Buying a new home, especially if it’s your first home, can be intimidating. It’s an emotional decision, and likely the biggest purchase you’ll make in your lifetime. Often times a new home buyer gets too wrapped up in the bells and whistles of their new home and forgets to make sure the working parts are in working order. Of course, a home inspection is supposed to save you from any surprises, right? In our experience, plumbers are only occasionally called upon for further inspection, and sometimes don’t complete their evaluation until after the purchase is made. Too many times we’ve found new homeowners in a plumbing disaster after they’ve purchased a new home with issues they didn’t know about until it was too late.
You don’t have to be a plumber to spot some red flags. We’ve identified these plumbing signs to look for when buying a new home. So you can do your due diligence, and ensure your dream home doesn’t become your nightmare. Of course, there may be underlying issues that only a professional can uncover during an inspection. That’s why we always recommend being as informed as you can, and calling your local plumber when you’re unsure.
Toilets are a good place to start when analyzing the plumbing in a potential new home. Do a visual inspection for signs of leaks around the toilet. Look for rust spots, water stains, and movement of the water in the toilet bowl. Feel the floor around the toilet to see if there’s any give in the flooring. Sit on and test the toilet to make sure it’s secure and there’s no movement. Finally, flush the toilet to make sure it works properly. You’ll also want to consider how old the toilets in the home are. Older toilets use way more water than newer ones, making them less eco-friendly and more expensive when it comes to your water bill. If the toilets look dated, you’ll want to factor an upgrade into your budget.
Hot water tanks
You’ll want to consider the age, size, and location of the hot water tank in your new home. Hot water tanks typically last 10 years. If the hot water tank in the new home you’re considering is getting up there in age, you’ll want to factor the cost to replace it into your new home budget. Learn how to tell if your hot water tank is on it’s way out, or simply ask how old it is.
You’ll want to ensure that the hot water tank is the right size to accommodate your family’s water use in your new home. Consider the number of water-consuming appliances, bathtubs/showers, and faucets. If the home has multiple bathrooms, a large hot water tank may be necessary to keep the temperature consistent. If you know your family uses a lot of hot water, and the hot water tank in your potential new home is small, you’ll also want to factor an upgrade into your cost.
What many people tend to overlook when buying a new home is the location of the hot water tank. Hot water tanks are usually kept out of sight, but oftentimes this means they’re in a less than ideal location. If a hot water tank leaks, the amount of damage caused will depend on where the leak takes place. Consider what is nearby and below the hot water tank, and what may be damaged should the tank leak.
Water Pressure and Water Hardness
It’s always a good idea to test the sink and shower faucets when prospecting new homes. Water pressure is a common problem in older homes and can be difficult to fix. Nobody likes a weak shower. If a home has low water pressure you’ll want to have a plumber come inspect the water lines.
Hard water can cause a variety of problems with your home’s plumbing. Not only does it make washing dishes and windows difficult, but it causes buildup on all your plumbing fixtures and even your pipes. This buildup can lead to clogs, leaks, low water pressure, and a very expensive bill to fix it all. The best way to look for signs of hard water is to inspect the plumbing fixtures for scale buildup.
Signs of Leaks
Some leaks don’t cause damage but will cost you money by wasting water. Check your faucets, showerheads, and toilets for leaks. Other leaks can be more dangerous. Nothing puts a damper on buying your dream home like having it destroyed by a water leak. Look carefully at the walls, floors and ceilings for signs of previous water damage. Also, look around the hot water tank and shut off valves for signs like rust or corrosion.
If the home’s sewer lines run into the city sewer system it’s a good idea to have it inspected by a plumber with a camera to ensure there’s no erosion or tree root intrusion damaging the pipes or causing leaks. Problems with your sewer lines can be very costly, and the worst-case scenario is your new home requiring excavation to dig up and fix the lines. With a camera inspection, your plumber can tell you exactly what kind of shape your sewer lines are in if there are clogs, deterioration, or tree root intrusions.
It’s hard not to get wrapped up in the excitement of viewing a new home. Identifying plumbing signs to look for when buying a new home could save you from making a bad investment. Bring a checklist of things so you don’t forget to pay attention to the details. Don’t be afraid to ask for a second viewing of the home if you feel that you’ve missed anything. If there’s anything you’re unsure of upon your own inspection, mention it to your home inspector, or better yet hire your local plumber to come and do their own inspection.
A1 CHOICE PLUMBING & DRAIN – YOUR OKANAGAN PLUMBING EXPERTS
If you’re experiencing a clogged drain or any other plumbing issues, call A1 Choice today and have our experts take a look.
For all your Plumbing & Drain needs, A1 Choice offers a full range of services:
- Heating & gas fitting
- Camera Inspection & Line Locates
- Water Heaters
- Sump Pumps
For free inspection and estimates of your plumbing contact A1 Choice Plumbing & Drain today.