Are you curious about the household plumbing of total strangers? If you’re in the market to buy a house, you should be. Repairs and required upgrades are expensive, particularly when they come as an after-sale surprise. Hidden leaks can add thousands of gallons a year to your water bill.
The inside of a toilet tank isn’t usually the first stop on the Open House tour. In fact, the preponderance of household plumbing—including preexisting defects or deficiencies—often isn’t on display unless you go looking for it. Here are a few plumbing issues to check out while you stroll the premises:
- Feel the water pressure. Turn on several taps and shower heads to determine if pressure is adequate and consistent. Low pressure could mean clogged individual fixtures or that mineral deposits have permanently narrowed water supply lines. Seek the professional opinion of a plumber.
- Ask about pipe sizes. Ideally, you want a 3/4-inch main water supply line to the house and 1/2-inch interior lines that feed individual rooms and fixtures.
- Flush every toilet. Verify that it flushes powerfully and the fill water turns off after the tank is full. Also: do any toilets look like they belong in a bathroom fixture museum? Old pre-90s toilets squandered as much as 5 gallons per flush (gpf). Once you’re paying the bill, you’ll probably want to upgrade to 1.28 gpf high-efficiency toilets.
- Examine the water heater. Ask the homeowners when the tank was last flushed. If they can’t remember, that’s not a good sign. Mineral deposits hardening inside the tank shorten water heater lifespan and make early replacement likely. Also, note leakage or external signs of rust or corrosion.
- Inquire about lead piping. Lead pipes are a health hazard and a deal-breaker unless the homeowner agrees to re-pipe the entire house before you buy it.
- Visit the crawl space. Hope you’re dressed for this. If not, hire a plumber to crawl down there instead. Examine the condition of pipes typically routed there. Look for ongoing water leaks or seepage, as well as signs of past leakage. Note any plumbing work that has a DIY look to it—duct tape wrapped around pipe joints, PVC and metal piping mixed, etc.
Plumbing is a critical household system subject to wear, tear and neglect just like any other structural component. Before making a buying decision, consider getting a complete, pre-sale inspection by a qualified local plumber.If you found this blog helpful, you may want to check out our post “Still Using R-22 Freon in Your AC Unit? Time to Make a Change.”
North County Plumbing is located in Vista, California and has been in the service business since 1970 providing quality plumbing services including leak detection and drain service in northern San Diego County. Our qualified technicians are available 24 hours a day to help with emergency plumbing repair services…with no overtime charges!