We in Florida don’t see many homes that has been winterized. However, I see may 2 per year. It’s usually from outside investors or the financial institutions that calls for this type of action on a home. My question is, How to de-winterize a home and and is there an extra charge to do it and is it as simple as turning on all valves for the water supply at the sinks and toilets ( I know we are not suppose too) to finish the inspection or should this be done by a plumber or the company that winterized the property?
Don’t do it. If they winterized it wrong, there may be some burst pipes that you don’t know about. You go and turn the water on and results in water damage, you’re on the hook.
When acting in the capacity of a home inspector never de-winterize or energize any house system. If you are interested in selling winterizing services, there are many free resources online that provide instructions with checklists.
Before you de-winterize the home, any home, I highly recommend you get the current owners permission to do so, also they may want you to re-winterize it after you’re done, of course going this route adds a great deal of liability to you & your business.
IMO best not to get involved. Have the BA contact the SA and have the current owners de-winterize it and ready it for the inspection.
My area is has a lot of second home seasonal occupants. Most from Florida that come up in April and stay through November. They will usually “winterize” their homes during the months they are not here. Turn off water, drain and air flush pipes, add anti freeze solutions to the drain system etc.
If a house is in a “winterized” condition, I let the clients and agents know that I can only do a limited inspection based on it’s current condition. I don’t recommend anything because it is up to the seller to decide if they want to “de-winterize” just for an inspection. If they agree to do so, that’s fine but I don’t do any of the process, before or after. I just go in and inspect as to the current condition.
Stephen had the best answer. I always make sure the house is de-winterized before I inspect. I make it clear that the buyer / agent is responsible for making sure it is de-winterized. Winterizing happens most often when it is a bank owned (forclosure) property. Banks are notorious for dragging their feet about de-winerizing.
Thanks everyone, this is great information. Can’t thank you all enough for your input. This puts my mind at ease. Now I can move forward. Much LOVE!
Ronald … In the 2 states I inspect in the companies that WINTERIZE have owners sign a WAIVER that if ANYONE but them de-winterizes the home and there ANY problems, leaks, etc THEY are not responsible AND all LIABILITY is on whoever did the DE-WINTERIZATION.
Think about that PLUS if YOU do the DE-WINTERIZATION … YOU need to re-Winterize it.
Thanks Dan, good information.
These are what I did when inspecting. I told the client, on the phone, that it needed to be de-winterized and that I would inspect in the way I found it.
Some clients would say “Oh, but the seller’s agent said it was de-winterized.” and I reiterated that I would inspect it the way I found it and that there was a charge for return trips. That lit a fire under the clients a$$ to make sure that it was done and I told him/her that the only way to be sure, is by going to the house and operating the water, gas and electric, etc.
They got on their buyer’s a$$ and more than once had the buyer’s agent pay for the re-inspection when they guaranteed the buyer that it was de-winterized.
I got them to chuckle when they gave me a check from an agent more than once.
Well, I’m in Central Florida and the only “Winterization” that occurs around here is someone shuts the outside water main Off.
No antifreeze in the traps, no air in the pipes to displace water, etc. etc.
They may remember to shut off the water heater, 50/50 chance.
Then they tape all the notices around the house not to turn on the fixtures…
From an inspector and a contractor that does winterizations and de-winterization!
Never turn the water on yourself! I have been dealing with REO (foreclosures) since 2000.
If the property has been winterized , it was done under the authority of the asset manager, bank or realtor. I’m in Colorado- I’ve done hundred’s of de-wints/re wints for HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, etc.
The listing agent of the property should know who authorized the winterization and is responsible for finding out who needs to de-winterize the property. I have special insurance for this kind of work and will do it for an additional fee. It is done ONLY with permission from the listing agent or authority that had it done in the first place. HUD requires that the property re-winterizes the proper right after.
I have found that most of the “property vendors” do not do a good job in the first place. You turn on the water and there is flooding they will expect you to pay for the damages even if the original winterization was not done correctly.
My suggestion- if you want to look like a genius to the realtor and your client, suggest an air test on the plumbing with the understanding that it DOES NOT guarantee there is not any plumbing problems. I have a special note that I add into my inspection agreement when I have to do this that states just that. An air test is easy but requires compressor and adaptor for hook into the plumbing with the air line. These can be made from the hardware store. I ALWAYS hook into the laundry area.
An air test usually will not do any damage and gives more information to the client. I do charge extra for this service if the client or agent has requested it.
Feel free to contact me with any questions.
I would not take that liability. Inspect it as is, or provide in advance for the winterizing company to do it. Winterized homes, especially when not disclosed to you, are inspected as is with a comment explaining that no water fixtures, supply lines, drains, or appliances using water were inspected …
If it’s just off at the main, since you say in Fl, no anti freeze is used, that doesn’t sound like it being winterized, just shut off. If that’s the case, get permission to turn on the water valve…or have the water company turn it on at the street if that’s the case…inspect, then return it to off…take 3 pics of the water meter at the end to show the meter being off and no water being used to CYA.
Great insite, had the company to turn the water on but off at supply valves. Each outlet, (sinks, tubs, toilets, showers & dishwasher) found labeled and apparently off.
That’s what I’ve come across in this case.
Good idea for future clients, thanks for the info!