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.

    The purpose of this left-side requirement is to avoid accidental scalding by turning on the wrong faucet. Although it is recommended that water heater thermostats be set at 120º F to avoid a skin burn from a stream of exclusively hot water, many homes have the temperature set higher, so scalding by turning on the wrong faucet is a real possibility. Verifying that the hot water service is on the left is one of the things checked during a home inspection, and occasionally find the hot/cold reversed.

    Scalding prevention in a shower is addressed by a building code requirement for a single-handle anti-scald valve that prevents the water temperature from rising above 120º F.  To learn more about this shower water valve requirement, see our blog post “Why are shower water valves all single-handle nowadays?”


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.
© McGarry and Madsen Inspection


More Blog Posts about Plumbing:

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

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

  3. Should I upgrade to a tankless water heater?

  4. Why does my well pump turn on and off every time I use water?

  5. How old is that water heater?

  6. My air conditioner won’t turn on. What’s wrong?

  7. Should I wrap the water heater with an insulation blanket?

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

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

  10. Do I have polybutylene pipe? Why is it a problem?

  11. What is causing a foggy haze on my windows?

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

  13. How do I remove cigarette odor in a house?

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

  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. Do you test the well water?

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

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

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

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

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

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

  25. What is a heat pump water heater?

  26. What are the common problems to look for when the plumbing has been replaced in a house?

  27. What is a dielectric union?

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

  29. What is an auto vent, air admittance valve, or check vent?

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

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

  32. What is difference between a single element and dual element electric water heater?

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

  34. Why is sunlight exposure bad for PVC pipe?

  35. What is the loose wire sticking out of the ground under the gas meter for?

  36. Why would a well need to have a chlorinator/dechlorinator system?

  37. Can you live in a house while the plumbing is being replaced?

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

  39. What do the ABS, PVC, CPVC, PB, and PEX plumbing pipe names mean?

  40. Should I seal the washing machine drain hose to the standpipe?

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

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

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

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

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