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What Is a Plumbing Inspection?

Don't underestimate the importance of this yearly checkup for your home.

What Happens During a Home Plumbing Inspection?

A home plumbing inspection typically involves checking permits, checking for leaks, examining appliances, and more. There are a lot of reasons you may be thinking of getting a plumbing inspection. Maybe it's been a couple of years and you just want to make sure everything is OK because you like to prevent problems before they arise. Maybe you're thinking of buying a home and want to make sure that there are no underlining plumbing issues at the property, or, perhaps you've been hearing dripping/seeing ceiling/flooring staining somewhere and are worried your plumbing is in need of repair. Either way, a plumbing inspection is a low cost way to put your mind at ease or at least spot a problem that needs dealing with before it becomes bigger and more expensive down the road. This page breaks down what to expect in a plumbing inspection and what parts of your home a inspector will check out.


Table of Contents

  1. Why Plumbing Inspections are Important

  2. The Purpose of a Plumbing Inspection

  3. What Are the Steps of a Plumbing Inspection?

  4. What Might a Plumber Recommend After the Inspections?

  5. Schedule an Inspection as Soon as Possible If You Suspect Problems

  6. What To Do In between Inspections

  7. Typical Plumbing Inspection Cost Estimates

  8. Typical Plumbing Repair Costs Estimates



Professional inspections have a couple of major benefits compared to attempting to perform them yourself. You can count not only on a plumber’s experience and expertise if they do find something amiss, but also have them worry about the things you probably don’t want to deal with. For many homeowners, the parts they are happy to pass off include things like checking pipes under the house or dealing with annoying toilet flappers and slow-draining sinks. Or for those who don’t mind the small jobs but aren’t comfortable tackling bigger problems, professional inspections ensure your water heater is tested and flushed regularly, and that your outdoor pipes are properly insulated against winter freezes. Top to bottom, a quality inspection can save quite a headache.


Here are four reasons why you'll want a professional inspection.

1.You're buying a home - As we just discussed, a regular home inspection can't compare to a thorough professional plumbing inspection. When you're making a big investment, particularly in an older home, it pays to catch potential problems before you sign on the dotted line.


2.You're selling your home - Plumbing inspections can be a useful selling point for prospective buyers. You'll be able to prove beyond a doubt that your plumbing systems, sewer lines, and all other aspects of your home's plumbing are in tip-top shape.


3.You want to avoid costly plumbing emergencies - The careful homeowner doesn't wait for systems to fail. Regular plumbing inspections can prevent small problems from becoming large ones.


4.You want to protect your home - When you consider everything, this is probably the best reason of all for having your plumbing systems inspected. The damage that even a small leak or clogged drain can cause may be extensive, hard to trace, and difficult to repair. More costly than a plumbing inspection, too, most likely!


The Purpose of a Plumbing Inspection

As a homeowner, it can be easy to overlook all of the moving parts in our house — HVAC, plumbing, electrical, appliances until they break down. Staying on top of all your home’s systems, however, helps ensure things will continue to run smoothly and save you from costly breakdowns. The purpose of a plumbing inspection is to check all of the pipes in your house to make sure they're in good repair. That applies to both interior plumbing as well as to exterior drainage systems.

During the inspection, a Inspector will check your toilets, sewage lines, water supply, pipe condition, water heater, ext. . They're looking for signs of corrosion, leaks, and general poor condition that could result in problems later on.

A homeowner should get a plumbing inspection because it can potentially save a lot of money. Homeowners should generally have a plumber inspect their home every two years in order to catch issues before they become major problems. As a homeowner, this is not something you should skip. A plumbing issue could result in massive water damage to your home, which could leave you with a bill in the thousands. A simple plumbing inspection only costs about $200 on average, and it more than pays for itself because a plumber can spot issues before they become expensive disasters.


What Are the Steps of a Plumbing Inspection?

A lot goes into a plumbing inspection, but generally, it will involve four basic steps. A plumbing inspection is a comprehensive look at your plumbing system.


In a professional plumbing inspection, the inspector will examine these items and systems:

1)Permits - The plumber will check to ensure that all proper permits and plans are in place according to city codes and ordinances. 


2)Indoor and outdoor plumbing pipes - including supply lines and sewage lines. Hose bibs, both outdoors and in the laundry room


3)Water Heater - The plumber will check your water heater to determine if it is in good working order and there isn't corrosion.


4)Fixtures and Caulking - The plumber will run the water in your fixtures and check them for costly plumbing leaks. They'll also look at your caulking to make sure there are no issues that could lead to water damage down the road.( Sinks and bathtubs, Faucets and showers, Toilets )


5)Dishwasher - The plumber will check the dishwasher to determine that it is in good working order and has an air gap, as well as ensuring it is properly anchored to the countertop.


6)Insulation - The plumber will examine hot and cold water piping to determine if they are properly insulated and thus your pipes won't freeze when temperatures drop. Frozen pipes lead to burst pipes, which is a major plumbing problem.


7)Lead Pipes - Some older homes have dangerous lead pipes that need replacing. A plumber will check your home to determine if you have these pipes.


8)Other Actions - In addition to those listed above, a plumber will check your sewage line, water supply, venting system, drains, toilets, and anything else associated with pipes in your home to ensure everything is in working order and there's no sign of corrosion, damage, or clogs.


What Might a Plumber Recommend After the Inspections?

That depends on what the plumber discovers during the inspection. Hopefully, all they'll recommend is another inspection in a couple of years. Chances are, problems like leaks and clogs are things you knew about before the inspection and it may have even prompted the inspection. Plumbing issues that you may not have noticed are corrosion or some kind of damage to the pipes. In that case, they may recommend replacement of the affected pipes. You may not be aware of some leaks that are ticking time bombs for your house. For example, pipes may be leaking into the foundation rather than into your home, which could cause extensive damage if not corrected. It's impossible to say what a plumbing inspector will recommend for your home. However, it's wise to get the inspection done regardless. You want to know these issues ahead of time and you can always get a second opinion if you doubt the recommendation.

Schedule an Inspection as Soon as Possible If You Suspect Problems

If you even suspect that there may be some plumbing issues with your house, or you're thinking about purchasing a home and want to make sure everything is good internally, a plumbing inspection is a low-cost way to prevent huge bills in the future. Contact a plumber near you and schedule an inspection right away, because you don’t want to wait when it comes to something as important as this. 


If you see any leaks, call a professional as soon as possible. Water can be the single most destructive force on a house and should be addressed quickly. Otherwise, prevention is the best medicine. Take your plumber’s advice in insulating exterior pipes so you aren’t hit with a frozen pipe in the winter. Understand that fixtures, washers, and sealers all have a lifespan. If your home hasn’t seen any updates in your lifetime, stay on the lookout for small leaks that may start to develop, and start planning now about what you might do in case something does break down. It’s always best to be prepared.

Typical Plumbing Inspection Cost Estimates

Nationwide, the average cost for a plumbing inspection is about $200.

  1. A visual inspection, discussed above, will be on the lower end of the range.

  2. Inspections that require cameras, will be more expensive. In some cases as much as $500.


Typical Plumbing Repair Costs Estimates

If you find out that you require plumbing repairs, here are some typical costs. Remember, even an expensive repair will probably result in less expense later on. Prices can vary, depending on the difficulty of the work being completed.

  1. Unclogging drains - $175

  2. Removing objects from drain lines - $100-$300

  3. Clearing sewer lines - $75-$200

  4. Sewer line repair $750-$2000

  5. Sewer line replacement - $7000+

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