There are a lot of checklists involved in buying a new home, and you want to tick all the boxes. There are informal checklists that you tick off in your head as you walk through the property for yourself. Then there are the checklists undertaken by the professionals, including Building Inspections and Pest Inspections.
You would expect plumbing inspections to be on this list too, but they aren’t always standard practice when buying a new home. That might not sound like a big deal, but you will quickly change your mind when your first shower turns cold or you’re hit with expensive plumbing repairs a few months down the track.
Shopping for a new home is one of the most expensive things you will ever do, and you don’t want any hidden costs to go with it. Before you get to the adrenalin of an auction or the joy of picking up the keys, you need to make sure there’s nothing nasty hiding below the surface.
That’s where our ultimate pre-purchase plumbing checklist comes in. Follow this list to make sure your new home’s plumbing is in the best condition it can be!
Pre-Purchase Plumbing Checklist: Things You Can Check Yourself
Hot Water Supply
Switch on the hot water on a few different taps. How long does the water take to warm up and is this consistent across the property? If the hot water feels a bit sluggish, this could be a bad sign. Another thing to look at when it comes to hot water is the water heater. Examine it for signs of age or damage, including corrosion. Keep in mind that the average life of a water heater is around 10 years.
Discoloration And Water Hammer
When you switch on a tap, you can also look for discoloration in the water and listen for water hammer, a clunking noise which indicates pressure problems in the pipes.
When checking the water pressure, the best place to go is the shower. Crank up the water in the shower and stick your hand under it for a feel test.
Locate and flush every toilet in the home to test them out. Do they empty and refill quickly and completely? Do the different flush settings produce different results? Do the toilets sound like they’re running for a long time after the flush or is there leaking at the base? These are all problems to watch out for.
Leaks And Drainage Problems
There are a few ways to become a leak detective. Look under a sink when the tap is running to spot obvious leaks. Look for signs of water damage, like discoloration or warping around taps, sinks, and toilets. Check for any bulging or overly green patches in the garden, as well as associated smells, which could indicate a leak.
To check for drainage problems, fill a sink and see if it is sluggish when draining. You can also listen for gurgling sounds, which could be a sign of a blockage.
Pre-Purchase Plumbing Questions To Ask The Homeowner
As well as testing out the plumbing, you should also get some vital information from the homeowner or real estate agent:
How old is your plumbing system? The older it is, the more problems you may encounter
How old is your water heater/boiler? These systems last around 10 years
When was the plumbing inspected/serviced/repaired? Find out how urgent the inspection is
Have you had any plumbing problems? An honest answer could save you a lot of grief!
Pre-Purchase Plumbing Checks To Leave To A Plumber
A plumber can look for problems that you can’t, and they can also provide more information on any issues you might have noticed. Here are just 10 things a plumber can check for you:
Ensure the pipes bringing water into and away from your home are the right size
Check for dangerous lead pipes and other lead-based content in your plumbing system
Examine sprinklers and other outdoor plumbing systems for leaks
Check pipes and stormwater with special CCTV cameras
Check the condition of roof plumbing, gutters, and downpipes
Examine the condition of mixers, taps, fittings, fixtures, vanities, toilets, cisterns, bathtubs, sinks, showers, etc.
Complete professional tests to double-check drainage, hot water units, and water pressure
Identify hidden leaks
Examine the condition of your gas lines
Examine the condition of your water lines
Organize Your Pre-Purchase Plumbing Checks With A Professional Plumber
When it comes to pre-purchase property inspections, make sure you insist plumbing is added to the list to save time, money, and hassle in the long run.
Plumbing inspections will generally cost a few hundred dollars during normal business hours and more on weekends or after hours. But by running the right tests, asking the right questions, and working with a professional plumber, you will be able to sign on the dotted line with confidence.
By Brianna Normanby