Our Water Inspection

Over the years we have developed a process which puts bathrooms to the test. Bathrooms are necessary but can also pose a threat to the home. Large amounts of water are distributed into tubs, sinks and toilets multiple times everyday. The importance of knowing every aspect of the bathroom is water tight, is paramount.

Upon starting our water test, we fill the sink(s) using the provided drain stop assemblies. We find the majority of our sink leaks during this process, all too often leaks don’t appear while just running water. The construction of the the sink and drain assembly on some of the more “economical” sinks allow for leaks to occur when the rush of water being held in the bowl is released. The water can’t possibly flow fast enough through the inch and a quarter drain pipe and as such is forced up into the overflow assembly. This is where the leaks occur. Mostly from poorly sealed components during the original construction of the vessels. In most cases this is easily fixed.

We then move on to the toilet. In a home with older toilets, an average flush uses about 3.6 gallons of water, and the daily use is 18.8 gallons of water. Even the most minor leak can build up in the wall and ceiling cavities. We start by ensuring the toilet is securely attached to the floor. If it is not securely attached, leaks can occur that would affect both the immediate vicinity and areas below. Obviously, it isn’t practical to run the 18.8 gallons through the toilet in the amount of time we have to conduct a home inspection, so we settle for two flushes per toilet. We then check for any obvious leaks and move on to the tub/shower.

The tub/shower is the number one cause for leaks in the bathroom just ahead of toilets. According to epa.gov; The average shower lasts eight minutes. Since a standard shower head has a water flow of 2.2 gallons per minute, each shower uses 18 gallons of water!  And across the United States, we use more than one trillion gallons of water each year just for showering. We have formulated a process that mimics the average shower while also filling the bathtub. We need to fill the bath tub in order to make sure it drains correctly and there are no drain leaks. We also must run the shower head due to the number of concealed leaks we have found from loose shower head stems as well as small leaks found in concealed shower/tub valves. In order to achieve this in the most economical way possible, we fill the bath tub using the shower valve. We have found that over the course of 7-8 minutes (average showers being 8.2 minutes) we can fill the average tub with about 4-5 inches of water. This allows us to view the drain function of the tub, on average 4-5 inches of water should drain in approximately 1 and a half to 2 minutes.

Once all of the above tests have been conducted, we perform the rest of the home inspection. Depending on the size of the home, this usually takes an additional hour or so. This hour, allows any leaks that may be present in the concealed wall cavities to settle to the ceiling assemblies.  Once we have completed the full home inspection and before our Seven Stars Rundown,  we use IR Thermal Imaging to perform a thermal scan below all the bathrooms and “wet” locations that are accessible. The IR Thermal Imaging technology can detect a temperature variance of .1 degrees. The importance of this, is in the event of a leak concealed in the wall cavity, our Thermal Technology will detect the leak and we then confirm the presence of moisture with non-invasive moisture meters. The leaks in ceiling cavities appear as purple puddles. In cases where we detect the presence of moisture in the wall/ceiling cavity, we use the standard blue tape to mark it for easy reference.

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