Does Your Home Inspector Take A Long Shower?

Home Inspector with Square One Home Inspection

How long do you spend in the shower? Do you get in there, do your business, and hop out? Or, are you the type to get in their, let the warm water relax you, and just generally hang out in there? We are all different, so our  habits are bound to be different as well.


I was recently asked during a home inspection why I had the shower running in the bathroom while I was inspecting the kitchen. This is a practice I have gotten into while performing every home inspection. Not so when I first started out. But you tend to learn things as you progress, and this is one item I have learned from my fellow home inspectors.

Think about it, most home inspectors will run the shower or tub while they are in the bathroom only. Or worse, only while they are looking at the tub or shower stall. So they run the water for maybe two minutes at the most in that scenario. I think most of us can agree that out typical shower lasts longer than two minutes, right?

Now, if we run the shower for a longer period of time, we gives those possible leaks some time to show themselves. Some leaks will not be there after two minutes, but rather will reveal themselves after 5 or 10 minutes. Now, the home inspector that shut the water off after a minute or two will not find that leak and could find himself in trouble. Some clients won't care that you only ran the water for two minutes, but why didn't you see that leaking? See where I am going with this?

By taking a bit more time and using a little more water, we increase our chance of finding those possible leaks that could prove to be a problem for someone else down the road. Trust me, my clients and the current homeowners appreciate this method. This method has actually gained me home inspections from sellers that would be buying a new home.

If the water is run for a longer period, you will have a better chance of discovering leaks once you enter the area underneath the shower, basement or crawlspace. The leaks will be much easier to spot, because there should be more water volume, and will stick out a little more than just a small trickle, or worse, nothing at all.

This is a practice that I firmly believe in as a home inspector. So homeowners, please don't get down on that home inspector that the buyer hired because you think he is using too much water. We are just trying to provide the best service we can to our client. Instead, ask him for a card, and book him for your next home inspection.

Posted by


Ian A Niquette

 Square One Home Inspection proudly serves Green Lake, Fond du Lac, Dodge, Marquette, Columbia, Winnebago, and Waushara Counties. Complete home inspections and Radon testing available.




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  1. Tony Stiles 01/27/2010 09:59 PM
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Joshua Frederick
Home Inspector for ASPEC Residential Services, LLC - Defiance, OH
Home Inspector - Northwest Ohio

Ian,  I totally agree.  I find that most of the stand-up showers, with the 2" drains, always have some kind of leak. 

Keeping warm?  Supposed to be 34 degrees today in Northwest Ohio, it's gonna feel like a heat wave!

Jan 13, 2010 06:08 AM #1
Ian Niquette
Square One Home Inspection - Markesan, WI

I find that as well Josh. You just have to let them run long enough to find in some cases. Yes, a heat wave is coming here as well, nice!!

Jan 13, 2010 10:13 AM #2
Tom Boos
Sine & Monaghan Realtors, Real Living - Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
Providing the very best of service to Sellers and

See, just another reason to use a home inspector who knows what he's doing.  This practice seems to make a lot of sense.

Jan 13, 2010 11:40 AM #3
Reuben Saltzman
Structure Tech Home Inspections - Minneapolis, MN
Minneapolis Home Inspections

Ian - I'm with you 100%.  In fact, I use a shower dam on tiled showers and I 'flood' the shower for at least a half hour to make sure they don't leak.

During one of my inspections yesterday, both of the tiled showers leaked at a recently remodeled house.  It was pretty dramatic for the buyers to see water dripping out of the finished ceiling.  They ended up passing on the house.

Jan 13, 2010 09:03 PM #4
Tony Stiles
The BrickKicker Inspection Services - Omaha, NE

Good stuff Ian!

Jan 27, 2010 09:57 PM #6
Ian Niquette
Square One Home Inspection - Markesan, WI

Thanks guys, hope you could use the info.

Jan 27, 2010 10:40 PM #7
Brenda Carus
Century 21 Zwygart Real Estate - Monroe, WI

Great info, Ian!  I can't see that I have seen most of the home inspectors here taking that extra step.

Feb 15, 2010 12:54 PM #8
Ian Niquette
Square One Home Inspection - Markesan, WI

Glad you learned something Brenda. Happy to help.

Feb 15, 2010 10:07 PM #9
Not a real person
San Diego, CA

I suspect you'll quit leaving running water unattended as soon as you flood a place.

I've found that it usually takes me longer than two minutes to inspect a bathroom, so by running the shower, filling up the bathtub, filling up the sink, flushing the toilet three times and letting it fill back up, inspecting the toilet, inspecting the shower head and shower diverter and stopper, inspecting the sink stopper, faucets, handles, and plumbing, inspecting the drawers and cabinets, and testing the electrical outlets, doors, and windows, I'm in any one bathroom far longer than two minutes and certainly in there long enough to find any shower pan, bathtub, or sink leaks.

Feb 18, 2010 05:21 AM #10
Not a real person
San Diego, CA

By the way, another great way to find leaks is to walk around in the shower or bathtub before turning it on. The flexing that goes on when a 200# person is in a small area can cause those tiles and caulking to crack, just like they would when the new owner took that first shower or bath.

Feb 18, 2010 05:23 AM #11
Fred Hookham
Keller Williams - Milton, WI

Running the shower a little longer caused the water heater to kick on during my most recent buyer's home inspection. That caused the water heater to make a "thumping" noise, indicating that sediment had collected in the bottom of the water heater, threatening to shorten it's life. The home inspector pointed out the need to drain the sediment from the water heater every 6 months. Seems I learn something with every home inspection...

Dec 01, 2010 12:00 AM #12
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