Why You Should Have a Plumber Inspect Your Future House
When you buy a new (to you) house you do not know the history of the plumbing systems in the house. The plumbing systems are sometimes hidden in the walls, ceilings and floors of the structure as well as outdoors.
Even the visible parts may have problems hidden within. A professional inspector can give you some idea of plumbing problems, but only a licensed plumber can apply years of experience of plumbing problems in the area, and perhaps in that exact same building.
Getting a Plumbing Inspection Before Closing
The plumbing inspection should occur prior to the closing, and the closing should be made contingent upon the building passing the inspection.
If problems are found the seller should be pressed to repair the problems at their expense or, at least, set up an escrow fund to pay for the repairs.
One of the most important parts of the inspection is looking for leaks. In the case of water pipes, a leak can cost you money for excess water usage. Even more importantly a leak can damage parts of the building, leading to mold damage, structural damage and costly repairs.
Leaks from air conditioning condensate lines and pumps can cause the same problems. In the case of sewage leaks, there are also direct health issues. And in the case of natural gas leaks, there is the serious risk of fire and explosion.
The next area to have inspected is proper flow in water and sewage lines. Inadequate flow in water lines may be caused by mineral buildup in the pipes, which can be fixed only by replacement. Insufficient flow in sewage lines (or blockages in sewage vent pipes) can prevent the reliable removal of waste from you home.
Problems of flow in sewage lines may be fixable by using chemical treatments, mechanical cleaning or may require replacement.
Appliances and Equipment
Once the pipes have been checked, the next areas to be inspected are the appliances and equipment that use water and gas.
The valves should be checked to ensure they turn on and off easily and do not drip in the "off" position. The drains should be checked for proper flow, no leakage and the presence of proper traps. Toilets and bidets should be checked for reliable flushing.
Water Heater Inspection
The water heater needs to be checked for the proper temperature, neither too high creating a risk of scalding nor too low requiring too much heated water to fill a bathtub or provide a pleasant shower.
If it is a storage unit, the condition of the tank should be examined.
Given the age of the tank, it may be possible to predict its remaining life expectancy. The safety valve should be checked for operation and proper venting.
If you have a private water source (almost always a pumped well) the quality of the water should be chemically and biologically tested. The flow and capacity need to be checked to see if there is enough to fill the bathtub or the washing machine.
The pump, storage tank, and pressure tank need to be examined. Even with a public supply you may want to have a chemical analysis of the water inside your house. Discolored water is a sign of additional chemicals in the water that need to be addressed.
If you have a private sewage disposal system such as a septic tank and drain field, this certainly needs close inspection. A system that has not been adequately maintained (or is overused) can fail and require very expensive repair or reconstruction.
In addition to the basic systems found in every home, there are a large number of systems that might be found and need inspection:
- Water filter and treatment equipment — check that the filters / chemicals have been maintained / replaced as required
- Garbage disposal units — check that they function properly
- Bidets — check that both the toilet and cleansing parts work
- Sump pumps — check for proper operation, proper float switch settings, trash in the pit and efficient drainage
- Solar water heating systems — check for proper safety and drainage valves and possibly appropriate antifreeze levels and heat exchanger conditions
- Solar building heating systems — (same issues as water heating pools, hot tubs and Jacuzzis) check heaters, pumps, aerators, filters and chemical levels
- Water and steam-based heating systems — check for proper functioning, air in the system, pumps, zone valves and thermostat(s)
- Evaporative air conditioning — check for smooth operation and mold and algae contamination
- Fire suppression sprinkler systems — check for good flow and that shutoff valves are turned on and perhaps locked
- Landscape sprinkler systems — test that all heads function, that the timers and controls work properly and that the valves do not leak
- Decorative fountains and small ponds — check that pumps and water systems work properly
The most important thing for you to do is get an inspection done by a competent, licensed plumber. Consider getting a plumbing inspection from:
All Purpose Plumbing
It'll give you peace of mind.