Carmen, Home Buyer in Los Angeles, CA

I recently purchased a home, after having some pluming issues I have found that PVC pipe was used with CPVC pipe in my kitchen (this is a no no).

Asked by Carmen, Los Angeles, CA Thu Jul 1, 2010

The plumber that came out said that it was a disaster waiting to happen. The pipes are visible. Is this something my inspector should have advised me of?

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Hi Carmen,

What a mess, sorry to hear that you're having to go through this. Your frist step should be to have your orginal inspector re-inspect the home. This will allow for the inspector to determine that this was a pre-existing issue. And an issue that should have been discussed in your original inspection report. This should take place before any repair work has begun. Second, you should consult with an Attorney who specializes in Real Estate law. You must protect yourself and your investment. Good luck!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 1, 2010

It is a condo so the wall where the pipes are is a common wall which means my neighbor has the exact same damage on her side. The kitchen is where the problem is but it is on the same wall as my laundry room. The leak has spread to the laundry room. The PVC/CPVC is the way the pervious owner fixed and old leak is what I am now finding out. I was told that the PVC/CPVC glue is different. The issue is my pluming needs to be redone and now there is a lot of damage, and all parties state it is my responsibility. Ignorance of lack of knowledge is not an excuse any insurance is willing to take.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 1, 2010
Hi Carmen,
PVC is not approved for potable( human use). It is strictly not permitted inside a house for your plumbing/water supply. It is a water quality rather than a pipe breakage or failure issue. PVC is used for sprinkler systems, pool water supply, and other uses not related to human water consumption. CPVC is approved for interior installation and human water consumption.
Your inspector can only note what they see. If the piping was concealed or otherwise not visible by using limited, visual inspection methods, then they may not have been able to detect that. That is something I can't comment on of course.. If you feel the inspector could have easily seen that discrepancy, its OK to (at least) call them of course.
Please let us know what happens and I hope you get all that fixed ASAP!!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 1, 2010
Hi Carmen;
You're right, in a Foreclosure or any "as is" sale done without disclosures, the liability will rest squarely on the shoulders of your inspector.
Gene gives great practical information (thank goodness someone here knows pipes!) and armed with his info, you know what questions to ask.
Your inspector should be licensed/ bonded/ insured for just this situation.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 1, 2010
Dear Carmen,

I have to say that I agree with Deborah. Speak to your agent and come up with an effective plan of action. You don't have anything to lose by trying to pursue it this way first.

When you have a home inspection done, the inspector is working for you! Look over his old report and read any disclaimers in his paperwork that you signed. Getting armed with this knowledge will be very useful.

I hope things work out well for you...good luck!

Angela Bond
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 1, 2010
Thank you ladies for your time, however this was a foreclosure so there is no contact with the previous owners, and they didn't hire anyone to do the work, they did it themselves. I do have a plumber, the issue now is that have extensive water damage and no kitchen or laundry room. This is a condo so my neighbor has the same damage. I just wanted to know if I was protected or covered in anyway
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 1, 2010
I don't know about your area, but in Los Angeles, the agents continue to serve the client long after the escrow closes. That's my standard for representing my clients, and I believe a good Realtor who follows the code of Ethics and adheres to the Agency agreement signed with the client has a duty to them. Perhaps you need to look at your business model.
In addition, there is potential liability here.
I stand by my answer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 1, 2010
Deborah, let's be honest; the old agent isn't going to give a flip. The inspector is going to claim it did not fall under his inspection guidelines, and the selling agent is going to just refer her to a plumber. Carmen, just find a plumber.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 1, 2010
First of all, Carmen, I am not a plumber, so I can't comment on whether this is a problem. I take your word for this.

If it's really a problem, then yes, an inspector should have commented on it and alerted you to its risks.

I would first contact my Realtor, and develop a plan of approaching the problem.
This would include:
1. Contacting the original inspector and having them come out to the property to view the problem.
2. Contacting the previous owner to see if they were in any way aware of this issue. (this will probably need to be done through the original listing agent)
3. Talking to the company who did the plumbing work, assuming they are still in business. (This information will need to be obtained from the previous owner)

From that point, you can find out who will assist you in resolving the problem, with as little impact on your life, and wallet, as possible.
Deborah Bremner
REALTOR, 00588885
(D) 818.564.6591
Blogging at:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 1, 2010
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