Plumbing systems have common components, but they are not uniform.
Often people associate plumbing with the kitchen sink and bathroom fixtures,
but it is far more than just that.
Components include gas and water pipes; pressure relief and shut-off
valves; pressure regulators; drain and vent pipes; and water-heating
Your inspector should check all items that have the potential for
The best and most dependable water pipes are copper.
Copper pipes are not subject to the build-up of minerals that
bond within galvanized pipes, and gradually restrict their
inner diameter and reduce water volume.
Water softeners can remove most of these minerals, but not once they
are bonded within the pipes, for which there would be no remedy other
than a re-pipe.
The water pressure within pipes is commonly confused with water
volume, but whereas high water volume is good, high water pressure
In fact, whenever the street pressure exceeds eighty pounds per
square inch, a regulator is recommended, which typically comes factory
preset between forty-five and sixty-five pounds per square inch.
However, regardless of the pressure, leaks will occur in any system,
and particularly in one with older galvanized pipes, or one in which
the regulator fails and high pressure begins to stress the washers
and diaphragms within the various components.
Waste and drainpipes are equally varied.
Many modern drainpipes are made from Polyvinyl chloride or PVC.
Older drainpipes may be made of cast-iron, galvanized steel, clay,
and even a cardboard-like material that is coated with tar, known
The condition of these pipes is usually directly related to their age.
Older ones are subject to damage through decay and root movement, whereas
the more modern PVC drainpipes are less prone to damage.
Since significant portions of the drainpipes are concealed,
we can only infer their condition by observing the draw at drains.
We attempt to evaluate drainpipes by flushing every drain that has
an active fixture and observing for blockages and slow drainage.
Regardless, blockages will occur in the life of any system.
Minor blockages may be cleared by chemical means or by removing and
cleaning the trap.
However, tree roots and other blockages of the main drainpipe,
can be quite expensive to repair.
For this reason, if you have any concerns about your drainage system,
we recommend having them video-scanned.