Buying a foreclosure? Most banks have their foreclosed homes winterized to prevent the pipes from freezing over the winter. Some of the banks will require the buyer to pay for the home to be de-winterized for the inspection, as well as having the home re-winterized after then inspection.
The De-winterizing Process:
The first part of the de-winterizing process is to perform a quick pressure test. Although this part is not required, it is something that I feel is necessary. To do a basic pressure test the plumbing supply system is pressurized with air to around 20 psi, and left for a few minutes. The point of this quick pressure test is to make sure there are no blown supply pipes, and no valves left open before the water is turned on. A plumbing system that is in tact, and does not leak will hold pressure indefinitely. All to often, especially with foreclosures the pipes are not properly winterized, valves are left open, or supply hoses are disconnected. That is the main reason I do the pressure test first, as I would much rather find a leak by hearing air hiss out of it, instead of filling a room or wall cavity with water.
After the pressure test is completed it is time to fill the supply piping and water heater with water. First all aerators are removed as they will quickly fill with debris. The water meter (if public supply) is connected and the valves are opened. The water that first comes out of the fixtures is usually very dirty. In some situations, especially on older homes with galvanized steel pipes, there can be so much debris in the lines that the sensitive valve cartridges in fixtures can become clogged. This is most common with kitchen faucets.
Once the plumbing lines are filled, and a large amount of water is ran through the lines to clear out any debris the water heater is turned on, and the plumbing inspection can continue.
Details and Limitations
*As with everything there are some limitations. Not all homes can be easily de-winterized. This service does not apply to homes with hydronic or steam heating systems, only homes with forced air heating. In some situations when the home is winterized the contractor doing the winterization will remove, or disconnect plumbing lines, or even remove the water meter from the home. If any pipes need to be reinstalled, modified, or any other work is needed that is required to be performed by a licensed plumbing contractor Area Inspection Services cannot de-winterize that home, and a plumbing contractor will be needed. Price listed is for most homes, any homes that require additional services either by Area Inspection Services LLC, or by a licensed contractor will cost extra.
De-winterizing hydronic or steam heating systems should be done by a qualified plumbing or heating contractor, and is not a service offered by Area Inspection Services, LLC