Water leak occuring during HI

Originally Posted By: rlind
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.



Hello all,


I am seeking advice from anyone that has experienced what happened to me during a Home Inspection earlier today.

I was inspecting a newly rehabbed 110 year old structure. New electrical, plumbing, and drywall were all recently installed.

The house was vacant, the gas and water were shut off by the homeowner (not present), and the prospective buyer (my client) and I were the only two persons present.

The client asked me if I would turn on the water and gas to facilitate my checking the plumbing fixtures and furnaces.
I informed the client that I would not, and could not, operate either of those valves for safety reasons. After all, I don't know WHY the valves were shut off.

The client then asked me if HE could turn on the main water valve, which was easily accessible in the basement. I told him that the decision was between him and the homeowner. He decided to turn the water valve on. Within about two minutes, we both heard the sound of dripping water upstairs. He ran up the stairs to investigate, and I instinctively shut off the main water valve. Upon ascending two flights of stairs to the second floor, I found the client in the master bathroom shutting off the tub faucet. Apparently, the (hidden) plumbing connection to the faucet was loose, allowing some of the water out of the tub faucet, and most of the water behind the tub.

We went downstairs to find about a gallon of water that had seeped around two recessed light fixtures located directly below the tub.

We found a bucket to catch the remaining dripping water, and some towels to mop up some of the water on the living room floor. By then, about a half gallon of water had seeped through the living room floor and landed on the carpet in the basement.

The client seemed grateful to find this defect before closing, and I assured him I would finely detail the events in my inspection report, including recommendations to have a licensed plumber fix the leak, a licensed electrician check for any electrical damage caused by the water leak, a licensed structural engineer check for any structural damage, and a licensed industrial hygienist to check for any organic growth potentially caused by the water leak.

Has this happened to anyone before?

How did you detail the findings in your report?

Thanks,

Ron Lind
Solid Foundation Home Inspections, LLC


Originally Posted By: Blaine Wiley
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My opinion is simply to document exactly what happened in your report, as you described in your post. There are definite reasons those guidelines are in the SOP!


I'll bet your client is very glad he didn't turn on the gas ![icon_eek.gif](upload://yuxgmvDDEGIQPAyP9sRnK0D0CCY.gif) ![icon_eek.gif](upload://yuxgmvDDEGIQPAyP9sRnK0D0CCY.gif)


Originally Posted By: rlind
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.



was not allowed to operate the valve - and I explained that fact to him right before he turned it on.


Even though I played it "by the book", it still freaked me out just a bit.

Ron


Originally Posted By: jpeck
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As Blaine stated, and as you did, just detail it in your report.


During the inspection, I would have, and you probably did, told my client "That is why I do not turn water, gas, or electric 'on' when they are 'off', and that is why we also want ALL the utilities on. Don't you wonder what may be wrong with the gas now? I do. Have the gas company come out and do a safety inspection, then have the gas turned on and all the pilots lit, to make sure they work."


--
Jerry Peck
South Florida

Originally Posted By: Vince Santos
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So if you had turned the water on, do you think you would have been held responsable for any damage?



Desire is half of life, indifference is half of death.


–Kahlil Gibran

Originally Posted By: dfrend
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Most definitely!



Daniel R Frend


www.nachifoundation.org


The Home Inspector Store


www.homeinspectorstore.com

Originally Posted By: dbush
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Dan, how would he be responsible for a water leak in the house? I have had some where I turn the water on at the Meter as a convenience. A couple of them the house was “winterized” and they over pressurized the pipes and basically water went all through the house. I notified the listing agent that he had a major problem with some water, shut the water off and went on. No one ever questioned the liability because the water was leaking. So in your philosophy, you don’t check it because the water is off at the main, and then the buyer moves in and the water is leaking all through the house, and you say I am sorry I didn’t check the water.



Dave Bush


MAB Member


"LIFE'S TOUGH, WEAR A HELMET"

Originally Posted By: Blaine Wiley
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.



So Dave, Are you saying that we should operate valves which have been shut down?


Originally Posted By: dbush
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.



Blaine, I am saying that it depends on the circumstances, but to automatically say that we are liable for operating a water shutoff valve I disagree with completely.



Dave Bush


MAB Member


"LIFE'S TOUGH, WEAR A HELMET"

Originally Posted By: kmcmahon
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.



I’d have to agree with Blaine on this one…You don’t turn on Gas, Water or electric. There may be a darn good reason why it’s off, and yes you’d be liable for damages caused by turning it on without asking the homowner why it was off in the first place.


If the homeowner knew there was a leak behind the tub, and the water was shut off accordingly and you came and turned it on without asking, you damn skippy you’d be liable.



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