Inspecting Your Homes Plumbing
Your plumbing inspection is a detailed visual inspection of your homes plumbing system. During your home inspection your inspector will examine these items and systems:
- Indoor and outdoor plumbing pipes, including supply lines and sewage lines.
- Hose bibs, both outdoors and in the laundry room
- Sinks and bathtubs
- Faucets and showers
- Water heaters
Visual Inspection of Plumbing
A visual inspection is the most common type of plumbing inspection and the type done by Home Inspectors. As the name suggests, the Home Inspector will do a visual inspection of all water and sewer fittings to check for leaks or signs of leakage. In addition, they’ll check that all your drains and drainage systems are working and that appliances, like your water heater, are properly connected.
Galvanized Water Pipes
Galvanized pipes are created by coating iron and steel in a protective layer of zinc, pipes had a buffer zone against the elements. Starting around 1960, these galvanized pipes became the industry standard. Galvanized pipes are subject to rust build up inside the pipe which often creates issues with low water pressure. These pipes will eventually leak or even burst under pressure. There is also health risks associated with galvanized pipes containing lead or other heavy metals. Galvanized pipes can have up to 10 times the amount of lead deemed hazardous by the Environmental Protection Agency. Galvanized plumbing is also found in older commercial buildings.
Note: Many insurance companies will not insure a home with Galvanized Plumbing installed.
Kitec plumbing is a polymer pipe, typically installed in homes between 1995 and 2007, that is prone to failure. The pipes are made of polyethylene with a thin layer of aluminum. The Kitec plumbing system usually consists of blue and orange flexible piping and brass fittings. Kitec pipes are more likely to crack at any minute and cause major damage to your home. Most plumbers will tell you that is not a case of whether your Kitec plumbing will fail but just a matter of when it will fail.
Kitec plumbing was recalled by the manufacturer in 2005. In 2011, courts in Quebec, Ontario, and the US approved a settlement agreement in a class action lawsuit, and homeowners who suffered Kitec plumbing leaks could receive a share of the $125 million USD settlement. Claim submissions for this case officially ended on January 9, 2020.
Your plumbing vent, also called a vent stack, is typically a vertical pipe attached to your drain line that runs through your roof. The plumbing vent pipe, or plumbing air vent, removes gas and odors from your plumbing system and allows fresh air to enter the pipes, helping the water to flow out of the drain pipes.
Plumbing vents have two basic functions. One of which is to allow unpleasant smelling wastewater and sewer gasses to escape your plumbing system instead of entering your home. Plumbing vent pipes are typically located on roofs, away from windows, to ensure the fumes exit the home completely.
The most common sign of an improperly vented fixture is when you hear “gurgling or bubbling noise” .
Leaking Faucets and Pipes
Dripping faucets are more of a nuisance and a waste of money than a plumbing emergency, but those drips add up quickly — fixing the leaks in your home could save up to 10 percent on your water bill. A faucet leaking one drip per second adds up to over 3,000 gallons every year.
Water Heater Problems
The most common issue typically found during a Home Inspection is the Hot Water Heater is missing the drain line for the Pressure Relief Valve. The plumbing code requires that the drain discharge no less than 6 inches above the floor. The drain line is just a plastic pipe with a threaded end.
Many home owners will redirect their sump pump discharge into the municipal sewer system when they have a discharge issue. This is not permitted as the municipality has to treat the ground water as part of sewage collection. The penalty, if detected, would most likely be a small fine for the first offense.
Sump pumps should be tested annually by the home owner to ensure that unit is still functioning. Either the switch or motor part of sump pump could fail. Many home owners will have a back up sump pump installed if their sump is fairly active. Having your electrical wiring inspected is an important part of the Home Inspection Process
For more information or to book a Home Inspection
Read article on Roof Inspections