What Is a Plumbing Inspection?

Getting a plumbing inspection is a smart way to ensure that the plumbing in your home is safe and in good working condition. When scheduling a plumbing inspection, the term can mean two different things, depending on the professional niche.

A standard home plumbing inspection involves either a trained plumber or a home inspector who can verify that all plumbing is leak-free and working the way it should. Another type of plumbing inspection involves a building inspector whose job is to confirm that everything is up to code. These types of plumbing inspections are usually done during new construction or when a home is undergoing a major remodel and are usually done by local government city or county building inspectors. Read on to learn more about what a plumbing inspection entails and what you can expect. 

What is a plumbing inspection?

Let’s take a closer look at a home and professional plumbing inspection so you can see the differences between them.

Plumbing home inspections

During a home plumbing inspection, a home inspector will closely examine several components of your home’s plumbing system, including all areas where water flows. This includes toilets, sinks, showers, and bathtubs. The home plumbing inspection will include looking for leaks, damaged parts, and any other problems that could cause a leak or malfunctioning of plumbed appliances, faucets, and fixtures. Outdoor faucets and plumbing fittings are also inspected to ensure they’re working properly. The home inspector will also look at the water heater to confirm that the connections are tight and that all fittings are installed and working correctly. The purpose of these inspections is to ensure that the home currently has not just working plumbing but also safe plumbing that won’t leak or overflow. 

Professional plumbing inspections

A professional plumbing inspection is performed by a plumbing expert who works solely within the industry. These inspections are more detailed and lengthier than a home plumbing inspection and will include a more in-depth analysis of things like the home’s water filtration system, supply lines, and drains. The inspections will also include investigating any above-ground exposed plumbing and traps underneath the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room sink. The professional plumbing inspector will look at shut-off valves, sump pumps, water tanks, and water heaters to make sure that everything is operating as it should be. Some professional plumbing inspections confirm that everything is currently up to the latest building codes. The inspector will also take a closer look at all draining and venting systems and look at sewer pipes to find any cracks or misalignments. And of course, these inspections also confirm that there are no leaks anywhere in the home or outside of the home due to plumbing issues. 

What does a home inspector look for during a plumbing inspection? 

A home inspector looks at the main plumbing components in a home, and it’s not as in-depth as a complete professional inspection. The main components they’ll check include:

  • All fittings and pipes will be checked for leaks to confirm that they’re connected correctly.
  • The main water shut-off valve will be located and identified.
  • The water heater, venting, and connections will be confirmed to be in good working order.
  • All toilets will be flushed to confirm that they’re not leaking and that the tank is filling properly.
  • Sinks, tubs, showers, and toilets will be tested to confirm they drain correctly.
  • Drain, waste and vent systems, and fixtures will be visually inspected.
  • Drainage sump pumps are tested to confirm they have accessible floats.
  • Any deficiencies or issues with the water supply are inspected and noted.

What does a plumbing professional look for during a plumbing inspection?

During a professional plumbing inspection, the inspector will look for the following items:

  • The water heater and/or tankless water heater will be carefully inspected to confirm that the pilot light is working correctly and that all connections are secure and properly installed. Pressure relief valves will be tested, and water temperatures will be checked.
  • All toilets will be checked to make sure they flush at a good rate and that the tank refills quickly and to the correct level. Flappers and other parts will also be inspected.
  • Every pipe and fitting will be inspected thoroughly and checked for damage, cracks, and leaks.
  • Sink and tub faucets, showerheads, sink plumbing, and drains will be checked for leaks or slow drainage.
  • Outdoor hose bibs should also be inspected for leaks, fitting conditions, and proper freeze and frost protection.
  • The main water shut-off valve will be located and checked to confirm that it’s working.
  • A video camera inspection of the sewer pipes will be performed to identify any cracks or signs of misalignment to prevent collapse or blockage.
  • Any home water filtration systems will be inspected.
  • Fire hydrants near the home will be checked for leaks.
  • The sump pump will be inspected to confirm it’s working and that all mechanisms are in place. 

Average cost of a plumbing inspection

The average cost of a plumbing inspection will depend on the type of inspection you’re getting, but this will typically be between $200 and $1000+. For example, if the plumbing is part of a whole-home inspection when buying or selling a home, it will be included in the total home inspection price. For professional plumbing inspections that go more in-depth than a traditional home inspection, you could pay around $200 to $300. If your professional plumbing inspection includes the use of special equipment like sewer cameras, you should be prepared to pay extra. The sewer line inspection cost is typically an additional $250 to over $1,000, depending on the plumbing company and the equipment they use. 

Keep this information in mind so you can choose the type of plumbing inspection for your home that’s right for you.