Verbal home inspection report sparks complaint

Verbal home inspection report sparks complaint**
$600 is a lot to pay for no piece of mind

***Tuesday, August 21, 2007 *
Dear Barry,
I recently purchased a brand-new home and hired a home inspector before closing the deal, but the inspector did not give me a written report. He just reviewed his findings verbally by phone and then sent a bill for $750. When I complained about not receiving a written report, he discounted the fee to $600. This doesn’t seem right to me. What should I do? --Thomas
Dear Thomas,
A home inspection without a tangible report is not worth the paper it isn’t written on. What good is a verbal report when requesting repairs from the builder? And who can prove later what the inspector did or did not disclose? Your response to the inspector should be blunt and simple: No report equals no payment. The inspector should provide a product in exchange for his fee. Give him a choice. Without a report, he’d have a hard time convincing an arbitrator that he’s entitled to payment.
Dear Barry,
A new water heater was installed in my home about two years ago. Recently, I noticed that the pipe leading from the water heater to the outside of the garage was leaking. I talked to a plumber who was at my house for another repair, and he told me that the downward slope of the pipe was causing the leak. He also said that the water heater should be drained periodically. According to the owner’s manual, it should be drained about every two months. Do you think draining the water heater would stop the leak? If so, is it really necessary to drain it every two months? And should I change the direction of the pipe as the plumber advised? I hope you don’t mind this many questions. --Linda
Dear Linda,
The pipe that is leaking is most likely the discharge pipe for the TPR (temperature pressure relief) valve. The purpose of the TPR valve is to release hot water and steam in the event of an overheated water heater. Without a TPR valve, excessive heat could cause a water heater to explode. The purpose of the discharge pipe is to convey water from the valve to the outside of the building. If water is leaking from the discharge, your plumber should make sure the water heater is not overheated. If that’s not the problem, he should replace the leaking TPR valve.
Draining a water heater at periodic intervals is one way to extend the life of the fixture, but twice a year, rather than every two months, is often enough. Although draining the water heater is recommended, failure to do so will not cause the TPR valve to leak.
And finally, the discharge pipe should be installed so that it is level or has a downward slope. Upward sloping of the pipe creates what is called a “trap,” which can retain water in the event of a leak. A trap in the discharge pipe is prohibited in the plumbing code.
*To write to Barry Stone, please visit him on the Web at *

I don’t know why the person paid the inspector in the first place. It goes to show that the public needs more education from HI associations to spread the word on what a competant inspector must provide to the client.

I may be wrong but the advice given on the second response may be wrong. It sounds like Linda was talking about the exhaust pipe running from the water heater to the “outside” of the garage as found on induced draft or high efficiency units. It may be condensation running back down the pipe as the exhaust gases cool on its way out of the home. Barry responded by talking about the TPR discharge pipe which usually runs down the side of the water heater, i’ve never seen a TPR discharge outside.

I disagree! These types of people are just lazy. All this person had to do is do a general search on the Internet and he or she could have a much better understanding of a home inspection in a matter of minutes. Then calling around, most people can pick up even more information. People do not need more education from associations, they need to become an active participant in the process.

This lazy person appears also not to have been there during the home inspection since the home inspector went over the inspection by phone.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this person let their Realtor set up the home inspection.

A verbal report does not meet the SOP. It leaves too much of the exchange of information up to questioning. Furthermore it is highly unprofessional - what can proven later what the inspector did or did not disclose.

Well that just drives my point even more. The home buying public are not educated enough in most cases to look for their own home inspector. Most use the one recommended by their realtor. Most are not aware of the obvious conflict of interest that may exist between an inspector and a realtor.

It would be nice if there were more public awareness campaigns brought out thru various HI associations that prompt the public to educate themselves, to shop around and choose their own inspector based on individual merits and become better consumers and not just solely rely on the referral of an agent.

I realize that most HI associations probably choose to sit on the sidelines and prefer not to ruffle the feathers of the all powerful realtor associations.

Most of the inspections I do, the TPRV discharge pipe exits the house, not proper but very common.

Not proper? Ken, please explain. I would say it is more improper to NOT have it exit the house.

I agree with Claude. A written report should be generated upon completion of the Home/Property Inspection.


I agree that a written report should be generated but did you read all of that article from CMHC? It promotes the competition to the general public using taxpayer’s money which is mine and yours; what a slap in the face!

Choosing a home inspector
Reputable home and property inspectors generally belong to a provincial or regional industry association. Each of these associations has set standards, which, in some cases, are recognised by provincial governments.

What are the home inspector’s qualifications?
Look for people who belong to a provincial association…

How do I know that a home inspector has the necessary qualifications?
You should ask to see proof of their membership in a provincial association.

And to add insult to injury they close by saying:
CMHC does not recommend or endorse any individual home inspector or association.

Well we know that PR 158 in Ontario says otherwise. Anyone in the Registry is a member therefore a member would be entitled to state membership under the proviso of membership level. (i.e. RHI-full member, RHI-associate)

CMHC should do their homework and read PR 158 as it applies to OAHI a Provincial Association.

It is recommended to end within 6" of the floor beside the water heater in the same room where it is easily noticed if the TPRV opens, indicating to the HO to have it checked out. I know it allowed to exit the structure outside if it is in a basement below grade, but most people could not even tell if it open outside.


I’m sorry, I didn’t read this earlier.

But CMHC and the NCP are a BIG JOKE.The NCP has failed. The only thing that has to happen now is for CMHC and others to announce the failure of the NCP.This an updated webpage from CMHC and they are talking about the NCP to be implemented in 2005.We have received ZERO INFO from the NCP.We don’t even know how many are certificate holders. Consumers are not aware of this program,and some HI’s are not aware of this program.

I have never been asked if I belong to an Provincial Association …ever.

Just read the following…

Choosing a home inspector Home inspection is a discipline that requires special training, knowledge and communication skills. Consumers, banks, and the insurance industry have been encouraging the home and property inspection industry to develop national standards of practice with a national certification program for some time.
To develop and implement an industry led national standard, a national association, the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors (CAHPI) was recently formed by representatives from provincial associations across Canada. With the support of the provincial associations, CMHC and Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) through the construction sector council, CAHPI is working toward implementing national accreditation and certification standards by 2005. Once this industry initiative is complete, it will result in a recognizable private home inspection industry that can provide Canadian consumers with reliable third-party advice to uniform standards of national competency.
There is presently no uniform certification and no requirement for home inspectors to take any courses or to have passed any tests. Anyone can say that they are a home inspector. That is why it is important to choose an inspector wisely.
Reputable home and property inspectors generally belong to a provincial or regional industry association. Each of these associations has set standards, which, in some cases, are recognized by provincial governments. Some associations have developed membership categories based on the individual members’ qualifications. In most provinces, a member cannot advertise or promote his or her membership in the association until they have reached the minimum standards of a practicing member. Standards vary from province to province, but as mentioned above, the industry is working toward implementing national accreditation and certification standards by 2005.

If however you are a member of NACHI than you are exempt from the above.
Reason: NACHI member’s are the worlds ELITE Home/Property Inspectors:D



You should perhaps share your feelings with CMHC being a taxpayer and all…



I’m not one to affect change.
Besides no matter what CMHC or the NCP do or say it will not affect my business.

I disagree, we can make changes and NACHI is proof!

Check Code Check Plmbing book pg 23. TPR drain ends "outside OR (indirect waste) (approved location)

Terminates < 6 inches from the (receptor) “ground”

About 90% of the wtr htrs here have the drain terminate outside with an elbow facing the ground. Most of the time it is copper but occasionally it is CPVC.
Hope that helps.

95% of the tpr lines drain to the out side here in AZ. You all are forgetting that we all live in different parts of the country.