Want To Avoid Buying A House Of (Plumbing) Horrors? Be Alert For These 3 Signs

Potentially expensive repair issues are one of the most troubling problems that can arise when buying an older home. If the problem involves the home's plumbing system, repairs can be both costly and time-consuming to make, which can result in an uncomfortable living experience for the new owners. But some potentially serious plumbing problems are not always easy to spot, especially when much of the existing plumbing is concealed between walls and under floors. Luckily, there are some signs of potential plumbing problems that prospective home buyers can look for to help them avoid buying a home that has the potential to become a house of plumbing horrors. 

Water pressure clues

Areas of poor water pressure in an older home is often a clue that the interior walls of pipes and connections are clogged with minerals that impede the flow of water. If these clogs are widespread, repairing them may require completely repiping the home. If the poor water pressure problems begin outside the home at the street, there may even be an undetected leak occurring between the meter and the house. 

Pipe size and connection clues

While it can be difficult to see large portions of a home's plumbing pipes and connections due to walls, floors, and other obstacles, there are some places prospective home buyers can look for clues. These include: 

  • along the ceiling of an unfinished basement 
  • under sinks and behind laundry appliances or other places where plumbing is visible
  • in crawl spaces 

Prospective home buyers who find a mishmash of different types and sizes of plumbing lines and connectors in these areas are seeing evidence of numerous plumbing repair issues. If this problem is a large one, it could affect the reliable delivery of water throughout the home, should they opt to buy it.

Problematic paper clues

Another resourceful way for prospective home buyers to tell if a home is likely to have a plumbing problem is to check existing records for the home. To start, obtain copies of at least one year, preferably more, of previous water usage bills. If there are periods of excessive usage, it may indicate the existence of a serious previous leak or plumbing problem.

Along with previous water usage bills, prospective home buyers can also look at any past building and repair permits issued for the home's address to see if any pertain to the plumbing system. Checking these records against the information disclosed by the sellers as part of their listing process will provide buyers with a better idea of the home's plumbing history and potential for scary repair issues. 

To verify the health of any home's plumbing before buying, prospective buyers should consider having a professional inspection performed by a properly licensed plumber as part of their inspection process. 


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