Considering a new home is an intensive and exhausting process, in part because there’s no shortage of things to check for. On top of having to meet your own unique and specific needs, a home should also be in be up to the latest standards and codes. Further still, it shouldn’t have any extensive maintenance issues to worry about; at least not ones you’re unaware of or are intentionally planning to spend your money and time on.
Two of the biggest factors to consider in a new house are electricity and water. Electrical systems can be pretty intimidating for the uninitiated, but fortunately plumbing seems a little more straight forward (and tends not to be dangerous). But that doesn’t mean it’s any less important to look into before you sign the deed. We’ve previously helped you understand the warning signs of faulty electrical work, now here’s what you should keep your eye on when it comes to potential plumbing issues.
As you’re walking around the house, this is definitely something to keep an eye out for. Water damage isn’t limited to your pipes and can be caused by nature. Rain can leak through the ceiling, or groundwater can seep in through the foundation; both of which are potentially problematic issues in of themselves. But when it comes to your plumbing, you may notice wet spots in places such as under the sink or near the toilet. In addition to be indicative of a larger issue, the damage itself is hazardous. Water damage will warp wood and break tile over time. It can also spur the development of harmful molds, so be on the look out.
Low or Inconsistent Water Pressure
Here’s something you might never have thought to do while checking out a home: as you walk around, turn on faucets and flush the toilets. You might feel a little weird doing it, but it makes sense. You would test drive a car before buying it. You should make sure the plumbing does what it should and giving it a try is a good way to find out. Water flow should be pretty good and consistent no matter where you are in the house. If the pressure is low, that could be a sign of bad clogging, a leak in the system, or even incorrectly sized pipes for the system.
Noises, Sights, and Smells
The pipes shouldn’t shake a bunch when you use them. If you hear rattling or screeching from faucets, it’s probably being caused by air in the pipes and that the “bleed-off” system isn’t working as it should. The water should also be clear and not discolored or too cloudy. It shouldn’t have a bad smell to it (unless you expect it to). Some parts of the country have higher concentrations of sulfur which results in a rotten egg smell that residents are used to, for example. But if you’re used to odd smelling water you probably already know what to expect. Being surprised is a bad thing when it comes to water.
One sink or clogged toilet probably isn’t a big deal that a little plunging can’t remedy, but if you notice drains are moving slowly everywhere in the house that’s probably a sign of a larger problem. You could have a major clog somewhere, or a septic system that needs to be emptied. Pay attention to other signs like the sound of gargling when drains empty. If you hear that, that’s a sign of a blockage that is trapping air.
A faulty plumbing system may be easier to live with and less of a pressing issue than faulty wiring, but small problems can cost you big in the long term. Make sure everything is working just it should from the get go so that your next home purchase doesn’t turn into a nightmare fixer upper that haunts your bank account for years to come.