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 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.