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Two Minute Home Inspection : Plumbing

Posted by Geordie Romer on February 1, 2010

If you’re new to the Two Minute Home Inspection series, it’s true, you can’t do a home inspection in 2 minutes.
 A home inspection generally takes 2-4 hours and we always recommend using a home inspector who is licensed by the State of Washington and a member of a national home inspection organization like ASHI or NACHI.
Here’s another guest post by Chip Roberson, of Mission Home and Pest Inspection:
When looking at a house you are considering turning into your home, take two minutes to examine some of the visible components of the plumbing system.

Photo by Elsie

The plumbing system must provide both hot and cold potable water for cooking, cleaning and provide a way to dispose of the contaminated water and a means of keeping the two separate. An improper installation has the chance of introducing a dangerous condition to a household from either a back-pressure or back-siphon situation, which can put a contaminated liquid into the potable water supply. Back-pressure in the water supply system can be caused from a high water pressure event from pumping equipment that overcomes the water systems pressure. Back-siphon happens during a low water pressure event such as a water main bursting or a fire truck pumping from a hydrant during a fire creating a large demand.
The simplest and most effective way to provide backflow prevention, to protect your drinking water, is to provide all needed air gaps. An air gap is simply a space between any device that opens the water supply system (like a valve or faucet) and any place where water can collect or pool (like a sink or bathtub). One example of air gap is space between the end of a faucet and the rim of a sink or bathtub. Another example of an air gap is between the toilet’s fill tube and over flow tube which is located inside the toilet’s tank. If either the faucet or fill tube becomes submerged, they can, in some instances, siphon contaminated water which can enter the potable water supply.
When air gaps cannot be provided to maintain the needed separation then a backflow prevention device is required. These anti backflow assemblies are mechanical devices that permit water to flow only in the intended direction, thus preventing contaminated liquid from entering into the potable water supply. These safety devices should be installed at locations such as between hose bibs and hoses as well as between potable water supply piping and outdoor sprinkler systems. Dishwashers should employ either an air gap device, found above the countertop, or a high loop in the drain hose, which can be found attached to the underside of the countertop, to create the air gap.
Interested in more articles by Chip Roberson?
Click Here to Read About:
Electrical Systems



    If you’re planning to buy a home in this area, the best place to start is with the Leavenworth Home Buyer’s Guide.

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