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Why You Should Get a Plumbing Inspection Before You Buy a New Home

home-for-saleSometimes, despite your best efforts, you can get caught short when it comes to moving into a new home after going through the buying process and closing.

One couple in California accepted the home warranty that the seller paid for and had inspected. Shortly after moving in, they noticed that water would pool in the tub at certain times during the day when they took a shower. They used drain cleaner and finally called the warranty people.

Fortunately, it turned out to be the case that the outflow pipes were corroded and had been blocked, causing them to leak water all over the crawl space beneath the home. The reason that this was fortunate was that the burst pipes were covered by the warranty and so they did not have to pay that much to get them replaced.

Just the same, to avoid that experience, one of the best things you can do is look into hiring a plumber as an inspector to come in and point out what may be wrong with the plumbing in the home that you want to buy.

This is largely because:

  • They may find things that actually lower the value of the home and give you some leverage in negotiations.
  • Your plumbing system will be known and can be completely tailored to what you want it to be when you move in.
  • You will know exactly what you are getting.

Here are some things a plumber can check before you start making plans to move in:

Make Certain the Toilet Works

flush-the-toiletIt may sound strange, but especially in older homes, toilets sometimes develop idiosyncrasies that the owners become accustomed to. They then forget that it may be a challenge for the people that are moving in.

One way to check in advance is to flush every toilet in the house a few times and observe how well they drain and recover.

If there is a sluggishness or the toilet does not recover water at the same rate that standard toilets do, it may be a good idea to put it on a list for a plumbing inspector to take a look at.

Check the Water Heater

Water heaters are usually quite reliable. When there is a problem, however, it can quickly become a large headache.

The first thing to consider before you go through a house is to ask the realtor to ensure that the hot water is turned on so that you can actualchecking-for-hot-waterly test to determine how well the water heat works in different parts of the home. If they are not interested in setting it up for your visit, find out when there is an open house where the hot water will be turned on.

What you are looking for when you do get there is any type of variation in water temperature between different faucets and shower heads. After you have verified that the water temperature is consistent, ask if you can increase the water temperature to ensure that that functionality is working as well. Finally, take a look at the water heater itself.

You want to make sure that:

  • There is no rust on its surface or sides.
  • It is properly vented with a pipe.
  • The underside where the pilot light is lit has no rust or corrosion.
  • If you live in a geographic region that experiences earthquakes,check that the water heater is strapped with earthquake straps.
  • Of course, if you are in a climate where it gets cold in the Winter time, ensuring that it is wrapped in a suitable blanket or covering is also going to save you money.

Look for discolored water.

Most modern pipes in homes are made of PVC and do not create rust. On the other hand, if you are buying an older home, you may run into a situation where some metal pipdiscolored-wateres have a tendency to add coloring to the water because the water isn’t as soft as it might be in other neighborhoods.

To check for this, run the water in the home from all indoor and outdoor faucets until it clears the pipe and you are drawing water that came from outside the home. If it starts out being colored and clears up, you may have pipe corrosion.

If it remains colored, you may have an area water problem that you can ask your local water bureau about before contacting a plumber to see what your options are.

Check underneath the tub.

One of the larger sources of rot in a home occurs when there is a small leak in the tub outflow that splashes onto the underflooring that supports the bathtub. Over time, that can weaken the support and become dangerous.

You can also end up with mold growth that affects the air that you breathe. Checking underneath the tub on the ground floor is possible by crawling under the house. For upper floors, you would probably need specialized equipment that you can get from a plumbing inspector.

Making certain that your home has the plumbing system that you think you are getting is something that takes a little bit of effort.

If you would like some help from experienced professionals, please call Powell’s Plumbing in Winchester, VA at 540-665-8196!