Do you fill tubs up to check the overflow?

I need help, I have differing opinions from other inspectors. I filled a tub that flowed into the overflow, and the water flowed out between the brick veneer and the slab.
Some do this some don’t.

Jerry Yost
TREC 9097

That is Russian roulette…I don’t.

No I do not . How much time do you take to do an inspection .
Now just think there are three tubs .
Now the time goes up .
How about if they are on a well and you have run a well dry that never runs out of water .
Do you call the tank truck to bring water.
Do you know how to prime a pump.
How about the septic tank field is this one designed for so much water at once .
I run a token amount to find out the taps are not reversed and to make sure the shower is working . Many years ± and no complaints yet.
Roy Cooke

Bathtub, shower, and sink overflows are not tested for leaks because of water damage that could result from such testing. Most plumbing for the overflow is concealed within the walls and cannot be inspected properly.

I always do, if there’s an associated plumbing access for viewing of the waste and over flow drain assembly. It’s just another way to avoid a negative phone call after the couple moves in, wife fills the master bath tub during Monday Night Football and soaks the husband in the family room directly below same.:wink:


Normally, no.

YES, I do every one. I try to max out the systems while I’m there. You know the homeowners are going to run the tub up to the overflow at some point.

Why bother testing other portions of the drain systems at all?

If the logic is because of water damage could result from such testing. Most plumbing supply or drain is concealed and cannot be inspected properly.

Better to fail under inspection than get a call or letter in the future.


Keep up the good work and do what you feel is in the best intrest of you clients.

Over flow from hydro-tub P3060010.jpg I’d be irate if this wasn’t found on an inspection I paid for.

Here in my neck of the woods, shower pans and bathtub overflows are under the jurisdiction of the licensed pest control professional, so my insurance doesn’t cover me if I do the same and cause damage. Unfortunately, all of the licensed pest control professionals that I have worked with here in California also disclaim shower pans and bathtub overflow drains, particularly on anything other than the first floor, because of the damage that can be caused. I guess they don’t have insurance to cause that specific type of damage, either, or maybe it’s the fact that too often the damage doesn’t manifest itself until a few hours after the inspection–been there, done that during property renovations. Not a pretty sight.

Sink overflow drains are tested because they are an integral part of the sink, and any leaking will be visible and can be cleaned up. I do find quite a few overflow drains that don’t work, especially in multi-story buildings. I also find quite a few sinks from the late '70s/early '80s that have no overflow drains. When I was installing sinks in bathrooms during that time period in Texas, the manufacturers would ship the sinks out to us with instructions for us to drill the overflow drains. I did, but many of my co-workers didn’t, saving them time (could explain why they got salary increases and I didn’t–they did more “work” each day–installed more sinks).

Not in this life time.

I forgot to say that I do test the bathtub overflow and the shower pans as part of my PREMIUM and TECH inspections, but I charge significantly more for those two types of inspections to handle the increased liability.

No I do not test overflows it is disclaimed in the limitations on the Plumbing page. Do you sit in the tub and run the water? I doubt it. One can fill the tub and not get a leak, but some tubs only leak when full of water and with a person sitting in the tub.

You really run a risk when you try to flood something that
will cause water stains, wet carpet and possible damage
and mold. A good disclaimer would be advised and it is
not required for inspectors to do “destructive testing”.

Instead, it would be wise to inform the customer of the
limitations of your inspection.


I can just see myself in a second floor bathroom telling folks this may take a while to see if we can get water squirting out of the wall or ceiling downstairs.

I think explaining to the folks that I have seen way to many overflows Not connected while doing phase inspections to even think about testing a drain which probably has a 50 percent chance to cause significant damage to the home you have not purchased yet.

I put this test in the same category as stoking the fireplace and waiting to see if the house burns down.


Never done it - don’t intend to start. Never had a client complain that we missed this - but only been doing it 28 years and 13,000 inspections, give it a little more time to see if it becomes a problem.

Thats just me cause I’m sloppy and take the easy way out - However, I urge all other inspectors (especially those new ones in my market area) to be very thorough and do things like trip TPR valves on water heaters and fill ALL tubs AND every sink in a house to the overflow to see if they flood the house or not. You will make a long-lasting impression on everyone in the transaction (including your client) with your skill and foresight. You will likely become an urban legend almost overnight & your name will circulate quickly.

Food for thought:

In some areas (like in KC and surrounding areas) the RE Contract states the “buyer has the right to a home inspection by the professional inspector of their choice, and assumes full responsibility for any damage to the property”.

Many sellers and listing agents will hold onto the buyers earnest money in those cases. Example: You got a real knot-head of a seller - the inspector puts the overhead garage door up; it goes up 4’ and falls off track (with the inspector 20’ away at the door opener); the buyer and buyers realtor are there to see the home inspector didn’t hurt anything - the door failed; BUT the seller or listing agent claim per the contract your inspection damaged the door **AND **nowthe fighting starts. Before long even though they know you really did not DAMAGE anything. the buyer and their agent start looking to you for reimbursement to the seller to get the deal back on track.

Last year, we operated an overhead garage door with glass windows in the upper panel. We used a 2x on the floor to test the reverse. The reverse failed but caused the older door to flex enough to break the glass (it fell out and broke, cutting our inspectors face and scalp - just missed the buyer). Guess who BROKE their door?? Another scenario - the inspector ran the dishwasher and when it got to drain it started leaking profusely. Something ended up being rusted out underneath the unit - behind the lower kick panel. From the sellers perspective “the inspector broke it - its never leaked before”.

In another instance, the inspector removed the cover on an old fuse box to examine the wiring inside, and the fuse block literally fell apart in pieces when the cover came off. The home inspector BROKE it was the sellers claim. In each case there was a buyers agent, buyer or both there to see we didn’t break anything - BUT after 3 weeks of fighting to get their earnest money back from an A$$hole of a seller or listing agent, the buyer and his agent no longer cared about fair or not & expected us to pay fo these things.

Bottom line for us - we don’t force anything AND we’ve quit doing things that even look like they could possibly damage the sellers property.

Never have…hopefully never will…

That’s funny, although I think you might have forgotten to use some emoticons.

I like that. Great post.