6 Plumbing Checks When Buying a New Home

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Plumbing Checks when buying a new home

Here are 6 plumbing checks when buying a new home. The status of each check will prepare you for plumbing costs to rectify, or they may deter you from buying the home altogether. 

Buying a new property can be exciting and stressful.

Once you’ve found the perfect property and the price has been accepted, there are so many things to do before you can move in.

The building and termite inspections are usually the first assessments done before the sale becomes unconditional.

But are there any other inspections you should consider?

What is the state of the plumbing?

A pre-purchase building inspection will only give limited details about the state of the plumbing in and around the home. A termite inspection may give details on moisture in various sections of the home.

Unfortunately, not all pre-purchase building and termite inspections are equal.

Sometimes, it’s not until you’ve moved into your new home that the plumbing issues will start to arise, and by then it will be your problem to fix.

To prevent the inconvenience of unexpected expense, there are some key plumbing areas in and around the home you can check yourself. This post offers visual triggers to identify the possibility of illegal plumbing.

Here are 6 plumbing checks you can do yourself when buying a home

Water Leaks

Water leaks can be caused from leaking taps, frayed flexi hoses, water pipe connections or waste pipes.

burst flexible hose

Visually inspect and touch around the taps, under the basin and in the vanity cupboard.

Check the bathroom walls for any buckling or bulging. Mould and mildew can be a sign of a hidden leak in the walls.

Some leaks can be inexpensive to repair like a leaking tap or frayed flexi hose. But if the vanity cupboard is damp and warped, this could be a sign of a bigger problem to rectify.

Water Hammer

Water hammer is the sound pipes make when water has to change direction or stop suddenly when a tap is turned on. The best way to test if your new house has water hammer is to turn on the taps and listen for the noise.

If you do hear the loud knocking sound, it’s best to get a plumber to investigate a solution for you.

There are various reasons for water hammer – from pipes not secured correctly through stud walls to taps needing replacement jumper valves.

Water hammer is annoying, and if left unfixed, can cause further damage to pipework and other fixtures and appliances connected to the water line.

Slow drainage and gurgling noises

Fill the basin with water and watch how quickly drains away. Are there gurgling noises when the water flows down?

check for water hammer and gurgling when buying a new house

This could be a sign of a blockage. The blockage may be to the fixture itself, or it could be further down the main sewer line affecting all fixtures to the house.

It is common for sewer lines to have cracks and an invasion of tree roots causing a blockage. The only way to check if this is a possibility is to get a CCTV drain camera down the line to investigate the cause of the gurgling sound.

Hot Water Unit

A visual inspection of the hot water unit will give you an idea on the likelihood of it’s need for a replacement.

Most hot water units are installed outside. Check the serial plate of the hot water unit and make a note of the manufacture date. If you can’t find a manufacture date, find the model number. This can give an idea of the age of the water unit.

hot water inspected before pandemic hits home

Hot water units will typically last between 10-15 years.

Check all the connections are leak free. Also look for visible rust outside or beneath the tank. This can shorten the lifespan of your hot water unit.

Rusty gutters and downpipes

Outdoor plumbing is just as important as the indoor plumbing. Look up at the gutters and downpipes. Can you see any holes or rust?

Rusty gutters are a sign they need to be replaced sooner rather than later. Any holes or deterioration can be a sign of potential outdoor flooding which will need to be mitigated to prevent water overflowing through the eaves and under the roofline of the house.

Tall Trees and grass patches

Don’t be fooled by green patches and flourishing trees in the garden. If the trees are along the main sewer line into the property, there is a potential the roots are penetrating the sewer line.

Grass patches and damp spots could also mean an under ground leak.wet patch in front yard

The only way to know for sure is to book a CCTV drain camera inspection down the sewer line and thermal imaging may be used to identify a water leak underground.

It can be disheartening to discover undetected plumbing issues in your new home after you’ve moved in. However, these plumbing checks may prompt a plumbing inspection for further investigation.

What plumbing checks would you suggest when purchasing a new home?