Turn back on utility for inspection?

5 Replies

I'm working on a deal in Norfolk and inspection is a contingency. The seller agreed to keep the electricity on but he won't turn back on gas & water. The house was built in 1950's and I just want to make sure the gas & water lines are free from any leaks. Rather than prolonging the negotiation with the utilities, I was thinking I will have the utility companies turn it back on under my name on the inspection date then turn it off after. How long does it take for the utility company to turn it on and for how much? Water company is HRUBS and gas is VA Natural Gas if that will help.

Anybody who has an experience like this? How did you deal with it?

Would it be a dealbreaker if there were failures in those systems? If so, yes, put them in your name and get them tested- pretty crappy that the seller won't do it. I write in to all of my offers that the seller is responsible for leaving all utilities on during my due diligence period. Gotta do it. 

I’d imagine you’d need authorization from the owner to turn on the utilities even if you’re paying for them. Also, what happens if there is a leak, and the water company turns on the water and floods the house?

You may want to talk to your inspector to see if they’ve ever air-pressure tested a system before? That’s how gas and water piping is usually tested after install. And if there’s a leak, there’s no mess (not explosion)

Thank you for the responses. 


@Catherine Emert  I called both utility companies and they asked me to submit an application for the services for one-time $20-$30 fee and provide proof of purchase and at least 24-48 hours to do so. However, I found out the previous owner owes some money to the company so I'm guessing that's why he does not want it back on since he might be required to pay for it so I'm working with my agent to find out what's the best approach to resolve the issue. 

@Corby Goade So far I did not budget for the plumbing or any leak repair when I made the offer that's why I really wanted it inspected with all utilities on so I can modify my offer if any issues have been discovered. And yes, the plan is to have it under my name when inspected. 

@Mike McCarthy Now you're making me worried, but you have a good point, I am just hoping that's not the case. :) While researching, I came across that suggestion about pressure testing but the inspector I spoke to, did not suggest that as an alternative (probably he does not have the equipment). If reconnecting it gives me so much hassle, I may have to consider your suggestion. 

@Dan V. If you wanted, you could probably pressure test the water pipes yourself with a few pieces and not much work.  This is what I use when I'm doing plumbing:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Winters-Instruments-PETG-Series-2-in-Gas-Test-Pressure-Gauge-with-Test-Valve-Adapts-to-3-4-in-FNPT-and-Range-of-0-60-psi-kPa-PETG203/305046987

Then an adapter to go from the threaded to a hose connector.  Connect it to an outside hose spigot or washing machine valve.  Get a bike pump and pump it up to 10-20psi.  It might take a few minutes of pumping, so you might want to bring a friend... but you'll get a quick idea if there's a leak anywhere.  (I usually use a compressor, but that's just more to carry around)

I would be less concerned about a gas leak, though you of course won't know if the furnace or water heater actually work.  Though you can probably get an idea based on their age and condition.

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