So, you’re ready to purchase a new home. Congratulations! Before you sign on the dotted line and get the keys to your new house, make sure to thoroughly inspect the plumbing. In fact, it’s best to let a professional plumber handle this in addition to any routine inspections you’ll need before you close.
Why is a plumbing inspection important? Because it can save you a lot of money on repairs down the road, and can even alert you to some very serious problems that may make you think twice about buying the house. Additionally, the last thing you want to do when you move into a new home is to spend time making repairs that could have been fixed before you booked the moving van.
You can avoid the surprises and move into a home worry-free by checking these important plumbing areas before you move in.
The pipes. Make sure to look at all pipes – from the top floor to the basement – as well as any outside pipes – and repair any leaks or cracks you find immediately. You’ll want to turn on faucets and make sure there aren’t any leaks or pools of water around them when you do.
Inspect the toilet and surrounding floor. It’s simple to replace a toilet, so make sure all of them in your potential new home are working properly and that there aren’t any cracks or leaks where the toilet should be sealed and secured to the floor. If you see any water on the floor around the toilet, it may be an indication of water damage, which can amount to a costly repair in the future.
Do a water heater check. A home’s water heater is absolutely essential for day-to-day living and a house with an old water heater, or one that needs repair, can lower its value. Make sure the home you’re about to purchase has a solid water heater by checking for leaks around its base.
Ask about the sewer line. It’s important to ask the seller or realtor how long it’s been since they’ve had the sewer line inspected. If it’s been longer than two years, we recommend getting a plumber out to inspect it with a camera inserted down the main line, to make sure the sewer system is working properly before you purchase the home. This will ensure you don’t inherit a mess!
Are the pipes ready for winter? The plumber can also check to make sure the pipes are ready for cold weather. Ideally, pipes will be wrapped, and vents will be checked to make sure that they can be closed off in winter when the temperature drops below freezing.
A word about water pressure. You’ll want to make sure the water pressure is good, so first, learn what size the pipes are in the home. In most cases, lines should be from ¾” to 1 inch from the main water source and pipes should be at least ½” in diameter.
Eliminate lead pipes. It’s very important to check whether the home you’re about to buy has any lead or galvanized plumbing. Homes built before 1986 may have lead pipes and lead is a serious environmental toxin that has been linked to illness. If the home indeed has lead pipes, you may want to steer clear of the purchasing it, or negotiate so the owner can replace the pipes before you buy.
Here’s a great video of a whole house plumbing inspection. Take a look to get a great idea of what to expect doing the inspection, and give us a call before you decided to buy.
While most of September and early October felt like summer outside, fall is most certainly on its way. This is one of the most important times of the year to check your home’s plumbing — before it gets cold outside and your home’s pipes and water heater start working overtime.
Luckily, the fall plumbing checklist we’ve created is simple and easy enough to complete in no time. In fact, it contains just five simple things. And if you do find that something needs a second look or repair, don’t hesitate to contact a professional plumber now, before winter’s busy season.
Check your water pressure
This is an especially important task if you’ve got a sink or bathtub that’s been slow to fill, a showerhead that hasn’t produced a strong, steady water stream, or a washing machine that takes forever to complete a cycle. There are many reasons your water pressure may be low, and you can get the ball rolling by first checking the water pressure throughout your home.
One of the simplest ways to check the pressure is with a water pressure gauge, readily available at any home improvement store. First, turn off a valve on your water outlet and attach the gauge. Then, turn the valve back on slowly and watch the needle. Normal water pressure is between 35-80 psi. If your water pressure gauge reads a number lower than that range, it’s time to call a plumber.
Inspect your drains
It’s a good idea to check every faucet in your home, as well as your shower and bathtub, dishwasher and toilets to make sure they are all draining properly. Slow drain issues could be caused by several things including clogged pipes or even broken pipes. Regardless, if you are noticing that sinks, toilets, and other places are slow to drain after you turn on the water source to investigate, let a plumber know. The last thing you want is a broken pipe problem in the middle of winter.
Find and fix any leaks
Take a look at your sinks, bathtubs and toilets, not to mention your ceilings, walls and your basement floor for leaks. If you detect any, now is the time to get them fixed. First, check around faucets and at the base of your sinks, tub and toilets for any leaking water or puddles. You can also look around your dishwasher, washing machine, and water heater for pools of water.
Then, be sure to look at the ceilings to make sure any internal pipes aren’t leaking, and that leaks aren’t coming from the roof. You can also read your water heater before you leave for an errand or work. Then, when you return, providing no one else has used any water, check to see if the number has moved. If it has by more than a gallon, you may have a leak somewhere.
Detach the garden hoses
Alright, so you may have a few more weeks until you need to do this, but before the temps drop near freezing, do take the garden hoses indoors. Why? Water in the outdoor faucets and residual in the hoses can freeze in the winter and cause the pipes to crack and burst. It’s also a good idea to turn off the shut-off valve inside your home. And the colder weather can cause garden hoses to become brittle and crack, rendering them useless come spring.
Do a water heater inspection
This is definitely the time to make sure your water heater is up to the task come wintertime. Take a look to make sure there’s no sediment that’s accumulated in the heater, and double check that there aren’t any leaks from any valves or at the base of the heater. You’ll also want to get ready to move the temperature up. We recommend about 120 degrees during the cooler months.
If you do any fall plumbing check this year, let these five be top on the list. And remember: Don’t put off having any plumbing problems addressed and fixed by plumbing professionals. Get it done quickly to keep bigger issues at bay.