A home inspection is primarily a visual review of a home and the inspector is required to examine the visible, or readily accessible, shut-off valves. What the inspector is not required to do is test the valves, and with good reason. Old or defective valves often leak when opened or closed, sometimes the leaking cannot be stopped by resetting the valve, and older valves are sometimes frozen in position due to corrosion. So the inspector cannot tell you if the valves actually function, but older valves with corrosion should be noted for further evaluation by a plumber—like in the photo above..
The State of Florida’s standards, along with those of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), specifically state that the inspector is not required to test valves. The American Socity of Home Inspectors (ASHI) standards do not directly address the issue, but it is not in the list of required inspection points.
Inspectors ARE required to describe the location of the main water shut-off and main fuel shut-off valves. This is important to know for emergency use. We make a point of showing the homebuyers where they are if they attend the inspection.
Also, see our blog posts Which plumbing fixtures require water shut off valves in a home? and How do I find the main water shut off valve for my house?
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Here’s links to a collection of our other blog posts about PLUMBING PIPES:
• How can I protect my pipes to keep them from bursting during a hard winter freeze in North Florida?
• Can galvanized steel pipe still be used for new water lines in a house?
• How can I tell if I have cast iron pipes in my house?
• Why can't a sanitary tee be used for a horizontal-to-horizontal drain pipe connection?
• What is the difference between green and white sewer drain pipes?
• Is a washing machine drain hose required to be secured at the standpipe?
• What are the abandoned pipes sticking out of the wall in my house?
• What are the code requirements for plumbing vent terminations?
• What are the code requirements for layout of drain piping under sinks?
• What causes a gurgling sound when a bathtub or sink drains?
• What is a "combination waste and vent" in a plumbing system?
• What is a building trap?
• What is a galvanized nipple?
• What are the pipes sticking out near my water valves?
• How do you accurately find a broken water pipe leak under the floor slab?
• What is the difference between water pipe and sewage (waste) pipe?
• Are plastic pipes (PVC, CPVC, and PEX) safe for drinking water?
• Is a hot water faucet handle required to be on the left?
• What is a dielectric union?
• What's that powdery crust on the pipe connections at the water heater?
• If all the plumbing drains have water in them and you can still smell sewer gas, what's causing the problem?
• How can I tell what type of plumbing pipe I have?
• Why is there a flexible accordion pipe under the sink?
• What is the difference between PVC and ABS plumbing pipe?
• What is the difference between water service pipe and water supply pipe?
• What are the pipes on my roof?
• What is a P-trap?
• Why is old galvanized steel water pipe a problem for homebuyers?
• What does polybutylene pipe look like? Why is it a problem?
• Which water pipes are an insurance problem and possibly uninsurable?
• Can you connect CPVC pipe directly to a gas water heater?
Visit our PLUMBING page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.