Looking for a new place to call home? Your dream house may include a big backyard, walk-in closets, maybe a library with one of those cool ladders on wheels, but we’re gonna bet that fully functional plumbing is also high on the list of must-haves. Before you sign that contract, make sure you’ve given your new home a thorough once-over. Our residential plumbers recommend taking a close look at the following:
- Run all the faucets (sinks, showers, and tubs). Test out both the hot and cold water in each. Make sure there’s sufficient water pressure — if pressure is low, it’s a possible sign of a bigger issue. When you turn off the faucets, check that they don’t drip. Finally, make sure all drains are working properly.
- Flush all the toilets. Try to wiggle the toilets and sinks — they should stay firmly in place.
- Check the flooring around toilets and sinks, as well as the dishwasher and refrigerator, to make sure there is no staining or warping. Floors should feel solid with no soft spots.
- In a multi-story house, check the ceiling underneath bathrooms or laundry rooms for wet spots or staining.
- Take a look at the water heater. Make sure it’s free of corrosion and rust and that it isn’t dripping or leaking. Consider where the water heater is located. Is it convenient? If it did leak, what would be damaged?
- Check the entire house (but especially bathrooms and kitchen) for mold or mildew spots. Musty odors are also a sign of leaks or water damage.
- Find out where the emergency shut-off valve is and test it to make sure it’s working properly.
- If there is a crawlspace or basement, inspect it for leaks, damage, or past faulty repairs.
Questions to Ask
- When it comes to pipes, size does matter. You want to make sure you’ve got at least ¾” pipe connecting your water source to your home and ½” pipe to the faucets. Also, ask what material the pipes are made of and when they were installed. Galvanized pipes, for example, need to be replaced after 30 years.
- Ask how old the water heater is and when it was last serviced. If it is old or appears to be in poor repair, ask for it to be replaced.
- Ensure the hot water heater is up to code if you’re looking at an older home.
Call for Help
If you’d rather let someone else check off all the necessary boxes while you spend your energy picking out paint colors, no problem! Your residential plumber will be happy to do a complete new home inspection. Your plumber knows exactly what to look for, and if they spot an issue, they can often give you a sense of the scope (and cost!) of the repair. You can decide whether to insist repairs be completed before you buy or ask for the estimated repair costs to be taken off the price of the house (there are pros and cons to each).
Buying a new home is a huge investment. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you know what you’re signing up for!