Originally Posted By: evandeven
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.
Yes, I mean the house valve not the one installed by the local municipality.
If you test the valve by just opening it more, then are you really testing it? If you were testing the functionality of the valve, it should be open to allow the water to flow and closed so that no water can get into the home.
Testing it to see if it opens would be like opening a half open window and then not closing it.
The valve is there to shut the water off to the home for repairs to the plumbing system or an emergency situation.
I treat them in the same vein as the main breaker or all of the breakers. We don't go around turning those on and off do we?
I was taught by other inspectors and also while at ASHI conferences that the valves are not to be touched.
Here are two examples why: At a home I was inspecting around 8 years ago, I closed the main shut off valve and then opened it. When I opened it, the valve broke and now, no water to the house. The Realtor and I split the cost of an emergency repair to change the valve. I had another inspection to do so I went and did that, came back to the house and the homeowners had just got home and boy, were they pissed! I told them a plumber was on the way and their water would be restored shortly. The plumber showed up,replaced the valve, and then I completed the inspection at 8:00 at night. The homeowners were happy and also impressed that I took care of the problem. They referred me to their friends and also used me for the house they were purchasing, canceling the previous inspector. I guess the $75.00 for the service call was worth it.
Another inspector at a condominium did the same thing. He said "it broke while I was testing it" and now we can't finish the inspection. I'll have to come back later. The homeowners had to go three days without water, they stayed at a hotel, and it cost $500.00 to replace the valve. The water had to be shut off to the whole building and the water heater had to be removed to get to the valve. Last I heard, the homeowner was suing the inspector for breaking the valve, pain and suffering and the hotel stay.
Personally, I state in my Standards of Practice that I do not inspect main shut off valves. I will look at them to make sure they are not dripping or corroded but not touch them. I tell the client where they are and that is the end of it.
On another note: I inspected a home and there was low water pressure to the hot side of the kitchen sink faucet. I told the homeowner about it and he said "it is probably debris in the shut off valve". He then closed the valve and tried to open it. It broke and now, there was no hot water. I said to him "thanks, now I have to change the report!"
Eric Van De Ven
Magnum Inspections Inc.
I get paid to be suspicious when there is nothing to be suspicious about!