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A few basics of home inspection plumbing

A few basics of home inspection plumbing

When a home inspector inspects a home, the plumbing is one of the critical systems that he examines for his report to you. Naturally, one of the first things he’ll do is check the faucets and fixtures, looking for leaks. According to the American Water Works Association, approximately 15 percent of all water used in the average home is wasted through leaky plumbing, leaky faucets, and wasted water.

Finding and fixing leaks will save money on your water and energy bills. Furthermore, water damage to floors and foundations is very common and must be dealt with to prevent further problems.

Also, although it may seem silly and unnecessary at first, your home inspector will make sure that cold water comes from the right side and hot water from the left when you turn on the faucets. This is the traditional standard. You wouldn’t want anyone to be surprised with a burn in the shower because they thought they turned on the cold water.

Your inspector will check the type and condition of the water pipes, which are usually made of copper, brass, or galvanized steel. Copper is the most desirable material, followed by brass, and galvanized steel is the least desirable.

Copper is best for water distribution pipes. Longest lasting and usually hassle free. For copper pipes, the mineral content in the water affects its durability. White mineral deposits on copper pipes mean pinhole leaks. This indicates that the tubes are deteriorating and may need to be replaced at some point in the future.

The inside of the galvanized steel pipe is corroding, restricting the flow of water. It’s like trying to merge three lanes of highway traffic into two lanes or even one. When these pipes are in poor condition, using more than one water tool at the same time causes problems. For example, if someone is taking a shower, avoid flushing the toilet with the dishwasher or washing machine because the shower will either get too hot or cold.

When you buy a home, your inspector should tell you what material the plumbing pipes are made of and what condition they are in. It is very expensive to replace the water distribution pipes, if necessary.

The inspector should also inform you of the water supply pipe that brings water into the home. Again, brass is the best material because if the pipe is made of galvanized steel, it may have the same corrosion problem mentioned above. If this pipe is made of lead, excessive amounts of lead may leach into the water, posing a health hazard. The best solution is to replace this tube. However, this costs thousands of dollars.

If contaminants such as lead enter the home’s water supply, consider adding a water filtration system where the water enters the building. Also consider adding a water treatment system in the kitchen where the water is used for drinking and cooking.

The water heater is another important item that the inspector will check. If it is a gas water heater, it must be installed properly and allow for good ventilation. The metal flue pipe must allow toxic gases to flow up and out of the house through a chimney. Improper ventilation will lead to the buildup of toxic and deadly carbon monoxide. If the flue pipe slopes downwards, it must be repaired and replaced. The heat from the gas combustion of the water heater should rise, as it should.

These are just some of the plumbing issues that your home inspector’s report will address. Plumbing in a home is one of the most important areas that need attention before buying or selling a home. Finding and taking care of problems now will keep many problems in the future at bay.

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