Essential Plumbing Checks Before Buying a Home

National -
Essential Plumbing Checks Before Buying a Home

When embarking on the exciting journey of buying a home, it’s easy to be swept off your feet by a charming facade or an inviting interior. However, it’s crucial to look beyond the surface, particularly at the plumbing system, which might hold the key to the true condition of your potential new home. Let’s dive into the essential plumbing checks you should consider to avoid any unwelcome surprises.

Know the Age of the Plumbing

Understanding the age of the plumbing system in your potential new home is fundamental. Like fine wine, some aspects of a home can improve with age, but plumbing is not one of them. Materials deteriorate and technology advances, so knowing whether you’re inheriting a system that’s ready to retire can influence your decision to buy or negotiate the price.

Professional Inspection

While personal inspections can reveal obvious problems, hiring a professional plumber for a thorough inspection is invaluable. They can identify issues that aren’t immediately visible, like underground leaks or problems inside the walls. This small investment could save you thousands in potential repair costs down the line.

Consider Future Needs

Remember to think about any planned renovations or additions and how they might impact the plumbing system. For instance, adding a bathroom or expanding the kitchen will require a closer look at the existing plumbing to ensure it can handle the increased demand. Special attention should be given to the kitchen plumbing, which is essential for the functionality and comfort of one of the most-used rooms in your home. Planning for the future can help avoid costly reconfigurations or upgrades down the line.

Evaluate the Water Heater

The heart of a home’s plumbing system, the water heater, deserves your attention. Inquire about its age, as most have a lifespan of around 10 to 15 years. Check for any signs of rust or leakage around the tank. A malfunctioning or near-the-end-of-its-life water heater can be a significant expense shortly after moving in.

Check for Lead Pipes

The presence of lead pipes is a significant health concern. Lead was a common material used in plumbing until the late 1980s. If the house you are considering predates this period, there’s a chance it has lead pipes. Exposure to lead can affect the nervous system and is especially harmful to children. Thus, confirming the absence of lead in your water supply is not just about plumbing but about safety and health.

Drainage and Sewer System Health

A smoothly functioning drainage and sewer system is vital for the comfort and sanitation of your home. Inquire about the state of the sewer system, and consider a sewer line inspection, especially if the home is older. Tree roots, aging pipes, and blockages can lead to severe plumbing emergencies.

Inspect for Corrosion and Leaks

During your home inspection, keep an eye out for signs of corrosion on any exposed pipes. Corrosion can lead to leaks, which in turn can cause a wide array of problems, from mildew and mold to structural damage. Checking for leaks not only involves a visual inspection but also listening for drips and looking for any water stains on ceilings, walls, and floors. Sometimes the smallest signs can indicate the biggest problems.

Additional Considerations

It’s also wise to inquire about any recent plumbing repairs or upgrades. This information can give you a sense of how well the plumbing system has been maintained and whether there are any recent fixes that could extend its life or improve its performance. Don’t hesitate to ask for receipts or documentation of any claims.

Understand the Water Pressure and Quality

Low water pressure can be an annoyance, but it can also indicate more serious plumbing issues like leaks or blockages in the pipes. Testing the water pressure in faucets and showers, as well as flushing toilets can give you insight into the system’s health. Moreover, assessing the quality of the water, both in terms of taste and clarity, is crucial. Homes in areas with hard water may require a water-softening system.


Buying a home is one of the most significant investments you will make. Taking the time to conduct thorough plumbing checks might not be the most glamorous part of house hunting, but it is undeniably essential. It’s about ensuring that your dream home doesn’t turn into a financial nightmare due to overlooked plumbing issues. So, equip yourself with knowledge, and don’t shy away from asking for professional help. A little diligence goes a long way in securing not just a house, but a safe and comfortable home.


Next articleMaking the Most of the Summer Moving Season as a Home Buyer