The following was initially posted on the Rosie on the House blog:
The Ins and Outs of a Plumbing Inspection
Most homeowners schedule a plumbing inspection when they sell their home, buy a new one or have a problem. There is no reason to wait for any of those situations. It’s good practice to schedule one before there is a problem.
Plumbing inspections and maintenance go hand in hand. Jeff and Brandon from Rosie on the House Certified Partner, Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating, and Plumbing, tell us that inspecting our plumbing systems is to determine if and what maintenance might be needed. A comprehensive review of this vital system in our homes can prevent a disaster from occurring when we least want it (like on Christmas Eve when you are having guests).
The timing of your inspection is important. The inspection can be conducted at any time of the year, though it is highly recommended to schedule or perform it before the monsoons. The reason is simple: humidity. If you have used a swamp cooler, you know how the humidity introduced into the home can cause wood doors and windows to swell, making them a bit harder to open or close. This same concept applies with plumbing. The expansion and contraction along with added moisture to otherwise dry connections, can cause problems.
A plumbing inspection performed by a professional company licensed by the Arizona Registrar of Contractors (ROC), such as Day and Night, should include the following:
Water Quality Inspection.
- Testing your water for hardness, softness, and chlorine content is completed. Knowing the extent to which your water may have high or low pH or chemical content will help guide the inspector or yourself to look for specific reactions with piping, valves, and fixtures.
Water Pressure Inspection.
- High water pressure can put undue stress on the plumbing pipes and fixtures. High water pressure in your home is comparable to having high blood pressure in your body. The ideal water pressure is 50 to 55 pounds of pressure per square inch (psi). Many times, Day & Night sees it closer to 85 psi. This is well outside of the recommended pressure and should be remedied.
Water Heater Inspection.
- This appliance can cost thousands of dollars if not maintained. A water heater inspection checks every connection, the tank’s exterior, and all the valves that shut off water to the tank. Plumbers are looking for signs of corrosion, including rust, calcification, and scale build-up. What begins as a pinpoint leak with some scale around that point can evolve into an expensive repair. All connection points of piping, venting, relief valves, and drains are carefully inspected.
- There are a lot of valves to be inspected in a residential plumbing system. Every valve is examined and tested, starting with the main system shut-off valve where your home is connected to your water provider. Each sink has at least two valves; one for hot and another for cold (often called angle stops). Then laundry valves, toilet valves, and hose bibs are examined for the same signs of leaking, rust, corrosion, calcification, and scale build-up as with the water heater’s inspection. Valves are also tested for operational effectiveness by turning them off and running the faucets and toilets. If the valve is off and water comes out, replacement is needed.
- The toilet is tested for proper operation, including evaluating leaking from the tank into the toilet. A dye tablet is placed into the tank, and the water in the bowl is watched for dye trickling from the tank into the bowl. If there is, the flushing valves and seals in the tank are not working properly. Minute leaks can lead to a lot of water wasted over time. Another telltale sign is the sound of the toilet tank filling at random intervals. Brandon tells us his grandfather used his grandmother’s food coloring before the tablets were available. Fun fact: Brandon’s grandfather was a plumber, as are his father, uncles, and son. That’s four generations of plumbing in one family! How awesome is that?
- The hot and cold water supply lines, where visible, are examined for leaks, large and small. The joints and connections are key places to look for signs of a leak or a pinpoint leak is brewing. The same scrutiny given to the supply lines must be given to the drain lines. Sink drains, especially the P- traps, are inspected for possible signs of a leak or damage. When storing store items under the sinks, be careful taking them in and out, as you may jostle the drain line loose.
Be Proactive, Not Reactive
Leaks and blockages are the most common repairs in a home’s plumbing system. Be mindful of even the tiniest points of corrosion, rust, calcification, and scale build-up. You may not be able to see the leak yet, but these four signs are characteristics of a leak beginning to manifest itself.
“No leak gets better, ever!” says Jeff. Good point!
The objective of inspections is, of course, to prevent a potential disaster by being proactive. The result of a professional inspection is to obtain a comprehensive report that details areas of concern and provides solutions for you to consider. Using a Rosie Certified Partner, such as Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating, and Plumbing, will give you the added comfort of knowing you are working with the best!