What I'm Seeing Now

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The Overflow Valve MUST Be Checked!

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??

 

 

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


Comment balloon 25 commentsJay Markanich • May 21 2011 02:30PM

Comments

I spent 16 years in construction in a previous life and there is always a punch list! Good thing you are available to point these things out!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Jay,  You have some really important points to check.  It is amazing how they can be overlooked by the contractor -- but I have seen all of these too.

Posted by Gary Coles (International Referrals), Latin America Real Estate (Venture Realty International) about 7 years ago

Good afternoon, Jay. Nothing surprises me anymore especially when it comes to a flipper... 

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) about 7 years ago

No.  Now, that is really sad on many levels.  Good thing the customer has you on their side.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) about 7 years ago

I had a DIY home seller in the same boat, I mean tub.

I said "How to you plan to access the motor for service maintenance or eventual replacement?"

"Oh," he said "I'll just lift out the tub."

 

 

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) about 7 years ago

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!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

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

Posted by Barbara Altieri, REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale (RealtyQuest/Kinard Realty Group, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate) about 7 years ago

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

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

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.

Posted by Tish Lloyd, Broker - Wilmington NC and Surrounding Beaches (BlueCoast Realty Corporation) about 7 years ago

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.

 

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

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!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

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

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 7 years ago

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...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

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

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) about 7 years ago

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

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

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

Posted by Anne M. Costello (Weidel Realtors) about 7 years ago

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

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach (GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881) about 7 years ago

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.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) about 7 years ago

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!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

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

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) about 7 years ago

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

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

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!

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) about 7 years ago

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

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

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. 

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) over 3 years ago

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

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

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