Picture yourself having found the home you’ve always dreamed of having. The house has plenty of space to picture your growing family enjoying it for countless years. You cannot wait to begin the new chapter in your life.
Unfortunately, there’s something the seller is holding back. They are trying to hide the fact that the house comes with a significant plumbing issue. Unfortunately, major plumbing issues are very expensive. The seller would rather not disclose this because they want to sell house fast to unsuspecting and overzealous prospective homebuyers.
The truth is that plumbing issues don’t typically arise during routine home inspections. These inspections don’t delve too deep into the plumbing of a house. Because of this, every prospective homebuyer needs to do their due diligence to ensure the plumbing system is operational and intact.
1. Toilets, Sinks, and Faucets
Are you wondering how to get a good read on the general health of the house and its plumbing system? If so, you’ll want to do the following:
- Look at the toilets in the house. Check to see if the base has any leaks. Check the chamber too.
- Flush the toilets to ensure they drain properly.
- Check all of the sinks. You want to look for signs of water leakage. Check for water damage around the sink, under the sink, and around the faucets.
- Check for water stains anywhere near water fixtures. Also, check for stains on the ceiling. This is an easy-to-spot sign of leaky pipes.
While a leaky pipe itself isn’t a major problem that’s costly to fix itself, the subsequent damage is. Repairing the damage caused by a leaky pipe can be very expensive. After all, water damage can get very tricky. Whenever you are looking for stains, you want to spend equal time looking for signs of mold or mildew growth.
2. Primary Sewer Drain
This is a very important thing to check for whenever you are trying to purchase a house with older plumbing systems. You will find a lot of older houses will have the primary sewer drain breaking down because of wear and tear over the years. However, there could also be an even worse and more costly problem which is the sewer drain having roots growing into it.
Unfortunately, verifying the overall condition of the sewer can be difficult. To successfully do this, you’ll likely need to enlist the help of reputable and licensed plumbing. They will be able to get the job done by utilizing a camera to inspect everything. Any undiscovered sewer drain issues typically lead to massive water damage and even flooding.
3. Water Meter
A good thing that can help to detect any sort of hidden leaks that exist within the plumbing system is by using the water meter itself. Check the water meter to see whether or not it goes down without using water.
You can accomplish this by shutting off every tap within the house. From there, you simply monitor the water meter to ensure it’s not turning. If it’s still turning, you likely have a fairly substantial leak that you need to uncover.
4. Shut-Off Valve
You always want to check the shut-off valve when you are inspecting a home that you’re interested in. You want to check to ensure it works. Close the valve and then try to go through the entire house and see if the taps turn on. If water starts to come out rapidly or even if it drips slowly, you likely have a faulty valve you’re dealing with. Not only do you want to check the primary valve, but you also want to check other valves within the house too. For instance, a valve for individual bathrooms and even for the shower. It’s best to know all of them are operational.
5. Water Heater
This is an appliance that you aren’t going to want to have to replace once you’ve dropped so much money on a new house. It’s a major appliance that comes with a hefty price tag. Because of this, you want to ensure it’s working and fully operational. You can check for:
- Any signs of rusting or corrosion on the tank itself.
- Any strange sounds coming from the tank.
- The valves to see if anything is leaking.
- The age of the water heater. They will typically last 15 years.
6. Septic System
If the house is not using the local sewage system and it’s using a septic system, you want to ensure that it’s working as it should before buying the house. A good and perhaps the only way to do this is by running a video camera through the system. The majority of the issues with septic tanks and systems come with broken pipes. Because they are installed right next to the surface, they can get damaged by growing roots and from being exposed to water.
7. Water Pressure
You need to ensure that the home has good water pressure. While bad water pressure can be solved by installing brand new showerheads and even new taps, it’s best to check it anyways.
If you are looking to check to see if the water pressure is optimal, you’ll want to check out the shower furthest away from the main source. This will give you the worst water pressure in the home. That way you can tell whether or not it’s sufficient for you.
8. Winterized Pipes
Whenever you are purchasing a home that is located in a place that experiences a lot of inclement weather, you are going to want to ensure the plumbing system is fitted with the right materials to handle it. This means having pipes that have been effectively winterized. The pipes should be well insulated. If you see the pipes have something wrapped around them, it means it’s been winterized. If the property has well water, you want to ensure the well is well insulated from extreme temperatures.
No one wants hard water. Hard water comes with a lot of issues. It’s likely to lead to a lot of scale buildup along your pipework and it can even damage your appliances over time. It’s best to check to see if there is a lot of scale buildup on the outside of the fixtures. You can tell the home has a lot of hard water if there is a lot of buildup present. It’s something that can help you negotiate a lower price if visible.
When you are buying a new home, you are making a hefty investment. Because of this, you want to do sufficient due diligence to ensure you are making the best decision for yourself and your family. Use the tips above and you can avoid buying a home that is in dire need of extensive and expensive plumbing repairs.
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