More Blog Posts on Similar Subjects:

  1. What’s the powdery crust on the pipe connections at the water heater?

  2. Where’s the septic tank? Are you going to inspect it?

  3. Do you check the plumbing under the floor slab?

  4. Should I call a plumber or septic tank contractor when my septic tank backs up into the house?

  5. How often should I pump out the septic tank?

  6. How can I locate my septic tank?

  7. What is that big thing in the toilet tank?

  8. How do I get rid of the sewer gas smell in my house?

  9. How much does it cost to replace the plumbing pipe in a house?

  10. What is well pump “short cycling”?

  11. What is the difference between water service pipe and water supply pipe?

  12. What causes low water pressure in a house?

  13. Why is my water heater making strange (rumbling, gurgling, knocking or banging) noises?

  14. This home has galvanized water pipe. Is that a problem?

  15. What’s the flip-up handle on the water heater for?

  16. How come the water has a rotten-egg smell in some empty houses?

  17. My well water test came back positive for bacteria. What should I do?

  18. How old is that water heater?

  19. How much does it cost to replace the water heater?

  20. How can I tell what type of plumbing pipe I have?

  21. What is the difference between a regular water heater and a power vent water heater?

  22. How do you test a shower pan for leaks?

  23. What is a grinder pump?

  24. What can I do to make my water heater last longer?

  25. What is that little tank on top of the water heater for?

  26. What is that pipe sticking out of the ground in the yard?

  27. What are the minimum clearances around a toilet?

  28. What are the most common plumbing problems with older houses?

  29. Why are rubber washing machine hoses a safety risk?

  30. What is a dielectric union?

  31. What is a heat pump water heater?

  32. What is the average life expectancy of copper pipe?

  33. Why can’t PVC pipe be used for water pipe inside a house?

  34. What is the average life expectancy of PVC pipe?

  35. Why is a European-style bottle trap not approved by the plumbing codes in the U.S.?

  36. What is the average life expectancy of CPVC pipe?

  37. What is an FVIR water heater?

  38. What are the requirements for installing a gas appliance connector?

  39. What is an escutcheon plate?

  40. Why is sunlight exposure bad for PVC pipe?

  41. Why is a backflow preventer required on lawn sprinkler systems?

  42. What are the right words for talking about a house plumbing system?

  43. How can I tell if a house is connected to a septic tank or sewer?

  44. Why is there water in my water heater drain pan?

  45. What is a sediment trap or dirt leg?

  46. My spa tub stopped working. What’s wrong?

  47. Which plumbing fixtures require water shut off valves in a home?

  48. What is the minimum and maximum slope of the trap arm of a plumbing drain?

How to Look

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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.

   If you know the location of your septic tank and are willing to dig up and remove the lid of the tank, then you can look down into the open tank for a final answer. This step is not recommended for the faint-hearted. Also, do you put your face close to or in the tank opening, because you can be overcome by methane gas; and, for safety, it is recommended that you have someone with you when you open the tank. If the liquid level in the tank is high (near or at the top of the tank), then you need to call a septic contractor. A normal level indicates a clog between the cleanout and the tank—work for a plumber.

   If you can’t find the cleanout or open the tank to check the liquid level, then it’s not possible to be sure who to call. But the age of the system will help you determine the most likely right choice. If your septic system is 25 years or older, call a septic tank contractor. If newer, the odds are better that it’s a plumbing problem.


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.
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