I’m in agreement with what I’ve been reading but here’s my problem.
If the tub overflow can leak then it’s better to discover it during the inspection rather than after the new owners move in.
One way or another it’s going to be discovered.
Yes, I agree that you may not find a small leak if the area behind or under the tub is concealed. In this discussion I’m primarily concerned with baths over a finished level.
Many times the overflow leak could be discovered if I allowed the tub to overflow for a few minutes then listened and re-inspected below the tub.
Easier to argue that a small leak was missed in a concealed area. Most of the leaks I’ve seen during re-inspects are pretty big leaks that would have been easily noticed if the tub were allowed to overflow.
Now again remember that I do not and still do not endorse testing tub overflows. The problem is communicating this position to the buyer, agent and in some cases the seller (if the overflow leaks).
I might be inclined to test overflows on suspicious situations like,
-newer house out of warranty but one of the tubs have never been used,
-old house with ceiling repairs on first floor below tub area. Dry at inspection time but sellers have maybe learned not to overflow the tub.
-brand new tub installed in older home. Recent remodeling or new bathroom.
-Big house with many baths and beds but older couple with no kids live there and probably take showers only.
From a business standpoint, the time it would take to test 1-4 tubs in every house times 425 inspections a year probably wouldn’t equal the value of catching 1 or 2 leaking overflows, even if I had to pay for the repair. let’s say it added 15 minutes to each inspection times 425 inspections a year would be about 106 hours. Times this with my billable time of $100 -$125 an hour and that equals over $10,000. Hard to justify especially when it’s not a safety concern. (I don’t bill by the hour but I just used billable time to make an account for time used)
It’s a hard defense to say, yes, I could have tested this but I choose not to but that’s what it comes down to from my viewpoint.
Any other opinions?