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The Ins and Outs of Annual Plumbing Inspections

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Your toilets flush, your shower is warm, and your faucet isn't dripping. So your plumbing system is all good, right?

Not necessarily. Small leaks are hard to detect, and wear and tear on your pipes can lead to major projects down the line.

After all, a minor leak may cost $1,000 or more to fix, but the average water damage claim costs more than $10,000. …you're calling your plumber right now, aren't you?

So what happens during a plumbing inspection? 

A plumber examines all the problem points for leaks and issues.

A licensed plumber inspects all your plumbing system and fixtures, including but not limited to:

  • Hot water heater.
  • Faucets.
  • Water supply lines.
  • Water shut-off valve(s).
  • Toilets.
  • Drains.
  • Washing machine.
  • And sump pumps (if you have them).

Additionally, all drainage points are checked, including sink traps, hot water heaters, washing machine lines, faucet aerators, and garbage disposals. 

An inspection can stop your minor leak from becoming a big one.

A professional plumber will be able to test for any leaks, corrosion, mold, and blockages throughout your home's plumbing system, and often, you'll even be able to watch the sewer camera inspection in real time. (Must-see TV!)

You should also receive a detailed report with any suggestions or changes you should make to improve or maintain your plumbing system. Depending upon your budget, you can determine which projects you need to complete and which projects you can complete.

Conducting DIY plumbing inspection 

Cabinets under sinks are a common place for leaks.

While we recommend you contact a professional plumbing company for inspections, there are a few tasks you can conduct yourself. Just remember to wear clothing that can get dirty and to have a flashlight handy.

Get to know your water meter 

Know where your water meter is and how to read it. Then check that the main shut-off valve is working. When you close the valve, water shouldn't flow from any taps in your home.

Check water temperature and pressure 

Test your water.

Run the shower that is farthest from the home's water source and check the water's temperature and pressure. Does the pressure seem as strong as it should be? If not, you might want to check your hot water heater for mineral deposit buildup.

Flush your hot water heater once a year.

Quick home maintenance tip: You should drain your hot water heater at least once a year to remove any sediment buildup, which can also cause clogs or issues inside your tank. If you're not sure how to do this, check out the vipTIPs on the vipHomeLink app. We have a step-by-step guide on how to perform this regular (and easy) maintenance task!

If you're still in doubt, call a licensed plumber

Investigate additional leaks 

Smart water sensors help to prevent major disasters.

Check drains, sink traps, and visible pipes for signs of small leaks or issues. Feel for moisture behind and under all sinks, toilets, and appliances, such as washing machines and dishwashers. Check kitchen and bathroom faucets for leaks or drips, and also check your garbage disposal for clogs. 

Home improvement tip: Look to install an automatic water shut-off valve. In the event of a large leak, like a burst pipe, an automatic water shut-off valve can automatically shut off water, helping to mitigate damage.

Go to the toilets 

Toilets are notorious for leaks.

A relatively easy task - simply flush the toilet in each bathroom. They should empty and then refill correctly. If you've noticed a recent bump in your water bill, hire a licensed plumber to investigate. One of your toilets may be running and increasing your bills.

Give your ceilings a once-over 

Inspect ceilings beneath upstairs bathrooms and laundry rooms for signs of water damage, but by the time you see any damage, you might already have a large issue. Call a licensed plumber immediately.

Inspect your sump pumps 

A failed sump pump can doom your home.

Sump pumps help to keep your basement and home free from water, and a well-maintained one can last upwards of 20 years. To make sure your sump pump works, inspect the pumps for any buildup of debris and ensure the motor runs smoothly.

Also, check to see if the unit's plugged into a GFCI outlet to avoid shock hazards or electrocution, and if your sump pump is approaching 20 years, consider replacing it. You'd rather be safe than live with mold and water damage.

If you find mold, call a mold specialist immediately as mold is a health hazard!

What does an annual plumbing inspection cost?

Probably less than water damage.

A plumbing inspection costs on average $200; however, it can cost as much as $400 or as little as $100. Unfortunately, that doesn't include the cost for any repairs, but as we mentioned earlier, the average water damage costs more than $10,000. That means some cost thousands more, so the cost of the plumbing inspection is worth the convenience and peace of mind.

Keep your toilet flushing smoothly

Know what to do and when to do it.

vipHomeLink can help! Our home management app helps you stay on top of home maintenance by putting expert-backed tips in the palm of your hand. This way, you'll know what to do and when to do it around the home, as well as when to call in the home pros. We also provide tailored recommendations for home improvement, and our new weather alerts help ready your home for the next severe weather event.

Save money and time, and gain peace of mind with vipHomeLink! Not a member? Subscribe today with a monthly or annual membership.

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