Seattle Home Inspector's Blog


But who says new construction homes don’t need inspecting?


Take a look at the following pictures very carefully.

What I am hoping you will notice is that the handle on the hot side is in a different position in each photo. 

In the first picture the hot water is turned off and we can see the “cold water” temperature is 41.2 degrees F.

cold water temperature

In the second picture the hot water is turned on and we can see the “hot water” temperature is 41.0 degrees F.

hot water temperature 


It is actually a little hard to imagine how this could happen, but it is another in an endless list of reasons to get new construction inspected.

Turning on the taps for that nice relaxing bath on move-in day might leave the home owner a little “cold.”  And the call to the agent and inspector might not be too warm either. 

On this particular home I found this issue particularly interesting because water temperature at all of the other taps was 158 degrees F.

For those of you that have been living under a log---158 degrees is WAY too hot and will cause 2nd and 3rd degree burns in less than a second. 

Modern fixtures to showers and tub/shower combos are required to be regulated such that these kinds of temperatures cannot be reached—even if the water heater is set too high.  Temperature control devices for this new construction home were either missing or not adjusted properly.

But who says new construction homes don’t need inspecting?


Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle




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Seattle Home Inspector


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WA State, Home Inspector Advisory Licensing Board

Comment balloon 26 commentsCharles Buell • January 30 2013 06:13AM


Hey, I thought the state did all the necessary inspections of new construction?  (Said the builder to the unwary buyer)

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach ( (757) 560-0881) about 6 years ago

I believe all homes, no matter of age, should get inspected...good point on the new construction!

Posted by Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®, Giving Back With Each Home Sold! (RE/MAX Realty Center ) about 6 years ago

You can never take anything for granted with new construction. Workers get sloppy, lazy especially when rushed to complete a project. The home I live in we found the countertop on the kitchen island to not be fastened down at all. The stairwell banister was also wobbly. THE HVAC was not setup properly. The showers did not drain properly and had to be retiled for proper pitch. Silly things like screws missing from outlet covers. Inspection is worth every penny.

Posted by Randy Mitchelson, APR, First Impressions are made at First Click ( #goipm & Homeland Heroes Home Loans) about 6 years ago

Kathryn, yup---a very common line---but not very accurate unfortunately

Kristin, this new construction home had a longer Summary of significant issues than many older homes

Randy, while some of the things discovered are different from the typical things found on older homes---there can still be plenty to find

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 6 years ago

Oh my good ness!  That is terrible and Charlie comes to the rescue again!  Thanks for sharing with us :)

Posted by Courtney Cooper, 206-850-8841 (Ben Kinney Brokerages Leadership at our Keller Williams North Seattle Office) about 6 years ago

Hi Charles - You're absolutely right about inspecting new construction. We always recommend it to our clients, even though the builders really hate the idea (or maybe because they do?)

Posted by Dick Greenberg, Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate (New Paradigm Partners LLC) about 6 years ago

I always council buyers to have EVERY home inspected, both resale and new construction. Builders are not always perfect because they are counting on contractors and they do make mistakes. This is great advice for every buyer.


Posted by Betina Foreman, Realtor, C.N.E., with WJK REALTY (WJK Realty) about 6 years ago

Any purchase requires you to inspect and be sure you have purchase what you want and its in the condition that you expected.

Posted by Rosemary Brooks, The Mother & Daughter Realty Team (BMC Real Estate - 209-910-3706) about 6 years ago

Did you make a cup of tea? The water was hot enough :)

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 6 years ago

Charlie, Encountered this recently in one of our listings with the hot water not working.  Apparently it had been years since the guest bath had been used and the faucet needed a new core.  If it hadn't been for the home sale they'd have never known they had a problem.

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 about 6 years ago

I did a inspection on a new home yesterday. The old adage 'no home is ever perfect' holds up yet again....

Posted by Thomas Thayer (HouseMaster of Glendora, CA) about 6 years ago

Charles -- I am surprised with the water that hot at the faucets that the tank wasn't in danger of imminent high pressure release!   Interesting that the one was not close to right at all.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) about 6 years ago

Didn't do one on our own home and totally regret it. Always do one!

Posted by Gary & Melynda Wolter (CRS) 480-269-1164, Relentless, Reliable, Premier Personal Service (eXp Realty) about 6 years ago

Rosemary, for sure---however I have seen a buyer or too that had "unrealistic expectations" too :)

Jim---the water was certainly hot enough---158 is often what I see at those hot water taps at the kitchen sink.

Liz and Bill, interesting---sometimes it can be that simple

Thomas, I have never not found my fee worth of defects on any inspection.

Steven, well it still had a ways to go---the TPRV is not going to go off until it gets to 210 degrees F or 150psi---whichever comes first.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 6 years ago

Gary and Melynda---that is what I hear over and over

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 6 years ago

Any home should have a home inspection, I have had a lot of things wrong in new homes that might never have been caught and the nthe homewoners would have had to fight with the builder to get them fixed with the warranty period. No one is perfect in home building, and that is ok. Just don't buy anyone telling a buyer they do not "need" a home inspection

Posted by Jeanne Kozak, REALTOR and Broker/Owner in WV and VA (RE/MAX In Action) about 6 years ago

Charlie, But did it not pass the AHJ ; ) Just joking. I think it is so important to have every home inspected, especially a new one. Your only time to make it right with the builder.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

Charlie, I have never seen one that hot... wow, James is right, time for tea!

I inspected a new construction a few weeks ago that the shower had NO hot water going to it... uh oh!

Get them inspected!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) about 6 years ago

How was it 158 degrees? Wow that is crazy hot. Good thing guys like you and I check this stuff.

Posted by Rob Ernst, Reno, NV-775-410-4286 Inspector & Energy Auditor (Certified Structure Inspector) about 6 years ago

Any home no matter what age it is should be inspected!  Shoddy new construction can always be discovered in this way.

Posted by Paula McDonald, Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury, TX 936-203-0279 (Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury) about 6 years ago

Jeanne, I think it is WAY easier to get things corrected before move-in than at the end of the warranty period---especially if the builder is no longer around :)

Don, well there is the time just before the warranty is up---but that is often more difficult.

Fred, I have had hot water to toilets several times, but this is a first with no hot water to just one point of use.

Rob, the hottest I have seen is 160---just way too hot.

Paula, I think a lot of times it is just due to things getting "lost in the shuffle" not always due to crappy construction.  Even the best builders are not going to be able to police every little detail.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 6 years ago

I Think houses should have a year inspection! See us Leasing Staff

Posted by Farley about 6 years ago

Charles, working with my buyer and his builder - when I mentioned that we will have the home inspection after receiving the occupancy certificate, he looked at me as if I killed someone! After reading your post, I do not have second thoughts on that - and will go ahead with the home inspection!

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) about 6 years ago

That tub is for the family who desires consistency - we want our hot and cold to be the same in THIS tub!

I can hardly enter the bathroom when my wife is showering, she likes it so hot.  So I expect that 158F is right up her alley.  You and I can go back under our logs.  She would be quite satisfied.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

It can also be exciting to flush the toilet and see steam coming out.  Several times the hot water was connected to the toilet instead of cold.  Can give you a rush on a cold morning!

Posted by Robert Sole (REM Inspections LLC) about 6 years ago

Praful, every builder knows that when the home inspector comes through it is going to cost them time and money :)

Jay, regardless of what temp the water in the tank is the human skin can not tolerate water temp above 120 for more than a few minutes.

Robert, for sure---one of the more common fopas that gets discovered on New Construction

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 6 years ago