There is nothing more exciting than buying a home and laying down some roots in a space that is entirely yours. Purchasing a home is something to be celebrated, but the whole process can also involve a lot of stress and admin, and some hefty plumbing fees if you aren’t cautious. Check out our plumbing checklist to be in the know on any and all plumbing things you need to inspect before signing the papers on your new abode!
Before we get into the nitty gritty of the checklist, it is important that you realise just why you are doing the checklist. When it comes to a new home, your love for the place could be clouding your ability to see any issues with it, or the realtor/seller may not be completely open and honest with you about the state of the plumbing, which is especially true if you are looking at buying an older house with older plumbing.
Plumber near me: Water quality and flow
The first thing that you should do before calling a plumber near me is to check out the water quality and flow of the house you are interested in. In order to check the quality and the flow, you will simply need to turn on the tap and let the water run for a bit. When this happens, you will be assessing three things, the colour, odour and flow.
-Colour: And plumber near me will know that water colour can be a big indication of how healthy it is, and when you assess your water you should be making sure that it is clear and that there are no bits floating around. Clear water generally means healthy water, but if the water is coming out of the tap in a brownish colour or is mirky, it could mean that water pipe is damaged, or that the municipal water supply itself is problematic. Check in with the municipality or neighbouring homes to see if they have murky water, and if not, it means that your pipes are damaged and will need to be replaced by a plumber near me.
-Odour: The next thing that you should keep a nose out for is the smell of your water which is especially relevant if the home you are interested in is not in the city. Homes or apartments in the city will generally get water that has been through a treatment plant, using chlorine to kill any pathogens or bacteria, ensuring safe drinking water. This is usually the culprit behind water that smells slightly like chlorine, and is safe to drink as long as it is not a strong whiff of chlorine. If, however, the water comes out and smells like rotting eggs or sulphur, DO NOT drink the water as this means a sewer pipe could be damaged. If your water resembles this stench, you will definitely need to call a plumber near me which could result in hefty repair fees.
-Flow: The final aspect to look for when assessing the water is the flow and pressure of the water. If the water streams out the tap in a consistent and smooth flow then the water flow should be fine. If you turn on the tap and the water just trickles out or shoots out in intermittent bursts then there is a strong chance that the pipes are damaged or have not been properly maintained. This is especially an issue in older homes and if you have any chance of reaching your dreams of a hot shower with high water pressure, you will undoubtedly need to contact a plumber near me and foot the bill.
Plumber near me: Lookout for leaks:
When you are taking a tour of the home you are interested in purchasing you should also be on the lookout for any leaks, which are a good indication of the state of the home’s plumbing. When it comes to assessing leaks, be sure to look at:
-Under the sink
Plumber near me: Notice noises:
While it is pretty common for plumbing pipes to make some faint noises, if you notice any abstract or loud noises coming from the pipes, both when the water is running and when it is not, then you may need to call a plumber near me. When listening for these noises, take a closer listen to the places where one would normally find leaks, such as under the toilet or under the sink. Unhealthy noises include incessant bubbling and gurgling, dripping, whistling or banging noises coming from the pipes. If you hear any strange noises coming from the pipes you will most likely end up having to call a plumber near me to either repair or replace these pipes.
Plumber near me: Don’t forget drainage:
Drainage is another important indicator when it comes to plumbing that you should look out for when buying a new home. When you go through the home, check all of the drains in the house and make sure that they are clear from any debris or blockages that will clog the drains. If you turn on the tap and the water takes a while to drain, this is a strong sign that the drain is blocked.
Blocked drains can be caused by a number of things, ranging from simple food that was thrown down the sink when it should have been thrown down the garbage, but can also be something more severe like a tree root growing into the drain or exit. Before you purchase the home you should ensure that the seller calls a plumber near me to unblock any clogged or problematic drains.
Plumber near me: Toilets:
The next aspect that you should look out for when perusing your new home is the toilets! Check the drainage of the toilets by flushing them and looking for two things, first that the water coming into the bowl is clean and flowing in with pressure, and second that the water drains and refills at an appropriate pace. The last thing you want to be dealing with is a problematic toilet.
You should also lookout for wobbly toilets. You are buying the home, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to test out the toilets first! Have a seat and see if the toilet feels loose, if it does it could just be the toilet seat which needs to be tightened or replaced, but if the actual toilet is wobbly, not just the seat, you need to inspect further. A wobbly toilet usually goes hand in hand with a leak, and could mean that the leak has impaired the wax/silicon seal that usually goes around the toilet. You will be able to see if this is the case if you feel the floor around and behind the toilet, if it is soft and spongy that is an indication of a prior or current leak.
Plumber near me: Take a look at the tiles
While you’re in the bathroom sussing out the stability of the toilet, it will be worth your while to also have a look at the tiles on the floor, as these can also be an indication of water damage. Tiles that are loose, have curling vinyl or that look like they have moisture in the grout can be a sign that the floor underneath is damaged. This is especially the case in bathroom and kitchen floors where water is often dropped onto the floor, and over time will seep below the surface and damage the floor.
Plumber near me: Discoloured pipes:
The next thing that you should be on the lookout for is discoloured plumbing pipes, especially underneath the kitchen sink or in the basement if the house has one. Discolouration is a cause for concern because it usually indicates that the pipe is leaking, or has leaked in the past and the pipe is therefore weaker. Discoloured pipes could also materialise through corrosion and rust, so look for red or orange patches on steel pipes, and look for green or white discolouration on copper pipes.
Plumber near me: Sewer pipes
Sewer pipes are such a significant part of the home check and if you purchase a home that has problematic sewer pipes, you will undoubtedly need to call a plumber near me to repair or replace them. If you want to inspect the actual pipes you may have a difficult time, as they are generally installed underground and therefore require digging and labour to get to them. But, if you want to do a quick check then you should stand in the shower and smell the drain, if you can smell sewerage it means that the sewer line is either backed up or is blocked, and will need repairing or unclogging.
One of the best ways to make sure that the plumbing is okay in a home you are looking at buying, is to have a look at the present drainage diagram. You should ask your realtor or seller for a copy of this diagram which will show you where all of the pipes in the house are located. You should also make sure that this diagram is up to date, as drainage diagrams need to be updated whenever any plumbing is altered or updated, and the diagram should reflect these amendments.
Another aspect of plumbing that you should look out for when purchasing a new home is the roof and ceiling. Look at the ceiling for any dark patches or any mould, which is a clear indication of water damage. When it comes to the actual roof, there are a few aspects to bear in mind.
Firstly, make sure the roof tiles or material does not have any holes or cracks. Check the surrounding gutters for damage or blockages, as a blocked or damaged gutter will not drain away water, and any residual water will become stagnant and attract pests and plant growth. Side note, it is a general rule of thumb that you should unblock your gutters once a month, and go in with some weed killer if you’re dealing with some uninvited fauna.
Once you’ve checked all of the above you should also be aware of any hidden plumbing issues that could become an issue later on, when you’ve already paid for the house. This is an important step because it is not uncommon for realtors or homeowners to ‘renovate’ the place just before showing it to you, which is generally a positive and beneficial thing, but also leaves opportunity for realtors to cover up any issue that may sway you away from purchasing the home. Look out for:
-Fresh coats of paint that may be covering water damage or mould spots.
-Wallpaper that could be concealing mouldy walls or walls with water damage
-Freshly filled cracks, that could have been caused by water damage and have only temporarily been sealed.