The search for a new home is loaded with uncertainty. By getting a thorough plumbing inspection before signing any contracts, you can save yourself a lot of headaches and financial risk
There are things you as the prospective buyer can do. If the water is on,
1) Be Sure to Flush the Toilet
Do they drain quickly, or does the water level descend slowly? This can be caused by a simple line blockage or a major sewer disruption.
An Inspector can help you by checking the sewer line with a camera to make sure you’re not facing significant damage from tree roots; a collapsed line due to age, or a break anywhere along the line.
This camera inspection needs to be taken all the way to the main to confirm there are no breaks.
2) Look for An Exterior Sewer Clean Out
If you can’t find an exterior clean out quickly, the house may not be up to code. Contact an Inspector to check out your local requirements. If the house is in an older neighborhood, accessing the back yard to dig a trench for a new sewer line could be a serious challenge due to easement changes, fence construction, and the addition of outbuildings over time.
While it is possible to repair a sewer line without retrenching, this can be a very costly fix. In this situation, a camera inspection is critical.
3) Run the Water in a Sink Until it Runs Hot
Does it run clear? Check under the sink for flex lines or copper pipe. If you find the lead pipe, be aware that your house may well need to be re-plumbed for the safety of you and your family. Should you be able to access under the house, review as much of the plumbing lines as is visible.
Check to be certain that the water line coming in from the street is copper. If the house only has a crawl space, a qualified professional should take a look at all of the plumbing to confirm you aren’t facing any expensive or messy leaks.
4) As You Run the Water, Listen for the Hot Water Heater to Kick In
Does it do a lot of clunking? If yes, there may be corrosion within the tank you can’t see. If possible, find out the age of the hot water heater. Check around the base for signs of rust. A new hot water heater may be needed, and if you can’t request it from the seller, you can budget for it and get it taken care of before the water heater fails.
5) Run the Shower to See if It’s Working
If the shower head spits and sputters, or only works sporadically, the house may have sat empty for a time. Sediment can build up in the feeding water lines. Be aware that you may need to hire a professional to replace items such as sink aerators, shower heads and spray nozzles as this sediment clears.
6) Watch the Rate of a Drain in Sinks, Tubs and Showers
Here is where a careful plumbing inspection by a trained professional can save you lots of expense and disruption. Before you buy, have all water lines and drain connections checked so you can be sure you’re not facing a severe plumbing failure.
7) Water and Gas Turn Off Assessment
If the water and the gas have been turned off, a detailed assessment by a qualified inspector is critical. The water lines and the gas lines may need to be pressurized and tested before you can get the utilities turned on again. Should any of the gas lines leak, you’re facing one of two expensive options:
Either your plumber will need to chase down the leak (a challenging proposal, depending on the age of the house) or the gas lines will need to be replaced. Depending on the selling price of the home, it may still be a good deal. However, this expense is not a welcome surprise. Once the gas lines are working and the house is warm, the water lines will all need to be checked for leaks as well.
The quality of home inspections can vary from state to state and company to company. Some states don’t allow home inspectors to touch anything or move items away from the wall, providing a very limited inspection.
At the other end of the spectrum, some home inspection companies run the dishwasher and check the voltage of each outlet.
However, a detailed inspection by a qualified plumbing professional can save you a great deal of expense and worry by making sure that the critical hidden systems in your home such as the delivery of water and the removal of waste work efficiently and efficiently.
A detailed plumbing inspection will save you an expensive surprise and give you peace of mind in your San Jose, CA home! Contact Genmor Plumbing, Inc. at (408) 684-7083 before you buy.