How to Perform a Plumbing Inspection According to the InterNACHI® SOP

according to the internet G home

inspection standards of practice the

home inspector shall inspect the main

water supply shut off valve the main

fuel supply

shutoff valve water heating equipment

including temperature pressure relief

valves interior water supply including

all fixtures and faucets by running the

water all toilets for proper operation

by flushing them all sinks tubs and

showers for functional drainage the

drain waste and vent system and drainage

sump pumps with accessible clips the

inspector shall describe whether the

water is public or private the location

of the main water shut-off valve the

location of the main fuel shutoff valve

the location of any observed fuel

storage system and the capacity of the

water heating equipment they've labeled

the inspector shall report as a need of

correction deficiencies in the water

supply by viewing the functional flow

and two fixtures operated simultaneously

deficiencies in the installation of hot

and cold water faucets active plumbing

leaks and toilets that were damaged or

loose or leaking or had tank components

that didn't operate so we're gonna start

three-point-six the plumbing portion of

the inspection the standards tell us to

start the inspection at the main water

shut-off we are required if accessible

to stay what the main line is and where

the shut-off is so this is a

three-quarter inch copper mainline we

have the shutoff valve is in the

basement bedroom so that's what my

report would say we actually take a

picture of it that is the only picture

in the report that does not relate to a

defect if we have a newer house or a

house using a cold water ground we will

typically see a ground wire here so

that's part of the electric but this is

where we start to look if it's a plastic

water line coming to the house of course

we can't use it for a ground above it

you're not required to remove all these

so we want of knowing which one was the

main but if they're right next to each

other I'll typically look at both of

them this is actually the shut-off valve

for the sprinkler system if you look

close the main

water shut-off as a ball valve on this

house the sprinkler system is a gate

valve gate valves are still legal still

okay most builders prefer a ball valve

they have less chance to leak but you

will still see gate valves on your

inspections plumbing we looked at the

main water shut-off now we go to our

field system on this house we have

natural gas so we have a meter here's

our diaphragm we should have a

disconnect or shut off before the meter

on this house it's actually kind of

buried in the mulch I found it but it's

not supposed to be under grade like that

so I would definitely put a note in my

report you know the fuel disconnect was

at grade maybe inaccessible snow weather

or something like that but you're not

required to dig it up if this had been

dirt I definitely want to have done that

but it's right here that is how you

would shut off the gas to the house if

it's needed again we are required to

tell where that is exterior the house

near the gas meter now we'll go in the

house and look at the water heater

yeah just coming from the fuel now we're

gonna come over to the water heater as

we look we can tell this is an 80%

efficient water heater because of the

metal flue we do want to make sure we

look at our riser or our draft here make

sure that it's color matches the water

heater or if it's galvanized like this

because this is a calibrated bleed this

one's not quite plumb so I would put it

in my report

whoever did it should have added on to

this line to make it a little bigger but

so they are contacting sometimes you

might get a knock or a noise when the

water heater kicks in because of that so

we're gonna look at our flue this is a

double wall flue we're supposed to have

an inch clearance to combustibles so I'm

gonna write up that it's too close to

combustibles in the basement we need to

look at our temperature pressure relief

for our Watts valve do we have


or copper metal can be plastic if it's

the right plastic extension pipe

terminates about six inches from the

ground and at a safe location we have a

floor drain over here so that would be

considered a safe location right here is

the data tag we can look at this and

find out the age of the water heater

this water heater is a new water heater

it's a 40 gallon water heater so looking

at this new water heaters most

jurisdictions are now require an

expansion tank or an expansion valve we

don't have one because our main water

valve shut off valve did not have a

regulator some jurisdictions don't

require it because if the water gets

heated up it can still push backwards if

there was a regulator or a backflow at

the entrance to the house we would need

an expansion tank as we're looking if it

would damage the house we'd also need a

catch pan but since we have a concrete

floor with the drain we don't need one

here's our gas shut up

and again the drip leg on this one

functions both for the furnace and the

water heater we have to have a shutoff

on the cold water we are also required

to look for evidence a back drafting

which would be our exhaust coming into

the house when they had the rubber

bushings or gaskets down here it's a

very easy to look and see do we have

back drafting these both look terrific

so it does not look like we have

spillage into the house sometimes you

will also see a burnt or corrosion on

just the inside of one of these fittings

that would also be an indication we're

back drafting into the house now looking

here we also need combustion whenever we

have a furnace or a water heater

anything that burns gas we need to have

oxygen for the unit when we're in with

proximity to the dryer most

jurisdictions and we're not cold but

basically it says if the operation of a

dryer can

the operation of an appliance you're

required to have outside combustion air

the furnace has its own combustion air

the water heater does not so I would

write this up as a defect that we don't

have outside combustion air because we

are so close to the dryer

so whenever the dryer whether it's gas

or electric is on it pulls oxygen

through the house we don't want it to

pull oxygen containing exhaust gases

from the water heater so the issue I see

here is a lack of combustion air or

outside combustion air for the water

here now we'll start looking at supplies

so our bathrooms our kitchen all of our

faucets things like that we're done with

our water here okay now we're coming to

the bathrooms so let's start running our

water when we come in we turn on the hot

water and our sink when we come up to

the toilet when these are in the way we

move them but we always push against the

toilet to see if it's loose we also want

to see if they've caught if they've

caught all the way around the toilet we

don't want to see them the whole

thing because it's a wax seal leaks we

want to see it come on

so this is in a basement or this is the

basement bathroom and it's on concrete

in a concrete they allow you to caulk it

all so our hot water is hot cold cold so

we're gonna let it run and see what we

have for leaks

now we run a lot of water I want to see

water in here

I want to put a couple inches of water

anyway in the bathtub if it is a shower

we do not plug the stopper and do a

water test of the shower pan it is not

required for International Center to

practice in fact it's discouraged

because a lot of times if it does leak

you will damage the house then you are

responsible so do not do a water test on

a shower just run it as normal which is

open up the faucet

so our stopper is holding so we will

take a picture of the water in there I'm

checking I don't find any leaks now

underneath here typically we want to see

water shut-off valves for the hot and

the cold older houses it was not a

requirement if we have texts with a

manifold that's not required

what on most houses you will see

individual shutoff same thing at the

toilet we want to see any individual

just shut off there we want to see the

toilet tank within 2 inches of the back

wall otherwise we're tendency to get

leaks want to make sure flushes

correctly so our hot hot or cold cold we

want to make sure I shower diverts

correctly turns off our water down here

so we have a couple inches so now we're

gonna turn this off so the drinking

stopper is holding on this one it's a

plastic so we don't have tile girl

things like that to look at but you know

so now I will drain the water look at

the caulking down here on our electrical

portion we would check our GFCI outlet

things like that right now but on the

plumbing when this drains we're done

with this bathroom we always like to

come back to the water heater after we

run hot water in the bathroom because I

want to hear the water heater in

operation right now it's functioning

this is where you'll get the knocks if

it's full of sediment different things

like that

now this water heater hasn't

Tonica night just like most newer ones

remember home inspectors do not should

not are not required to light pilot

lights now next to this is the washing

machine sometimes if there's nothing in

here we will run the washing machine to

check the plumbing but standards of

practice say we are not required to

inspect washing machines or their

connections most home buyers expect us

to but our standards of practice say we

do not so if you do do it you are going

beyond the standards of practice just

remember that ok now as a home inspector

we are required to check functional

water pressure we're not required to put

a gauge on but to check our functional

water we turn on cold at the bathroom

sink will turn on cold at a bathtub this

isn't one of our biggest water uses and

then we'll flush the toilet and see if

we see a drop on this house we're not

seeing a drop in water pressure so that

would pass a functional water test water

volume cap so that's how we do it and

you are required to check have to

operate at the same time to check for

our water flow okay now we're gonna look

at our kitchen plumbing just like

bathrooms we want to check all our

faucets make sure that hot is hot cold

is cold so first thing I do is I put it

on hot we want to check both sides we're

gonna open our cabinet let it get hot

down here

now dishwashers are not part of the

standards of practice but because

there's plumbing we typically look at

them understand you are exceeding the

standards we don't have anything about

dishwashers because every house doesn't

have one but we're gonna look at how our

waistline is coming this one actually

hooks up to the disposal because this is

a newer dishwasher there's a high loop

built into it otherwise that line would

be wrong because there's not a high loop

built into the waistline looking at our

plumbing coming down here now

I like to try and get a look at it but

remember we don't need to move everybody

stuff so we don't have any leaks there

now we'll come over to this side and

check it make sure our slope is correct

make sure we have one p-trap not two

we're gonna reach your hand up make sure

that we have a clamp on our disposal

wire looking at the plumbing here we

actually they could have put a high loop

or I stand play on the dishwasher

because it is is setup for one then

we'll go back over we'll turn on the

disposal make sure it runs make sure all

functions work there we don't have any

leaks we didn't have any leaks

underneath we'll turn it off now our

reporting should state that the plumbing

was not fully visible due to the

occupants belongings because there was a

lot of stuff under here which is pretty

typical on an occupied property okay in

conclusion to our plumbing remember a

home inspector is not required to lay

pilot lights you do not turn on and off

shutoff valves the main water shut-off

etc we visually inspect them don't turn

off valves at the toilet things like

that because eventually you will have a

problem standards of practice say we do

not we also do not are not required to

operate sprinkler systems we do inspect

attached plumbing such as a backflow but

anything else is under grade so you

should not operate sprinkler systems if

you do understand you are going beyond

the standards of practice so by looking

for leaks who are required to report

active leaks corrosion etc poor water

flow where we run multiple appliances

we're not required to check actual water

pressure with the gauge so the big thing

is don't do shut offs you know don't

turn things on or off except for faucets

that are made to be operated normally so

that's concluding three point six the

plumbing section now we're gonna move on

to the electrical

point seven of the report