Happenings at Triangle Realty

Hydrostatic Pressure Testing

Jun 16, 2015

There seems to be a new fad in town, for homeowners, home buyers, and home sellers in the Amarillo area. Hydrostatic testing is blowing up the real estate business, and Triangle Realty wants you to be aware of the new real estate issues 2015 is presenting. The Department of Building Safety for the city of Amarillo issued an informational bulletin for 2015 concerning explanations and precautions of hydrostatic pressure testing in the Amarillo area.

What might seem like a minor detail when buying a house, selling a home, or just owning a home, sometimes poses a bigger dilemma. Hydrostatic testing has presented itself in a time when home inspections are becoming ever more important.

 

For years, the testing has caused some controversy because of cost, but never seemed overly pressing, because existing homes were not required to be tested. Newly constructed homes were tested, so it all seemed easy cheesy…until recently.

So, before we all start diving into our 401K funds to pay for inspections that might not be crucial, we must seek to understand the subject of hydrostatic testing.

So what is hydrostatic testing, exactly?

A hydrostatic test is a way in which pressure vessels such as pipelines, plumbing, gas cylinders, boilers and fuel tanks can be tested for strength and leaks. According to the department of building safety of Amarillo, a hydrostatic test is performed on a home or building’s sanitary sewer system in order to determine if there are any leaks present in the plumbing system.

How does a hydrostatic pressure test work?

A hydrostatic test begins with locating the sewer and then performing a cleanout or installing one if required. (Most sanitary systems, built before the 1970s, join together in the yard, but must be tested separately. For homes built after the 1970s, there is usually one existing pipe that is much easier to cleanout).

After the cleanout, a sewer camera is installed to inspect the system. A testball is inserted into the piping and inflated at the perimeter of the foundation, and then the piping is filled with water. The water level is then monitored at a first floor shower or commode flange. When the water level starts to decrease, there is an indication of a leak in the system. Additional tests (isolation and flow) will help determine the location of the leak(s) and whether or not the leak(s) allows drainage to escape piping under normal service conditions.  

How much does testing cost me?

When seeking a cleanout, the cost is usually around $250 and $400. Yet, depending on how deep plumbers need to drill (usually four feet in the Amarillo area), and how far the main pipeline is, costs can range anywhere from $400 to $6,000.

When is hydrostatic pressure testing necessary?

Here’s the deal. In the Amarillo area, we don’t necessarily have enough water to pose a problem with leakage. However, since our water sources are scarce, the existing trees in this area do tend to seek water lines and wrap around sewer pipes and infiltrate them to cause leakage. Even so, homeowners can usually just call a plumber and have the line “rooted out.”

Because most homes built after 1970 have been tested during construction, it is not required to get a hydrostatic test performed, because most were installed with PVC pipe, which has a life span of 100 years.

It’s not a perk for a seller. If, in case, buyers do order hydrostatic testing, the probability of tearing the house up is high. Testing usually requires plumbers to break through (about two to four feet down) tiles, concrete, and foundation in order to reach pipelines, resulting in remodeling costs of $10,000 to $25,000. Not only will it cost lots of money, the testing might take from a few hours to an entire day.

So just be cautious, as homeowners, buyers, and sellers. Sure, it’s important to get home inspections, but understand what is necessary and what is going to cost…a pretty penny.

Who can help?

Contact your REALTOR for referrals in the Amarillo area, and check out these local businesses, who are resourceful and knowledgeable on this subject:

A&S Plumbing CO

CB Plumbing

Ekmek Rooter Plumbing CO

Pratt Plumbing

ScottCO Plumbing

For more educational information about hydrostatic pressure testing and the methods used in the process, visit the American Gas & Chemical Company, LTD.

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NCBA - National Cattlemen's Beef Association Convention & Tradeshow
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Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Convention
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27th Annual Outlook for Texas Land Markets
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San Antonio, TX

World Championship Ranch Rodeo
Nov 2017
Amarillo National Center, Amarillo TX
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Come see the Triangle Booth!

Farm & Ranch Show
Nov 28-30, 2017
Amarillo, TX
Click here for more information
Come see the Triangle Booth!

Dallas Safari Club Convention
Jan 2018
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Panhandle Groundwater Conservation District Symposium
Spring 2018
Amarillo, TX
Click here for more information

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