Plumbing Inspections: What Are They and Why Do I Need One?

Having a plumbing inspection performed will give you a comprehensive look at the functionality of your property’s plumbing system.
Written by Abbey Orzech
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Home plumbing inspections should be performed every two years to ensure the proper maintenance of plumbing systems by checking faucets and fixtures for leaks or defects, identifying major clogging in drains, and testing proper water pressure levels.
No homeowner wants to wake up one day to a flooded basement or drains that won’t drain. Taking proper care of your home includes regular checkups and maintenance of your home’s plumbing to help prevent costly emergencies and damage. A good way to do this is by scheduling regular plumbing inspections. 
But what does a plumbing inspection entail? How can you get one? Will
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What is a plumbing inspection?

Plumbing inspections are an important element of home maintenance that check the functionality of your home’s plumbing systems
Certified plumbers will perform tests that can tell you the efficiency of your water pressure, identify if there are any clogs in your drain systems, examine plumbing hardware to check for corrosion or other damage, and offer their recommendations for remedying any issue they may find. 
To have up-to-date knowledge on how your plumbing pipes, sinks, tubs, toilets, faucets, water heaters, laundry room hose bibs, etc. are working, you should have a professional plumbing inspection done at least every two years

Who can conduct a plumbing inspection?

Only licensed plumbing companies with certified plumbers should be performing your plumbing inspections. These professionals will have the proper tools, practical experience, and working knowledge to identify and resolve any issues. 
You shouldn't allow anyone but a certified plumber to conduct your inspection or make any repairs. You wouldn’t want an unqualified inspector to overlook a potential problem or make an existing problem worse. Plumbing damage can be pricey, and insurers will not cover damage if it’s considered preventable.  

Types of plumbing inspections 

Not all plumbing inspections include the full works. You can request the most common type, the visual inspection, or get a bit more intimate with your pipes and request a camera inspection. Let’s go over the key differences in the types of plumbing inspections. 

Visual Inspection

As stated above, visual inspections are the most commonly done plumbing inspections and are a bit cheaper than a camera inspection
During a visual inspection, a certified plumber will go through your home or property to visually check connections, fittings, and functionality of anywhere water flows in or out. This will include checking water and sewer fittings, drains, and connections on water heaters for signs of leakage or poor drainage. 

Camera Inspection

A camera inspection is a more comprehensive look at your plumbing systems. Using a high-resolution camera, a licensed plumbing professional will get a real-time look at the inside of pipes and lines to check for issues. 
This method allows them to see if there is anything blocking drains or causing problems in supply lines, which typically can’t be seen in a visual inspection. 

What is included in a plumbing inspection?

The exact methods of inspection will vary depending on the type of inspection you request, but in general, plumbing inspections include checks on:
  • Main water supply and shut-off valve to ensure there aren’t defects that can lead to plumbing damage. It could be a sign of leaky pipes somewhere if the water supply is shut off but water meter readings still come through.  
  • Anywhere water flows through the house (think tubs, sinks, toilets, drain lines, and supply lines) to visually check for leaks and proper drainage. 
  • Plumbing fixtures and fittings. No matter how well these parts were placed initially, they have lifelines and will need replacing eventually. The inspection will check for any signs of corrosion, clogs, or other damage to the pipes and fixtures. 
  • Main sewer lines and clean-out points throughout the inside and outside of the property to check for proper drainage and functionality or to identify corrosion, clogs, or other damage to the pipes, septic tank, and curb connection. 
  • Inspect water heaters to ensure the functionality of the connections, hoses, and valves, and may remove sediment that has built up over time.
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Why do you need a plumbing inspection?

Plumbing inspections are just another facet of home maintenance that homeowners should consider. While they aren’t required, plumbing inspections are the best way to ensure the proper functionality of a property’s plumbing and safeguard you against plumbing emergencies
Requesting regularly scheduled plumbing inspections will save you money in the long run by catching small problems before they become big problems. You’ll be looking at expensive repairs if a too-corroded pipe bursts and you have to deal with a flooring replacement or a water-damaged ceiling. 
Plumbing problems can also lead to higher water bills. Yep, leaky pipes can make you overpay for your water consumption. Those drips add up! 
Are you thinking about buying or selling a house? Having a plumbing inspection performed can save you from investing in a house-disguised-money dump of plumbing problems. A happy plumbing report can be used to entice potential buyers or even raise a property’s selling price

How much will a plumbing inspection cost?

The total cost of your plumbing inspection will depend on the depth of services provided. 
The national average for a visual inspection is around $200, while the national average for a camera inspection is around $500. Keep in mind that neither inspection’s pricing includes repair costs. 
If repairs have to be made, your bill will likely increase. Repairs typically range from $175 for things like unclogging drains to $7000 if you need a sewer line replacement. Just be sure to have all repairs handled by a licensed professional so you don’t run into the same (or worse) problem later! 

Does home insurance cover plumbing issues?

Whether your home insurance will cover issues with plumbing depends on the cause of the issue. If an old, rusted, corroded pipe bursts and your bathroom floods, your insurance will probably not cover it because that is considered a preventable and foreseeable problem. 
However, if the plumbing damage was caused by a freak accident or freezing of household systems, it may be covered by your insurance. 
Check your home insurance list of perils to know for sure! 

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Professionals suggest plumbing inspections be performed every two years unless your house is more than 40 years old, and then they suggest an inspection every year.
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