For residential buildings, a plumbing inspection is something that you generally want to do every year if you can, and you may have to do if you are planning on selling a home. When we talk about commercial plumbing, though, things are a bit different. Every installation you have made will likely need a plumbing inspection to make sure it’s up to code, both before and after initial construction. In addition, your plumbing systems and fixtures are going to be taking on a lot more wear and tear over time compared to a residential setting. You may want to look into a plumbing inspection just to catch any minor symptoms of trouble before they become major problems.
So, with this in mind, here’s a closer look at how a plumbing inspection works, as well as a commercial plumbing inspection checklist to use when your next one is coming up.
What Is A Plumbing Inspection?
A plumbing inspection is when a professional does a thorough examination of all the plumbing on your property. This includes the following:
-Checking existing plumbing fixtures
-Looking at drains and supply lines for any blockage or other issues
-Examining above-ground/exposed plumbing, like traps under sinks and shut-off-valves
-Inspecting sinks, toilets, and showers/bathtubs
-Looking at draining/venting systems in the bathrooms, as well as kitchen/laundry rooms, if applicable
-Looking at the water tank/water heater
-Inspecting the sump pump and discharge
-Doing a video exam of your drains and sewer pipes
While that list may be an extensive one, it’s not a complete one. Different plumbing contractors you work with may have a different set of procedures for their inspection, so you want to make sure to ask to see what’s on their plumbing inspection list before you commit to a single one. In addition, especially for commercial buildings, you want to make sure their inspection criteria are consistent with the local building codes.
Depending on the nature of your building, you may also have some other unique concerns to think about. For example, many structures built prior to the 1980s may have certain varieties of piping that are reaching the end of their lifespan. If your building falls into this category, the plumber may check to see the age/condition of your plumbing. They may recommend replacement, even if it’s presently working fine.
By the same token, if you are a commercial building like a laundromat that is reliant on certain items with plumbing components, you may want to put together a replacement schedule with your plumber that coincides with an inspection. Even if something is working, you want to replace key parts before they show any signs of failure.
Your Plumbing Inspection Checklist
With this in mind, here’s a list of things you want to think about and do before and after your next plumbing inspection.
Do Some of Your Own Examinations
Of course, there are going to be limits on what information you can accurately gather on your own. You’re not professionally trained, and depending on the size of your installation, it may not be possible to physically check every single pipe and fixture. However, it is a good idea to look around at some of the areas that are used the most. The main reason for this is that you want to have some of your own notes and impressions that you can give the plumber before they start their inspection. They will still check everything, but it may help their search if you already know about any existing issues.
Look At Your Water Bills
This piggybacks off of the last point a bit. Sometimes, there are leaks that you can’t physically see but are still impacting your system. If you see a sudden spike in water bill costs, with no obvious explanation, it’s a good idea to bring these points up.
Post-Mortem With The Plumber
Ideally, you don’t want the plumbing inspector to just leave you the plumbing inspection form and be on their way. Most contractors will have a brief sit down with you to discuss what they found in their inspection, and if they don’t offer it, be sure to ask for one. This gives you the chance to review their notes and comments and make sure you fully understand what they mean. In some cases, these notes may come with recommendations for repair or service. Use your best judgment and consideration of your budget when deciding to go with this advice or not.
Plan For What To Do Between Visits
Something else we should mention after the inspection is done is what you/your team can do in order to minimize the chance of any major problems before the next inspection. Here’s some good general advice.
-Insulate any exterior or exposed piping, especially if you are in an area where it gets cold
-Try and keep a record of the age of your fixtures, washers, and sealers. This way, you can replace them when they reach the end of their lifespan but before they start leaking
-If you do see any leaks, even a small one, call a professional right away
-If you weren’t happy with service from the last plumber, start scouting a potential new one well before you need their services
Many times, a building’s plumbing inspection is the start of a lot of major changes. Companies may need to implement a wide amount of measures in order to make sure their building gets up to code if they don’t pass the annual plumbing inspection. Even if they do, it’s generally a good idea to still have a commercial building inspection checklist so you can schedule regular preventative maintenance. While passing a plumbing inspection is important, you should be thinking of things you can do to maintain your system year-round.