home inspection

Home Buyer’s Pre-Purchase Plumbing Inspection Checklist

When buying a home, there are many things to consider when going through the inspection stage. Plumbing is one of the most important aspects of a home. Piping can be considered the veins to a house. Even the smallest problem can turn into something more.

The term ‘plumbing’ can mean fixtures like a sink or tub, pipes that bring water to the fixtures, pipes that drain the sewage from the fixtures, gas supply lines, sprinkler systems, heating pipes and much, much more.

A ‘pre-purchase’ inspection can identify extensive repairs such as bad wiring or a faulty roof. Most of the time building inspection only identifies basic plumbing issues instead of the ones that can cost thousands of dollars to repair. Here are some things you should be on the lookout for if you are buying a new home:

The biggest concern for most purchasers is leakage. Water dripping from a pipe might be obvious but there are many other kinds of leakage that are more difficult to find. Make sure a more experienced professional or engineer inspector evaluates the difficult to detect leaks as well.

Sewer Pipes
Other than being disgusting, sewer problems are very costly. Check to make sure you can flush the toilet and it isn’t blocked up or that sewer waste doesn’t come into your home unexpectedly. Pipes can be broken or cracked allowing dirt or tree roots to penetrate the inside of the pipes and cause them to not flow properly.

Storm Water Pipes
It’s important that the gutters and down pipes are connected to the storm water pipe work. From there they should eject into the roadside gutter or to the council storm water pit. It’s actually common to find down pipes that aren’t connected and when it rains the water just spills out and runs onto the ground. This attracts termites to the property because of the damp environment. This can also cause water levels to rise and enter the house after a rain storm.

Water Pipes
Pipes can deteriorate over time. Copper piping can rust and create pin hole leaks. A pipe leak inside the walls or ceiling can be very costly.

Hot Water Systems
Most plumbers can determine the condition/age of a hot water system by inspection. The average life span is 12 years. If it is close to 12 years old at the time you are purchasing your home, you may want to negotiate with the sellers to replace it or lower the overall price of the home. The pressure relief valve should be replaced every 5 years. If the valve fails due to old age, the pressure inside the tank builds up over time. Eventually it could make the system explode!

Something like a slow draining sink could indicate that there is a bigger problem in the underground sewer pipes. Make sure you have an inspector look into this issue further. The most common causes are a broken or blocked pipe. Another problem that some people might see as small are rusted pipes located under a sink or even next to the toilet. If it looks like they are starting to rust, they could burst. Bursts could cause flooding to that area of your home.

These are just a few of the things you should look out for when conducting a pre-purchase plumbing inspection. Remember, many general inspectors only go over the basic plumbing issues. It is important as the possible new homeowner to go over the more extensive potential problem areas to save you money and time in the future.