at no expense to you. If there are plumbing issues you should not have to pay for these issues to be fixed, as a part of the deal the issues should be resolved before the home is purchased.

How Many Types of Plumbing Inspections are there?

There are 2 types of plumbing inspection that can be carried out which include, camera inspection and visual inspection.

Camera Inspection

This involves the use of compact high-resolution cameras, which gives the plumber the advantage of inspecting the insides of the pipes to see if there are any issues with your sewer line or supply line that can be identified. The advantage of this method also is the detection of issues that may arise in the future such as drain blockage.

Visual Inspection

This method of inspection is the most common, the plumber will do a visual inspection for signs of water leakage by inspecting all of the sewer and water fittings. The inspection will also include checking your drain as well as your drainage system along with ensuring that the water heater is properly connected.

What should I Inspect?

  • Bathtubs
  • Toilets
  • Inspect the sump pump and discharge
  • Examine above-ground & exposed plumbing which includes shut-off valves and traps under the sinks
  • Hose bibs, outdoors, and in the laundry room draining and venting system
  • Water heater
  • Garbage disposal
  • Water filltration systems
  • Do a video inspection of the insides of your sewer pipes and drains
  • Dishwasher
  • Examine fixtures
  • Sinks
  • Showers
  • Indoor and outdoor plumbing pipes including supply lines and sewage lines

How to Do a Home Plumbing Inspection

  • First look for the water meter, once you locate it check the shut-off valve to the home’s water supply to determine if it’s working properly, however, if the home has well water the shut-off valve should be located inside of the house usually in the kitchen under the sink, if not then look elsewhere for where it may be located. Once the shut-off valve has been turned off there should be no water coming out of the taps in the bathrooms, kitchen, etc…
  • Water pressure in the home depends on the pipe size, knowing and using the right pipe size will determine the water pressure, for the water pressure to be sufficient the pipe size should be 3/4″ to 1 inch  directly from the main water source. The pipelines should be about 1/2″ in diameter for good water flow
  • Inspect the bathroom and the kitchen faucet for leaks, and look under the sinks for pipes that may be leaking
  • Thoroughly inspect the hot water heater to see if it is in good condition, and look for a buildup of mineral deposits in the tank, the issue with mineral deposits is this buildup can settle to the bottom of the tank leaving less room for water. This issue will encourage less water to be heated for use if there is corrosion, if the heater is old request that a new water heater is installed because corrosion can shorten the water heater’s life span.
  • Turn on the shower in the room farthest from the home’s water source. Ensure to check the water pressure and the temperature
  • Enquire if there are any galvanized or lead pipes because houses that were built prior to the mid to late 1980s in lots of cases used these types of pipes which can be toxic to the environment. If there are kids in the home avoid living in this kind of condition where these pipes are present
  • Flush the toilet in each bathroom, ensure they are emptying and refilling the right way
  • Inspect for which type of sewage system the home has, and check if there is a septic tank or if the waste goes to a municipal sewer system. If there is a septic tank find out from the seller or the owner where the tank is located when it was last emptied, where the waterline to the tank is located, and how much the tank holds. On doing your inspection of the septic tank look for signs of odor, do you notice any standing water or seepage around the area where the tank is located?
  • The plumber will also inspect the dishwasher to ensure it’s in good repair and is properly anchored to the countertop and has no air gap
  • Make sure that the plumbing throughout the entire house is prepared for the colder months especially when the temperature drops to freezing by having the pipes wrapped with heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat cables. Foam insulation has also been suggested
  • For the garbage disposal check the drain connections because usually, this is where the problem is found where the dishwasher’s discharge connects to the disposal or where the disposal discharge runs to the sink drain. Inspect the points and tighten the connections if needed, or replace the gaskets if there appears to be leakage. If the garbage disposal has a foul odor ensure that it’s properly cleaned according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  • While inspecting the dishwasher let it run for a few minutes and listen and watch to see how it’s functioning, a dishwasher that fills slowly may have an issue with the water supply line or the shut-off valve that controls it. However on the other hand if the dishwasher is slow to drain or if the remaining of the drained water remains in the bottom after the dishwasher cycle is over, check to see if the water discharge hose is clogged or if the hose is pinching.

This may seem like a lot to do when inspecting a home’s plumbing system but trust me this is a must and will allow you to address issues that are found before you make the purchase which can save you thousands of dollars.

The final word on how to do a home plumbing inspection

Doing a thorough home plumbing inspection can save you thousands of dollars, purchasing a home can be exciting especially if it’s your first home but you want to approach this the right way from the start from correcting issues including the plumbing before you sign the dotted line. You owe it to yourself that your dream home doesn’t become your nightmare because remember that besides making this big investment “your home is your castle” so let’s do it right from the start, you will be so happy that you did.


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About the author

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Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.