The plumbing system of a house has a high demand, as it involves moving water through pipes to provide fresh and clean drinking water and dealing with waste materials. With that in mind, it’s important to not only know how to spot an issue while looking at the property. Check out these helpful plumbing inspection tips for homebuyers.

1. Inspect the Water Heater

An excellent place to start is with the water heater when looking at a house. Locate the water heater in the basement or on the upper floor and check if it functions. In addition, see if there’s a heavy layer of dust around it. The presence of several years of dust indicates that it hasn’t been well-maintained or replaced for quite some time.

Check the water flow in the home by turning on a few faucets and see if water immediately comes out or if it takes time to heat up. Keep in mind that problems with the water heater can lead to very high utility bills.

Verify the age of the heater. The manufacturer’s name and the year it was made are generally found on the upper area of such equipment. If you’re unable to find this information, then look for stickers containing helpful details about the water heater, such as when it was last serviced, if there are any recalls or the capacity. In addition, check to see if there are any missing safety features, such as an automatic gas shut-off valve or a rupture disk.

Check for any previous leaks or drips. If the heater has leaked and a small puddle of water has formed on the floor, then there’s a leak in the plumbing or something wrong with the connection or pipe.

2. Check the Toilet

In addition, when looking at a house, check the toilet to see if it is running slowly or if there are signs of a possible overflow. The presence of water on the floor or around the toilet bowl could indicate that something inside is broken and needs repair. If there’s any sign that sewage has flowed into the bathroom, then you might want to reconsider your decision as it could mean expensive repairs and severe health problems.

Flush the toilet and see if water flows in and empties appropriately. If the water flow seems slow or the toilet doesn’t flush, something might be blocking it, such as a buildup of minerals.

3. Look for Water Damage

See if there are any traces of water damage on walls and floors. Look for stains on carpeting, discoloration, or crumbling in drywall, peeling paint, and any signs that there has been a leak at one point in time.

When looking at carpets, check for any sign of mold or mildew. As mold and mildew spread, they can produce a variety of health problems and cause an unpleasant odor. In addition, if there are signs that the carpeting is wet, there’s likely a leak somewhere in the house.

4. Inspect Your Main Sewer Line

Sewage is arguably the most disgusting thing you’ll encounter during a home inspection. As such, it’s essential to identify any problems with the sewage system and take note of any signs of infection. This includes finding any signs of major backflow or increased bacteria or odor in the bathrooms. It’s unlikely to happen, but it is possible and a potential problem.

In addition, ask what type of sewer system the house uses. If the sewage system is modern, it can handle wastewater much more effectively than older ones. However, it might be a significant problem if it’s older and was not built to handle large amounts of sewer water.

If the house is connected to a municipal sewer system, you can check the mainline, generally cast iron. As this pipe connects to your home, it’s essential to check if there are any cracks or holes that could lead to a costly repair or leak.

If it has a septic tank, you should ask where it is located, its capacity, how old it is, and if there have been any issues with it in the past. Set up a video sewer line inspection to check the pipe’s condition and whether it is working efficiently.

5. Inspect the Main Water Line

Map out the house and then check the main water lines. These are usually made of PVC and could be damaged if there’s a broken pipe or loose connections. If the main water line appears damaged, you might want to look at other lines.

As for the water pipe itself, look for any leaks or evidence of old repairs. If the pipe has been damaged, then there’s a possibility that it will need to be replaced, especially if it is made from steel and contains a minor leak.

6. Check for Lead Pipes

While not very common, lead pipes are still used in some water distribution systems. While there may not be any immediate health problems, lead can cause long-term problems such as kidney disease and high blood pressure. If you have a young child, you’ll want to consider having your household water tested for this substance.

7. Delve Into the Drains

Check the drains to see if they are functioning correctly. If there’s a slow water drain, it could be due to a buildup of minerals in the pipes. In addition, note how each drain is positioned because this could indicate that one part of the plumbing system is clogged or that there’s a leak.

The kitchen sink is the key line for checking for leaks. You can try filling up a bucket with water and then listening to see if any sounds come out. If you hear any signs of leaks, you’ll want to check for clogs around the pipes or in the sink itself.

8. Check the Sump Pump

Look for signs of clogs around the sump pump itself. This mechanism restarts the sewer line if there’s a problem with the mainline. If the sump pump has been running nonstop or is hard to turn on, it could be time to replace it or have someone fix it. The presence of corrosion can also indicate that this part needs repair.

A sump pump helps move water from the lowest point of your property back outside if it rains or if you have any water coming into your house. Ensure that it is in good working order before you close on the home.

9. Check Operation of Outside Hose Bibs

In addition to checking your sump pump, you should also check the hose bibs outside. Ensure that they are easy to turn on and that there is no evidence of leaks around them. It’s also important to see if the pressure from the water is strong enough or if it needs adjustment. If a hose bib is broken, there will likely be a leak nearby. At Davis & Green, we can help with heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical services.

In conclusion, home inspections are important to ensure that you won’t purchase a property with major structural problems or other unexpected issues. While you can spot most of these problems relatively easily, others might require professional assistance. We offer heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical services in Richmond, VA. Contact Davis & Green today for more information.

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