The Overflow Valve MUST Be Checked!

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC 3380-000723

When I am on new construction inspections I always check the overflow valve on bathtubs.  Especially when I am in a flipper's property I always check the overflow valve, if the tub is new.

You've seen them.  The are found high on the wall under the hardware and covered, typically with a metal disk.

If the tub is forgotten while the water is running, or if slightly too full when someone dips themselves into the water, the only place for water to escape, except into the house, is the overflow valve.  So, the overflow valve MUST be checked!

What I often do is take the cover off to check the valve!  If the inside has purple primer, it is a good bet that the overflow valve has been connected and is functioning!

I will run water into it also to see if the water leaks below.  IT'S A BUMMER WHEN IT DOES!  But that is why we do inspections.

In this very popular flipper's house there was a large whirlpool tub in the remodeled master bathroom.

Before filling, I thought I'd check the overflow valve.

Well, mercy me, it is still capped with the manufacturer's covering!

I should look in the cavity underneath the tub to see if it's connected.

Well, mercy me, there is no access panel!

For sure we can at least check the whirlpool mechanism for function.

Well, mercy me, it doesn't work!

The GFI breaker must be tripped.  Often it is on the wall. (It looks like a receptacle, with the GFI buttons only.)

Well, mercy me, there is no GFI on the wall! 

There was no breaker in the panel box that said "Jacuzzi," so it isn't there.  Well, I'll just check and see if it's underneath the tub...

Well, mercy me, I can't!  There's still no access panel!

My recommendation:  anytime you see a whirlpool tub, it is important that you check the following:

1.  An overflow valve is crucially important to relieve excess water when it's too high.
2.  That the drain tubing is connected is crucially important so, well, SO IT DRAINS THE WATER OUT! 
3.  An access panel is crucially important to get to the guts of the motor and mechanisms if a repair is needed.
4.  A GFI breaker is crucially important to protect bathers from a short in the electrical service to the tub.
5.  It is crucially important that the whirlpool motor works!  At least if you want to take a whirlpool bath...

Surprise, surprise, surprise Sergeant Carter! 

REMEMBER, THIS IS A FLIP!  DO YOU THINK ANY OF THE ABOVE SURPRISED ME??

 

 

Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Location:
Virginia Prince William County Bristow
Groups:
Ask the Home Inspector
Professional Home Inspectors
Adventures in Home Inspecting
HyperLocal Neighborhood and Community Posts
31 Days of May Challenge 2011
Tags:
flipping houses
plumbing problems
unprofessional work
unsafe conditions
plumbing installation
overflow valve

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Rainmaker
1,811,022
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Russell - this was a house with a punch list in every room!  You saw my previous post about the shower?  Same house!

Gary - any or all of those things can be overlooked by flippers, and builders!  I've seen it!

Michael - this would have been one of those "mercy me" inspections, for sure.  And to do it properly, you have to raise both hands in front of yourself each time you say it...

Debbie - the customer had to have someone on their side for this one!

Robert - on a new home inspection once the tub was never secured to anything and I COULD lift it out!

May 21, 2011 09:49 AM #6
Rainmaker
836,238
Barbara Altieri
RealtyQuest/Kinard Realty Group, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Wow, Jay, that's some really good information.  Good thing YOU were on the job!

May 21, 2011 10:03 AM #7
Rainmaker
1,811,022
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Barbara - thank you, but this is all basic stuff for anyone remodeling a house!  For you, hopefully, it is instructive!

May 21, 2011 10:28 AM #8
Rainer
372,358
Tish Lloyd
BlueCoast Realty Corporation - Wilmington, NC
Broker - Wilmington NC and Surrounding Beaches

Mercy, me, but I wish you were closer to us!!!  Excellent post as usual -- had to lean!!!!!  Plan on sharing a copy of this with my prospective buyers who are looking at a flip, if it's okay with you.

May 21, 2011 11:23 AM #9
Rainmaker
488,139
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Jay,

Good one. I have seen this also. Jet tubs can be bugger. I have a spent good deal of time tracking down all the what you have just spelled out.

 

May 21, 2011 11:27 AM #10
Rainmaker
1,811,022
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Sure Tish!  No charge!  It's the LITTLE things, until they leak or explode and become BIG things!

Don - hard to track things down when there's no way to get inside to start tracking!

May 21, 2011 11:31 AM #11
Ambassador
1,323,660
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Of course the best solution is to replace the tub with one that is not a whirlpool type :)

May 21, 2011 12:04 PM #12
Rainmaker
1,811,022
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

EXACTLY Charlie!  Maybe he could move the tub to the linen closet!  That way, if it overflows, the towels will soak up the extra water...

May 21, 2011 01:17 PM #13
Ambassador
3,667,895
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Jay,I gotta say, the installation of the whirlpool tub was the most complicated part of my bathroom renovation

May 21, 2011 04:33 PM #14
Rainmaker
1,811,022
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

It is Pat.  You can't just slam them in there.  There is a lot to consider.

May 21, 2011 10:44 PM #15
Rainer
238,290
Anne M. Costello
Weidel Realtors - Yardley, PA

Flippers make ne very nervous....and you prove my point with every one of your posts. Yikes!

May 22, 2011 12:34 AM #16
Rainer
278,000
Kathryn Maguire
GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881 - Chesapeake, VA
Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach

Let me prognosticate here....This was just the tip of the iceberg for the issues you found at Chez Flipper!

May 22, 2011 01:11 AM #17
Rainmaker
1,242,875
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Jay,

The main thing I find with these monster tubs is a water heater of such a size that the water is cold after about 1/3 of the tub is full....nice and relaxing.

May 22, 2011 04:16 AM #18
Rainmaker
1,811,022
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Anne - your nervousness is deserved, at least from where I am inspecting!

The very tip Kathryn.  Look at the two previous posts.  And one more to follow Monday or Tuesday.  Fun stuff!

This house had an 80 gallon tank, which was properly sized.  He did that right Steve!

May 22, 2011 07:28 AM #19
Rainmaker
579,577
Chris Smith
Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage - New Tecumseth, ON
South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta

Jay, this is the type of thing most buyers would not even think of.  Thank God for good home inspectors...

May 22, 2011 01:29 PM #20
Rainmaker
1,811,022
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Well, Chris, it is something I check every time.  It is essential that it be checked!

May 22, 2011 02:08 PM #21
Ambassador
2,074,804
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

Decades ago I had a friend who had a son whose favorite pass time activity was putting tissue in the sink and tub overflow drains, turning on the water and then going outside to play................he did live to see adulthood!

May 23, 2011 09:41 AM #22
Rainmaker
1,811,022
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

That kid lived a dangerous life style Barbara-Jo!  Not very funny I bet to Mom and Dad...

May 23, 2011 12:45 PM #23
Ambassador
2,879,517
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

I remember an inspector that checked the overflow in an upstairs bath room and the leak below in the kitchen caused  a great deal of water when the ceiling fan  come crashing down. Not a pretty sight. It was a brand new agent and a first time home buyer. 

Dec 10, 2014 10:12 AM #24
Rainmaker
1,811,022
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I have caused that many times Margaret!  I once caused a leak testing the overflow valve on a washing machine drip pan, new construction.

Dec 10, 2014 10:25 PM #25
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Rainmaker
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Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
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