When purchasing a home, there are literally dozens of potential issues that can make the experience anything but a positive one. One area that is prone to problems but really should be in top condition is the plumbing. Not only can plumbing issues cause headaches for the new homeowner, they can also cause thousands of dollars in repair costs and a dangerous situation for those living inside.
When you are in the process of buying a house, take the time to ask some critical plumbing questions before you sign your name and move forward.
Why Bring It Up?
The reason you should bring up the topic of plumbing when buying a home is because you can’t live in a modern home in a modern neighborhood without it. You need it to bring fresh, clean water into the house and possibly for heat. You also need a functioning plumbing system to remove waste from the house, and vent the gasses that have been left behind when the waste water is disposed.
If you are in the process of buying an older home, the need to ask plumbing questions is even greater. Old pipes may contain lead or other materials that are hazardous, and older water heaters can cost a lot of money to replace if they are not functioning properly. Even with newer homes, or even brand new homes, it never hurts to ask questions about the plumbing, but it may end up hurting if you don’t.
When Was It Last Updated?
One question that it makes sense to ask is when the plumbing system last updated. This might not be applicable if the home is new, but if it is more than 10 years old, asking about when it was updated is a good idea.
If the answer is “I don’t know” or you get an answer that makes you uncomfortable, you might want to look into the matter more seriously. If then seller gives you a date when updates were made, ask what they were and ask to see the invoice or paperwork that confirms that the work was done.
When Was the Last Inspection?
If there hasn’t been an update for years, or they aren’t sure when the last one was, ask about the last inspection. If a plumbing inspection has been performed in the recent past, ask to see the paperwork like you would with any updates that were made.
Some of the issues that a proper inspection will cover include major and minor leaks, dripping faucets, slow moving drains, as well as any major damage that has taken place in the past.
Ever Had One Burst?
Asking whether a pipe has ever burst in the home is another important plumbing question to ask before you buy a home. Burst pipes have the potential to result in severe water damage throughout the home, and even if the pipe was repaired, there could still be damage within the walls and in other areas if large scale repairs didn’t take place.
Of course, water pipes don’t usually burst out of the blue and it is due to rotting and corrosion in the pipes that cause them to burst in the first place. Even if the house hasn’t had a burst pipe somewhere along the line, it could be a ticking time bomb if pipes are rotting and corroded. And one of the most effective ways to find out these types of things is with a proper home inspection that includes the entire plumbing system.
Any Common Signs?
If you have any plumbing experience of your own and you want to get in there and look for some visible signs on your standard walk-through, here are a few common ones to look for. The smell of sewage is one glaring thing you will notice at some point if it is part of the problem. If you detect the smell of sewage at any time, bring it up immediately and don’t agree to sign anything until it is addressed.
Of course, it doesn’t have to smell awful in order for there to be plumbing problems. Dripping faucets in the kitchen or bathroom, drains that are slow to empty when you try out the taps, and any signs of water under the sink may be an issue.
Lastly, any visible signs of mold should act as a big warning that plumbing issues did exist, do exist or could exist.
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