Look for These Common Plumbing Issues When Buying a Home
You have a million different things to do while you’re buying a new home. Make sure those include checking the home for common plumbing issues – before you sign the purchase agreement.
A quick glance is not enough to discover all the plumbing issues new homeowners frequently have to deal with. You need a full inspection if you don’t like paying for plumbing repairs, because you especially won’t like paying for them right after you move in. A lot of people aren’t exactly flush with cash just after making so major a purchase!
So what should you inspect, specifically? Let’s go over it!
Fixtures Such as Sinks, Toilets & Faucets
Fiddling around with the sinks and showers at a potential new home can tell you a lot about its plumbing. You’ll see whether the house has good water pressure, and also whether all its drains do their job. You definitely want to make sure the toilet drains too, while you’re at it.
Once you’ve checked for drainage, check for leakage. Inspect the areas surrounding toilets and beneath sinks to see if water is pooling there. If you do detect a clog or a dripping P-trap, bring the issue to the seller’s attention and ask if they’ll fix it before you proceed to buy their house.
Main Sewer Drain
We wouldn’t call it a design flaw per se, but there is a shortcoming inherent to every main sewer line in the country. They all contain the water (and the nutrients) trees want. If even a tiny crack forms in a sewer line over its decades-long lifespan, it’s bound to attract nearby tree roots. And once tree roots reach into a sewer line, they’ll never want to turn back.
You cannot detect whether roots have obstructed a home’s sewer line merely by flushing its toilets. That requires a professional plumber with a specialized camera.
If your plumbing inspector discovers that any part of the line has collapsed or clogged with living roots, that is extremely pertinent information as far as the home sale is concerned. Give the buyer the inspection report and see if they will repair the line before the sale, or alternatively lower the price for the home.
A water heater’s life expectancy usually falls within 12 to 15 years, although the Environmental Protection Agency advises replacing any water heater over a decade old. Regardless of which length of time you expect a water heater to last for, you want to judge a potential new home’s unit according to your standards.
Naturally, you’ll first want to check and see if the water heater’s age is indicated on an attached card or sticker. If that information is unavailable, inspect the water heater for signs of advanced age. These include corrosion on the tank, leaking valves during operation, and odd sounds coming out of the tank when it’s turned on. There’s almost certainly an issue when opaque water comes out of a hot water faucet.
A water heater can cost thousands of dollars, so an old or malfunctioning unit would better be the seller’s problem and not yours. A new water heater is significantly more efficient than a well-used model, so including one in the terms of your purchase agreement will also save you money on your energy bill.
Water Meter & Shut-Off Valve
A water meter is just as useful for detecting leaks as it is measuring water usage. Once you have made certain nothing is running or flushing, go out and have a look at the water meter. When no water is being used, the dial should stay motionless. But if the dial is moving, it’s indicating leaks in the plumbing.
Finally, spend a moment with the shut-off valve. Close it fully and then try to turn on a faucet. If water can still make its way through a fixture, the shut-off valve is malfunctioning. As with everything else so far, leaky plumbing and a defective shut-off valve are both material information during a home purchase.
A layman cannot perform the full plumbing inspection they need to avoid paying expensive plumbing bills shortly after move-in. That’s why if you’re buying a home in the greater Sioux Falls, SD area, you need PrairieSons! Please contact us today if you would like a professional plumber’s expert opinion on your potential new home.