If you are in the housing market, make sure you undertake a thorough home plumbing inspection before buying a home, despite the age of the house. Ask when the pipes were installed and the materials used and if there are issues with the plumbing, you still have time to discuss the costs with the selling agent and may even help you with sales negotiations.
Here is a simple checklist you can follow yourself before signing the contract:
Water leaks can indicate further water damage, so bathroom, kitchen and laundry plumbing inspections, as well as a close look at walls and ceiling throughout the home, can be worthwhile. A leaking tap will cause water to pool but is cheap and easy to fix. Left leaking however and it could ruin the vanity or weaken the surface.
Signs of a leak around a toilet will show up in a discoloured, or warped floor. If the toilet feels weak or wiggles, it could mean that the seal is weakened, or the flange is not secured.
While you’re in the wet areas, check the water pressure of each tap, especially the showerhead. Weak pressure could indicate a blocked drain, water leak or a problem with the hot water system.
Hot water system
Keep in mind that most hot water systems last about 10 years. If the owner doesn’t know how old it is, you can do a check on the serial number or check for any leaks in the tank and that the temperature, pressure and colour of the water is as it should be. If the home is in a coastal location, erosion and rust may also reduce the life of the system.
Can you hear gurgling as the water flows down the drain? The drain is most likely blocked with the usual kitchen scraps, oil, soap scum or hair. However, it could also be something more serious, like tree roots or a crack in the pipe. This could be an expensive fix.
A water hammer will need to be checked by a plumber to determine the cause. If the vibration is caused by an issue with the connection between the pipes or the water pressure, in time it may cause the pipe to collapse.
If the garden seems to be flourishing in patches, see if there is a sewer pipe close by. Roots may have penetrated the pipes, causing an overflow, which is acting as a fertiliser. You will notice water sitting on the surface of the lawn or an unpleasant smell.