Inspection Training

How to Inspect the Main Water Shut-Off Device (UPDATED 9/14/17)

When the inspector is in the basement or crawlspace the main water shut-off should be located. Most of the time this will be located in the basement or the crawlspace towards the front of the home where the street would be located. This won’t always be the case and sometimes you will need to search in other areas of the home. Also, it is important to use your hands when inspecting the main water shut off to ensure there are no leaks on the handle.

NACHI SOP

International Standards of Practice for Performing a General Home Inspection

 

 

3.6. Plumbing

 

I. The inspector shall inspect:

A. The main water supply shut-off valve.

 

II. The inspector shall describe:

A. Whether the water supply is public or private based upon observed evidence;

B. The location of the main water supply shut-off valve.

 

III. The inspector shall report as in need of correction:

N/A

 

IV. The inspector is not required to:

H. Operate any valve.

 

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: Same as NACHI Standards of Practice.

 

Tools Needed

No tools required to inspect the main water supply shut-off valve

 

Procedure

  • Locate the main water shut-off valve for the property. This is usually in the basement or the crawlspace at the front of the property facing the street.
  • If the basement is finished check in the mechanical room or for access panels in the walls and behind furniture.
  • Once located inspect the shut-off valve looking for any signs of corrosion or leaks. Touch the valve, surrounding pipe, and the valve stem, feeling for any leaks. Do not turn the valve on or off. Turning the valve on or off could damage the bushing and cause it to start leaking, it could break and flood the basement, and if turned on and there is a leak, then you are liable for damage to the property.
  • Once the shut-off valve is located go to the section in the program and it will ask for the color/type/location of the valve. Next, the program will require two pictures of the shut- off valve. The first picture is a close-up of the valve and the second is showing where the valve is located.

Common Defects

  • Main shut-off piping is leaking, corroded, not present, or damaged.
  • Main shut-off knob is missing or damaged.

Common Mistakes

  • Not taking the time to locate the main shut-off valve.
  • Not feeling the main shut-off valve for leaks or cracks. (Use your hand)

Report / Software

IN


  • The main water shutoff is the [word 1] [word 2] on the valve that was located [word 3]. It appeared to be in serviceable condition, but testing the operation of this valve is not within the scope of a property inspection. Operation of the valve from time to time will keep it functional and maximize its useful life.
    • Shutoff Color
    • Shutoff Type (Knob/Lever)
    • Shutoff Location

NI

  • Could Not Locate: A main water shutoff device could not be located at the time of the inspection. Please ask the current owners for the location. If there is no main water shut-off device installed, using a water key at the street meter or having a plumber install one may be necessary.
  • Water Not On: The water was not on at the property at the time of the inspection and the main water shutoff valve could not be inspected. A qualified contractor should perform a complete plumbing inspection once water is turned on to the property.
  • Could Not Locate (Condo) – A main water shutoff device could not be located at the time of the inspection. Please ask property maintenance for the location.

NP

  • Could Not Locate: A main water shutoff device could not be located at the time of the inspection. Please ask the current owners for the location. If there is no main water shut-off device installed, using a water key at the street meter or having a plumber install one may be necessary.
  • Could Not Locate (Condo) – A main water shutoff device could not be located at the time of the inspection. Please ask property maintenance for the location.

RR

  • The main water shutoff is the [word 1] [word 2] on the valve that was located [word 3]. The main water shutoff [word 4]. A qualified contractor should evaluate and repair or replace according to current standards.
    • Access Difficult
    • Damaged
    • Knob (Damaged)
    • Knob (Missing)
    • Knob (Rubs)
    • Leaking
    • Missing
    • Seized
    • Was Corroded
    • Was Not Present
    • Were Corroded
    • Were Not Present