Home buyers face decisions that may have a long lasting effect on their finances and peace of mind. Having a complete understanding of the condition of the property, before agreeing to terms with the seller, is vital. The last thing a homebuyer wants to discover is problems with plumbing, after the sale. What are the potential plumbing problems that every home buyer should look for?
1. Sewer Line
First, find out whether the main sewer line connects to a municipal system or a septic tank. If the property has a septic tank, find out what type, the capacity, and how old the tank is. A well maintained septic tank should last for about 20 years.
If the property is connected to a municipal sewer system, consider contracting a plumber to come out and perform a camera line inspection of the pipe. This inexpensive test will let you know if there are issues with the pipe that you, or the seller, need to address.
2. Functioning Faucets and Checking for Leaks
Testing all faucets can save you grief and money. It’s simple enough. Test each of them, and any connections you can easily access, for leaks. Also inspect the space underneath sinks to determine if there may have been leaks in the past.
Flush the toilets and, as they refill, listen for odd sounds that may indicate a problem with water filling up the tank quickly. Also, look under toilets and check for leaks.
Don’t forget to check plumbing hookups to appliances. Refrigerators, ice makers, laundry and dish washers all have connections to internal plumbing that need to be inspected for leaks and corrosion.
3. Hot Water Heaters
The hot water heater requires a bit more attention than just checking for leaks. What is the capacity of the heater? If it is too small, you may be fighting with your family to see who gets to use the shower before you run out of hot water.
How old is the hot water heater? There should be a metal plate with the serial number and manufacturing date. A gas hot water heater should last up to 12 years. An electric heater may last up to 15 years.
4. Basements and Cold Weather
Does the home have a basement? If so, take a very good look at the pipes and fixtures. Check for signs of current or past leaks. The shutoff valve for the entire home may be here or on the outside of the house. Test it and check it for leaks too.
If the property is in an area where it gets cold enough to freeze pipes, check to make sure that all exposed pipes are properly wrapped to not freeze when the temperature drops.
The last thing to consider is the age of the home. If it was built before the mid-eighties, find out if it has lead pipes. If so, consider another property or speak to the seller about the need to replace them prior to the sale.
All of these checks and questions for the seller are for your protection, as a home buyer. The action you take before the sale will only save you money if you ask the right questions. Take the time necessary to make sure the plumbing works as expected.
Charlie Teschner started MESA Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling in 1982. Charlie has a journeyman and master plumber’s license. He was raised with a strong work ethic and he now applies those values to tasks such as Longmont, CO heating repair.