I keep getting inspections of winterized houses, and the listing agents say that it is ok to turn on the water, but I don’t feel comfortable dewinterizing a house. Do any of you guys turn on the water then turn it off and drain the lines after the inspection? Is it standard practice for inspectors to turn on the water?



No it’s not standard practice.

The agents obviously never read inspector agreements or disclosures. My agreement, along with probably 99% of everyone elses on this board, states that we DO NOT turn on any water system.

From my agreement:

"IMPORTANT: The Inspector will not open gas or water valves, light pilot lights or gas appliances, activate electrical services that have been turned off, or cut locks open. The Client is solely responsible for ensuring that all utilities are turned on, that breakers are turned on, that all water and fuel valves are open, that all pilot lights are lit, that all rooms and crawl spaces are unlocked, and that components such as attics and panel boxes are accessible prior to the inspection. "

Josh, you should go ahead and turn the water on especially if you want the liability of the potential damage that comes with doing that. I’m sure the Realtor will cover you if they say that it is okay, though…not!:roll:

One time, in particular, an agent came to the inspection po’d because I declined to turn the water on. She ranted and ranted and then went to the basement and turned on the main. She spoke with the buyers for a while and returned to the kitchen area when I was in the next room and noticed water running out of the ceiling onto the butcher block counter and onto the hardwood floor and yelled about the damage happening. I let her handle the shut off and clean up and repair costs. But she sure showed me!:shock:


Glad it was useful Brian :slight_smile:

If you are getting a lot of requests to inspect winterized homes then learn how to winterize and de-winterize…it’s not that complicated. However, there are risks involved so learn from someone who really knows their stuff. Also, make sure you charge appropriately for this service. And when word gets out that you actually perform this service you’ll get even more referals.

Good luck and if I can help in any way email me:


Thanks guys for the advice! Especially yours David I will definately look into it.


How much extra do you get to de-winterize for an inspection and then re-winterize the home. Don’t all the water lines have to be drained, drains winterized, radiant heating redone blah, blah, blah??? Lots of work.

Exactly…inspecting and winterizing are two completely** separate jobs. I’ve done both. Winterized and secured foreclosed property long before I became an inspector. They require close to the same amount of time and the pay is about equal.

That’s what I thought. It probably takes almost as long to do all that work as it does to do an inspection doesn’t it???

I’ve done both also…not hard really…and not part of a home inspection…but time consuming…different tools, knowledge, responsibility, liability, etc.

I doubt anyone would really want to turn the water on (read accept liability for damages) where they didn’t turn the water off and winterize it but maybe they have a tool to see the cracked pipe behind the wall. Plus, your E&O is for inspecting.


Time involved is minimal - 30 minutes to de-winterize, the hardest part is if the house has a jet pump that needs to be primed. The winterization part takes about 45 minutes. We usually charge in the neighborhood of $150. Not a bad day when you consider the inspection with well and septic is $450 plus the de-winterize and winterize is $150…pretty handsome day when you get two of these per day, which is not uncommon in this area.


I charge 150.00 to dewinterize and 249.00 to re winterize. 75.00 to air test and 125.00 if i have to supply the power.

That she did, Larry. let that be a lesson to you! :wink:

Big difference between the two of you. Two inspections a day in Michigan???

There are many REOs and forclosures in my area. The banks (especially CitiBank) hire idiots to do the winterization.

I explain to my clients that I will come back, for free with 3 days notice, to re-inspect. I also explain that I want the water turned back on my a state licensed and insured plumber, hired by the seller.

I also advise my clients that they should consult their lawyer and get a special contingency agreement, added to the contract, that the closing is contingent on the re-inspection not showing any leaks or water damage.

When there are leaks, the plumber (on site and hired by the seller) has to deal with the damage and the repairs.

NEVER take on any liability that you cannot control!

hope this helps;

WOW! I’m not knocking you, but at that rate how many jobs have you done??? We supply power if needed but there is an additional charge for that service.

Does two jobs a day in MI surprise you??? I live in cottage country!! A good percentage of our business is folks from downstate MI buying cottages on lakes or acreage. Believe it or not, including well and septic inspections we were well over 600 inspections last year. Pretty good for a team of country boys!!:mrgreen:

That’s great David. If you could get Henry’s prices you country boys would be happier than pigs in $hit.:stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue:

VERY NICE SITE! :mrgreen:

I do about 50 winterizing s a year. Mainly for banks. I push the air test for home buyers it takes less then an hour. i have only been doing them for about 30 years.