The Most Important Test A Home Buyer Can Perform
[John]: And you’re listening to The Ask the Experts Radio Show on Talk Radio 1190. We’ve got two Rogers with us today. Roger Wakefield, who’s always here with us the beginning of the month. Texas Green Plumbing. Texasgreenplumbing.com. His number (972)-442-4101. And we also have Roger Williamson of williamsonfoundation.com. They’re talking about both the two different fields and how they interrelate, between foundations and plumbing. And you know, every time you get a twinge in your arm, especially if you’re over 20 years old, you can’t run to the doctor. I don’t know if retired people seem to go to the doctor more because they have more time or they just focus in on it more and the same thing with when I think of foundations. And now if you see a drip in your house you go to take care of that or you’re gonna be wasting a lot of water and you could be flooding yourself out at some point as well. But foundation problems may be a little bit different there. I was just noticing in the house I’d lived in for 16 years there was – everything seemed fine – but there was one door that always stuck and I tried shifting it a little higher, a little lower. And I thought if everything else – there were like three doors like this – I think I’ve got some serious foundation problems. Just that one. Did they do a bad job in this room? When do you know? When is it time to start calling the doctor out?
[Williamson]: Well if you only have one door that’s sticking and everything else is fine, you don’t have a foundation problem, you have a door problem. I actually have a sticking door in my house by the way. I just haven’t gotten around to taking care of it. The foundation is fine. How you know you have a foundation problem: there’s the obvious things the cracks inside and outside. But sometimes cracks are just cracks. They aren’t necessarily indicative of a problem, per se. Sometimes it’s just indicative of normal foundation movement, which we have seasonally. No way to control it completely. Sometimes it’s indicative of thermal expansion in the brick and things like that. So I always tell people if it, if the crack looks like you drew it on with a pencil, most likely no problem at all. If you can slip a dime into it, it might be something that we want to keep an eye on and possibly look into. If you can stick your finger in that crack, whether it’s inside or outside then yeah, you’ve definitely got something going on and you need to have that looked at. And it’s kind of the same way with doors. If it’s a little bit sticky sometimes during the year, yeah probably not a big deal. If you flat out can’t get it anywhere close to closed, then something has moved and you probably got to look at it. The good news is well, well the bad news is that most people are scared to death of foundation problems and they think it’s going to cost an absolute fortune and I don’t have a fortune so why even bother calling them? The good news is that almost every foundation repair company does evaluations for free, so it doesn’t cost you anything. We at least are very non-pressure, we never ask anybody, you know, to do anything that day. We’re there to give you information and information only and we leave and that’s it. And then you can do with it what you want after that. But at least it’s something that you have now, that you can start planning for financially in the future, if you do have something going on you can start building towards that. And the average price of foundation repair, at least with our company, over the last few years is under 7,000 dollars has, been the average.
[John]: That’s a lot more doable than I thought.
[Williamson]: Yes. So we also do have financing available. In many cases, 18 months interest free and low interest for longer periods of time. So it shouldn’t be as as daunting a situation as a lot of people make it in their own heads.
[John]: I walked into a neighbor’s house a few years ago and they said they’d had some foundation problems. And we’re talking, I thought it was a, 10 times worse than I expected. Big cracks in the walls and they said they just had to tell their kids: guess what, this is Christmas. This is where Christmas is going, right here. We can’t live like this, it’s falling apart. But I had not seen that sort of situation before. I want to mention because people do get in and out of the car while listening to the radio. Earlier, Roger Wakefield was mentioning how he hooked up with you. That you were at a business mixer and one of your representative said that if plumbing – if a foundation job had been done 31 years ago and the owners had switched – had sold the house and everything, you still want 100% cover that repair for the life of the house.
[Williamson]: Absolutely. A lot of companies tout their transferable lifetime warranty and transferable being the key word. Transferable does not mean it transfers. It means it’s able to be transferred, which means you’re going to have to do something when you’re in the middle of trying to sell a house, buy a house, pack your house, work with movers, get your, you know, kids registered in new schools, everything else you’re also going to have to jump through hoops with that foundation repair company to get that warranty transferred. We don’t do that our warrant – we warrant the home, not the homeowner. So there’s absolutely no transfer notification required. Our lifetime warranty stays with the house and is truly a lifetime warranty. We have gone back and looked at, and worked on houses that we worked on over, you know, 25 years ago. We’ve been in business since 1985, so we’ve been here a while.
[John]: Okay and if anybody has a question either about foundations or plumbing: (214)-787-1190 is our number here. (214)-787-1190. Switching back to Roger Wakefield, we touched on this a little bit before. If there appears like there might be something involving foundation work, what do you – and the foundation being this the solid part of it, and you said you normally would recommend the foundation work be done first but both are going to come into play, what would you do before the foundation work is handled?
[Wakefield]: If we’re still – if we’re representing a buyer of a house, and we work a lot with Realtors. I also know Roger Williamson does, because I see Kasey and a lot of events that we do together. When Realtors talk to their clients and I tell every realtor I know I recommend a sewer and water test on any house you may buy. The reason being, as Roger told you, foundation around here, the soils around here, are things that we have to deal with on any house. When we go out and represent a buyer, we will go out and do what is called a sewer and water test. It’s written the TREC contract now as a “hydrostatic test”. I don’t like that wording because coming from a commercial field, hydrostatic you actually apply pressure. And Ebby Halliday used to have it in one of their contracts that if you apply pressure or if you do a hydrostatic test and you caused any damage you agree to fix it. Well the problem is by me putting water in your sewer system there’s nothing I can do there to cause any damage. I am literally doing a leak test and that’s what I try to convey to the home seller or the listing agent is look, all I’m trying to determine is does the plumbing that is under the house hold water like it should. This is the exact same test that we have to do to get that plumbing inspected if we install it new, and that’s on the sewer line. We literally, we go to the two-way clean-out so there has to be a two-way clean-out there we stick a test ball in on the leaving side of it we fill it up with water to the slab level and we watch it and see if it drops. It’s a leak test. I’m not applying any external pressure to it, we’re not pumping the pressure up in the system to to try to cause leaks, we’re not trying to force a lot of leaks. Literally, so water is what .231 or yeah .431 pounds per foot, so you’re talking three feet of water, you’re talking about 1.2 pounds of pressure. It’s not a lot of water. So we fill it up to see if it leaks, we like to sit let it sit about thirty minutes. To be honest, in ten minutes if it hadn’t budged at all there’s no leak there. We may leave it longer because it may drop eight or nine inches and stop and if it stops that kind of gives us a ballpark ideas. Then on the water test what we do is we go in we put a gauge on a hydrant. Normally we like a washing machine box inside the house, there’s no vacuum breaker there, put the water gauge on, see what the pressure is, go to the meter and turn it off. As Roger and I we’re talking about it on the break while ago, there’s a valve box in the front yard but normally they’re corroded, they’re rotted you can’t turn the valves, you can’t operate them.
[John]: It’s not just me?
[Wakefield]: Not just you, any of us.
[Williamson]: Me too!
[Wakefield]: I tell my plumbers look if you open that valve box and it’s covered don’t even try, because the last thing we want to do is do get it to work, shut the water off then we can’t turn it back on. And people are like: well when you got here the water was working, now it’s not and they expect us to fix it because they have faulty equipment. So what we do is we go out to the meter, turn it off at the meter, and then just watch the pressure. We’re not applying any pressure again so it is not actually a hydrostatic test, it is a pressure test. We want to see if the pressure drops.
[John]: Is there any time that you would do a pressurized hydrostatic test?
[Wakefield]: Not in a residential situation, there’s no need for it. Most of the houses around Dallas have anywhere from 80 to 100 pounds of pressure. The home inspection reports say it should be between 40 and 80, and that’s great. That’s going to be good for your fixtures, your appliances, but to be honest a lot of city pressures are around 100 PSI. It doesn’t damage anything it – and I say that. A home inspector is going to tell you completely otherwise it can be rougher on your appliances and fixtures but, we’ve been living with this for years and years and years in Dallas. So to me there’s no need to apply any pressure. At 40 to even 40 pounds, if I put a gauge on it at 40 pounds and shut that meter off, in 20 minutes if it hadn’t gone down there’s not a leak. It’s easy enough.
[John]: Okay. Do you think most people know what, where their, I know breakers the wrong term but, to turn the water on and off to their house in case of an emergency, in case of a big leak?
[Wakefield]: The answer to that is no. And American Standard made me “The Expert Plumber”, and the funny thing is because whenever I did my submission video that they wanted a tip, they wanted my thoughts on American Standard, and you know, they wanted to see my great looks. I know Roger said he’s better looking but I’m gonna let him slide on that. I did a video for them talking about one of the most important things is, to teach everybody in your family how to turn the water off to the house. If you do have a valve box out in front that’s operable it’s the greatest place to do it. Even your children can go out pull the lid and turn a valve in ninety degrees. That shuts off the water. When I was in junior high I walked into our house one day we had rebuilt our – converted our garage into a living room and when I stepped down there I had three inches of water, I mean it was up to my ankles. And of course, you know, I’m in sixth grade I thought that was kind of cool. So I called my mom says oh my gosh guess what we’re doing we got water in the new living room floor.
[Williamson]: Indoor swimming pool.
[Wakefield]: Absolutely! I wanted to go get my floaty. And it was funny because it was the water heater and she says you know, turn the water off. Well I had no idea how So, that’s something that to me every homeowner should know how to turn her water off and teach their family members that.
[John]: Well it was kind of funny a friend of mine’s wife, who’s very handy, much more so than my friend, had a leak suddenly spring up in her house and she knew exactly where to go out by the curb turned that off. But he showed me the Ring video from the security camera and I said “why is it in fast motion?” He said “it’s not, that’s Debbie running.” I thought “Wow she could be in the Senior Olympics here.” We are speaking with Roger Wakefield of texasgreenplumbing.com and Roger Williamson of williamsonfoundation.com and we will be right back. If you have a quick question (214)-787-1190. I’m John Wolf on The Ask the Experts Radio Show on Talk Radio 1190.