In the Market for a New Home? Look for Signs of Problem Plumbing!
Spring is one of the most popular times of the year to look at purchasing a new home – particularly here in Phoenix, when the weather is still pleasant and cool enough to drive around and check out open houses. But while you’re touring the inside of a home and looking at the floors, the paint job, and the kitchen appliances – don’t forget to take a look at the plumbing too. A lot of people become so fixated on the square footage and curb appeal of a home that they tend to overlook the mechanical, working interior parts. Along with the electrical and HVAC systems – the plumbing in a home is almost as important as “location, location, location!”
Unfortunately, fact is that 44% – or almost half of new homebuyers – will need to call in a plumber within the first year of buying a new house. So if you’re looking at new homes, we’d like to give you some visual signs to watch out for. Knowing what to look for can give you an idea of any potential Problem Plumbing that may need to be addressed before you consider putting in an offer.
- look for discoloration or warping around the base of any toilets in the home; this could be a sign that there’s been a leak
- step on the area around the base of the toilet with your full weight; if it moves or feels “soft” – this is another sign of water damage
- hold onto the toilet and rock it; it shouldn’t feel loose or wobble to either side; if you get any kind of movement it’s a sign that there’s a bad seal or the toilet isn’t well secured
- flush the toilets a couple of times, and listen to see if it empties and then refills correctly
Faucets, showerheads, drains, sinks, and tubs:
- look at the seals and caulking in all of these areas; if it’s worn, peeling, or discolored – then it’s old and will likely need work soon
- if the caulking looks brand new or fresh – then there may be a problem that the homeowner is trying to address; which might mean that they’ve fixed it successfully – or it might mean its still a problem
- look for wetness or rust stains around all areas where water comes in or goes out, watch for dripping water
- press on the tiles around the bathtub to see if they are loose or spongy; if they feel “soft,” chances are there’s water damage behind the tiles
- look for seriously dirty and moldy grout around tiles on floors or counters
- check the date of the water heater; if you look at the first four numbers of the serial number of the water heater, those are the month and year it was made; if it’s over 10 years old, it’s going to need replacing soon.
- check for rust or water stains anywhere on or around the water heater; these are signs of trouble, or impending trouble.
- turn on the faucets in a couple of places at once, like the kitchen and a bathtub, to see if there’s a significant reduction of water pressure
- check for water spitting out of the faucets, or flowing in irregular bursts
While these are all simple visual cues that can give you preliminary clues about the state of a homes plumbing system, the best idea is always to do an inspection on a home you’re seriously interested in purchasing. However, while a home inspection is always necessary, it’s often a good idea to bring in your own plumber to do a more thorough inspection as well, particularly if the home is an older one.
At Moon Valley Plumbing we’re always happy to come in and do a thorough plumbing check for you. We have specialized equipment and cameras that can do a thorough pipe inspection for you to determine if there are potential clogs or problems waiting to happen. In addition, there are many things we can check on that a pre-purchase home inspection can’t tell you, such as:
- are there any lead pipes in the home; if a home was built before 1986 there may be lead or galvanized pipes
- what size water pipes the home has; are they large enough for adequate water pressure
- if you have the correct size and type of water heater for your home and family; how many years does it have left
- what kind of sewage system a home has, whether it’s municipal or a septic tank; is it in good shape, are there possible root problems
- have there been plumbing leaks that caused wall or ceiling damage and were they addressed properly
- if you need or want to remodel a kitchen and/or bathroom, or add another bathroom, what kind of issues and estimated costs could you be looking at
We’re all homeowners here at Moon Valley Plumbing, and we know what a huge emotional and financial investment a new home can be. That’s why we know how important it is to know the possible plumbing pitfalls a home might have before you fall in love with it and buy it. Now, we’ll always be there to help you with any Problem Plumbing you may have in your new house after you buy it, but we’d also like to be there to help you make the right decision before you buy it, so give us a call and let us come out and give you a little peace of mind before you sign on the dotted line!