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Plumbing

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by

Forrest Lines

on 8 August 2016

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Transcript of Plumbing

NAHI INSTITUTE
DAY 8
The inspector should look at visible lines including soil/vent stacks for signs of damage, corrosion, and leaks, and for the presence of unconventional materials, components, and installations.
WATER SHUT OFF
The inspector should report the location of the main water shut-off valve if it can be found and note if special tools are required to operate it in the event of an emergency.
Types of Pipe
Copper Pipe
galvanized
PLASTIC
ABS
The inspector should look at visible portions of water lines for signs of damage, corrosion, deterioration, freeze protection and leaks, and for the presence of unconventional materials, components, connections,
and installations.
Waste lines
Make sure the water is on to both cold and hot
Check for high and low pressure
Check the lines
Check drains
Check for S Traps
Check for flex pipe
Check "P" trap
Check deteriorated metal traps
The inspector should operate fixture valves to determine if water will turn on and off, for signs of fixture and water line leaks;and, to see if water flow and pressure seem to be unusually high or low.
NO "S" TRAP
NO FLEX PIPE
RUSTED "P" TRAP
NO FLEX PIPE
The inspector should look for signs of leaks, blockages, and restricted flow, and for missing or defective fixture stoppers or leaking flush valves.
Overflows are excluded
Sinks and Cabinets
The inspector should look for stains and other signs of uncontrolled moisture and water damage at surfaces near fixtures, faucets, valves, and drains.
Be careful operating old gate valves
Look under every sink while they drain
Make sure the sink stop operates easily and properly
Check metal drains and confirm there is a sink stop.
Check under every sink before you turn the water on and check all shut offs in cabinets.
HOT WATER TANKS
ELECTRIC HOT WATER HEATERS
GAS WATER HEATERS
TPR VALVE
TPR Valve and Extension
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Line 2
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Line 7
The inspector should look at tank type electric water heaters to determine if the equipment produces hot water, for signs of leaks, that the unit has a required Temperature Pressure Relief Valve and drain line, that wiring to the unit is protected from damage, that the unit is protected from natural elements, and that if the unit is located in a garage or carport, it is protected from vehicle impact.
Tankless
Line 9
The inspector should look at tankless type water heaters to determine if these devices produce hot water and for signs of leaks.
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The inspector should look at the Temperature and Pressure Relief Valves for signs of leaks and for a safe discharge drain line
The inspector should look at gas water heaters to determine if the equipment produces hot water, for signs of leaks or scorching, that the unit has a required Temperature Pressure Relief Valve and drain line, that the unit has a required gas shut off valve , gas line drip leg, draft diverter , flue pipe, source of make up air and other required safety devices as may be customary, and if the gas water heater is located in a garage or other place where gasoline is stored, that the unit is installed at least 18 inches above the floor and protected from vehicle impact.


The electrical hook up should be in conduit and secured so that
the wire cannot be pulled on.
The TPR extension should extend from within 6 and 12 inches of the floor
It should be made of the proper materials such as copper,steel, or rated PVC.
It should have no threads at the bottom
There is no TPR extension here
Look for signs of leaks
Look for scorching
Look for flame roll out
Look for leaks
Does it produce hot water
ON DEMAND HOT WATER
PRO Economical

CON Limited supply

POLYBUTYLENE
Line 11
The inspector should look at waste/ejector pumps for the presence of a check valve, and for signs of leaks.
Line 12
The inspector should look at sump pumps for the presence of a check valve and for signs of leaks.
Sump Exit
Sump Pump and Lift Station
Check Valve
Sealed Sump Pit
Flame Roll Out
Overhead Pipes
Gas Shut Off Valve
Gas Line Drip Leg
Draft Hood or Draft Diverter
BURNERS,WATCH FOR RUST
Garage Installation
Water meter should be located in the inspection. If it cannot be found it needs to be found and made accessible
The water main that travels from the street to the house belongs to the homeowner. If there is poor water pressure in the house it could be a leak underground and a plumber needs to be consulted.
Water Pressure
If the water pressure is extremely high (over 80 PSI) a pressure regulator may need added.
In some cases there may be a risk of pipes freezing. In these cases pipe insulation, or heat tape, may need to be added.
Private Water Supply
If city water is not available, water may be provided from a well. A pump brings the water into the house and into a pressure tank. The pressure tank creates the water pressure in the house, and poor water pressure can be attributed to a poor functioning pressure tank or a non functioning pump and should be repaired or replaced.
Copper pipes have been used
in residential settings since about 1950 and are typically 1/2" or 3/4" in diameter. It will last indefinitely unless corrosive water condition or manufacturing defects create a failure.
Galvanized pipe was used until roughly 1950. Most galvanized pipe is 1/2" or 3/4" and a modern day home inspection may find the pipe interior full of rust and corrosion. Poor water pressure can be attributed to this, and the pipes should be replaced with copper or plastic.
Plastic supply pipe can be polyethylene (PEX), polybutylene (PB), or chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC). Plastic supply lines are less expensive than metal and easier to work with.
PB pipe uses crimp fittings and compression type fittings in its installation. Failed fittings have created considerable controversy and your customer should be told about the class action law suit that is no longer in effect concerning PB pipe.
Overhead piped should be well supported. Plastic pipes should not sag. Remember...only temperature and pressure rated plastic can be used on hot water.
Unsupported plastic water pipe
Plastic Water Line support
This waste line was open in an attic
Terminated in a wall
Waste Piping Types
Galvanized Steel
Copper
Plastic
Cast Iron
Lead
Galvanized
Galvanized steel vent lives last a long time. However, drain and waste lines corrode and this corrosion can lead to blockages
Copper
Copper drain and waste lines were used into the 1960's. Copper joints are soldered and if done right, last a long time. Modern plumbing does not use copper for waste lines because plastic is easier and less expensive to use.
Plastic
Plastic (ABS or PVC) is used extensively for waste lines. Joints are glued together. It can be noisy inside a wall.
Cast Iron
This material is heavy and expensive. Bell and Spigot connections were traditionally used. In the joint whick was packed with Oakum and sealed with lead. Oakum is twisted fiber infused with tar. Cast iron develops pin hole leaks. Look for water streaks on the pipes and surface build up of crust. Cracks in cast iron stacks are common.
Lead
Lead waste pipes were used because it was easy to work with and resistant to corrosion. Lead waste lines are often hidden and typically replaced in a replumb.
Problems with waste pipes
Leakage
Poor slope.
1/8-1/2" slope max. Too much slope leaves solids in pipe.
Pipes should be supported well and protected
Homeowner plumbing finds inappropriate materials like garden hoses being used. The installations often have no trap as well.
Traps
Traps are designed to keep sewer odors out of the house. There are P traps, S traps, and drum traps.
Floor drains rarely used can have the water in the trap evaporate. Trap primers were developed to keep water in these traps.
A trap primer is a 1/4" plastic hose attached to a toilet or laundry sink that puts water into the trap whenever it is used to avoid the evaporation process.
Homeowners often forget to install traps and the smell of sewer gas is the result. Air movement out of a floor drain would also point to a trap issue.
Problems
S traps have been found to be problematic and replacement is recommended because their use can lead to siphoning.
P traps are the most sensible choice in residential plumbing. Traps can clog, but removal should be easy.
Some traps have a drain plug for ease of moving small objects. Older homes have a buried trap in the front yard that can be damaged or clogged. Slow draining in the house might point here, so further evaluation from a licensed plumber may be necessary.
Freezing of traps is possible in homes that have been winterized. Anti-freeze is put into the traps to prevent this.
Double trapping a plumbing fixture is never suggested. This can become problematic and blockages may result.
Floor Drains
Floor drains should be in the floor of the lowest part of the house. Floors should fall to the drain. A sewer gas smell at a drain would indicate a dry trap.
Venting
Siphoning of unvented fixtures is indicated by a gurgling noise. An air admittance valve can be installed which will allow air in for flow, but will not allow air out.
Automatic air vents were used older installations and should be replaced if found.
vent clearances are as follows...
6" through the roof
roof used as a deck= 7'
no termination in the attic
3' above door and window openings within 10'
Should be 12" from the wall

Long vents above the roof in cold climates can be problematic. Condensation and eventual freezing can close the vent.
Vents can travel outside a building. Freezing issues are possible and these vents are unsightly.

Sewage/water Ejectors
When gravity won't work, we use these. People wanting a bathroom in a basement use these.
These are small tanks with a grinder and a pump that accept waste, grind it, and lift it into the plumbing system. Typical problems arise from pump failure, leaks at connections, and clogging
Sink/Basin/Lavatory
Made of hard surfaces that will not absorb bacteria.
Sink stops should be intact
Sinks can rust and crack. Check underneath for damage.
Vegetable sprayers or extendable faucets can create a cross connection.
An air gap device or high loop or air loop on a dishwasher is needed to prevent water siphoning out of a sink into the dishwasher
Basin
Made of hard material like stainless steel marble, or china.
These are found in bathrooms.
They should have a sink stop and an overflow.
Overflows rust and fill with debris-you are not required to test these.
Check for cracks and rust.
Laundry Tub
Old laundry tubs were made of concrete and would crack. Newer tubs are made of plastic and steel.
Watch for cross connection
Faucets
Faucets turn water on and off and leaking occurs when the faucet needs repacked. Loose faucets should be noted. Be sure to check that the cold is on the right and the hot is on the left.
This may be opposite in garden tubs.
GAS LINES
Gas is delivered through an underground system of steel, copper, or plastic pipes.
All above ground pipes should be steel
In the home, gas lines are steel, copper, or corrugated stainless steel (CSST)
Copper is not often used so we will concentrate on steel and CSST
Gas lines above ground should be well supported to protect connections
There should be a convenient shut off to a gas line going to appliances
Connectors are acceptable but not through walls
CSST Gas lines should be bonded
Steel pipe presents no issue other than the lines should not be used as an electric ground
GAS METERS
Gas meters can be inside or out but are mostly out in modern construction
The shut off valve on the meter should be accessible
The Gas meter should be protected from mechanical damage
You may smell gas near the meter due to the regulator
The regulator should vent 3 feet from the source of ignition, windows, and doors
They should be at least 10 inches from mechanical intakes

GAS LINES
Outdoor Faucet/Hose Bibs
Hose bibs carry cold water outside. They should be tight and flush on the house and without leaks.
In cold climates valves on the inside of the structure should be turned off. Frost proof fixtures do need shut off
Backflow preventers may be necessary in some jurisdictions. Check with local building departments.
CSST
Toilets
Is a thin walled, stainless steel product that can rupture and could cause a fire if the energy from a lightning strike reaches it
Correct best construction practice calls for the CSST to be bonded somewhere on the hard pipe in the system but no more than 75' from the electric panel (this has changed twice since 2009)
Bonding is done with a clamp, #6 copper wire taken to the electric panel . Lack of CSST bonding should be reported
Toilets that run constantly may have an easy adjustment in the tank, but if parts are needed they are inexpensive and easy to repair. Running toilets can use a lot of water that can be expensive over a long period of time.
Slow flushing toilets are usually clogged. A plunger may help but sometimes this condition is caused by scale inside the toilet in hard water situations.
Bathtubs
Bathtubs can be made of varying material both hard and soft.
Metal tubs can chip and eventually rust.
Fiberglass tubs can get stained and unsightly and be very difficult to clean.
Overflows will leak because they are not used often.
Tubs leak at the tub tile intersections and looking closely at the tile, the drywall around the tub, or the floor in front of the tub can give you clues to leakage.
Bathtub/Shower Enclosures
Made of tile, plastic, fiberglass, etc.
All of these are okay.
Wood and other porous materials
NO!!!
Tile can be done 2 ways:
Older installs were set in concrete.
Newer installs put the tile on concrete board. This is done over drywall that is water resistant called green board. Water perforation can come through the grout or where the tub and tile meet
Whirlpool baths
Often additional support is put under these.They should be on a GFCI outlet.
The pump and motor are suspect to failure. These are used when people first move in homes, but as the years go by they are used less and less. Expect soap scum to come out of the jets when checked. Fill the tub above the jets before testing.
Bidets
Toilets are the only common plumbing fixture that does not need a trap. One is built in.
Leaks can occur at the supply line, at the tank or where the bowl and tank meet. Also, at the floor.
Toilet tanks can easily crack and if loose are prone to this.
Loose toilets can be tightened on the floor but chronic leakage can cause wood rot.
A toilet caulked to the floor can leak a long time before it is detected.
These are made of china and are suspect to leak. They are also, because of their design, susceptible to cross connections and a vacuum break is provided.
Bathroom Fans
Bathroom fans are designed to remove moisture from the bathroom. Fans should run quietly and should terminate outside the building. Termination in attics, basements, or crawl spaces puts too much moisture in these areas. Duct work from a fan running through an unheated space should be insulated to avoid condensation
• The inspector should operate whirlpool jet type tubs to determine if the jets and blowers work.
Sump Pumps
Sump pumps carry water that leaches in around the house away from the house. Perimeter drainage tile at the footers collect this water and take it to the sump pit. A pump then pushes it outside. Sump pumps are electrical so in a storm when there is an interruption of electric service, water can back up into the basement.
A reliable backup is suggested. These should either be battery backup or a system that uses city water pressure to siphon the water out of the sump crock.
Sump pumps can get clogged and floats and pumps can fail. Testing often and regular replacement is necessary. Discharge of water on the outside should be free of leaks and clearly carry the water away from the structure.
Laundry Tub Pumps
These pumps carry the water from a laundry tub to the sewer or septic system. This system has problems similar to sump pumps.
Water Heaters
Gas
Oil
Propane
Electric
All tanks should be drained to remove sludge from the bottom regularly.
Garage Installations should have
gas HWT's installed 18" above the floor to avoid igniting gas fumes. All garage installs should have vehicle protection.
Cold water enters the bottom of the tank and hot water leaves through the top. The heater temperature is typically 120-140 degrees. Never hot enough to scald someone. A thermostat on the unit can raise and lower the temperature of the water.
Newer hot water tanks are insulated to cut down on temperature loss.
Recovery rate of a HWT is its ability to reheat the water it has lost. Fuel oil HWT's have the best recovery rate followed by gas, and then electric.
Oil and gas HWT's have a draft hood that should be square and tight on top of the tank, rise at least 5' above the tank at a rate of no less than 1/4" per foot.
Newer high efficiency gas heaters vent using PVC, CPVC, or ABS and the draft is induced with a blower assembly mounted on the top.
Electric HWT's heat water with elements extending into the tank sides. They usually work in sequence and will fail but are easy to replace.
All HWT's can leak. Checking under or around the tank for leaks is advisable. Look inside the tank at the burner assembly on gas heaters for excessive rust. This can build up enough to affect the burner.

Every appliance should have a sediment trap (dirt leg) below the elbow that feeds the appliance gas.This trap catches sediment and moisture that travels in the gas.
DIRT OR DRIP LEG
GAS FACTS
Gas pipes develop leaks so an additive is placed in the gas to allow us to smell it.
Propane is delivered to a home as a liquid
The storage tank can be either below or above ground
Pipes carrying propane to the house are buried 12 to 18 inches below the surface
Tanks should be 10 feet from any walls and have no structure overhead
PLUMBING
THEORY
The plumbing inspection is the flow
and disposal of water in the home
Water comes into the house either from the street (city water) or underground (well)
Some is heated and both the hot and cold water piping distributes it throughout the home
The devices in the home (toilets, tubs, etc.) dispose of the water and/or waste through the drain, waste and vent systems
The water is heated by a hot water heater that is also integral to the system
Gas piping may also be tested at this time
Sanitary pumps and waste ejector systems are also used when gravity will not assist in the draining process
METAL
COPPER TO CAST IRON
Braised Lead
Hose
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P Trap
S Trap
Drum Trap
DRAFT HOOD
Drip Leg
(sediment Trap)
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DIP TUBE
A pipe hooked to the cold water inlet inside the tank
Circulates cold water for better heating efficiency
SACRIFICIAL ANODE
Soft metal rod (aluminum or magnesium)
Inserted into the tank to deteriorate in place of the tank
Attracts corrosion
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before
after
was still running
New tank in an old spot can be an issue. (space)
OLD
NEW
Spillage
Venting issues can cause the draft diverter to back up and spill products of combustion into the living area. Check the hood carefully. (mirror)
TO WITHIN 6'' to 12" FROM THE FLOOR, OF THE CORRECT MATERIAL, AND NO THREADS
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
OK
NO !!!
Venting adds air to the plumbing system to promote flow of water. This eliminates the possibility of a vacuum in the drain line and allows the last bit of water draining from a devise to stay in the trap. Any fixture 5' or more away from the main stack should have a vent provided that extends through the roof or connects to the main vent above all fixtures in the house. Vents can be cast iron, copper, galvanized steel, or plastic.
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HEAT TAPE
valve
THINNEST
www.buildingcenter.org
Pictures from B.K. Thompson, King Home Inspections
Black, brown, or green copper can be from poor ground (electrolysis) or chemicals and/or contaminants in the air. Always on sweating pipes.
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