Tips for Minimizing the risk of frozen pipes

recently I had a Inspector who did everything right, SOP, Agreement, statements that he could not gain access to attic. The home owner is know claiming damage caused by a burst pipe in the attic?? Though this may be a meritless claim as this is a known covered peril on the home owners insurance, I feel they are double dipping.

How many of you advice about theses issues? Just curious.

David I am not clear as to your question

Often, after an inspection, and before the buyer closes, utilities get turned off, along with heat, and water. Then, the owner/bank does not winterize the property, and pipes split and break, and then are found when the owner moves in weeks later, even after the utility company turns utilities back on for the owner. This has happened on me on more than one occasion.

In one home about three years ago, I did an inspection, all utilities were on, home was vacant. I left the utilities on. This was summer time. The owner calls about 4 weeks later to complain that there was evidence of water in the basement, and the furnace and hot water heater was not working, and rusted. He was looking for someone to blame. The electricity was turned off two days after my inspection, and, several rainstorms later, the sump pump could not work, and allowed a flooded basement. The new owner had the utilities turned on two days before closing, and the sump pump ran the basement dry, revealing the rusted furnace and hot water heater.

Blame: the owner for turning off the utilities to save a couple of dollars.

Clauses must be in every inspection report on vacant homes to save liability for instances such as these.

Well said Gary

I never even thought about that scenario Gary. Looks like a new clause for my report now on vacant homes.

Banks are notorious for utility, what I call “fraternizing”. Banks turn the utilities on, to please the buyers, agent, and the inspector, finds out that the buyer is not going to close for a period of time (often by the play of themselves) and shuts off the utilities, to save some money. They do not care about the weather, since they have a buyer on the hook, and the transaction will close soon anyway.

As discussed here on countless threads, utilities being off, played by banks, and vacant properties/owners, are the most to be cautious of on reports.

Hi David,

It would be highly unusual for a water supply pipe to be located in an inaccessible attic IMHO.
I’m assuming this was not a livable attic space?

Curious, If he did have access and saw the pipe, could he have predicted that it was going to happen, plumbing in an attic seems very way out in left field. He reported that he could not gain access, they saw it, agreed and signed the waiver, sounds to me its on them.

George, Gary really hit what I was looking for, do you have in your reports/agreements that would spell theses potential issues out? But also, do you maybe advice of potential hazards just as a service?

Tom, there was attic access it was just blocked by sellers items and screwed shut and this was mentioned.

but yes there was a water line ran in a non livable heated space. Question, if you saw this would you have mentioned it’s possible issues?

Jay, you are absolutely right with what you said. This is my concern for home inspectors. People are trying to sue or get money out of your profession for the craziest things that have nothing to do with your actual job. I just wanted to point this out so that if helps one of you in the future, then I did my job too.

David, If there was a way for me to see that a water pipe was running through an unheated space then yes I would definitely point out the risks.

If pipe is visible, yes it would be called out. Interesting comments on the vacant with utilities on, getting shut off before closing & damage occurring. Just did inspection last week, vacant utilities on. Did think to put anythig other then that in my report. I would hope that would be enough to cover me in the future. Along with the rest of my report & photos, but might not hurt to add some verbiage about the need for utilities to remain on.

I met a guy the other day on a property fixing 6 burst pipes. He was the one who winterized the home for the bank. It is virtually a make work program for these guys. The damage they do to places is unreal. The banks won’t negotiate the damage or price. Mold could be everywhere. Yet, if a buyer wants to purchase a home and there is mold found by one of us, they won’t lend on the home until it is rectified. But they are happy to sell you a mess if it is on their books. Kills me. Banks are awful!