Plumbing Features to Check When Buying a New Home
Buying a home is a huge and complicated endeavor. Most people would not dream of buying a home without getting a home inspection to spot the glaring issues. While inspectors will likely find these issues, they have been known to miss some problems that could wind up costing you a lot of money down the road.
Plumbing is one of the most problem-prone areas that can be missed by an inspection since most of the inner workings happen inside the walls. The status of the plumbing system in your new house can be one of the last things on your mind. However, the plumbing system is such an important and delicate part of your new home that you need to understand what to look for in your potential new home’s plumbing system.
Our new home buyer plumbing checklist will help you through this complicated process so you can rest assured that your purchase will not be a problem filled one.
Check for Function
The bathroom and kitchen might be equipped with beautiful fixtures, but does the plumbing work correctly and efficiently? You can run a few tests while in the home to make sure it does:
Run all of the taps to make sure the drain moves the water quickly
Turn on the hot water to be sure the water heater is working
Flush every toilet and watch to ensure it drains quickly and does not overflow
Run the utility sink, if there is one, in the basement or laundry room
Run the shower and feel the pressure
Start the dishwasher if there is one
Run the garbage disposal
Talk to the Homeowners
You can also ask the current owners a few questions to help determine the quality of the home’s plumbing. But do not just take the homeowner’s word for it, and do not skip the home inspection! An inspector can tell you what kind of pipes the home has, and whether any appliance looks like it is at the end of its life or if they see any other problems with the home’s plumbing.
When was the last time the plumbing was repaired?
Do they do any plumbing themselves? If so, what? Minor repairs are ok but be leery of more major repairs done.
What is their typical water bill like?
Are any of the fixtures low-flow?
Are any of the appliances energy-efficient?
Signs There May Be A Plumbing Problem
Brown Ceiling Stains
You may not expect it but one of the most common spots you can look to notice potentially serious plumbing problems is on the ceiling. When inspecting a home, do not forget to look up. Any brown stains or spots are signs that you have a leaky roof or a leaky pipe. It can be hard to tell which is which, but either way, this may end up costing you a lot in repairs.
Some home buyers feel silly flushing the toilet or turning on the faucets for a few seconds in each room of the house, but you should do it anyway. Doing this gives the drains a good test to make sure they are flowing properly. If one drain seems to be going slowly, then there may be a blockage in that drain pipe. If all of the drains seem to be going slow, then you may be dealing with a major blockage in the main sewer line.
Visible Signs of Water Damage
Water damage is pretty simple to spot. Warped walls, discolored paint, bubbling, or white stains on floors are all signs that water has been present fairly consistently in those locations, which could point to the existence of a leak. A leaky pipe can cause tremendous damage to a home, and odds are leaks can spread and quickly become even bigger issues. Be extremely thorough when checking for signs of pipe leaks.
Plumbing Checklist for Buying a New Home
When you are considering buying a new home, the plumbing is one of the most essential features to check out. After all, the quality of the plumbing will significantly affect the quality of life you have in the home, and its maintenance costs.
So, what should you look for when you are touring a potential new home?
Check Water Pressure
You can start checking sinks, toilets, showers and any other water-using appliances in your new house or the home you’re planning to buy. Water pressure issues are often easily fixed, but they can lead to bigger problems, like a poor performance from appliances, if they aren’t addressed. As mentioned above, turn on all faucets to check the water pressure. If you notice low pressure in more than one faucet, it could indicate problems such as build-up or corrosion. Also check multiple faucets at once. Turn on the kitchen sink and have someone flush a toilet, a drop in the water pressure could hint towards faulty water flow.
Check the Water Heater
Inspect all water heaters for signs of corrosion. Though most common water heaters issues are easily solved corrosion should not be overlooked since it can cause serious damage. Also, bear in mind that an average four member family requires at least 400 gallons per day to satisfy its regular needs and that they last approximately 10 years, depending on frequency of use, water quality and maintenance.
Check for Obvious Leaks
Checking the water meter is a great next step in your plumbing inspection. Close all faucets and check if the water meter is turning. If it is, there is a leak somewhere and this could be serious problem. Move on to the valves. Start with the main shut off valve operation. When shut off, no faucet in the house should have water. This goes for every other shut off valve and their corresponding faucets. If everything is working properly, you are off to a good start.
Visually Check the Pipes
Many pipes will need to be checked by professionals, but you can perform a quick visual check on exposed pipes for possible damage. Look for corrosion on exposed pipes and pools of water under these pipes as it could be a sign of a leak or water damage.
Check the Drains
After you let the faucets run and flush all of the toilets, check for the sound of running water as it could mean the drain may have an obstruction. Also check how long it takes for sinks, baths, and showers to drain as it could also mean a possible clog.
Get to Know How Everything Works
Besides asking how everything works, you must know where everything is as well. You will want to know where your main water shut-off is in case of an emergency. Do not feel embarrassed to ask a lot of questions!
Examine the Connections on Appliances
We recommend that you examine the connections on all the water-using and gas-using appliances such as a dishwasher, washing machine, gas stove, gas fireplace, etc. Check for any type of bulges or signs of obvious wear and tear. This will give you an idea of the status of the appliance and whether you can prevent leaks as well.
Garbage Disposal and Dishwasher
It is very important that you inspect the dishwasher to make sure water is flowing where it should and that there are no signs of leaks. Check the sprayer arms inside the dishwasher since they can become clogged with food particles and other debris over time. In general, if you notice water around your dishwasher, it could be due to a faulty plastic seal.
When to Contact a Plumbing Professional
Every reasonable buyer inspects at least several things before making a down payment on a house. Superficial things are something that everyone checks in detail. However, if you really wish to know what state your potential future house really is, you have to scratch the surface. Electric and heating installations and insulation need to be at the top of the list, but your number one priority should be the plumbing since problems in plumbing areas are usually the hardest to fix. Hence, the need to do a plumbing inspection. Call Best Plumbing Services at 951-788-1321 for help with plumbing inspections during the home buying process. Located in Riverside, California we are family owned and operated with over 10 years of experience. We take pride in our service and expect each job to be completed as if it were our own home or business. Our Licensed Plumbers and Technicians will be professional, clean and polite.