Plumbing & Home Inspection


Plumbing is an important part of your home inspection.   One part supplies water to your fixtures and another removes the water from your home.   Failure of either system can allow water to Cross Connection for Washing Machinedamage your home and most likely create mould or mildew growth.

Cross Connections can contaminate your homes potable water supply and can pose a serious health issue.  Any bathtub or laundry tub for example could cause a cross connection if the water level was allowed to rise above faucet.  This could allow contaminated water in fixture to drain into supply side of system.  That is why there are drain overflows installed below the fixtures faucet and your washing machine etc requires an air gap.   Many times a home owner will seal the drain connection for his washing machine which could cause a potential siphoning into supply side of water system and contamination.

Commercial buildings will generally require a double check valve on municipal water entry point to property.  Newer homes will have anti-siphon devices installed on all exterior taps.

Most hot water heaters are powered by Natural Gas, Propane, Electricity or GEO Thermal.   Electric hot water tanks are becoming almost obsolete with the rising costs of electricity.  Lately I have been coming across electric hot water tank installations where the gas hot water heater was removed and replaced with an electric hot water tank.  This usually occurs in a rental unit, as the tenant pays for utilities, and where the older gas heater has failed and the unit is vented with ABS pipe.   ABS vents are grandfather protected, but when you replace the hot water heater you are required to upgrade vent to 636 PVC vent material.

Another common item found during home inspections is the lack or improper placement of the Pressure Relief Valve drain.  In Canada the drain is required to be positioned so that the drain is within 6 inches of floor or directed into a drain line etc.  This is to prevent accidental scalding of individual by discharge hot water from PRV.

In Ontario the building code has required the installation of Thermostatic mixing valves since 2004.   Prior to 2004 protection at tubs and showers was provided via pressure balanced or thermostatic control valves.  These only controlled the ratio of water and did not protect you from someone flushing a toilet etc.  Currently Ontario is the only province to regulate the temperature of hot water.  There have been many complaints from angry consumers and the possibility of Legionella bacteria thriving in water stored below 50 C.

Some insurance companies are now wanting to know the exact type and manufacturer of your plumbing supply lines.  TD bank is one insurance company that has about 5 different manufactures of Pex type plumbing that they will not insure if present.  If you are buying a new home you might want to check with your insurance company prior to purchasing to identify any products they will not insure.

As part of becoming a Professional Home Inspector we were required to study and pass courses in Supply Plumbing, Water Heaters, Drain, Waste and Vents and Fixtures and Faucets.  Many times when inspecting homes where a DIY renovation has occurred it is oblivious that no permit was taken out and no inspections performed on rough in or completion.  As a purchaser you will be assuming responsibility for all work that was improperly done in your new home.

5 home inspection mistakes you should avoid

  1. Not researching the inspector.
  2. Not attending the inspection.
  3. Not reading the inspection report.
  4. Not getting a pre-sale inspection.
  5. Not preparing the home for sale.

Thermal Imaging Scans are typically included by most Professional Home Inspectors.  Using an Infrared Camera can help find hidden moisture, missing insulation and electrical hot spots.

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Posted on

July 31, 2015