A typical home plumbing system includes three fundamental components: the water supply system, the fixtures and appliances, and the drain system. The plumbing system's water supply includes piping for fresh water coming in and wastewater going out. The proper flow of water through both systems is an essential part of maintaining a well-functioning home. Assessing the system for overall condition and visible leaks is part of any home inspection.
Only visible and accessible water supply (and drain) components within a structure are typically subject to inspection because underground or hidden portions of the system that are not readily accessbile are specifically excluded. The pipes related to the water and wastewater plumbing must be separate to prevent wastewater from entering the drinking system. Supply pipes are generally made of copper, plastic, brass, galvanized iron or steel, or a combination of materials.
An inspector will determine the type of pipe and look over the visible piping for evidence of leaks or malfunction, such as staining, mildew or odors. Even a small leak or condensation on pipes can cause damage to wood, wall or floor coverings. The inspector will note signs of leaks or evidence of past leaks if found.
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