How to Look

at a House

A blog with answers
to your questions about

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. Why do water heaters have a sacrificial anode?

  4. Should I upgrade to a tankless water heater?

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

  6. How old is that water heater?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  19. Do you test the well water?

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

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

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

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

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

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

  26. What is a heat pump water heater?

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

  28. What is a dielectric union?

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

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

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

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

  33. What is an FVIR water heater?

  34. Is the hot water faucet handle required to be on the left?

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

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

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.

   There is a peculiarity of dual element water heaters than can cause a trouble-shooting problem if the water heater is no longer working: because the top thermostat has priority and must be satisfied before the bottom element can turn on, if the top element is dead, the water heater will not work at all even though the bottom element is still good—because the top thermostat will never be satisfied and transfer power to the bottom.

    Conversely, if the bottom element is fried, then it will work but the water may turn cold before the end of your shower even though the water heater is functional, because the bottom half of a tall water heater tank never get fully heated in the recovery cycle. So, a water heater that is completely dead may just have a bad top element, and a water heater that seems to be doing a poor job of heating the water probably needs a new bottom element.

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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