Pages Navigation Menu

high desert. small house.

Day 244: Passing our Plumbing Inspection!

Monday, 3/14
For some reason, the internet is not really clear on what exactly must be done for the plumbing/mechanical rough-in inspection.  Does the bathroom fan ducting have to be installed?  Does the water line have to be connected?  Do we set up the line with a pressure test first?  Or does the inspector do that when he arrives?  What about the HRV – fully installed or just shown on the diagram?

The inspector isn’t available on the weekends so we did what we could on Sunday and hoped to get answers earlier enough on Monday that we’d still be able to get our inspection checked off.  We found out through the various contractors we see in the drive-through that we may need to have the system either air pressurized or filled with water.  In either case, we’d need to block the path to the sewer and all fixture openings on our own.  After another hardware store odyssey, we found that they all had the fixture plugs and none had the inflatable plug for the 3″ sewer.

We thought we’d lucked out when the plumber who helped us at our previous rental agreed to lend us his device.  Awesome guy.  We then got lucky again when the inspector called and told us that he was going to go out to the distant land of Reserve, NM first and then hit us on the way back in the afternoon.  He also told us what he wanted to see during his visit.  The inspector clarified that he didn’t need to air test it; he needed to fill the plumbing system with water to 4 feet above the floor line and then check for a level change and/or leaks.

Apparently local plumbers would typically NOT connect to the sewer until after inspection; this way they could just cap the sewer facing end until they got the green light.  Since we’d already connected to sewer, the only option was to find a “donkey dong” inflatable test plug (plumber’s words) or a normal inflatable test plug with a 3′ extension hose that would let the thing reach into our U-shaped double-combo cleanout in the driveway.  Or cut the system from the sewer and rejoin it later (BOOO!).

There was not a single unit available in Silver CIty; the nearest was in Cruces (2-2.5 hours away) and would be impossible to obtain before the inspection.  None of the local plumbers had what we needed…*start biting fingernails*

We considered ordering online but it would take a few days to get here.  The only option seemed to be to postpone the inspection for a day and spend the afternoon driving to and from Las Cruces.  Fortunately, before committing to such an arduous drive, we decided to call the inspector and tell him we couldn’t find one.

We got really really lucky.  The inspector said he’d meet us at the house and take a look…upon arrival, it was decided that – since all the plumbing was exposed under the house and it would be easy to spot/repair a leak – he could do a wet test where we just ran a garden hose into the plumbing system and checked for leaks.  We passed.  PHEW!

Brian was also relieved to know – based on the inspector not saying anything about it – that stacking plumbing fittings real close together (< 1mm apart) was ok.  He was concerned there might be some spacing requirement that would allow an inspector to observe the use of purple primer or something.


  1. I am very unsure of your local codes! Here, we always pressure check the water with a charge of air @ 70 pounds of pressure, and the pressure gage installed at the hi point (shower head). Not sure about fan ducting as we always had it trimmed out. Am concerned about your 4″ schedule 40 P TRAP under the house. Very thin and a great place for ice in bad weather. In WA we always us ABS (black plastic) . It’s more like a schedule 80. Normally the water line is connected at the end of building process. So it’s ready for your final inspection.

  2. Your blog is great! Very informative, and I read it almost every night for the updates. I have been thinking about one of these arched cabins. Do you happen to know what gauge the steel is on the arches. It looks sturdy but I was wondering how hard it is to screw and fasten to.
    Keep up the great work!

    • Hi Daryl,
      Thanks! I think I remember them saying that the 2″ ribs were a bit more than 1/16th thick but I never had a piece of of one to look at. The 3″ tube used for the foundation and endcap braces is about 1/8″ thick but it’s seemingly softer steel; almost all the self drilling screws made solid threads in the ribs, whereas only half did in the endcap braces. The screws we were using are designed to drill a clearance hole in wood and then penetrate steel and create a threaded hole all in one go. They don’t have very deep thread but they are convenient to use with an impact driver; you just have to bear down for about 30 seconds when you hit the steel. Normal self drilling hex head screws with deep threads – like the crew used – seemed to have no problem holding at all, but those jack up whatever wood you’re connecting unless you make a clearance hole first.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *