If you are about to purchase a home, you have to work out many details. One of the major issues with pre-owned homes are problems with the plumbing. However, you can easily avoid costly repairs by being diligent about inspecting everything plumbing-related. Before you sign your agreement, follow these five simple tips to avoid plumbing issues after you close the deal.
1. Inspect All Toilets in the House
This tip may seem like a basic thing, but unfortunately, many prospective home buyers fail to inspect all of the toilets in the house. Are the toilets constantly running? Perhaps this issue has a simple fix, like replacing a chain or flapper. Has water pooled underneath the toilet? Leaks could indicate a more serious issue.
You might want to think twice about buying a house with leaking toilets. At the very least, the cause of the leak should be determined and corrected. Otherwise, the floors may become damaged. So be thorough in your inspections before you decide to buy.
2. Beware of Older Lead Plumbing
If the pipes in the home are constructed of lead, these should be replaced at once. Lead plumbing can be toxic, especially to small children and pets. Even if you drink bottled water rather than water from the tap, the lead in the plumbing system may be passed on to your family through cooking water.
As an alternative, PEX pipes, which are plastic, are flexible and cost-effective. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or copper pipes are other alternatives. PVC requires no welding, so they are easily installed.
Keep in mind, that although PVC pipes are fine for cold and warm water, it is not suitable for hot water applications, due to the possibility of warping. Copper is suitable for all water types, although copper plumbing tends to be more costly.
3. Be Sure the Pipes Are Insulated
If the home is located in an area that experiences freezing temperatures, the water pipes should be wrapped and insulated. Insulation can help avert potential frozen pipes when the temperature drops below freezing.
Before you buy the house, make sure you check that the pipes have adequate insulation. Fiberglass and plastic pipe wrap are most common, and these may be purchased at home improvement stores for a do-it-yourself project. Tubular-sleeve piping is suitable for covering a greater length of pipe.
4. Have a Look at the Water Heater
Ask the previous owner how old the water heater is. If the water heater is over a decade old, you may need to find a replacement. Also, look at the base of the unit. If there are leaks, these could indicate a problem, especially with an older model.
You should also ask about scheduled maintenance. If the heater has not been maintained for an extended period of time, you may be faced with plumbing issues later.
5. Check for Mineral Scale Deposits
Have a look at the hose connections to the dishwasher and washing machine. Look at the water faucets as well. If you notice a lot of mineral scale deposits, these could indicate hard water.
Also, drink the water while you’re there. If the water tastes peculiar or smells funny, the water might be hard. Stains around the toilet and sink are another indicator.
Hard water in the home may lead to issues such as dirty laundry and dishes or dry skin. If hard water is an issue, you can correct this by installing a water softening system. If you investigate the potential for hard water before you buy the home, you can plan for the softening system beforehand.
Follow the above-mentioned tips before you make your final decision on home buying. A thorough inspection may save you the hassle and money down the road. If there are plumbing issues that need repair, consult an experienced and professional plumber to get the job done right.