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  #1  
Old 12/4/18, 6:57 PM
e b e b is offline
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Default Is water line connecting the meter to the house subject to a standard Home Inspection

As you may know, the water company is not responsible for the line b/w the meter and the house, only for the water line to the meter. A home owner is responsible for the water line between the meter and the house.

If for example there is a house 300 feet from the water meter.

A leak somewhere along those 300 feet can easily be diagnosed by shutting off the water main in the house, then simply seeing if the water meter still "spins", question: What do you, as professionals, think about a Home Inspector's claim that a huge cost of replacing this line could not have been prevented because Home Inspectors are responsible for inspecting the house, not what is "outside of the house", more specifically - that the water line between the house and the water meter is not what Home Inspector is paid to inspect.
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  #2  
Old 12/4/18, 11:59 PM
Emmanuel J. Scanlan, TREC# 7593 Emmanuel J. Scanlan, TREC# 7593 is offline
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Default Re: Is water line connecting the meter to the house subject to a standard Home Inspec

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Originally Posted by eb3 View Post
As you may know, the water company is not responsible for the line b/w the meter and the house, only for the water line to the meter. A home owner is responsible for the water line between the meter and the house.

If for example there is a house 300 feet from the water meter.

A leak somewhere along those 300 feet can easily be diagnosed by shutting off the water main in the house, then simply seeing if the water meter still "spins", question: What do you, as professionals, think about a Home Inspector's claim that a huge cost of replacing this line could not have been prevented because Home Inspectors are responsible for inspecting the house, not what is "outside of the house", more specifically - that the water line between the house and the water meter is not what Home Inspector is paid to inspect.
Thank you for posting.

Where are you located? If your State has Inspector licensing that might make a difference in the answer.



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  #3  
Old 12/5/18, 12:14 AM
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Default Re: Is water line connecting the meter to the house subject to a standard Home Inspec

Home inspectors are not required to shut off the water main in the house, and in fact, doing so could cause more harm than good.

Not every home has a water main. While most houses do, one area I serve on occasion, every house in that area has no main water shut off, only the shut off at the meter.

Home Inspectors are not required to view the water meter. I try, when possible, but it's not always visible. Sometimes it's covered with dirt. Sometimes the entire meter is hidden under landscaping. Sometimes the enclosure the meter is in is filled up with water from rain or irrigation run off.

But lastly, unless it's a significant leak, the meter may not spin much. A pinhole drip leak will barely move the meter, not enough to be visible to the naked eye, without noting where it is, and coming back later to see if it's moved.

And simply noting where it is at the start, and at the end does no good, because any inspector if any value to going to run lots of water during the inspection.
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Old 12/5/18, 12:41 AM
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Default Re: Is water line connecting the meter to the house subject to a standard Home Inspec

Every inspector that I know disclaims underground plumbing and will not operate water main or other service valves, as doing so represents an unreasonable liability for the home inspector should a valve or pipe fail. Monitoring the meter over a brief period of time also is not a reliable method of testing for a leak in the main.

Were you given an inspection agreement to review prior to the inspection? Did you read and sign the agreement? Did the agreement exclude underground piping systems? Every business person should have the right to limit their liability. If that limitation was communicated to you, then any other opinions are moot.



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  #5  
Old 12/5/18, 1:55 AM
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Default Re: Is water line connecting the meter to the house subject to a standard Home Inspec

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Originally Posted by escanlan View Post
Where are you located? If your State has Inspector licensing that might make a difference in the answer.
State of Missouri.
Estimated 15,000 gallons of water leaking per month.

Other posters seem to suggest that enough disclaimers are likely inserted into agreements that customers must sign prior to home inspection, that any additional information is irrelevant.

For non-experienced first time home buyer paying a reputable costly inspector, it appears that the only way the can find out if there is a leak between the house and the meter is the hard way, since there is no way that a new home buyer would just simply "know" to do this.

Do you maybe think that inspectors should include this in their jobs, if only to simply tell the buyer to shut off the main themselves and check if the water meter is spinning, thereby making any discussion about inspector's liability moot since they wouldn't do it. It just seems to me like this should be a part of the home inspection one way or another. Simply telling your customer about this could save them thousands of dollars.

Surprisingly, the Home Inspector said that he would "go after the previous owner," since the water company informed the previous owner of the leak, and the previous owner did not disclose this. Home Inspector said that it is irrelevant that the house contract included an "as is" addendum - that not disclosing this is fraud.

I am also surprised that this is in *no way* part of current inspection process for any of the professionals posting here. What chances does a first time home owner have to protect themselves against this? It seems zero. None.
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  #6  
Old 12/5/18, 8:51 PM
Emmanuel J. Scanlan, TREC# 7593 Emmanuel J. Scanlan, TREC# 7593 is offline
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Default Re: Is water line connecting the meter to the house subject to a standard Home Inspec

Quote:
Originally Posted by eb3 View Post
State of Missouri.


Apparently there are no licensing requirements in Missouri and unfortunately no mandatory minimum inspection requirements.



Estimated 15,000 gallons of water leaking per month.


If this was occurring prior to the purchase then there is no way this could not have been known by the homeowner. Were you able to retrieve the previous water bills to determine when the leakage started? Here again though unfortunately Missouri has virtually no mandated disclosure rules and nothing to cover this type issue. Missouri property conveyance laws can be found here.


Chapter 442 Titles and Conveyance of Real Estate


If you were provided a disclosure form of any type you should read it over again and go to the form source for a description of how it is to be filled out. If the form was not properly annotated for this situation then your State may have fraud and deception laws that might cover this.

Other posters seem to suggest that enough disclaimers are likely inserted into agreements that customers must sign prior to home inspection, that any additional information is irrelevant.


It is important for Inspectors in any State to use a contract with any limitations made clear to set the client's expectations. It is also very important for the consumer to thoroughly read any contract and fully understand it before they sign. But again we do have many Inspectors who place many different and well worded caveats and disclaimers that may not be completely clear.


For non-experienced first time home buyer paying a reputable costly inspector, it appears that the only way the can find out if there is a leak between the house and the meter is the hard way, since there is no way that a new home buyer would just simply "know" to do this.


Unfortunately there are many Inspectors that only perform the minimum amount required by whatever standard they are following. Here in Texas our Standards Of Practice (SOP) is the minimum required and there is so much more that can be done. Other Inspectors do perform way beyond any minimum requirements for all clients and do provide additional support to the first time home buyers. This is one case where going beyond the minimum might have helped catch the issue.


If you don't mind me asking how many Sq. Ft. is the house and what was your fee for inspecting the house without any additional services fee?


Do you maybe think that inspectors should include this in their jobs, if only to simply tell the buyer to shut off the main themselves and check if the water meter is spinning, thereby making any discussion about inspector's liability moot since they wouldn't do it. It just seems to me like this should be a part of the home inspection one way or another. Simply telling your customer about this could save them thousands of dollars.


In Texas our SOP only requires that we report on the location of the water meter and that is all. However the very first part of my inspection protocol is to locate the meter, inspect it, check for leak dial movement, then actually turn a hose bibb (exterior faucet) on at a very little dribble and check the leak dial again to ensure it is functioning. These meter leak dials are very sensitive and at 15K Gallons a month that is a substantial leak occurring which should cause the leak dial to rotate. Some times the meter box is flooded or some municipalities place special locking covers on them and these are reported as inaccessible for viewing.



I do this not only for the client's benefit checking for possible leaks but also for my own protection. If nobody is in the house and that leak dial is moving it is noted and the first thing done after walking through the door is to search for a possible cause. If it can not be found or is obviously a flooding condition then again for my protection the seller's Agent or builder (new construction) is immediately notified.


As for manipulating any main valve that is a risk that must be assessed on any home. Many main valves located on the exterior of existing homes are in very bad shape and it is a significant liability risk to attempt manipulating them. Instead they are reported on in their poor condition with the recommendation the seller display to the buyer its operation. If it fails let the seller assume the risk and expense.


Surprisingly, the Home Inspector said that he would "go after the previous owner," since the water company informed the previous owner of the leak, and the previous owner did not disclose this. Home Inspector said that it is irrelevant that the house contract included an "as is" addendum - that not disclosing this is fraud.


Yes that is very surprising that the Home Inspector made that statement! If you have that in writing I would most certainly hold the Home Inspector to that claim. I am not an Attorney but unless there was a requirement to disclose this (see my comments above) then there may be no basis for "Fraudulent Activity" by the seller. That would be something for your Attorney to review and determine though.


I am also surprised that this is in *no way* part of current inspection process for any of the professionals posting here. What chances does a first time home owner have to protect themselves against this? It seems zero. None.


There is "a way" for this to be part of any Home Inspector's inspection protocol. Again unfortunately many subscribe to the "Do the minimum" mantra and forget how going beyond the minimum not only helps the client but can also help protect the Inspector!



I have provided comments and questions above in blue. If you would like to discuss this further I am more than happy to. My contact information is in my profile, just click on my name above.



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Last edited by escanlan; 12/5/18 at 11:35 PM..
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  #7  
Old 12/5/18, 9:59 PM
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Default Re: Is water line connecting the meter to the house subject to a standard Home Inspec

Quote:
Originally Posted by eb3 View Post
State of Missouri.
Estimated 15,000 gallons of water leaking per month.

Other posters seem to suggest that enough disclaimers are likely inserted into agreements that customers must sign prior to home inspection, that any additional information is irrelevant.


Do you maybe think that inspectors should include this in their jobs, if only to simply tell the buyer to shut off the main themselves and check if the water meter is spinning, thereby making any discussion about inspector's liability moot since they wouldn't do it. It just seems to me like this should be a part of the home inspection one way or another. Simply telling your customer about this could save them thousands of dollars.
Ah, but see, you omitted these important facts earlier. Leaving us to guess as to the situation.

A leak could mean anything. A small drip underground would be very difficult to spot, as I stated, even if you stared at the meter for an hour.

But 15,000 gallons a month is NOT a small leak and not the same situation.
One would think such a large volume of water would leave some sort of identifiable evidence that something isn't right. Mud spot, sinkhole.

I have found such leaks before, but the water bubbling up from the lawn and down the street was a pretty good giveaway.





Quote:
Surprisingly, the Home Inspector said that he would "go after the previous owner," since the water company informed the previous owner of the leak, and the previous owner did not disclose this. Home Inspector said that it is irrelevant that the house contract included an "as is" addendum - that not disclosing this is fraud.
I'm not familiar with Missouri law, but I would suspect, ultimately, yes, the seller is the person who wronged you.

Here in California, if a seller failed to disclose a known defect like that, and you had proof of such, they would indeed be liable, and it would be a pretty easy case for you to go after the seller and win.

I seriously don't know how an inspector could go after the seller for you unless they're also a lawyer.
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  #8  
Old 12/5/18, 11:39 PM
Emmanuel J. Scanlan, TREC# 7593 Emmanuel J. Scanlan, TREC# 7593 is offline
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Default Re: Is water line connecting the meter to the house subject to a standard Home Inspec

Quote:
Originally Posted by imayer View Post
I seriously don't know how an inspector could go after the seller for you unless they're also a lawyer.

Maybe he is a Sicario, Mechanic, Hit Man, or whatever version chosen to describe him?



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  #9  
Old 12/7/18, 4:10 AM
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Default Re: Is water line connecting the meter to the house subject to a standard Home Inspec

Quote:
Originally Posted by imayer View Post
Home inspectors are not required to shut off the water main in the house, and in fact, doing so could cause more harm than good.

Not every home has a water main. While most houses do, one area I serve on occasion, every house in that area has no main water shut off, only the shut off at the meter.

Home Inspectors are not required to view the water meter. I try, when possible, but it's not always visible. Sometimes it's covered with dirt. Sometimes the entire meter is hidden under landscaping. Sometimes the enclosure the meter is in is filled up with water from rain or irrigation run off.

But lastly, unless it's a significant leak, the meter may not spin much. A pinhole drip leak will barely move the meter, not enough to be visible to the naked eye, without noting where it is, and coming back later to see if it's moved.

And simply noting where it is at the start, and at the end does no good, because any inspector if any value to going to run lots of water during the inspection.
Good advice.
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Old 12/7/18, 8:12 AM
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Default Re: Is water line connecting the meter to the house subject to a standard Home Inspec

Quote:
Originally Posted by imayer View Post
I seriously don't know how an inspector could go after the seller for you unless they're also a lawyer.
This is more "pick and choose" BS to make the point they're after. Very likely the inspector made the comment during discussions... "You know, if it was me, I would probably.... blah, blah, blah...".


Remember, we don't even know this actually happened. It could just be a bunch of hokum to get us riled up.

IMO, this whole thread stinks, and reeks of nefarious activities and sales pitches of gimmick vendors!!



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Last edited by jjonas; 12/7/18 at 8:15 AM..
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  #11  
Old 12/7/18, 8:52 AM
Dominic DAgostino, CMI HI3957 Dominic DAgostino, CMI HI3957 is offline
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Default Re: Is water line connecting the meter to the house subject to a standard Home Inspec

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjonas View Post
IMO, this whole thread stinks, and reeks of nefarious activities and sales pitches of gimmick vendors!!
Agreed, water line insurance propaganda....



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Old 12/7/18, 11:43 PM
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Default Re: Is water line connecting the meter to the house subject to a standard Home Inspec

It may be BS to some but in Okla we are required by our SOP to ID the shut off for the utilities. It does not mean we operate them but I take a pic of every water meter shut off valve and any additional shut offs. The water meters we use are very sensitive to water flow and any movement is noticeable and I always watch for movement. I do the same at the gas meter.



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Old 12/8/18, 1:43 AM
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Default Re: Is water line connecting the meter to the house subject to a standard Home Inspec

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Originally Posted by cbottger View Post
It may be BS to some but in Okla we are required by our SOP to ID the shut off for the utilities. It does not mean we operate them but I take a pic of every water meter shut off valve and any additional shut offs. The water meters we use are very sensitive to water flow and any movement is noticeable and I always watch for movement. I do the same at the gas meter.
How do you account for the water heater pilot light or even the water heater burner under this inspection protocol? Inquiring minds want to know how you sniff out a gas leak by meter movement when a constant flow of gas is the normal state.



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  #14  
Old 12/8/18, 10:31 AM
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Default Re: Is water line connecting the meter to the house subject to a standard Home Inspec

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Originally Posted by cevans View Post
How do you account for the water heater pilot light or even the water heater burner under this inspection protocol? Inquiring minds want to know how you sniff out a gas leak by meter movement when a constant flow of gas is the normal state.

The pilot light on a water heater is not enough flow to make the gas meter dial move any in a two minute period. The two minute protocol is what the local gas company uses to establish if there is a substantial leak. Common sense denotes that one must ensure the burners on any appliance is not operating



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Old 12/8/18, 10:56 AM
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Default Re: Is water line connecting the meter to the house subject to a standard Home Inspec

Quote:
Originally Posted by eb3 View Post
For non-experienced first time home buyer paying a reputable costly inspector, it appears that the only way the can find out if there is a leak between the house and the meter is the hard way, since there is no way that a new home buyer would just simply "know" to do this.

Do you maybe think that inspectors should include this in their jobs...
A home inspection is not "technically exhaustive". There are lots that could be wrong with a house that can't be discovered during the typical 3 hour generalist inspection.

My reports end with this statement: "If you would like a technically exhaustive inspection, we can arrange to have a general contractor, a structural engineer, an electrical engineer, a geo-technical engineer, and others to assist us with the inspection. The inspection would take days. The cost of this inspection would be approximately $10,000."



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