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  1. #1
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    Default Question about copper drain lines

    I got a call from a customer about a plumbing and electrical inspection. He is changing insurance companies, and they want an electrical inspection (100 AMP minimum) and a plumbing inspection (to verify no copper drains.) The house was built in the 1950s. I searched but could not find any issues with copper drain lines. Can anyone tell me why an insurance company would not want to see copper drains. Thanks.

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    Paul Kondzich
    Ft. Myers, FL.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Question about copper drain lines

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Kondzich View Post
    I got a call from a customer about a plumbing and electrical inspection. He is changing insurance companies, and they want an electrical inspection (100 AMP minimum) and a plumbing inspection (to verify no copper drains.) The house was built in the 1950s. I searched but could not find any issues with copper drain lines. Can anyone tell me why an insurance company would not want to see copper drains. Thanks.
    Paul,

    As far as I am concerned, copper drain lines are superior to the galvanized drains that were used (in my area) at about the same time. Late '40s-early '60s. I have never seen a problem with the old copper drains.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Question about copper drain lines

    In your location basement or crawlspace freezing may be an issue. That's the only reason I can think of them red flagging copper vs. other modern plastics materials. Seems insulation or heat strip would resolve this if that is in case the fact.

    I'd contact them and ask maybe they typo mis-placed copper instead of galvanized.

    badair http://www.adairinspection.com Garland, TX 75042 TREC # 4563
    Commercial-Residential-Construction-EIFS-Infrared Thermography
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Question about copper drain lines

    Thanks guys, Barry you are probably correct about the miscommunication since I got this info from the homeowner, not the insurance company.

    Paul Kondzich
    Ft. Myers, FL.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Question about copper drain lines

    Along with the other responses, and at least in my area some insurers will not write a policy for home with galvanized waste lines, some will not write policy for cast iron. Best to have the potential purchaser check with insurer before purchase or before close of title. Have heard of no insurance issues with copper.

    Regarding 100 amp service, many insurers up here in Ontario fwiw, will not write a policy on 60 amp service, even though Ontario Hydro has never condemned the service. Its the insurers playing code agency unfortunately.

    The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Question about copper drain lines

    The insurance company may be thinking if you have copper plumbing lines, your house is at a higher risk of being vandalized by these freaking copper thieves out there today.

    Maybe they are wanting to raise your coverage a bit on contents to cover themselves.

    I'd believe they'll do anything to make a buck off of you.

    rick


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Question about copper drain lines

    Insurers mantra = charge more, cover less, and disclaim more.

    The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Question about copper drain lines

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Regarding 100 amp service, many insurers up here in Ontario fwiw, will not write a policy on 60 amp service, even though Ontario Hydro has never condemned the service. Its the insurers playing code agency unfortunately.
    Raymond,

    Actually, the in$uarance companies understand that there is a much higher risk of overloading a service which is less than 100 amps than one which is 100 amps or greater - and that IS the business they are in ... risk assessment.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Question about copper drain lines

    Hi Jerry

    How do you overload a 60 amp service when the water heater is gas as is the stove? And the house is less than 1800 sq. feet? Have yet to hear of overloading concerns. Risk assessment or reducing risk through over zealous policy? Insurers are not code authorities they have no business condemning such service when the code authority has never condemned it? I know in some instances the insurers will bow to an electrical safety inspection conducted by the Electrical Safety Authority providing the inspection shows the system is up to snuff.

    Cheers,

    The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Question about copper drain lines

    60 amp service is not much even with gas appliances. I know you probably don't have air conditioning, but figure 30 amps for a clothes dryer, and another 15 for the washer, 10 for the fridge, and you only have 5 left for the rest of the house, throw in a computer and a tv or two and somebody wants a piece of toast...

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Question about copper drain lines

    Thats interesting because these homes have existed with these appliances for years with 60 amp service and I am not hearing of problems. Also those are momentary start up loads such as motor starts.

    The biggest concern with this older service is the fact that even if you upgrade to 100 amp you are still don't have split receptacles at kitchen counters. So the minute you start the coffee perk and toaster, viola, a blown fuse or tripped breaker.

    It just seems that the insurers are insuring less and less and charging more and more. If they continue on this trend homeowners will be faced with rebuilding the house they want to insure in order to satisfy the insurers. Less and less risk for insurers with these sort of trends in their demands for upgrades.

    Cheers,

    The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Question about copper drain lines

    60 amp service = old.
    By specifying the amperage, they in effect have a way to get rid of old services without having to have a date or inspection to verify the age or condition.

    Old services ARE more prone to problems and therefore are a greater risk.
    And as we all know, insurance companies are in it for the money which means managing risk.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Question about copper drain lines

    Gunnar,

    Around here we will see copper have problems.

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    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Question about copper drain lines

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    Gunnar,

    Around here we will see copper have problems.
    Eric,

    You must have really crappy water.

    Department of Redundancy Department
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  15. #15
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    Unhappy Re: Question about copper drain lines

    I know what you mean Eric, when I was in Florida with a well you would never want copper. The water would be done with the copper by 3 P.M., imagine what it does to your insides. This house is on a municipal water system, and the water here is pretty good to start with (ie Coors Beer.) Anyway I do the inspection tomorrow so I will find out if it really was about the copper drains or something else. It should be fun, its snowing so hard you cant see now.

    Paul Kondzich
    Ft. Myers, FL.

  16. #16
    Matthew Skowron's Avatar
    Matthew Skowron Guest

    Default Re: Question about copper drain lines

    IMO I would say the reason they want to know about copper drains is the fact that copper dosent have direction of flow fittings and are subject to more stoppages.


  17. #17

    Default Re: Question about copper drain lines

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Skowron View Post
    IMO I would say the reason they want to know about copper drains is the fact that copper dosent have direction of flow fittings and are subject to more stoppages.
    Matthew, I beg to differ. I've done many commercial plumbing jobs with copper DWV fitting and they DO have "flowed" fittings. The fittings are cast brass alloy.
    See here: https://www.nibco.com/cms.do?id=2&pId=53
    and here: NIBCO.com - Cast Copper DWV Fittings (800 Series)
    Dana

    True Professionals, Inc. Property Consultant
    877-466-8504

  18. #18
    Michael Farha's Avatar
    Michael Farha Guest

    Default Re: Question about copper drain lines

    I have never heard of a problem with copper drains vs. other materials. You may want to tell him that if the insurance co. wants to know, then let them send their own inspector out or he could just give them a copy of your report. It should I.D. the drain material. It may sound a little synical but I for one, don't tell the insurance cos. squat about the inspection when they call. I'll be more than happy to do another insp. on the property for them, for a fee.

    Michael S Farha,
    A Plus Inspections, LLC
    Edmond, OK.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Question about copper drain lines

    Well I have the answer. It was galvanized they were concerned with not copper. The drain lines were cast iron with just a few galvanized connections. I do have another question though, it will be in plumbing under What is this?

    Paul Kondzich
    Ft. Myers, FL.

  20. #20
    Matthew Skowron's Avatar
    Matthew Skowron Guest

    Default Re: Question about copper drain lines

    WoW I stand corrected thank you for the link


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