Purchasing a Home? Check the Plumbing!

New Home Key Showing Moving Into House

It is always advisable to hire a licensed home inspector to check out every aspect of a home you wish to purchase.  Increasingly, consumers are additionally protecting themselves by requesting home warranties, which will cover expenses not billable under homeowner’s insurance for a certain amount of time after purchase.  These are excellent steps to take, as plumbing problems can be completely out of sight one minute and disastrous the next.  It is estimated that 44 percent of consumers have to call a plumber within the first year of home ownership.  In the hopes that this will not happen to you, there are some things you can check for signs of plumbing difficulties ahead during the inspection phase.

  • Check the yard of the home for any areas that appear excessively wet or which have odd plant growth. This can be a sign of standing water coming from a leaking pipe.
  • You may wish to hire a licensed plumber to perform a video inspection of the underground sewer pipes to check for any current or potential future problems.
  • In the kitchen, make sure the garbage disposal and dishwasher connections are tight. Check the flow of water in the faucet, as well as the areas under the sink for any signs of water damage.
  • Inspect the water heater for rust. Additionally, check the age of the tank, as any heater over 15 years old will need to be replaced.
  • Locate the main line cleanout and be sure it is easily accessible.
  • Check any exposed piping in the basement for signs of leaks or repairs.
  • In the bathroom, check the flow of water in the bathtub and sink. Flush the toilet, then look around it for any signs of water damage. Place your feet on either side of the toilet; if the ground there feels soft, the floorboards are weakened or rotting due to a water leak.

Water Conservation Tips

Image courtesy of Dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In today’s environmentally conscious world, water conservation has become a global conversation.  No one is immune from water concerns.  For example, the Environmental Protection Agency reports that “even though Georgia’s high average rainfall is usually enough to recharge its aquifers, the combination of recent droughts and increased demand have strained the state’s groundwater resources,” causing decreased water pressure and concerns about saltwater entering fresh drinking water.

When it comes to water conservation, small steps can make a big difference.  Consider implementing the following tips in your daily life.

  • If you must water your lawn in the summer, do so at night when the air is coolest, thus decreasing the chances of the water evaporating before it hits the ground. Additionally, you can purchase an inexpensive timer that will automatically shut off your outside faucet after a set period of time in case you forget to do so.
  • Read your water meter at a time when no water is being used in your home, then return about 8 hours later and check it again. If the meter has moved, it is possible you have an undetected water leak in your home that needs to be fixed.
  • Check the temperature of your water heater. It should not be above 120 degrees Fahrenheit or medium temperature.  If it is, contact a licensed plumber to have it adjusted.
  • Immediately fix any leaky faucets you have in your home. Did you know that just one drip per second can add up to more than 8 gallons of water waste in a single day?
  • Replace your older shower heads with new lower flow models to save over 7 gallons of water per minute of usage.
  • Contact your water provider to find out the level of water pressure in your home. If it is above 60 pounds per square inch, call a licensed plumber to install a pressure reducing valve.