chedule a plumbing inspection when you are buying a home, selling a home, refinancing a mortgage, assessing a problem or doing a routine checkup. Professional plumbers — licensed to operate in their state of business — provide plumbing inspections on residential buildings, rental properties, commercial spaces and multiunit buildings to catch plumbing problems before they get worse.
Plumbing is one of the most expensive and unexpected repairs a new homeowner can face, so a plumbing inspection can save you money as a homebuyer. A comprehensive plumbing inspection with cameras prior to purchase may find damage to the plumbing that might not be found in a standard home inspection, such as underground plumbing problems. Based on these findings, you may be able to negotiate a lower sale price, or decide not to buy.
It’s important to hire a pro who is licensed and properly trained, one who has insurance and operates a legitimate business. This protects you and your home in the case of accidents or damage. Several factors determine the cost of a plumbing inspection.
A visual inspection of your plumbing is more than just looking at all of the visible plumbing components. The licensed plumber looks under all the sinks and connections and checks all the shutoff supplies. During the inspection, the plumber confirms that everything is draining properly and that all appliances and fixtures are installed to code. They will also check the water heater to ensure there are no code deficiencies or safety issues.
Plumbers also confirm that your water pressure is within the normal range of 50-65 pounds per square inch (psi), although Demi Duderstadt of Sweetwater Plumbing Company in Alvin, Texas, explains that optimal water pressure is 55-60 psi. Water pressure over 65 psi can cause damage to your fixtures and cause expansion in your water heater; pressure under 50 psi results in poor water pressure in your shower and appliances like the washing machine.
After a visual inspection, a plumber will often produce a written report listing everything that needs to be resolved. Here is one example of cost for a visual inspection:
- Visual inspection: $300 from Sweetwater Plumbing Company in Alvin, Texas.
In this type of inspection, plumbers use a diagnostic camera to explore the sewer system under your house, alerting you to expensive repairs or problems that you can’t normally see from inside the house. The diagnostic camera runs through any accessible cleanouts and inspects the systems under the house via a 200-foot pushrod, explains Duderstadt of Sweetwater Plumbing Company. The camera flows through the directional fittings of your sewer system, showing whether the pipes under your house have broken, been infiltrated by roots, or developed leaks. In a recent pre-purchase camera inspection, Sweetwater Plumbing Company found a broken line under the sale property that would require an $8,000 repair. The homebuyer was able to negotiate the sale of the home price down by that amount, using the plumbing inspection as proof. Here is one example of cost of a camera inspection:
Sewer system camera inspection: $300 from Sweetwater Plumbing Company.
- Visual inspection and camera inspection: $500 from Sweetwater Plumbing Company.
Inspecting water heaters
A plumbing inspection can not only save money, it can save lives. A water heater is as dangerous as a stick of dynamite if not installed to code, says Duderstadt of Sweetwater Plumbing Company. During a standard plumbing inspection, the plumber will check the heater’s venting, temperature and pressure, and confirm that the gas line is installed properly with a sediment trap.
During one plumbing inspection requested by potential homebuyers, Duderstadt of Sweetwater Plumbing Company found that a previous handyman had removed the water heater’s temperature and pressure relief valve and plugged it off. The valve is the mechanism that pops when a water heater overheats, releasing the pressure — and preventing an explosion. With the valve plugged, the water heater had become a giant cast-iron cylinder with no outlet for increases in pressure. Fortunately, the plumbing inspection caught the error, and the clients were able to remove and completely replace the water heater for $1,100 instead of suffering property damage or injuries after a heater explosion.