Why You Should Get a Plumbing Inspection Before Buying a New Home
While plumbing can be one of the priciest repairs a new home requires, it can be all too easy to gloss over (or simply overlook) plumbing issues during a new home inspection. Plumbing isn't glamorous. It isn't memorable. And you don't actually think about it until you need to use it.
Unfortunately, this applies just as much to the seller as it does to you, the buyer. The seller may not even be aware of the true condition of the home's plumbing. So if the seller tells you the plumbing "works well," it is always a good idea to get a second opinion from a plumbing professional!
In this post, learn why you should always get a plumbing inspection before buying a new home.
How a Typical Home Inspection Works
Different home inspection companies conduct inspections in different ways. Some inspectors will only focus on the "big areas" - for example, electrical, foundation, roofing. Other inspectors will turn over every rock and flip every switch and dial before writing up their findings.
When it comes to plumbing - and everything else about your potential new home - it goes without saying that you want the latter type of inspector. You can find out how thorough the inspection will be by interviewing various companies, checking out their references and comparing notes.
It is important to be aware that inspectors may not give you any repair/replacement cost estimates along with their findings. For this, you will likely need to call in an appraiser.
As well, if you have an area of particular concern, you may want to call in a specialist to inspect just that portion of the home in greater detail and generate an estimate. In some cases, this may change your mind about whether or not to invest in the property.
Plumbing Inspection Musts
When it comes to inspecting the home's plumbing system, the inspector should inspect each of the following (as applicable to the home).
Some older homes (built before 1986) may still have lead pipes that are intact.
Lead is a powerful toxin, and you should think twice about purchasing a home that still has lead pipes, especially if you have kids.
Check the water heater.
There are several things the inspector should look for when it comes to that all-important household appliance, the water heater. First, the inspector should see if it is large enough for the water needs of the home. Second, it should be evaluated for age and structural integrity. Also, the inspector should look for mineral deposits and corrosion.
Make sure all the toilets work.
Leaking toilets represent one of the major water expenses for any household. A running toilet or a toilet with condensation on the tank can be an indication that there is a problem. It is also important to check that the toilet drains fully before refilling.
Check the pipes and the main sewer line leading from the house.
Sewer line clogs can be a huge expense, which makes this one of the most important tests to perform.
With the help of a tiny digital camera, the inspector can determine the age of the sewer line, what it is made of, whether it may have areas of constriction that can cause clogs and other valuable information.
At the same time, the inspector can evaluate the width of the pipes since this will determine how strong the home's water pressure will be.
Look for discolored water coming from taps and fixtures.
Discolored water flowing from fixtures can indicate an issue with water safety and potability.
Test all the appliances (washer, dishwasher, shower, et al).
Testing the appliances can determine if all appliances work on all settings as well as ensures that the hot and cool water functi
ons well. Water pressure strength should also be tested.
Inspect and test the septic or sewer system.
Often dyes are used to find out if the septic system is draining as it should and if there is any seepage into the surrounding area (detectable by areas of dampness, odor). The inspector should also find out the last time it was drained and serviced.
For any kind of sewer system, the inspection should note the type of sewer service the home has, the presence of any odors or leaks and the overall condition of the system.
Check the entire system for the presence of leaks.
The inspector should inspect for leaks, which can cause your water bills to rise and, over time, compromise the structural integrity of your home itself.
Check the water meter shut-off valve.
The inspector will turn the valve to the "off" position and test to be sure the main shut-off valve successfully keeps water from flowing to any other household fixtures.
By running several plumbing fixtures at once and flushing the toilets multiple times, reading the water meters and listening for knocks and noises, it is possible to diagnose the presence of leaks.
Look for fresh paint.
Finally, one thing nearly all home inspectors look for is the tell-tale signs of fresh paint, which can be a home seller's attempt to cover up major plumbing issues.
It can be hard to put on the brakes and go through the entire pre-sale inspection process when you've found a home you think is right. But doing your own due diligence before you formally agree to the purchase of a new home can save you hundreds and potentially thousands of dollars over and above any inspection fees you may invest.
A thorough plumbing inspection will serve as an in-depth education on the type, age, material, structure and overall integrity of the prospective home's plumbing system.
Furthermore, it will give you the information you need to either re-negotiate the sales price, walk away from the sale or sign on the dotted line with confidence.
To schedule a thorough pre-purchase home plumbing inspection in Abingdon, MD, contact us, PlumbCrazy by phone at (410) 679-7575.