How to Look

at a House


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


More Blog Posts about Plumbing:

  1. Should I upgrade to a tankless water heater?

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

  3. How old is that water heater?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  16. Do you test the well water?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  24. What is a dielectric union?

  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 the average life expectancy of copper pipe?

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

  29. What is the average life expectancy of PVC 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. What is difference between a single element and dual element electric water heater?

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

  36. What is an escutcheon plate?

  37. Why is sunlight exposure bad for PVC pipe?

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

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

  40. How can I locate my septic tank?

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

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

  45. What is a sediment trap or dirt leg?

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.

   Most water heaters fail by leaking and we recommend that you give it a careful examination twice a year, looking for any telltale small, rust-colored drip strains on the top or sides, and especially around pipe connections—evidence of the beginning of tank failure.

   As your water heater ages, it can become an obstacle for getting or renewing homeowners insurance.  When insurance companies request a 4-point inspection for older homes, as they are doing more often lately, if the water heater is over about 25 to 30 years old they will request that it be replaced as a requirement for coverage. For the statistics on why insurance companies get hot about water heater replacement, read our blog “Why is an older water heater an insurance problem?”

   If you are not sure how old your water heater is, find out at our blog “How do I decode the water heater serial number to figure out the age?” Also, to learn about common installation defects, see our blog “What are the most common problems with water heater replacement?”


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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