When buying a home, it is quite easy to tell if it needs new flooring, fresh paint, new appliances or updated kitchen cabinets. It is difficult, however, to tell if it needs major plumbing upgrades. And you certainly would not want to invest in a house that still has thousands of dollars’ worth of overlooked plumbing problems.
Hiring a home inspector to take a look at the condition of the plumbing and the rest of the house is crucial. Keep in mind, though, that not all home inspectors are plumbing specialists.
A home is among the biggest investments you will make in your life. As such, you must know exactly what you are getting into. Before signing on that dotted line, make sure that the property is free from any plumbing pitfalls. Call in experts in plumbing if you are unsure about how to identify plumbing issues, so that they can point out the following red flags:
1. Leaky Toilets
If the toilet is constantly running, it means that the flapper or chain must be replaced. This can also be a sign of a bigger problem. Leaks can also happen when the toilet isn’t draining properly. It can either be a leak from the tank or from the bottom. Since water is considered a universal solvent, it can wear down gaskets and seals.
So before signing the contract, make sure to let a licensed plumber inspect the toilet and its surrounding area. Leaky toilets can rot through the floor. To avoid such damage, the gaskets and seals must be professionally replaced on a regular basis.
2. Aged Water Heater
Water heaters are expensive to replace. So before buying your home, make sure to have the current state of its hot water tank checked.
The maximum lifespan of water heaters is 10 years. A plumbing professional can help in determining how old it is depending on its serial number and model. But apart from that, there are other signs indicating that the life of the water heater is nearly ending. These include corrosion, a lack of hot water, and dampness.
3. Incorrect Water Heater Placement
The location of the water heater is also crucial. When it leaks, will it ruin the hardwood floor, or the surrounding carpet or furniture? If the property is old, consider also whether the performance and installation of the unit adhere to the local code. A professional local plumber knows these laws.
4. Blocked Drains
This is the most common plumbing pitfall. A blockage is caused by the buildup of oils and materials, toiletry deposits, and loose hair. When ignored, it can lead to leaks.
Before buying your home, make sure to check the drain. Turn on the faucet and let the water run for about two to three minutes; it must drain fast. When the property’s kitchen includes garbage disposal, ensure also that it runs smoothly.
Moreover, look under the sink for any leaks and water damage. Professional plumbers emphasized as well that if the drain line or disposal has been painted, this means that the previous owner is covering up a dated system.
5. Poorly Installed Pipes
Leaky pipes will lead to serious water damage. Pinhole leaks, warn piping, and corroded joints are among the warning signs to watch out for. If the property has galvanized supply pipes, they are likely to quickly become dated and will need replacement.
If there is a restricted flow coming from the home’s drain, this could mean that the pipes are not big enough. Ideally, the water pipes must be at least ¾ of an inch at the main water source and 1/3 of an inch in other areas.
Furthermore, the pipes must be properly insulated. This will prevent them from freezing and bursting, saving you money in the long run.
6. Obsolete Sewage System
It is important for you to determine the type of sewage system the property has. The sewer must exit the home at the lower point. If it is a county or city system, it runs out to a city main or to the street. But if it is septic, it runs into a field or tank. Also, find out where the septic tank is located. Watch out for seepage, unpleasant smells, and leaks.
For a sewage that has a mainline, it is recommended that you call a professional plumber to inspect and analyze its condition. The sewage lines located close to tree roots can become damaged or blocked. Moreover, deteriorating lines may collapse, which allows sewage to back up into your house.
You can save a significant amount of money in the long run if you let a competent, professional plumber inspect the house you want to buy. A thorough inspection will inform you of any problem that the property has so you can make a well-informed buying decision. In fact, you can negotiate a decrease in its sale price to offset any repair costs. With some foresight and expert help, you can definitely enjoy reliable plumbing for many years to come.
Based in South Melbourne, Blue Diamond Plumbing was founded in 1985, working on new homes, repairs and commercial contracts. Over time they have grown to become some of the best plumbers Melbourne has to offer. Since 2001 the company has specialised in Emergency Plumbing and Property Maintenance, Repairs and Renovations for homes and businesses in Melbourne and inner city suburbs. Owner Rod Diamond has over 30 years experience with emergency plumbing in Melbourne's inner suburbs.