Inspections are a standard in today’s home buying process. However, too many times new homeowners aren’t aware of the existing condition of the plumbing system — and we end up being the bearer of bad news.
Each home has its own set of quirks, but the last thing you want is to commit to a property that’s paired with thousands of dollars in repairs. Having a professional plumber walk you through the home will help you know what to look for and the potential issues you may face.
To ensure you’re getting exactly what you’re paying for, here are eight plumbing inspections to make before finalizing the mortgage on a new home.
1. Water Meter and Valves
Close all the faucets to check if the water meter is turning. If it is, that indicates a leak which could be a serious problem. Next, move on to the values and start with the main valve operation. This is often located by the water meter or where the water line enters the home. When the valve’s shut off, no faucet in the house should have running water.
2. Water Heater
Next, you should inspect the water heater for any signs of corrosion. Though this issue is easily solvable, it shouldn’t be overlooked because it can cause serious damage to your system. When inspecting the water heater, look around for mineral deposits, damage to the tank and any other signs the device needs to be replaced.
3. Pipes and Water Pressure
A leaky pipe may seem minor, but it could indicate a much larger issue. Having good water pressure is important (especially for those morning showers) and the size of a home’s water pipes help determine this. Look for larger pipes at the main source, anything smaller than 0.5 inches could restrict flow and cause strain to your system.
4. Faucets and Sinks
Now, check all the existing faucets and sinks around the house. They need to be fully functional with no leaks or drips in sight. Also, be sure to check out the areas underneath sinks and around exposed pipes. You’ll want to open faucets to maximum flow to check that the water drains properly without delay.
A common plumbing problem we see in new homes is homeowners neglecting to fix a leak at the back of a toilet. This may seem insignificant, but over time, the water will begin to rot the floor. Or, some homeowner may try to hide the problem with sealing — which could make it much worse.
Look for discoloration or warping around the toilet bases then check if the floor moves around the base by applying some weight to your foot. Your toilet shouldn’t move or rock to the side either. If it does, that indicates that the flange isn’t secured.
6. Main Sewer
Sewage problems are smelly and most of all, expensive. Before you purchase, find out the kind of sewage system the home has. And if there’s a septic tank, you should find out its location, how big it is, where the lines run and when it was last serviced.
Inspect the area and keep an eye out for standing water or seepage. If there are a lot of trees, there’s no way of knowing whether or not you might have a root infestation without seeing it with a video camera inspection conducted by a professional plumber.
7. Septic System
If the home uses a septic tank instead of a municipal sewer, you’ll need to check that the entire system is functional. Obviously, standing water and odors aren’t good signs. If you notice clear signs of seepage, it’ll need to be taken care of as soon as possible to avoid potential health hazards.
8. Other Things to Look For
If you’re purchasing an older home, it’s important to keep in mind that some may have lead pipes. It is a known toxin, so you may want to get those replaced (especially if you have children). Though it may not be a deal breaker, you should look into how much it’d cost before you finalize the mortgage.
If you’re unsure about the home’s plumbing issues, we highly recommend hiring a professional plumber to conduct an inspection. Even if they don’t spot any immediate repairs, they can forecast potential issues and provide some estimates to budget for. After all, no one likes being surprised with an unexpected home expense.
Plumbing inspections are no easy task, but hiring an expert certainly helps. As a good rule of thumb, always inspect a home thoroughly before purchasing. To learn more about plumbing inspections and how we can help you scope out your next home, give our BL3 team a call today at (405) 237-1414.