Habit and the art of home inspections

[size=3]Habit can play a useful role in inspections. For instance, a few days ago, on the day of the earthquake as a matter of fact, I was inspecting a sixty-nine hundred square foot residence by a distinguished builder. It was little more than a year old and was furnished, or staged, and had never been lived in, and I really wasn’t expecting to find much to report on, although my clients had requested that I mention that rock swallows were nesting in the eaves and staining the stucco. Anyway, shortly before the earth rumbled and the house rolled, I had systematically tested each water valve by turning on the hot and then the cold while confirming that they functioned as they should. This habit enabled me to confirm that there was no hot water to the powder room and the butler’s pantry, which of course implies a cross-connection somewhere inside the faux-finished walls that’s going to be expensive to repair. There’s more to this story and my “habits,” but this particular one perhaps allowed me to dodge another lawsuit here in La-la-land.


“Never assume the obvious is true.”


William Safire quote

Good find Keith.

Thanks, John. My client was happy and, among other things, it made my day.

Making it a habit to follow the NACHI standard operating procedure is always a good idea.


Can you explain how this is a cross connection? And how did you report this?

I inspected a 2 yr old model home once that had the water turned off for most of the 2 years.

It had no hot water at two showers, found out from repair guy during the re-inspection that the fix was simply new faucets.

A textbook cross connection involves supply and drain, not hot and cold supply.

If the hot water is connected into the cold water pipes, what would you call it?

John I think I would call it stupid first and then a cross connect. I can say that easily because I’ve done it. Caught it before the house was drywalled, so I didn’t look extremely stupid, just stupid.

I would call it something else since cross connection is not the proper term.


What was Keith really referring to?
He said “no hot water” and a cross connection so I really don’t know what he was referring to.

If the hot and cold are connected together, you would get warm water if you let it run awhile.

If the hot and cold were just backwards, well thats simple, we all find that all the time.
For many years now, all fixtures I think, can be easily reversed by removing the valve without cutting into the walls if the pipes are backwards.

I’m a little confused with Keith’s findings. If there was no hot water only at the 2 mentioned locations I think there is a bigger problem than a ‘cross connection’ as you put it, assuming you meant connected back-wards, hot to cold at the faucet.

That would still produce hot water.

Or somewhere in the line the hot and cold are connected together, like Bruce said, the water would be warm.

Maybe they were never connected to a hot water source at all?


Please expand on your cross connection. If there was no hot water in 2 locations, then the supply pipes were either shut-off somewhere or there was no piping installed.


Or, both simply have bad cartridges in the faucets.

Somewhat common in vacant property.

Inspector noted there was no hot water to the powder room and the butler’s pantry. Recommend further evaluation and repairs by a qualified plumber.

Sorry, haven’t been following. Huge house, 6900 square feet, with hot water supply to all but two locations. Couldn’t see why, so reported it simply as no hot water supply to two specific locations. “Cross connection” may not be an accurate term. If I’m told what happened, I’ll report it.