Inspecting Plumbing Systems
A secure plumbing system is crucial to the water supply and wastewater disposal (sewage). Your inspector will visually inspect and test plumbing details to assure a safe water delivery system is in place, no visible leaks are present, or conditions that may promote the growth of fungus or mold or cause structural damage. In addition, they will check that sewage flows are clear and connected to safe and approved collection or disbursement systems like public sewage systems or septic tanks.
Faulty plumbing is an issue that can be extremely costly if it’s not identified before you buy the home. Replacing old pipes is very expensive, and if a pipe fails or breaks without you knowing it, it can cause significant and severe water damage to your home, which may be extremely costly to fix.
Your home inspector will take a look at the basic functioning of the plumbing system, by testing all water-based appliances such as water heaters, toilets, sinks, tubs, and even dishwashers.
Plumbing components your inspector will visually survey and check:
- interior water supply and distribution systems including fixtures and faucets.
- drain, waste, and vent systems including fixtures.
- water heaters and hot water supply systems.
- vent systems, flues, and chimneys.
- fuel storage and fuel distribution systems.
- sewage ejectors, sump pumps, and related piping.
Overall, your home inspector is looking to identify material defects. A defect may be a repair, maintenance, or improvement consideration with or without a safety association.
Your written report will describe the interior water supply, drain, waste, and vent piping materials. The water heater equipment including energy sources like gas or electricity will be included in the report. Water and fuel shutoff valves will be identified. Every property owner needs to know these locations in the event of a natural disaster.
During the inspection, your inspector will determine whether the water supply and sewage are public or private, verify adequate water supply flow and pressure, and check shower pans and fixtures for leaks.
As thorough as this inspection seems, your home inspector is not required to check fixtures and systems outside of basic plumbing:
- washing machine connections & drain
- vent systems
- renewable energy systems & components
- water quality and/or toxicity
- adequacy of water pressure & drainage
- water softeners & filters/purifiers
However, a professional inspector checking for leaks is likely to look at these connections wherever they are freely visible. These systems sometimes require specific inspections outside the scope of your home inspection.
If you require additional system inspections such as for the septic tank, your inspector may be able to refer you to a local professional.