Plumbing issues always have an impact on buying a home.
Plumbing issues can be hiding from potential home buyers. We have plumping supplies and drains in areas that are not visible. With plumbing supplies located in walls, ceilings, and attics and the ground. It's a very good chance that a home buyer may never see the signs of a plumbing problem and that's why it's so important to have a trained eye and the experience to run certain test to find expensive plumbing problems. Plumbing issues found by Houston home inspectors can save you a bundle when purchasing a home. So be sure to hire a qualified experienced home inspection company..
What type of issues can faulty plumbing cause.
Well leaking plumbing left unchecked at the plumbing supplies or drains can cause all sorts of issues. With most of the plumbing concealed inside walls or ceiling leaks can go undetected for long periods of time by home owners especially small leaks. Anytime there's moisture in a home there's the potential for mold growth. Sewage backs ups don't only cause damage to your home ,but can also cause serious health hazards. During these back ups the pipes of your home may be damaged and need plumbing repairs. Although sewer drains are not visible for the most part a Home inspector will run a high amount of water through the plumbing drain system. If these an issue than the drainage system may back up at the time of the home inspection. I've personally observed water backing up into a home it's not a pretty sight.
Older homes may have outdated plumbing that is at the end of it's life expectancy.
If you’re buying an older home in the Houston area look out for old galvanized plumbing supplies. Galvanized supplies can rust from the inside out reducing the inside diameter of the galvanized supplies. This decreases the water flow making it difficult to produce a functional water flow, when one or more fixtures are in operation. The low water flow is a sign that your galvanized plumbing supplies reaching the end of there life span. Brown or reddish water that doesn’t run clear after running water for serval minutes may also be an indication as well. Galvanized supplies rust at joints at connection . Old galvanized supplies with these types of conditions are leak hazards. While observing these types of conditions during your home inspection.. I would recommend a plumber evaluate and give estimates of replacing the old galvanized supplies. This can cost thousands of dollars and water damaged if left unchecked.
What if the home I'm buying has Galvanized plumbing.
At this point it is not a question will the home end up having galvanized plumbing issues. The big question will be when. Galvanized plumbing to a home buyer should be a red flag due to the age. If you don't want to deal with an elevated risk on leaks inside of walls or ceilings than don't buy a home with galvanized plumbing supplies. That means that you will have to cut older 70's and 60's home from your home buying list unless you have documentations that the plumbing supplies have been updated to a more modern type of plumbing.
A home with Polybutylene plumbing.
Polybutylene plumbing supplies can be present in homes built between 1975 to 1996. Polybutylene plumbing is known to fail without warning and is why it's not used today. The home inspector will be able to tell you if it's present , but only a professional plumber will be able to tell you the condition. Polybutylene has been involved in class action law suits due to the high rate of failure
Drain leaks and clogs
The home inspector will run water filing up sink, tubs, flushing toilets . Then drains will be released and the inspector will begin looking for leaks under sinks, at faucet's, shut off valves, around toilets, bath tubs, and showers or clogged drains. Those are some very common plumbing problems found during a real estate inspection. This will be repeated until every drain and water fixture has been tested. At the very end of the home inspection after all plumbing has been stressed I will preform a thermal imaging scan leaking for leaks. A thermal imaging scan is a great way of finding moisture evidence with out any obvious signs such as water stains. I always back up my suspicious infrared reading with a moisture meter.
The majority of the drains are hidden from the home inspector.
With most of the drain lines hidden from the home inspector it is not possible unless water is coming up from the ground or leaking inside walls or ceilings at the time of inspection still at that point it would need to be investigated to detect underground damaged or leaking drains. The underground drains also could have tree root drain damage and not be detected at the inspection. Broken plumbing supplies may exist underground also. Sewer drain clogs may cause the indoor drainage system to back up into the home. If any of these issues are present than a plumbing professional will be recommended.
Now let's take a look at your water heating equipment. We need to make sure it's working because it's never fun taking a cold shower. Most common types of water heating equipment found in residential homes are an electric, or gas water heater it may be a tank type or could be a newer tank less type of water heater. No matter what type you have there still can be defects and hazards present. If the temperature sensor fails the unit will continue to heat the water. This can be very dangerous as the unit heats pressure can build and if the temperature relief valve fails your water heater can project through the ceiling of your home or roof depending on the location. As you can see this would create a very dangerous hazard for you and your family and even others near your home. It is highly recommended that a plumber test your temperature relief valve once a year. Due to temperature relief valves leaking after testing I do not test these.
Water heater issues.
Inspecting unit for any corrosion or evidence of back drafting meaning the exhaust gases that are supposed to be going to the exterior are coming back into the home. This is a very hazardous condition that needs corrected immediately carbon monoxide may enter into your living space. There can be a lot of areas that can have corrosion present. The water heater itself can have corrosion in many areas. Changing the anode rod can help to stop corrosion at other areas of the water heater. This rod sacrifices itself meaning it rust before the exposed steel at the inside of your water heater. you can increase the life of your water heater if the anode rod is changed about every five years. Once your tank starts to rust than leaks are not far behind. Many times there may be corrosion at plumbing supply connections. Corrosion at nipples, Leaks at water heater tank, or plumbing supplies at water heater, The temperature relief valve is leaking. The temperature relief valve may be missing drain line, it may not drain to the exterior of the home, also the drain line may not be installed with the right materials, the drain pan may not be present, drain pan could be rusted or clogged, If located in the garage area it may not be protected against physical damaged or may not be 18' above the floor which can create a fire hazard situation , damaged or missing components etc. these are some of the defects and hazard that may exist at the water heater. During your home inspection service I will thoroughly inspect the water heater noting the defects and make it clear what hazards may exist so you and your family are safe. If to many defects are present I will recommend that the water heating unit be replaced. Plan on getting about 10 years of life out of your water heater. Once you move in make sure to have an annual inspection of the unit this can alert you to problems and may save money if leaks are present that could do damage to other areas causing damage to drywall insulation. If left unchecked a leaky water heater can cause conditions conducive to mold growth and that can be a hazard to your health.
Are those jets working?
Hydro Massage Therapy Equipment (spa tubs) - This equipment is tested and inspected for any physical damage. Is there an accessible panel present if so checking for bonding at motor and also testing required GFCI if present etc.
The truth of the matter than can be many high dollar of the homes plumbing components.
Leaky drains at kitchen sinks , bathroom sinks, running toilets, no water at fixtures, no hot water, water leaks, low water pressure, missing anti siphon devices, poor drinking water, sewer drain, clogs, at sink drains or underground ground. All the finds will be included in your detailed home inspection report.