Purchasing a new home is always a good investment. But what many new home buyers do not know is what steps they need to take to make sure that they get the absolute best new house for their family.
A plumbing inspection should be one of the primary aspects of the home that a buyer should look into before making a deal. Plumbing repairs are not cheap and getting stuck with poorly plumbed or broken pipes in your new home is bound to be a frustrating experience.
Many factors should be considered before settling on or purchasing a home, chief among them is knowing that you have not only the correct plumbing for your needs but also that your plumbing system is in great shape. So, the short answer in our opinion is yes, you do need a full plumbing inspection before you pull the trigger on buying your new home.
The cost of some of these tests / inspections can be substantial, depending on who you go with. However, I can assure you that the peace of mind and possible savings up front is huge. If you can get a reduction in your overall home price based on the findings of home plumbing inspections you will without a doubt save money hand over fist and the small investment up front will be negligible in comparison to the dividends that it pays. Obviously you may not want to fork out these large sums every single time you find a house you like but once you have found “the one”, you should definitely take the plunge, for lack of a better word, and have a plumber come out and inspect your prospective residence.
A Couple Things To Look For
It isn’t unheard of for new home or remodeling contractors make some mistakes when connecting water and sewer systems. So here are a few things that you can look for personally during your walk throughs.
Be sure to check each fixture in the home and make sure that they are fully operational. It is possible that a contractor may have cut some corners during renovation or new home building and the result is that the flow of water just isn’t all that great or perhaps these systems have deteriorated over time. Whatever the case may be, such hindrances or issues should be dealt with as quickly as possible and you shouldn’t have to absorb that cost, so be sure to use the findings in your plumbing inspection report as leverage.
Identifying the Presence of Water Leaks
Before you choose to move into any given house, it is essential that you or the plumbing inspector identifies whether there are any leaks.
If you decide to hire a plumber to inspect your prospective new home, they will fully ensure that there are no leaks in the house by performing a battery of tests on your sewage waste system as well as your fresh water supply. Sewer leaks and in-slab water leaks are major repairs and can cost thousands of dollars. In the process of repairing any damaged pipes in your new home you could have to tear up beautiful wood or tile flooring which would only serve to compound the repair costs. This is definitely a headache you want to avoid.
In each bathroom, be sure to check the floor to see whether it is spongy or if it is soft, if so, more than likely there is or at one point there could have possibly been a leaking pipe or fixture.
Next, check the kitchen as well and look inside each of the cabinets for signs of moisture. Open each faucet and make sure that the water flow is good and not slow or discolored.
The presence of standing water in the yard is also an indicator of water leak. Walk through the front and back yard personally to see if there is water on the ground which may be a result of pipes leaking.
Is the Water Heater Working Properly?
Hot water has become an important part of our daily lives and as such its important to make sure that your water heater is in good condition. Either you or the inspector should check to see whether or not there is any corrosion evident on the exterior of the pipes or connections
A water heater that is more than ten years old needs to be replaced rather soon, so keep that under consideration as well. You can find the manufacturers sticker on the side of the heater that should indicate the exact date the unit was manufactured and assembled. If you do not see a relevant date then we suggest you perform a google search using the serial number to determine the units age. If the unit in the home you are looking at seems to have been there for quite a while you may want to consider its location in the home, whether its in the attic or a closet, and keep in mind that if the unit does not have a drain pan or flood stop this could lead to serious damage were it to leak in the home.
Water heaters are expensive to replace and it can be even more expensive to upgrade to a tankless unit. Be sure to keep this cost in mind if you find that the house you are looking at has an older water heater in it and make sure that you take the right steps to protect your investment.
A few things to look for on your water heater checklist are:
1. Does the water heater have any corrosion or rust on the unit itself or its connections?
2. Does the unit have a pan underneath it with a pan drain line connected?
3. Do you have a Floodstop unit or similar device installed to shut the water off automatically if the presence of water is detected in the pan?
If corrosion is evident, you may want to have the unit inspected and depending on the age of the unit it may need to be replaced. If the unit does not have a pan underneath it consider calling a plumber to have one installed, especially if the unit is located in your attic or inside the house in a closet. If the the unit does not have a Floodstop device installed you may want to seriously consider having a professional install one for you. These devices can save you thousands of dollars in repairs in the event of a potential flood caused by water heater failure. How does it work? The device has a sensor that is placed in the drain pan and as soon as moisture is detected it cuts off the water supply to the water heater preventing any damage to your home while you are at work or doing other things.
Inspecting the State of your Sewer
When buying a new home it is extremely important to make sure that you have the sewer system fully inspected. It isn’t unheard of for homeowners to try and unload a house on the market that has serious plumbing issues, and typically these issues have a lot to do with the sewer system because its in the ground or slab, unexposed. In some cases pipe breakages can go unnoticed or only cause intermittent but constantly recurring problems that will cause you to throw good money after bad.
Our fully licensed plumbers will do more than give you a vague idea of what's going on with your potential new home’s sewer system. They will perform tried and trusted tests on each section of the pipes in your home. That way our report will absolutely indicate whether or not there is a problem with your sewer system. If your home does not pass this test then we bring out our camera systems and visually inspect and retest each individual part of the sewer system in your home in order to give you a detailed report of the problems or the lack there of.
Ultimately, whether or not you decide a plumbing inspection is necessary for your purchase is entirely up to you. At Jennings we think that a detailed plumbing inspection report is a great idea. Not only does it provide you with peace of mind in the event that nothing is wrong, but it also provides a huge value for the prospective home owner. For a few hundred dollars you can gain valuable insight into the condition of the home you have your eyes set on. You can possibly even use this information to leverage a better deal on your new home purchase.
All of us at Jennings Plumbing Services hope that you found this little article interesting and insightful. If you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to contact us. We are located near Addison, Texas and you can reach us by phone at (972) 458-5584 for plumbing services.
Thanks for reading,
The Jennings Plumbing Team