Plumbing Supply and Distribution, Plumbing Supply, Distribution System and Fixtures

Static Water Pressure

The water supply to your house is one of the many items checked by Blue Star Real Estate Inspection Services.  Static water pressure is a measurement of the amount of pressure that is supplied to your water system when no plumbing items are in use.  It is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI).

If your water pressure is too low, you will have to deal with issues such as low water flow in your shower, sinks, or other fixtures.  There is also a greater possibility of contamination of the water supply due to back siphoning.  See this article on Anti-Siphon Devices and this article on Dishwasher Backflow Prevention for more information related to back siphoning.

If your water pressure is too high, you run the risk of damage to fixtures, piping, water heating equipment, or appliances can occur.  When testing static water pressure, I use a gauge to ensure that the water pressure is within the acceptable range of 40 – 80 PSI.

Water Pressure Guage
This is the pressure gauge that I use for measuring static water pressure. 

One thing to keep in mind is that if the static water pressure measures at over 80 PSI, your water heater must be equipped with an expansion tank.  If desired, a pressure reducing valve can be installed at the water supply which can regulate the water pressure to an acceptable level.

Call Blue Star Real Estate Inspection Services today at 361-462-9018, or visit our website for a free quote.


Plumbing Supply and Distribution, Water Heating Equipment

Water Heater Physical Protection

Water heaters installed in garages are very rarely properly protected from physical damage.  There should be some means of protecting a water heater from damage any time its location is subject to physical damage from a vehicle.  Unless the water heater is installed at an elevation above the height of the vehicle, protection from physical damage in the form of bollards or curbs should be installed.

water heater protection
The image above shows a bollard which keeps a car from damaging the water heater when parking in the garage.

These protection requirements hold true for both gas and electrically sourced water heaters.  However, gas water heaters pose an extra danger.  If the gas supply line is damaged, you now have gas leaking into your garage at a high rate.  You also have an ignition source (your vehicle) nearby.  If you happen to damage your gas water heater, you should shut your vehicle off immediately and leave the area.  Find the main gas supply shut off, and turn the gas off.  Your inspection report from Blue Star Real Estate Inspection Services will let you know exactly where your gas supply shut-off valve is located.  Leave the garage door open, call the fire department, and vacate the area.

This requirement seems like common sense when you think about why, but you would be surprised at how often I run across water heaters installed in garages without physical protection.  Adding a bollard or curb to protect your water heater is much less expensive than having to replace your water heater if you have an accidental collision with your water heater.  Blue Star Real Estate Inspection Services will be here to help you make the right decision regarding the purchase of a home.  Call 361-462-9018 today to schedule your inspection.

Plumbing Supply and Distribution, Plumbing Supply, Distribution System and Fixtures

Anti-Siphon Devices

Very few older houses that I inspect have anti-siphon devices or vacuum breakers installed on any of the exterior hose bibs.  Anti-siphon devices are a simple, yet important gadget that you can pick up at your local hardware or plumbing store for $2 to $3.

anti-siphon device

The picture above shows a anti-siphon device for a hose bib.

Anti-siphon devices have been proven effective to prevent contamination of your potable water supply.  For example, let’s say its a hot summer day, and your kids are in the back yard playing in an inflatable swimming pool – water hose running in the pool.  A problem with the city’s water supply causes a loss of water pressure to your neighborhood.  Without an anti-siphon device, it is possible for the pressure drop to cause water to be siphoned from the kid’s swimming pool back up through the hose, hose spigot, and into your water supply and distribution piping.  A properly functioning anti-siphon device will effectively prevent this from happening.

anti siphon diagram

The diagram above illustrates how back-siphoning can occur.

These anti-siphon devices are essentially one-way valves designed to stop the flow of potentially contaminated water back into the drinkable (potable) water supply.  Installation is simple, and requires only screwing the piece on to the hose bib like you would connect your water hose.  Your water hose can then connect to the male end of the anti-siphon device.  Some anti-siphon devices have a setscrew that you can tighten, which prevents the device from accidentally loosening when you are disconnecting the water hose.

anti siphon installation

The picture above shows how to install an anti-siphon device.

Missing anti-siphon devices is one of the more common deficiencies that we find here at Blue Star Real Estate Inspection Services.  When you choose us to perform your home inspection, you can trust that when we are done, you will be thoroughly informed about the condition of the house you plan to buy.  Call Blue Star Inspections today to schedule your home inspection.  361-462-9018.