Home inspection findings by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck, Professional Real Estate Inspector TREC# 9073

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Water Works, or trying to dodge a toddler with a garden hose

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After the inspection yesterday, I go to pick up my daughter from her aunts. My wife and son are going out to a party, so we decide to play out front. I have just planted, so I want to water them. My daughter decides that this is a great time to have a shower. She takes the hose from me to water plants herself. A mischievous grin plays on her face as she walks over to where I am sitting , and she spritzes me with water. Now neighbors are laughing as I jump from spot to spot attempting to avoid the water, while my daughter chases after me giggling. She shouts down Papa down, patting the grass to indicate that it would be easier to get me wet if I am sitting. Two thoughts occur to me: boy are we wasting water, and we are going to need a bath before we go out to dinner. Actually a third thought happens in my brain, and I try to make my way to spots in the lawn that are dry.

Lately, I have been pulling out my meter to measure how dry or moist the soil is. Since I hand water my yard, I like to only water the spots that need to be watered. Sprinkler systems can have such a sensor set up on them, which I think is a good expense. These sensors will prevent an area from being watered by the sprinklers if the ground has enough water. I find that most people set their sprinkler systems, and they forget to turn them off during the rain. A nice waste of water.

Leaks in a homes plumbing can be quite wasteful. Try this experiment. Stop your sink or tub from draining if it has a leak in the evening. When you wake up in the morning, look at how full the basin is. A week ago, during an inspection of a foreclosure, I noticed that the water pressure was very low, so I go to turn the valve open more. As I re-enter the home, I hear the sound of running water. In the hallway bathroom’s tub, water is pouring out of the handle and faucet. They were in the off position. In cases of these handles for faucets, you will find o-rings or seals that need to be replaced. Generally all you need is a phillips head screw driver and a wrench.

At yesterday’s inspection, I found that the tank from the commode was not seated properly on the base, so it had a steady little leak down the back of the unit. Taking these tanks off is not to difficult. The seal may have been damaged, or the tank may need to be placed on better. I have also found leaks at the water feed connection for the tank. This is an easy job for a homeowner, but people forget to seat the connection well, so it will leak.

I received the notice from my water company last week that my water rate is going up. The good news is that this is the lowest rate increase in five years. Still, water is becoming a more precious commodity around the globe, so the price will go up. There are other ways to save on water. Have you reused your pasta water for boiling vegetables? And then using that water for your plants? That is a common practice in Italy. How do you save on water?

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© Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Home Inspector Houston, Texas
Frank Theodor Schulte-Ladbeck
home inspector, TREC# 9073
Houston , Texas , 77063 United States

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