Interior

How Much Does a Plumbing Inspection Cost?

A plumbing inspection can help homeowners stay on top of maintaining this important home system. Typically, a plumbing inspection costs between $65 and $4,500, or a national average of $200.
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Plumbing Inspection Cost
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Highlights

  • A plumbing inspection typically costs between $65 and $4,500, and the national average cost is $200.
  • The cost of a plumbing inspection will depend on the size of the home, the type of inspection being performed, the urgency, and the cost of any necessary repairs.
  • A plumbing inspection may be necessary when buying or selling a home, and a proactive plumbing inspection can help homeowners prevent larger (and more expensive) issues from occurring.
  • The average homeowner doesn’t have the knowledge and skills necessary to perform a plumbing inspection; a professional has the experience and equipment to detect even the smallest issue and make recommendations to remedy any plumbing problems.
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The plumbing system is responsible for routing clean water from the local utility to the home and distributing the water throughout the house with a series of water pipes. It carries cold water to each faucet, shower, and water-using appliance, as well as carrying hot water through separate water lines from the water heater to the various sinks, showers, tubs, and water-using appliances.

The plumbing system is also made up of drain lines, which connect to sinks, toilets, shower drains, and water-using appliances to carry waste and wastewater out of the home. Given that water lines and drain lines typically run inside the walls and floors of the home, any leaks, clogs, or breaks could cause significant damage to the infrastructure of the home. To avoid nasty surprises, like a partially flooded basement, it’s a good idea to get regular plumbing inspections.

According to Angi and HomeAdvisor, plumbing inspectors will charge between $65 and $4,500 for a plumbing inspection, though the average cost is just $200. Before researching local plumbing inspectors or putting together a budget for this service, homeowners can use this guide to learn more about the factors that can impact plumbing inspection cost.

Plumbing Inspection Cost
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Factors in Calculating Plumbing Inspection Cost

There are several factors for homeowners to consider in order to come up with an accurate plumbing inspection cost estimate, including the home size, inspection type, urgency of the situation, and any repairs that need to be made to the home. Before homeowners hire a plumbing inspector for a water line or sewer line inspection, it’s important to learn more about these key factors in calculating sewage pipe inspection, water pipe inspection, or plumbing camera inspection cost.

Home Size

A plumbing inspection for a small home with a single bathroom, kitchen, and just a few water-using appliances will typically cost the least because there are fewer water lines, drain lines, plumbing fixtures, and appliances to inspect for problems. The cost of a plumbing inspection increases as the size of the home increases because the plumber will need to inspect a greater area.

Larger homes tend to have multiple bathrooms and may have more than one kitchen, laundry room, or even a full irrigation system that the plumber would need to inspect for issues. The more pipes, drain lines, plumbing fixtures, and water-using appliances, the longer it will take to thoroughly inspect the system, leading to increased costs.

Inspection Type

Another factor for homeowners to consider before hiring a plumbing inspector is the type of inspection, including visual, camera, and combination plumbing inspections.

  • Visual plumbing inspections are the most basic option available and also the most affordable at an average cost of about $175. A standard plumbing inspection typically consists of a visual review and assessment of the water lines, drain lines, plumbing fixtures, water pressure, and any water-using appliances, like water heaters, clothes washers, dishwashers, and refrigerators.
  • Camera plumbing inspections cost about $700 on average. If the homeowner suspects there are issues inside the walls, in the ceilings, under the floors, or in the drain lines, then a camera inspection may be necessary. During a camera inspection, the inspector will feed a high-resolution camera behind the walls, into the ceiling, under the floors, or into the drain line to inspect the plumbing.
  • Combination inspections include a visual inspection and a camera inspection of the plumbing system. To ensure that there aren’t any current problems with the plumbing, the homeowner can request a combination appointment, which typically costs about $800.

Urgency

One of the best ways to save on plumbing inspection costs is to plan an inspection about once every 1 to 2 years. However, if a homeowner notices an issue that demands urgent attention, like an active leak, or they suspect there is a break in the incoming water line, then the cost of the inspection may include an additional emergency trip fee ranging from $100 to $350.

Homeowners will want to note that not all plumbers or plumbing inspection companies will charge an additional fee for emergencies or travel expenses. Before an emergency occurs, homeowners are advised to research several local plumbing companies to find out if there are any extra fees or if the standard plumber cost increases for emergency calls.

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Repairs

A plumbing inspection is a good idea if the homeowner suspects there is a problem with the plumbing system. The inspector will be able to identify any issues and provide suggestions for resolutions. However, the plumbing inspection cost does not include the cost of any additional services, such as sewer line cleaning, septic tank pumping, or plumbing repairs. Larger expenses such as sewer line replacement costs will also add significantly to the total project.

Before homeowners schedule a plumbing inspection appointment, it’s recommended that they prepare a modest plumbing maintenance budget. This project budget should be substantial enough to tackle any pressing issues the inspection turns up, including a faulty water heater, clogged sewer line, damaged sewer main, broken toilet, or a full septic tank.

Repair ServiceAverage Cost (Labor and Materials)
Clean a sewer line$200 to $500
Pump a septic tank$300 to $600
Repair a sewer main$1,200 to $4,600
Repair a toilet$100 to $400
Replace a water heater$800 to $1,300
Unclog a drain$100 to $300

Types of Plumbing Inspections

Not every plumbing inspection is exactly the same. A water line or sewer line camera inspection involves threading a camera into a tight space or narrow gap to look for any hidden problems behind the wall, in the ceiling, inside cabinets, behind a toilet, or under the floor.

Standard inspections are conducted with nothing but the human eye. These visual inspections are typically enough to spot any significant issues, but they may miss hidden problems in the ceiling, floor, or walls. During a visual inspection, homeowners can request a camera for sewer line or water line inspections, allowing the plumber to get a closer look at the problem with a combination inspection.

Plumbing Inspection TypeAverage Cost
Camera$700
Visual$175
Combination$800

Camera

Water lines and drain lines run through the floors, in the walls, and through the ceilings of the home to connect to the various water fixtures and water-using appliances. Problems with the plumbing system are not always easy to spot with a simple visual inspection, so a plumber may suggest a camera inspection. This type of inspection costs about $700 and involves the plumber feeding a high-resolution camera behind the walls, inside the ceilings, under the floors, or into the sewer lines.

The camera snakes through these narrow spaces, sending real-time images to a screen that the plumber is viewing. This method allows the plumber to spot clogs, breaks, hidden leaks, and tree root intrusions. Depending on the company and the tools the inspector uses, the homeowner may also receive a digital copy of the camera inspection for review.

Visual

The most common plumbing inspection type is a visual inspection, which costs about $175 on average. Visual inspections typically consist of a plumber tracing the plumbing lines through the home while visually inspecting the system for any signs of leaks, corrosion, low water pressure, or any other issues.

During a visual plumbing inspection the plumber will inspect the water lines, drain lines, showers, tubs, sinks, toilets, outdoor spigots, and any water-using appliances. The inspector will usually also test the water pressure and ensure the drains are draining without a problem. After the inspection, the homeowner will receive a report with the findings of the inspection and any suggested actions, such as drain cleaning or plumbing repairs.

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Combination

Combination inspections are the most thorough option available, though this type of inspection is the most expensive option, with an average cost of about $800. A combination inspection consists of both a visual inspection of the plumbing system and a camera inspection to ensure that the plumber finds any potential problems with the plumbing infrastructure.

The plumber will perform an initial visual inspection of the water lines, drain lines, plumbing fixtures, and any water-using appliances, and then they will use a high-resolution camera to inspect the inside of the drain lines. Before homeowners purchase a home, it’s recommended that they get a combination plumbing inspection to avoid investing in a property with significant plumbing problems.

Plumbing Inspection Cost
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Do I Need a Plumbing Inspection?

Before homeowners schedule a visual inspection or drain camera inspection, it’s important for them to know why their home may require a plumbing inspection. After all, if the plumbing was recently inspected, then it’s likely still in the same condition as it was following the previous inspection.

The most common reason for a plumbing inspection is to prevent costly damage to the home by preventing larger problems from occurring, though the homeowner may also get a plumbing inspection if they are selling the home or purchasing a new home.

Buying a Home

Purchasing a home can be complicated. There is a ton of paperwork, site visits, sale discussions, and financial concerns to worry about that can quickly get overwhelming. However, during this process it’s important for a buyer to have inspections completed on all the major home systems and appliances to ensure that they don’t purchase a property with costly hidden problems.

Before buying a home, the buyer will want to hire a plumbing inspector to conduct a full combination inspection of the water lines, drain lines, plumbing fixtures, and any water-using appliances. This type of inspection will cost about $800 on average but could save buyers money if the inspection turns up any significant issues with the plumbing infrastructure. In some cases, the plumbing inspection may be included in the overall home inspection cost, but buyers will want to check to be certain.

Selling a Home

Too many people try to slip lingering issues past potential buyers in an attempt to pass the responsibility for the repairs on to the new, unsuspecting owners. To improve buyer confidence, it’s a good idea for a seller to hire a professional plumber to conduct a plumbing inspection of the home before putting it on the market. The real estate agent will be able to provide the inspection report to any prospective buyers to help entice them into purchasing the property. This extra step will cost sellers about $200 on average, but it could help identify any hidden issues, so that they can repair the problem before selling the home.

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Prevention of Bigger Issues

The primary reason to hire a plumber to inspect the plumbing infrastructure is to identify any potential issues, allowing the homeowner to make the necessary repairs or upgrades before the problem gets worse. During a plumbing inspection, the homeowner will be able to find out if any plumbing fixtures are loose, leaking, or showing signs of wear. The plumber will point out areas with significant corrosion and test the water pressure to ensure that it is acceptable for the neighborhood.

Plumbers will also check the water heater and inspect the drain lines for any clogs. By learning about issues early on, homeowners can reduce the chance of further damage. However, if the problems are not resolved quickly, they could lead to massive water damage to the home and a costly home restoration bill.

Plumbing Inspection Cost
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Plumbing Inspection: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional 

DIYers who have a significant amount of experience with residential plumbing may be able to conduct a visual inspection of the plumbing system instead of hiring a professional plumber. However, if the inspection requires the use of a high-resolution plumbing camera, then it’s often better for the homeowner to leave the job to a professional with the appropriate tools. Otherwise the homeowner will need to purchase their own high-resolution plumbing camera and learn how to use it to conduct the plumbing inspection.

In some situations, a licensed plumber will be required to complete an official inspection certificate, such as during the purchase or sale of a home, or if the permit office requests a plumbing inspection to approve an upgrade or repair. Additionally, it’s important to note that DIYers with very little plumbing experience will need to leave this work to a trained, experienced plumbing inspector to ensure that there aren’t any issues that go unnoticed during the inspection process.

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How to Save Money on Plumbing Inspection Cost

A plumbing inspection will generally cost about $200 on average, though the cost can increase significantly, ranging from $65 to $4,500 depending on the size of the home, type of inspection, urgency of the appointment, and the additional cost of any necessary repairs. With this in mind, it’s important to find ways to reduce the cost of the plumbing inspection and the cost of any repairs or upgrades noted on the inspection report. Homeowners can consider the following methods to help save money on the cost of plumbing inspections and repairs.

  • Get multiple quotes. One of the easiest ways to save on plumbing inspections is to research at least three different companies to find the plumbing inspection company with the best rates. This will also allow the homeowner to see the difference between available services and ensure that they are getting a fair price for the work.
  • Keep up with minor maintenance tasks. Minor plumbing issues, like replacing a worn-out kitchen faucet or plunging a toilet, can typically be handled by an experienced DIYer. By taking on these minor maintenance tasks, the homeowner can reduce the overall cost of any additional repairs or upgrades.
  • Bundle plumbing inspection and plumbing repair costs. Typically a plumbing inspection will be completed by a licensed plumber, so if the inspection turns up any issues, the homeowner may be able to get a reduced rate for repair work by hiring the same company to complete the repairs or upgrades.

Questions to Ask About Plumbing Inspections

The main purpose of hiring a plumber to conduct a plumbing inspection is to have a trained, experienced professional provide feedback and insight on the current status of the water lines, drain lines, plumbing fixtures, and any water-using appliances. However, it’s best for a homeowner to have a basic understanding of the inspection process and the plumbing system in order to get the most value out of the inspection. Before hiring and during the inspection process, homeowners will want to ask the following questions to ensure the inspector is licensed, insured, and experienced with plumbing inspections.

  • Are you licensed and insured?
  • Do you have available references?
  • What parts of the system will you check?
  • Can I see a sample report?
  • Can I attend the inspection?
  • What will the total cost be?
  • Can I get a written quote?
  • Is the plumbing system in good condition?
  • Are there any existing leaks?
  • Is the water pressure good for the area?
  • What is the condition of the main sewer?
  • Does the water heater need to be upgraded?
  • Are the pipes damaged or corroded?
  • How much does cracked sewer pipe repair cost?
  • What steps should I take to repair the plumbing?

FAQs

A plumbing inspection is intended to provide the homeowner with more information about the current state of the plumbing system so that they can make any upgrades or necessary repairs before existing issues get worse. With this in mind, it’s a good idea for homeowners to find out as much as possible about the inspection process to better understand the information the inspector will be providing. Below are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about plumbing inspections.

Q. How often should I check my plumbing?

Homeowners will want to visually inspect their plumbing fixtures and plumbing system frequently so they can spot any problems as soon as they occur. However, a professional plumbing inspection is recommended about once every 1 to 2 years.

Q. What are some of the negative indications for a plumbing inspector?

When the inspector is inspecting the plumbing system, they are looking for any signs that could indicate the system is in disrepair. This can include active leaks, low water pressure, clogs, areas with high levels of condensation, water hammering, loose fixtures, pipe discoloration, unpleasant odors, water heater issues, or running toilets.

Q. How do I hire a professional for plumbing inspection?

In order to hire a professional plumbing inspector, homeowners are advised to get suggestions from close family, friends, and neighbors who have had professional plumbing inspections recently. Homeowners will also want to research local plumbing inspection companies and verify that the inspectors are licensed and insured. It’s also a good idea to get estimates from at least three reputable companies to ensure a fair price for the inspection.

Q. What is included in a plumbing inspection?

A plumbing inspection will typically include a visual inspection and review of the pipes, plumbing fixtures, and the water pressure. Homeowners can request a water line or sewer camera inspection if they suspect there may be a problem hidden behind the walls. A septic camera inspection could also be requested if there is an issue with the septic system, though this may involve a separate septic inspection cost. Camera inspections involve feeding a high-resolution camera behind the walls, into the ceilings, under the floors, behind objects, or even into the main drain line to spot any leaks, breaks, or clogs.

Q. Why is it necessary to perform plumbing inspections from time to time?

Like any other system or appliance in the home, the plumbing system can develop issues over time. Investing in semi-regular plumbing inspections will help to identify any problems with the plumbing so that you can take steps to repair the system, instead of waking up to a partially flooded basement due to a surprise break in one of the lines.

Q. How long does a plumbing inspection take on average?

On average, a typical plumbing inspection will take about 2 hours to complete, though the inspection may wrap up more quickly for smaller properties or take a bit more time for larger properties.

Sources: Angi, HomeAdvisor