The real estate market nowadays is flooded with diversity. There are options for just about anyone in any part of the globe, which is amazing because it gives us the opportunity to find exactly what we’re looking for. But this doesn’t make it easier. In fact, it can even add to the difficulty of taking the right decision.
Buying a new house is an intricate process, and it doesn’t matter if it’s been owned before or not. You still have to put in some effort and go through the motions of inspecting every single part of it. After all, you don’t want to invest your life’s savings into damaged goods, especially if you plan to move there with your family.
What You Need to Know About Your Plumbing System
When it comes to picking your very own place to live, you need to be careful and consider every single aspect of the situation. There are plenty of things that go into making the right choice, and the functionality of the plumbing system is surely one of them. Here are seven things you need to know about this part of a house before buying it.
1. Functionality of Fixtures and Trap Seals
The first thing you need to look at as far as the plumbing of a house is concerned is represented by the fixtures. This includes the faucets, shower heads, sinks and toilets in the kitchen, bathroom and other rooms that might contain them. Turn all the faucets on. Is the water flowing correctly? Does it have a weird color? Is it draining effectively from the sink or tub?
You need to make sure that you check for any potential malfunctions and assess their degree of severity. Some are easier to fix than others, but if you come across something that would cost too much to fix, then it’s time to walk away. And while the fixture itself is very important as is, you should also inspect the other components of the system, and that includes the trap seals.
There are multiple reasons why trap seals break down, such as pressure, siphonage, evaporation, and even wind. Preventing these issues, or at least resolving them as soon s they appear, keeps your fixtures in shape and prevents unpleasant sewer gases from permeating your living quarters.
2. The Age and State of the Water Heater
As its name implies, a house’s hot water heater is what ensures that your showers and baths are pleasant and steamy. Thus, it’s an essential item for ensuring the well-functioning of any household. And unfortunately, replacing it will set you back a pretty penny. For this reason, you might want to skip on any properties that have a faulty one.
But how can you tell whether you’re onto a good thing, or if it’s too broken to consider? The two telling signs of trouble you have to look for when inspecting this appliance are corrosion and old age. While the former is usually visible to the naked eye, in the case of the latter you will need to find the manufacturer info inscribed on it.
The most common problems that come with these two factors include leaks, odors, and odd noises. If you notice that any one of these is being emitted by your heater, you will need to call in a professional to assess the situation. They can give you an estimate of the repair and proceed to fix it if you think it is worth it in the long run.
3. The Presence of Lead Pipes in Older Homes
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the vast majority of homes built before 1986 have lead piping. Due to the fact that this material is far more vulnerable to corrosion, special precautions need to be taken in order to preserve the quality of drinking water inside the house.
This type of plumbing in itself doesn’t necessarily lead to issues. However, factors such as pipe deterioration, water temperature and chemistry, and how much time it actually spends in there before reaching your faucet all influence the outcome. And when the circumstances facilitate it, the worst can happen.
Unfortunately, the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has declared that children are far more affected by lead ingestion than adults. If this happens repeatedly and nothing is done to solve it, the infant could experience delayed growth, hyperactivity, behavioral discrepancies, anemia, a lower IQ and learning disabilities.
And the trouble doesn’t end there. Particularly sensitive children can even experience seizures due to prolonged exposure.
Therefore, if you have a young one in the family, you should steer clear of such homes altogether. The safety of your loved ones should always come first when making any decision.
4. Where the Water Meter and Main Valves Are
You also need to locate and closely analyze the water meter, and that includes the main shutoff valve too. First things first, make sure all the faucets and shower heads are turned off on your property. Then go to the meter and see if it’s stopped or still turning. If the latter is true, then you have a leak somewhere in the house.
As for the valve, to check its operating simply turn it off, then try to turn every single faucet on, one at a time. If even one of them still runs, then you’ve got a problem on your hands and need to call in a plumber as soon as possible. This also generally indicates leaks, but if you didn’t notice it by yourself, then the damage might be more extensive than you think.
5. How Good the Water Pressure Is (or Isn’t)
Everyone enjoys good water pressure when they’re taking a shower. Unfortunately, most old homes have a bit of a situation going on in this department. Because standards weren’t so high back in the day, the pipes weren’t properly selected so that they produce the adequate flow regardless of how many people were using the system at the same time.
Basic tests can be performed so that you determine if an issue truly exists here. The solution to it is then simple enough: equip each fixture with the right size pipeline. Of course, only a professional can do this for you, but you need to decide whether the costs of the operation and time spent renovating are worth it.
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6. The State of Water Temperature Around the House
Naturally, your heater is in charge of making everything nice and warm for you to use in your everyday life. But if you have multiple bathrooms, you might find that some issues aren’t caused by a malfunction of this appliance. Therefore, it’s essential to check the state of water temperature all around the house, especially in the farthest corners.
If you have a smaller bathroom located farther away from the heat source, you might find that it takes a lot longer for the water running in it to warm up and be ready for your bath. This is usually caused by the pipes catching air and whatnot, which slows down the process. As always, a licensed plumber will help you resolve this in no time at all.
7. Trees and Sewer Lines Mean Trouble
One of the most often ignored aspects of a full home inspection prior to the actual purchase is the inspection of sewer lines. People usually assume that everything’s fine as long as there are no visible problems in sight. Nevertheless, one of the biggest threats is unseen, and it comes under the guise of tree roots.
While the presence of greenery on your property is surely something to look forward to, in the case of older homes it can also be detrimental. Tree roots extending their reach underground leads to damage to the sewer line, and this is incredibly expensive to replace. Therefore, never forget to analyze this aspect as well.
There are plenty of things you need to check when it comes to the plumbing of your next potential living space. By taking all of these steps, you will ensure that both you and your loved ones move into the house of your dreams, where you feel warm, safe and loved for the rest of your lives.
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7 Things You Need to Know About the Plumbing System of a House Before Buying was written by Vincent West an Engineering Designer and Technical Writer for Kevin Vitali of EXIT Group One Real Estate.
If you would like to sell your home or buy a new home give me a call at 978-360-0422 and let’s get the process started.
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