So, you’ve fallen in love with a property and are seriously thinking about purchasing it. Although each state varies in required inspections, it’s a good idea to take a look at the plumbing yourself before getting too far into the process.
Preparing to Inspect Plumbing
Although most real estate agents and homeowners won’t mind you taking a little extra time to do a more in-depth inspection, it may not be a bad idea to have your agent let the seller know. If you’re serious about the home, don’t worry about upsetting someone and make yourself feel as comfortable as possible.
Before you start, remember to wear clothing you won’t mind getting wet or damaged. A good pair of gloves and a flashlight, rather than your phone, is crucial as you may need to look something up.
Turn on All Faucets
While walking through the house, be sure to turn on all faucets, check the water pressure, and observe how quickly or slowly the water is draining. The water should flow strongly and consistently. While you are in the area, check under the sink for leaks or signs of previous damage. This may look like discolored or warped laminate or even mold.
Look for Lead
In either the basement or the crawl space, it’s important to observe the type of material the pipes are made of. Give special consideration to homes built prior to or around 1986 when lead was still used in some residential properties. Lead is toxic, and water flowing through lead pipes is extremely dangerous for young children. Lead pipes are a deal-breaker unless the seller offers to replace them.
Even if pipes aren’t lead, determining what the pipes are made of tells you roughly how old they are and gives you a timeframe for when they may need to be replaced.
Check for Leaking Toilets
In addition to turning on all faucets, it’s a good idea to flush every toilet in the home. Make sure they flush easily and drain well. Check for any leaks around the basin and at the base of the toilet. Even if you don’t see any water, look for discoloration behind the toilet and at the base, as well as spongy or squishy flooring in this area. Both could be signs of a problem.
Inspect the Hot Water Heater
Replacing a hot water heater is a significant expense, especially after you just purchased a home. Inquire about the age of the hot water heater. Most should last around 15 years if maintained properly. Inspect the unit for leaks, rust, corrosion, or strange sounds coming from the unit. Size is also important. A family of four typically requires a 40-gallon hot water heater.
Check for Leaks
Even if you don’t see any water leaks, it’s a good idea to make sure leaks aren’t hiding in an area you can’t access. Doing this is fairly simple. First, locate the water meter. Then, turn off every faucet in the house; if the meter is still turning, it means there is a leak somewhere.
Test the Shut Off Valve
While we’re talking about the water meter, it’s a good idea to shut off the water valve fully and see if the home’s water supply is working. When you shut off the valve, there should be no water at all coming from any faucets throughout the house. If water does come out or even drips, the valve is faulty and needs to be replaced.
Have the Main Sewer Line Inspected
The main sewer line connects the home to the city or county sewer system. It typically runs from the home, underground to the street. It’s important to have a professional inspect it using a camera to look for any problems. It’s not uncommon for older homes to see damaged pipes from tree roots, corrosion, or clogs. A damaged, clogged pipe creates enough problems; a collapsed pipe is a huge mess.
It’s not rare to ask the homeowner to repair the pipes before the sale or decrease the home price by the amount to repair the pipes yourself. Having an unknown sewer problem is one of the last things you want to deal with after moving into a new home.
Confidence Comes from Professionals
Doing your own inspection and asking questions about the home you’re interested in buying is a great first step. However, for complete comfort in the home buying process, it’s best to leave the inspection to the professional.
A skilled plumber will be able to perform detailed checks and reveal any other problems or questions you may want to know about before closing the deal.
A local Groundworks expert can inspect the basement and crawl space for signs of plumbing leaks and any other issues you might face in the future. Contact our friendly staff to schedule an inspection that’s convenient for the homeowner and yourself.