Do You Test Basement Floor Drains

Do you test basement floor drains.

With what? A garden hose, numerous 5 gallon buckets or something else?

I guess it depends on what exactly we’re testing for. We can’t realistically test the main drain in its entirety for each inspection, by running huge amounts of water for up to 2 hours. But, I think that we can ensure that water drains at least beyond the basement floor drain trap and include this finding in our report, along with the clear limitations to any further testing beyond that point. For that, a bucket of water would suffice.
Don’t know for sure what we should be doing though, that’s why I brought it up on the forum!


My reports recommend an annual cleaning and maintenance of all garage and basement floor drains, as a boiler plate.

Why not If I was paying someone for a home inspection I would not expect to move in and find the main drain was stopped up??? Are you paying for the water used


Yes, Basement. I enjoy inspecting basements and the mechanical’s within.

My low-crawl days were finished when I was honorably discharged from the Army back in 1983.
That’s a helluva lotta chunk of change for startup in what has the markings of an esoteric and unproven niche. I can’t help but speculate that they have the Advantage Inspection business model …

Nick, they will video scan your waste lines for less than $200 here in AZ, and they do not do any repairs. I did not mean to imply you should buy a franchise.

I wasn’t thinking that, I was just taken back by their franchise costs. If they operate up here, I wouldn’t mind referring clients to their services if necessary.

Do they camera scan septic tanks/ leaching fields? That would be impressive!

I see you point Charley, and agree with you. I know that you do that, but how many inspectors on this forum really run the water for 2 hours? Should we all be doing it? As I said, I’m just starting out and wondering what exactly I should be doing, what the Standard is, and what goes beyond. I’m just trying to find out!
Up here, almost every house has a basment with floor drain. When I think about pumping water through the main drain for 2 hours though, I’d be afraid to take my eyes off that floor drain in case there was a back up. Have you ever carried on with the inspection, only to return to the floor drain to find water backed up all over the floor?

Thanks again,


I second the motion for Hydro-Physics referrals.
We had the Hydro-Physics guy from here in town come to a
NACHI meeting a couple years ago, and his presentation and handouts were awesome in what they could achieve. Of course he was always welcoming referrals from us home inspectors, and his pricing was somewhere in the $200-$300 dollar range for scoping the sewer line to the street, and preventing several thousand dollar charges by the backhoe guys digging up the pipe.
I keep several of his cards in my biz-card box, for when I feel I need to refer folks for this type of service.

Paul I think you should do what you are comfortable doing and yes I carry on with my interior inspection while running water and no I have never flooded a basement in 12 years but If I ever did so be it, failed during test I want to be the one that finds the blockage not my client the first week they move in. A couple of years ago I did flood a bathroom tiled floor on a slab house had two problems the main was blocked somewhere exterior to the foundation and the tub drain at the slab pentration was leaking and when the main backed up water started coming out from beneath the tub and got some carpet wet in the hall near the bathroom door. **Failed during testing. **I found both of these problems that would have gone undetected if I had not been running the amount of water that I run. I pay very little attention to what other inspectors say on this BB I do exactly what my comfort level tells me to do. I try to use some common sense I don’t always run the same amount of water in a occupied home as I do in a vacant one unless I see a plunger sitting next to every commode. Lots of little red flags around a home that if one knows what to look for will be indicators that the past home owner has had main drain line problems. I consider main drainage problems right up at the top of my list of importance with heating, cooling, roof covering, and foundation problems I don’t pay for any of these to be replaced and or repaired to expensive so they are inspected by me with whatever it takes to get the job done reguardless of any SOP, thats my story and I am sticking to it.