April, 2009
Feature
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



Hot Toilets

BRUCE BARKER

Your Standards Committee treats all Requests for Interpretation of ASHI’s Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics with the serious attention they deserve. Some requests, however, are a little more fun than others. This is one of them.

– Bruce Barker, chair, 2009 ASHI Standards of Practice Committee



QUESTION


Is an inspector required to inspect whether or not a commode (toilet) has been plumbed to a cold or hot water line?

ANSWER

Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics Section 2.2.C.1 state, in part, that inspectors shall report those systems and components inspected that are not functioning properly or are significantly deficient. Connection of a toilet to a supply of hot water does not cause a toilet to malfunction nor does it make the toilet significantly deficient; therefore, an inspector is not required to report this condition. Connection of a toilet to a supply of hot water is not standard practice; therefore, an inspector may wish to report this condition if he detects it during the normal course of an inspection.

DISCUSSION

The International Residential Code does not require connecting toilets to a cold water supply. The only reference is an assumption that toilets will be connected to a cold water supply when calculating the size of water supply pipes. In fact, some plumbers connect toilets to hot water as a partial cure for condensation on the tank.

Hot toilets present some potential risks. Constant exposure to hot water could cause premature failure of toilet tank components. In extreme cases, scalding could occur. Of course, whether or not this condition is within the scope of a home inspection, the inspector may be blamed for failing to detect it.

From a practical perspective, a hot toilet would be difficult to detect during the normal course of a home inspection. This condition would require many flushes to reveal. Given its rarity, inspectors might wonder if it is worth the time (and the water) to test for hot toilets.