Buying a home can be quite daunting and even scary for some. With all the things that have to be accounted for, you don’t want or need hidden surprises to pop up. Well, that’s why we’ve put together this little gem of a blog entry to help you; 3 hidden plumbing problems that could be costly to new homebuyers. Hopefully by understanding some of the potential plumbing problems you could encounter and knowing how to identify them, you’ll feel a bit more at ease when checking out a new home to purchase.
Look for Water Stains
Water leaks leave clues. When you’re checking out a new home to purchase, be sure to check for water stains. You’ll find evidence of water leaks under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. You’ll also want to take a real good look around the shower, tub and toilet.
Look for water stains and soft spots on the bottom shelf of vanity’s, kitchen cabinets and the floor around toilets. Furthermore, look for blistering paint on the bathroom walls and where the pipes enter the tub and shower enclosure. You can also see other evidence by looking at the ceilings for stains under upper floor bathrooms. Additionally, check out the floorboards in the basement under kitchens and bathrooms for staining.
Furthermore, smell for mold and mildew. At times a homeowner will try to spruce up the place by covering over any imperfections with paint and new flooring. However, mold and mildew will grow under cabinets and floorboards in the dark areas where it has gotten wet. It has a distinct odour and you’ll be able to sniff it out long before you can see it.
Check the Water Pressure
Checking the water pressure in all the faucets and fixtures can give you a good idea how old the plumbing is in a home. Homes built before the 1960’s commonly were built with galvanized steel and cast iron pipes, and these will eventually start to build up scale and corrosion on the inside. If you do find copper pipes, be sure they continue throughout the home.
Often times homeowners will only replace pipes that have given them troubles, but will not go to the expense of replacing all the plumbing in the home at once. Connections to the old pipe with new copper lines need a special dielectric coupling. However if the homeowner did the repairs themselves, they likely didn’t know this, or install one. This will eventually cause a breakdown of the connection later on possibly causing other water damage in the process.
Check Water Drainage
Be sure to check how the water drains in the kitchen and bathrooms. Slow water drainage can be signs of more than just one clogged pipe. Old water drainage pipes can be very expensive to replace because they’re mainly located inside walls and floors without convenient access.
Often times replacing drainage pipes will require a carpenter, flooring professionals, new drywall and painters to make the repair complete. These additional materials and tradespeople can drive up the costs of the repair significantly, perhaps even doubling or tripling the initial estimated cost.
Other Items to Check
As we said in the beginning, there’s a lot to consider when buying a new home. We just wouldn’t feel right if we didn’t let you know about a couple more things to check out when comes to inspecting the plumbing.
1) Ask to see an old water bill. If the water bill seems unusually high, this could indicate a water leak somewhere in the system. If the leak isn’t detected inside the home, it could be in the water line between the house and the street. This kind of leak would require even more extensive and expensive repairs to correct. A professional plumber will be able to do a simple pressure test to help narrow down the culprit.
2) Check the age of hot water heater. Water heaters have to be replaced periodically because they build up scale from mineral deposits on the inside. Furthermore, if its an older unit, it will likely be costing more in utilities to operate than a new energy-efficient model. Having a professional plumber install a new water heater is less expensive than you may think, and could save you far more than the cost of living with an old one.
Buying a home doesn’t have to be scary and full of surprises as long as you are aware of the basics. We also advise you to seek out information about checking out your electrical system, roof and foundation to be even more confident looking for a new home. If you would like to speak to one of our professionals about this, please contact us. We’ll be happy to answer any questions and address any plumbing concerns you may have about your new home purchase.