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First-Time Home Buyer? Here's What You Can Do To Make Sure A House's Plumbing Is Sound

Construction & Contractors Articles

The process of buying a home can be incredibly hectic, especially if you've never done it before. Homes are enormous investments, and one mistake in bargaining or inspecting the house could cost you thousands in repairs. Plumbing is one of the most common parts of a house to have hidden problems, like decaying main lines or limescale buildup in pipes. If you aren't sure how to get the scoop on a potential home's plumbing status, here are a few tips.

Know What To Ask The Seller

Novice buyers often miss out on important information about a home simply because they don't know which questions to ask. When it comes to the plumbing of a home you want to buy, here are things you really need to know:

When was the plumbing last inspected or serviced? How comprehensive was the inspection?

You should have the home inspected on your own anyway, but asking this question will give you an idea of how wise it is to get your hopes up about buying the home. If the owner hasn't paid attention to the plumbing, you'll likely have repairs to do. On the flip side, if a thorough inspection was performed recently, it can give you a good picture of how well the pipes are holding up.

Does the home have a water softening system? If not, is the water in the home naturally hard?

Hard water is water that carries minerals in it through the pipes. It can cause limescale buildup in bathrooms and in pipes, and these deposits can even damage plumbing over time. If the water in the home is not softened manually or naturally soft, you may end up needing to clean the pipes soon after purchase.

How high does the seller keep the water pressure? If it's high, has it always been that way?

High water pressure can help to clean out clogged pipes when you use it once in a while, but keeping it raised at all times can put undue strain on the plumbing. If the owner keeps his or her pressure high and rarely has the system inspected, you should expect a leak or two.

How old is the home's water heater?

The average water heater lasts around 10 years, though some may last longer. If the owner's heater is older than 8 years, you should probably consider having them discount the cost of a new one from the asking price. If the owner can't remember how old it is, you should definitely assume it will have to be replaced.

Have The Main Lines Visually Inspected

It goes without saying that you should have the plumbing of any house you hope to buy inspected, but in cases where you've received unsatisfactory answers from the homeowner, it's a good idea to go above and beyond. You'll want your chosen plumber use a drain camera to visually inspect the main lines of the home for damage and decay, for several reasons.

Repairs Are Costly: Main lines are just plain expensive to fix or replace. If a main falls apart or springs a major leak, it could cost you thousands to repair. The last thing you want is to have already closed on the house when you discover a costly problem with these pipes. 

Everything Is Fine Until It's Not: Aside from clogging more often, it's not uncommon for many problems with mains to just go unnoticed... until something explodes or all the drains in your home are suddenly flooded with sewer backup. Even if you're fine with buying a house that needs a main repaired, it's best to know as soon as possible so you can prevent a catastrophic failure.

Trees Don't Care How Much Pipes Cost: As far as a tree is concerned, your sewer main provides an excellent source of water and nutrients, and tree roots are not about to let a metal pipe stand in the way of accessing it. If proper maintenance isn't kept up, roots can slowly work their way into the main, causing it to leak, clog more often, and even burst. A visual inspection with a drain camera will reveal invading roots instantly.

Don't let plumbing problems blindside you after you close on a new home. You can protect yourself from surprises by asking the owner the right questions and having the home thoroughly inspected by a plumber of your own. If all goes well, you'll know exactly what you're getting -- and if it doesn't, you might dodge a pretty scary bullet. Visit http://www.firstclassplumbinginc.com for more information about plumbing inspection services in your area. 


24 June 2015