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Whole House Plumbing Inspection Checklist


Whether you are buying a home or just doing an annual inspection on your existing home, the plumbing system is a critical area to look at, good plumbing makes living easy and comfortable, major plumbing problems can be a nightmare and make your home uninhabitable.



Let’s review what to look for:


 Water Supply System:



 1. Start with the water meter, how old is the meter and can the water be shut off if necessary. Try to turn off the water and check for leaks at the connections. A leaky meter can inflate your water bill, cause sink holes, undermine your driveway or even your home.


  Water Meter and Shut off Valves



 2.  Check the service line (the pipe that carries the water to your house from the meter) is it leaking and how old is it? If the house is over 35 years old, this line may need replacing, a major expense.



3.  Look at the service entrance (the connections and shut off valve where the line enters your home), look for leaks and test the shut off valve, does it work properly and doe it shut off the water completely? If you develop a leak inside this shutoff is critical to prevent flooding of your home.



4.  Next look at the water heater, check the connections for leaks and the condition of the pipes, are they corroded or show signs of leakage? Look at the base of the water heater is it leaking or are there water stains or rust on the tank or floor of the compartment, these are signs the water heater may be failing.


Leaking Water Heater


In The Kitchen



1.  Inside turn on the kitchen faucet and see how quickly the hot water reaches the faucet, if it takes a while the water heater may be full of sediment, which reduces its effectiveness and increases your energy and water bills.



2.  Look at the faucet, is it leaking or corroded, does it work easily or is operating it difficult? If it is stiff or slow to operate, if so it may be clogged with mineral deposits and need replacing.



3.  Next, open the sink cabinet and look at the water connections and shut off valves (known as angle stops). Look for signs of leaks and corrosion at the connections, are there water stains or moisture on the lines? If so the faucet or connections may be leaking.


Angle Stops and Supply Lines



4.  Look at the drain lines, are they solid and secure or loose fitting and leaking? Look on the floor for signs of water leakage. Run the faucet and looks for leaks and test the drains' flow, is it free flowing or is it slow? A slow drain may indicate problems with the drain or sewer system. If the drain is slow, have a professional plumber inspect the sewer line for blockages from roots or other debris. Modern video cameras allow a plumber to inspect you retire sewer line in a manner of minutes. Sewer line issues can be very expensive to repair.



In the Bath Rooms



1.  Operate the faucets and look for leaks and proper operation, a stiff difficult to operate faucet will need repair or possible replacement. As in the kitchen, open the sink cabinet and look at the water supply and drain lines, looks for signs of corrosion or leaks. Pay special attention to the supply lines, if they look old and tired or show signs of leakage replace them. A failed supply line can flood your entire home. Weak supply lines often burst late at night or early in the morning when the water pressure is the highest.



2.    Operate the tub or shower valve and check for ease of operation or signs of leaks, does the drain flow freely or is it slow? A slow drain may indicate a hair clog in the drain or worse plumbing issues. Look at the shower head does it flow properly or show signs of leaks or corrosion? Are the connections tight and leak free?



3. Flush the toilet, does the bowl clear properly and refill to the proper level? Or does it run on and not stop? This could be a sign of a bad flapper valve in the tank, watch for water seeping into the bowel after the tank fills, if you detect flow, place food coloring in the tank and wait for 10-15 minutes then check the bowl. If the food coloring has reached the bowl the flapper valve is leaking and needs replacing. Check the toilet shut off valve and supply line for leaks or corrosion.


Toilet Shut Off and Supply Line




In the Laundry Room



1.   Look at the washer hoses are they tight and free of any signs of water stains or moisture? If you have rubber washer hoses, look especially close at the hot water hose, the constant expansion and contraction of the hose do to the hot water can cause it to fail prematurely, flooding you house. Replace rubber washer hoses every five years or replace them with stainless steel hoses.


Bulging Washer Hose





2.   Look at the washer drain hose, is it tight with no signs of leaks? Is it secure in the stand pipe? Run the washer and check for proper drain flow, finally make sure the hose is securely attached to the stand pipe.


Other Areas of the House:



In The Basement:



1.   If you have a basement, carefully inspect all the plumbing lines and connections to the upper floors from the basement view, look for signs of leakage or corrosion, look at the drain line where it leaves the building toward the sewer, check for corrosion leaks or any deterioration.






1.  Look at the sprinkler anti-siphon valves and inspect for proper operation, look for leaks or wet soil which will indicate any leaks during operation. Make sure the shut off to the sprinkler system is in good operating order and shuts off properly.


Sprinkler Valves





2.  Look at the hose bibs (the shut offs for garden hoses) make sure they are in good operating order and shut off properly with no leaks.



3. Keep a garden hose in the front and rear of your home, attached to the hose bib and ready to use, while not intended for firefighting, it may help minimize damage to your home while your awaiting the fire departments arrival. Any water applied to a fire is better than none.



If you need repairs Home Depot's Home Services Division can help, we offer all type of home repairs performed by qualified and licensed professionals. For information just call our Home Services Division at 1-800-557-5221.




Finally make a walk around inspection of your home every month or so, look for any signs of problems, wet spots, loose fitting trim or siding, signs of pests or wind damage. Proper regular inspections will help spot minor issues you can correct and prevent major repairs in the future.




Mike, The Home Depot Answer Man







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Posted 2016-07-11T22:12:17+0000  by Mike_HD_OC Mike_HD_OC