Buying a new home is a stressful process. We’ve put together our House Hunting Plumbing Checklist to help you ask the right questions and look for obvious issues. What’s hiding in the house’s plumbing system could cost you thousands of dollars to correct. Knowing about these issues will empower you with knowledge, and add to your negotiating points.
When you’re ready to make an offer on a new home plan to spend a few hours with this checklist in your hand. Don’t skip over any of the points on the list. Take your time and inspect everything thoroughly. While a home inspector may catch these issues, they will never be as thorough as you.
Basements & Crawl Spaces
The best place to start your inspection will be in the basement or crawl space. Look for signs of leaking water or water damage.
You should be able to view some or all of the water and drain lines. Are the water lines copper, PEX, or polybutylene? If the house has polybutylene or lead water lines, they should be replaced. This means the whole house will need to be repiped.
Inspect the drain lines. Are there any signs of leaks?
Each plumbing fixture should be checked for proper operation, leaks and water pressure. Don’t forget to check the outdoor fixtures. Are any of these dripping? Is there any sign of leaking under the counters? Is the water pressure high, low or normal?
Keep notes of everything that you uncover, and inquire about things that raise red flags.
Test the shower for water pressure and drips. Fill a 2 or 5 gallon bucket with water and pour it down the shower drain. Did it drain away quickly or slowly? Partially clogged drains will need to be cleaned. Dripping fixtures will need to be repaired.
Check for leaks around the toilet water line and shutoff valve. Feel along the bottom of the tank where the water line enters it. Any sign of water leaking?
Put an average amount of toilet paper in each toilet. Flush the toilet. Does the toilet paper go down quickly? Does the toilet flush easily? Does it refill?
Activate the dishwasher and allow its tub to fill. Set the dishwasher to drain water. Now, look beneath the dishwasher. (You may need to remove the kick panel to accomplish this.) Do you see any signs of water, or water damage from the past?
Did the dishwasher drain all of the water quickly, or was water left in the tub?
Follow the dishwasher’s drain and water supply lines thought the kitchen cabinets back to the sink. Any signs of water leaks?
Put some celery in the garbage disposal, turn on the water and engage the disposal. Did it shred the celery and pass it into the drain? Keep the water running. Is water still flowing freely down the drain?
When operating the garbage disposal did the motor or internal parts make any strange noises?
It’s difficult to know the condition of a water heater. If the unit has obvious damage, or it appears to be improperly installed, then you know it will be a problem. If you can determine the date of manufacture it will give you an idea of how long it’s been in use. Water heaters normally last 10-15 years.
Champion Plumbing & Drain Cleaning
If you have any questions about the plumbing system in a house feel free to give us a call. We’re always happy to help 770-480-5077.