TUB FOBIA! ? A Disconcerting Experience! QUESTION; What’s Your Take On It?

I just had a disconcerting experience. I had a new client asking me the usual questions about the inspection she wanted done next week.

When she asked me about the whirlpool bathtub, I had to tell her it would not be part of my inspection.

I explained the the motor would be damaged if it was run without water in the tub. Filling the tub would take too long to be done in the course of the inspection.  So this is not done.

Some water is run to test the faucets, shower head, etc..  Access to the motor and system piping is checked and inspected for leaks and general condition.

She was satisfied with that answer but wanted to know what she could do to go further.

As an inspector is a generalist, the answer is to engage a specialist. In this case a specialist for a whirlpool tub is a plumber, so I suggested she talk to a plumber. That was ok, but she wanted to know if it was ok for a plumber to be there during the inspection.  For me it was fine but I suggested she let her agent know about it  and have owed and cleared with th sellers.

And that’s where the call ended.


THEN I got the call from the agent ” WHAT THE ____ DID YOU TELL MY CLIENT??  SHE’S GONNA NIX THE DEAL!

She, the agent, went on to tell me that the plumber was an alarmist who went on a rant, first about that brand, said it could not be replaced now. He then went on to tell her horror stories about diseases transmitted by these tubs and worked “flesh eating disease” into the rant.

Turns out this buyer is very nervous and phobic in general and this alarmist rant really set her off. I was able to explain to the agent what my involvement had been and I was able to give her the names of several plumbers to get a broader opinion on this ” issue”, if in fact there is one.

The agent wants to salvage the deal, naturally and wants a plumbers price to seal off the “whirlpool” jets, effectively converting it to a normal tub. And will pay for it if is affordable and will close the deal.


I’ve since spoken to a plumber about this. He says there are lots of stories going around but few facts. The cleaning maintenance is very easy to do. Basically you run the tub through a full program cycle using only hot water and baking soda. You’d do this every few months depending on frequency off use.

That doesn’t sound too complicated or difficult door anyone to do. So I wouldn’t recommend the ‘sealing of the jets’ option, but that’s not my call or decision.


My question to you is:

Have you heard of disease problems associated with these tubs?

1 – Have you heard of disease problems associated with these tubs?


2 – What would your response be in this situation as an inspector?…an an agent? … Or as a buyer / seller?

Your thought?


Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post

Have You Got The ‘New House plumbing Blues’?

Have You Got The ‘New House plumbing Blues’?

or What’s wrong in this picture.? A Plumbing Puzzler.

new and clean but not right

Everything is clean and new and dry, no leaks. It’s a new house, less than 2 years old, being sold by the builder owner.

He (or his plumber) would get 3 out of 4 on this issue because of the 4 sinks in the home only this one is like this. Very likely, one person did the rough-in plumbing (blue and red lines) and later, somebody else connected the sinks at a finishing stage.

The plumbing IS all clean and new. There are no leaks and all the parts are there, so what’s wrong.

Look at the copper parts at the ends of the ‘t’ offshoots. As they are installed they are filled with water and that defeats their purpose and function.

correct sink connections

This shows another sink in the same house done correctly.

Here you see the intended installation position. Air is trapped in those vertical chambers.

The air is compressible (water is not) and provides a cushion to counteract shocks or pressure changes in the water supply lines resulting from valve switching or flow changes from other fixtures and equipment in the system.

Noise can be caused by these pressure changes in systems that don’t have such a dampening device. This is called ‘water hammer’ and indeed it is a hammering repetitive noise.

The noise can be quite loud and intrusive. In older more brittle plumbing systems it can be violent enough to cause leaks or breakage. Sometimes the noise can be of a high enough frequency to sound like whistling or singing, but it is commonly low bass tones that transmit well through the structure.

The “noise arrestors” won’t always be these pre-made bottle shaped parts. Plumbers commonly create them on the spot with standard plumbing supplies. All that is required is a capped vertical pipe section open only in the downward direction.

Non-professionals often see these spurs or offsets and think it is unfinished work or provision for future connections.

They can be located anywhere in the system and are often found near sinks or showers and near hot water tanks and radiators of hot water heating systems.

system illustration

This illustration shows 8 of these “air chambers” in this example of a residential water supply system.


Comparatively this is a minor mistake, easily corrected and not a major cost. But it’s significance is in the future performance of the plumbing in this new home.

This is also one example of why it is just as important to have a new home fully inspected. Just because it’s new, built with all new components, doesn’t mean it’s always done right.


Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post

Out With My iPhone…

Out With My iPhone…

Out with my iPhone,
Snap went the shot,
Whosh that’s the email,
Here’s what I got.

illustration shot
I needed an illustration for my report, but wasn’t finding anything suitable. Not with my reports systems 1700 illustrations nor with my associations 80 albums full.

You gotta love your iPhone capability.


Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post