But who says new construction homes don’t need inspecting?

Home Inspector with Charles Buell Inspections Inc.


Take a look at the following pictures very carefully.

What I am hoping you will notice is that the handle on the hot side is in a different position in each photo. 

In the first picture the hot water is turned off and we can see the “cold water” temperature is 41.2 degrees F.

cold water temperature

In the second picture the hot water is turned on and we can see the “hot water” temperature is 41.0 degrees F.

hot water temperature 


It is actually a little hard to imagine how this could happen, but it is another in an endless list of reasons to get new construction inspected.

Turning on the taps for that nice relaxing bath on move-in day might leave the home owner a little “cold.”  And the call to the agent and inspector might not be too warm either. 

On this particular home I found this issue particularly interesting because water temperature at all of the other taps was 158 degrees F.

For those of you that have been living under a log---158 degrees is WAY too hot and will cause 2nd and 3rd degree burns in less than a second. 

Modern fixtures to showers and tub/shower combos are required to be regulated such that these kinds of temperatures cannot be reached—even if the water heater is set too high.  Temperature control devices for this new construction home were either missing or not adjusted properly.

But who says new construction homes don’t need inspecting?


Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle




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Seattle Home Inspector


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Betina Foreman
WJK Realty - Austin, TX
Realtor, C.N.E., with WJK REALTY

I always council buyers to have EVERY home inspected, both resale and new construction. Builders are not always perfect because they are counting on contractors and they do make mistakes. This is great advice for every buyer.


Jan 30, 2013 04:20 AM #7
Rosemary Brooks
BMC Real Estate - 209-910-3706 - Stockton, CA
The Mother & Daughter Realty Team

Any purchase requires you to inspect and be sure you have purchase what you want and its in the condition that you expected.

Jan 30, 2013 04:50 AM #8
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Did you make a cup of tea? The water was hot enough :)

Jan 30, 2013 04:54 AM #9
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Charlie, Encountered this recently in one of our listings with the hot water not working.  Apparently it had been years since the guest bath had been used and the faucet needed a new core.  If it hadn't been for the home sale they'd have never known they had a problem.

Jan 30, 2013 05:22 AM #10
Thomas Thayer
HouseMaster of Glendora, CA - Glendora, CA

I did a inspection on a new home yesterday. The old adage 'no home is ever perfect' holds up yet again....

Jan 30, 2013 05:44 AM #11
Steven Cook
No Longer Processing Mortgages. - Tacoma, WA

Charles -- I am surprised with the water that hot at the faucets that the tank wasn't in danger of imminent high pressure release!   Interesting that the one was not close to right at all.

Jan 30, 2013 05:48 AM #12
Gary & Melynda Wolter (CRS) 480-269-1164
West USA Realty - Mesa, AZ
Relentless, Reliable, Premiere Personal Service

Didn't do one on our own home and totally regret it. Always do one!

Jan 30, 2013 06:24 AM #13
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Rosemary, for sure---however I have seen a buyer or too that had "unrealistic expectations" too :)

Jim---the water was certainly hot enough---158 is often what I see at those hot water taps at the kitchen sink.

Liz and Bill, interesting---sometimes it can be that simple

Thomas, I have never not found my fee worth of defects on any inspection.

Steven, well it still had a ways to go---the TPRV is not going to go off until it gets to 210 degrees F or 150psi---whichever comes first.

Jan 30, 2013 06:35 AM #14
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Gary and Melynda---that is what I hear over and over

Jan 30, 2013 06:35 AM #15
Jeanne Kozak
RE/MAX In Action - Martinsburg, WV
REALTOR and Broker/Owner in WV and VA

Any home should have a home inspection, I have had a lot of things wrong in new homes that might never have been caught and the nthe homewoners would have had to fight with the builder to get them fixed with the warranty period. No one is perfect in home building, and that is ok. Just don't buy anyone telling a buyer they do not "need" a home inspection

Jan 30, 2013 07:09 AM #16
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Charlie, But did it not pass the AHJ ; ) Just joking. I think it is so important to have every home inspected, especially a new one. Your only time to make it right with the builder.

Jan 30, 2013 07:56 AM #17
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

Charlie, I have never seen one that hot... wow, James is right, time for tea!

I inspected a new construction a few weeks ago that the shower had NO hot water going to it... uh oh!

Get them inspected!

Jan 30, 2013 08:35 AM #18
Rob Ernst
Certified Structure Inspector - Reno, NV
Reno, NV-775-410-4286 Inspector & Energy Auditor

How was it 158 degrees? Wow that is crazy hot. Good thing guys like you and I check this stuff.

Jan 30, 2013 09:33 AM #19
Paula McDonald
Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury - Granbury, TX
Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Any home no matter what age it is should be inspected!  Shoddy new construction can always be discovered in this way.

Jan 30, 2013 09:59 AM #20
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Jeanne, I think it is WAY easier to get things corrected before move-in than at the end of the warranty period---especially if the builder is no longer around :)

Don, well there is the time just before the warranty is up---but that is often more difficult.

Fred, I have had hot water to toilets several times, but this is a first with no hot water to just one point of use.

Rob, the hottest I have seen is 160---just way too hot.

Paula, I think a lot of times it is just due to things getting "lost in the shuffle" not always due to crappy construction.  Even the best builders are not going to be able to police every little detail.

Jan 30, 2013 10:29 AM #21

I Think houses should have a year inspection! See us Leasing Staff

Jan 30, 2013 01:28 PM #22
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Charles, working with my buyer and his builder - when I mentioned that we will have the home inspection after receiving the occupancy certificate, he looked at me as if I killed someone! After reading your post, I do not have second thoughts on that - and will go ahead with the home inspection!

Jan 30, 2013 02:23 PM #23
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

That tub is for the family who desires consistency - we want our hot and cold to be the same in THIS tub!

I can hardly enter the bathroom when my wife is showering, she likes it so hot.  So I expect that 158F is right up her alley.  You and I can go back under our logs.  She would be quite satisfied.

Jan 30, 2013 08:41 PM #24
Robert Sole
REM Inspections LLC - Winter Springs, FL

It can also be exciting to flush the toilet and see steam coming out.  Several times the hot water was connected to the toilet instead of cold.  Can give you a rush on a cold morning!

Feb 02, 2013 11:03 PM #25
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Praful, every builder knows that when the home inspector comes through it is going to cost them time and money :)

Jay, regardless of what temp the water in the tank is the human skin can not tolerate water temp above 120 for more than a few minutes.

Robert, for sure---one of the more common fopas that gets discovered on New Construction

Feb 03, 2013 03:18 AM #26
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