Running water to check for in wall/ floor leaks.

When you have a two story home, do most of you let the water run in the upstairs fixtures ( tub, shower, sinks ) for 30 minutes or so to see if there are hidden leaks. The painful reality is if there is a leak it stains or damages the drywall.

The SOP is not totally clear if this is required. The testing to me is common sense but the result can cause trouble.

Nope. I don’t leave a room when the water is running. To spend 30 minutes waiting for a possible leak in the kitchen, laundry, and 3 or 4 bathrooms is not realistic.

Steven thank you for the reply. I usually, let it run while I am inspecting the first floor to use the time wisely.
This brings me to my second question. How do you handle a leak showing up in the ceiling under a tub or shower that is not being used by the family. I think this is my fear.

We don’t let water run where it has the potential to run over… I do start the tub filling then do the bedroom then the bath and then drain the full tub. I would recommend thermal imaging to help find these “hidden” leaks. If it leaks during normal operation, then your doing your job. If you run a sink over, that’s on you.

I never leave a running faucet unattended as it is not a wise thing to do, even on new construction! Sinks are never left unattended at any time and tubs are very frequently checked on if they are left running. It is very easy for a partial or full blockage of a drain line or system to ruin your day as well as the owner’s day!

Any fixture not being used for extended periods of time are subject to failed seals and leaking. Nothing you can do about it and you typically don’t know what their historical usage is. All you can do is test properly and check the ceilings below them, or other locations near them for first floor, to determine if they are leaking. One of your last steps during an inspection should be is to review the home to ensure nothing has been left on, filled, etc. During that time you can run one more quick visual check for the signs of leakage.

I leave a tub running at about 1 gpm on the second floor. At 1 gpm on an 80 gal tub (about average size for most tubs) that would give me 80 minutes if it ever backed up if there was ever an issue. I watch the tub for about 5 minutes to make sure it doesn’t back up while I check the outlets and such. The tub is the first thing I turn on, so I head to the first floor and check for leaks real quick, then head to the basement. After I do the heating unit and water heater, I check on the tub again real quick, and then head back down to do the electric panel (many times I have the agent check it for me). After that I check it again on my way to the attic, and then turn it off when I get back out of the attic.

At least once every 10 inspections or so I find a leak doing this, and I am only running 1 gpm. I have found more plumbing defects than I can count over the years doing that. I do it every inspection. DO NOT do it from a sink… you are just asking for trouble. I also run showers for about 30-60 minutes too - but I watch those much closer. Found one where water came out of a light socket a couple months back from a shower.

It is not in any SOP that I know - it is just what I do. I learned it from another inspector years ago.

Run water, yes. Thermal scan from first floor looking at underside of bathroom, yes.

30 minutes of running water?? Uh no.