What are your thoughts about de-winterizing a home to inspect? I live in Georgia. I usually do not mind turning on water at the street and water heater breakers to test when a house has been closed up for a while. I then empty the lines mostly by opening all faucets and turning water back off, and flushing toilets. I put in my report that the property is NOT winterized and should be before cold weather. But in saying that, the listing agent and the bank do not read it, just the client and buyers agent. I feel like I’m covering myself, but I’m starting to second guess myself. What do you all think? Maybe I can start just doing a full winterizing service upon exit…how do you blow lines?

What if the water was turned off because of a leak?

I do not. In my area you need to be a licensed plumber to fix anything, if there’s a leak or problem, I don’t carry repair or clean up gear.

The utility company needs to turn the water on at the street in my area too.

I do not turn on any utilities

I think you should speak with an attorney. Sounds like you are taking on a HUGE amount of liability.

As you stated in your post, you are not informing the owner of the property that service has been restored to the property. Personally without the property owners consent, I wouldnt even think about restoring water service from the street or anywhere else for that matter. Even with consent, without a hold harmless waiver I wouldn’t do it.

I’m surprised that none of the agents (especially listing) havent said anything to you about this.

I’m there to do a good thorough job for the client, but that practice in my mind is way above what I’m there for and could open me up to liabilities that I don’t want to expose myself to.

Just my opinion, best of luck to you.

But to answer your question, to blow out lines you need a compressor and an entry point to the plumbing system. Need to attach a fitting to accept air line and blow out. Need to drain hot water tanks, toilets, put approved antifreeze in traps. In short way above something that you would do for free.

You should speak to your GL insurance carrier. You are describing Property Preservation type actions and many GL policies will not cover that under a standard home inspection policy.

I’ll turn on breakers if the service is already on, OK.
I won’t turn on the water at the street.
Down here I think it’s a first degree misdemeanor.

If you are going to turn on the water make sure you fully inspect the plumbing first. I won’t do it here. I had an extremely obnoxious client that argued with me about turning on the water I told him it was listing agent and owners job to do this. I didn’t know if they had any leaks. Well the dumb @$$ went out to the meter and turned it on when I was in the attic. He flooded the kitchen which was above a finished basement and caused several thousand dollars worth of damage before I realized he turned on the water.

Do they need mold sampling now?


Any utility or breaker that is off, is off for a reason. Turn it on, and the liability and damage results are on you. Get out your check book. Don’t think it will happen to you?

One home owner hired me to inspect a home that had been “de-winterized”. He was adamant that I turn on the main water cut-off to check the plumbing. As we approached the cut-off, I saw, and counted, at least 8 splits in the copper water lines. He sill wanted me to turn on the water to see how many leaks there were.

I found out later that the buyer was actually a land lord, who was looking for a deep pocket to fix the repairs, and the resulted damage. I left, without getting paid, no report, and an upset buyer land lord. I guess he felt stupid when I was smarter than he was.

I would only de-winterize the home if the mortgagee or the owner requested and paid for the service.

Here is a safe alternative for you

Locate the washing machine valves.
Hot water side attach a PSI gauge
Cold water side attach a line to an air compressor.
Charge the water lines to 40 PSI
Close the cold water valve and monitor the PSI gauge

You can charge the lines at the beginning of your inspection and check the gauge for pressure drop at the end of your inspection,

John - I’m curious, is this a standard practice for you on winterized homes? Or do you charge extra to do this? It’s a good way to check plumbing lines provided all valves are closed. Doesn’t insure piping from valve to fixture, do you disclaimer that portion of the system?