How to Look

at a House


A blog with answers
to your questions about
HOME INSPECTION
and HOME MAINTENANCE

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Welcome to our blog!
We want you to be an informed homebuyer, and each blog post is a question that we have answered for our friends and customers over the years. Hope they help you make a good choice for your next home.

  1. Bullet TPR Valve at Water Heater - The small valve with a flip-up handle at the top or side of the water heater, called a Temperature and Pressure Release valve, is designed to open if the water gets too hot, to keep the tank from exploding. These valves sometimes fail by opening slightly and letting loose a slow trickle of hot water, which runs in a pipe to a discrete location near the ground at the exterior wall. Find the termination of the TPR valve and check for a drip.

  2. Bullet Under the Floor Slab - These are the hardest to detect until they get really bad. Walk around the perimeter of the home and look for any muddy areas at the base of the walls, and especially any areas where the soil has washed away a little under the slab, creating a pocket. Wet spots in the floor and moist, discolored baseboards are another clue.

  3. BulletBetween the Water Meter and the House - Again, leaks here are difficult to detect until they become gushers and water starts bubbling up out of the ground. But some homes have a secondary water shut-off valve in the ground, usually near the front wall of the house. If your house has one (and it’s still functional, because they freeze up with age), try shutting the water off there. If the meter continues to show water flow then your problem, or at least part of it, is underground in the yard.

   Two types of water supply piping tend to fail prematurely: galvanized steel and PB (polybutylene). Also, copper pipe can deteriorate early when the water is especially acidic--but that is a rare problem in the Gainesville area. So also take into consideration the type of piping you have. And, when all else fails, call a good plumber.


While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
©2015 - McGarry and Madsen Inspection.

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