SoP for bathtub

Questions about procedures regarding bathtubs: Do you fellow inspectors fill up the tub all the way to the overflow drain? What are the odds that there may be leaks at these drains and drain connections? Common sense tells me that this would be classified as part of an exhaustive technical inspection rather than a standard inspection. Any comments?

Well, I do not fill tubs up to check the overflow drains. I doubt that even if the drain were leaking that one would see it through the drywall or wherever in the relatively short time of an inspection. Now, on the other hand, my daughter and son-in-law bought a house just outside St. Louis last year and I contacted a fellow NACHI inspector in that area to inspect it. Well, lo & behold a couple of months later my daughter was taking a bath, let the water fill up to and slightly past the overflow, turned the water off, took her long, soaking bath and found out later the overflow drain was indeed leaking downstairs onto the Kitchen ceiling. So, it certainly does happen but what are the odds?

I have close to 1,000 inspections and have only found this once. 1/10th of a percent… I would agree this outside what a visual inspection would cover. Secondly the possibility of getting distracted and overflowing the tub is greater than I am comfortable with… of course this would prove the overflow is defective…:o


I found one once by “forgetting” the tub as it was filling. New construction, Overflow pipe not connected!!!

Wet basement! Didn’t take long! :slight_smile:

I think this testing is not required. But you can if you want!

I don’t on standard tubs but I do fill up whirlpool tubs above the jets and strainer to test the function. I don’t like doing that but its the only way I know to test it properly.

I’ll give you my take coming from a service plumber with over ten years in the field. I have only come across a problem with the over flow a few times in that decade plus of service work. The ones I do remember having a problem with were claw foot tubs that were refitted with new fixtures but not all the rust removed. Thus leaked behind. Luckily with claw foot tubs the problem shows up quick. Another would be new construction or possibly a remodel.

If the tub has an access panel this is what I would do and this is what I do to track down a mysterious leak. Poor water (about a quart would do) over the spout and the overflow. Check behind for leaks. This will tell you if the spout or the overflow has a tight connection and save you much time. I more often find problems with the spout not being chalked or to far out from the wall.

The last post mentioned whirlpools. I do exactly what he does to check them.

I always check new homes, always! I have a disclaimer when not tested.

Some guys come across this problem every once in awhile. I came across this problem twice in two weeks. Builder repaired problems!

Better than getting a call from owner that tub leaks and builder says its not under warranty.

Here is a IR photo I took as the water was just starting to drain out of a/c vent.


Seems to me that if one filled the tub to over-flow and the drain leaked and stained the ceiling below, one has done some degree of “damage” and could be liable for something or other.

But then, maybe not…

Just for “s&g” how many also check the overflow on the fronts of the cheap steel bathroom basins? I find a lot of them rusted out with no outward evidence from just looking at the overflow in the sink. There is usually mysterious water stains near the front of the cabinets just inside the doors.