**Q. **I purchased a brand new home – a bank-owned, “as-is” property. On the day of the home inspection, there was no hot water because the bank refused to turn on the gas service. Because of this, the home inspector did not discover that the upstairs bathrooms were piped with hot water only. So now I can’t use the tubs or showers because the water is scalding hot. Our plumber says there is a cross-connection of the hot and cold water lines somewhere in the building and that it will be difficult to find where the problem is. I can’t afford to re-pipe the house and don’t know what else to do. What do you advise?
A. Your house probably does not need to be re-piped, but some investigative work will be needed to determine where the faulty pipe connections are located. To do this, some of the drywall will need to be removed to enable inspection and evaluation of the pipe layout. You should consult with your plumber to determine the least intrusive way to approach this process.
** At the time of the home inspection, this problem could have been discovered, even without gas service or hot water. Your home inspector could have turned off the supply valve at the water heater. This is how home inspectors verify that faucets have cold on the right side and hot on the left when the gas service is off. Had your home inspector done this, he would have discovered the lack of cold water plumbing in the upstairs bathrooms.**
At the time of the home inspection, this problem could have been discovered, even without gas service or hot water. Your home inspector could have turned off the supply valve at the water heater. This is how home inspectors verify that faucets have cold on the right side and hot on the left when the gas service is off. Had your home inspector done this, he would have discovered the lack of cold water plumbing in the upstairs bathrooms.
Sorry, I dont open or close any valves, so I guess I am the poor inspector who would have missed this. HMMM
I also do not open any main shut off valves in the basement .
Three time agents have told me to not be so silly and they have opened them and three times there was water where it should not be.
It would interesting to know how many inspectors actually do open and close valves I bet its high. so would the liability. (agents and buyers just don’t understand why we don’t, even after we explain it to them).
Heck just the other day a Realtor was peeved that I couldn’t check the sprinkler system I tried to explain it to her but I don’t think she got it.
“the state of being legally obliged and responsible”.
Oh my I just opened that valve, I knew I wasn’t suppose to, but the Realtor was pressuring to get the inspection done, so I did, low and behold there is water everywhere running down the wall spraying everywhere now who do you think is responsible??? me or the Realtor? I am not willing to assume that kind of liability.
Then comes the attorney he thinks is this gross negligence oh man look out.
I’ll open any valve(faucet) that has a sink, tub or shower pan underneath it…otherwise…no way…I can’t count the number of times as a contractor I closed a valve to work on something only to have it start leaking at the shaft seal packing…of course then You put a wrench to the packing nut and You may just get a shower…
Again who is responsible if it breaks? its always the what if’s that get us in trouble.
Trust me I understand that the likely hood of something happening is rare but again what if??
(Chris Duphily, Level II Infrared Thermographer #8355)
Nice post John, Thanks … for the record I will turn the water supply on after having my pre-inspection agreement signed, checking and documenting all visibly accessible lines and have a second party stand by the valve ready to turn it off as soon as they hear me scream:mrgreen:. Yes, some of them fail but that is what is reported “failed under testing contact a qualified plumber to further inspect the entire plumbing system and repair as needed.”
No lawsuits as of yet but it does add 30 - 45 min to the inspection (carefully checking and documenting all visible supply lines)
Do I fault any inspector that does not turn a main water supply on or off? Hell no … to each their own.
Our plumber says there is a cross-connection of the hot and cold water lines somewhere in the building and that it will be difficult to find where the problem is. I can’t afford to re-pipe the house and don’t know what else to do. What do you advise?
If there is a cross connect between the hot and cold then if the hot is shut off at source the water should get cold. If it was all cold to begin with the cross connect would have made it impossible to judge there was any kind of problem. So much about this doesn’t make sense. It sounds like the client is being taken for a ride. Has anyone ever heard of a plumber forgetting to run cold water lines? Oops! I think they need another opinion.
A little off of the original post, but an inspector at another site commenting on inspecting homes where the utilities are off, said he will turn on the main water supply, sometimes even at the curb, the main breakers, and light pilots on gas stoves and furnaces.
I replied that I hope you carry some very good insurance.
Turning the HW supply off will prove there is a cross connection which in no way equals a repipe of the house. A cross connection could be as little as an “O” ring in a single lever valve ($25.00) service call. Could be a tempering valve (likely) adjustment. We can do nothing as HI’s but tell the client to have plumber check. Of course, in the original senario the HI should have asked for a reinspect or told them to ask a plumber (same outcome). What I am really saying is that we aren’t given enough info to make a determination (except that there seems to be a cross over or bad tempering valve) and the client has to have a second opinion.
So turning on the water supply to the HWH would give us “Contact a Plumber”.
I wouldn’t turn the valve on. What if the problem was a broken cold line in the wall.