As you begin to look for a new home, there are many things to consider. You are looking for the perfect neighborhood, excellent schools, shopping nearby, and the ideal home. But have you thought about how old you want the house to be? Are you willing to consider an older home that is a bit of a fixer-upper? If you said yes, then there are a few plumbing questions you should be prepared to ask before deciding if you are willing to purchase a home.
The plumbing in a house accounts for roughly 15% of its value. So if the plumbing is in rough shape, you will want to be sure that you will not pay top dollar for a home that will need significant financial investment for plumbing related repairs and updates. Of course, you will have the standard home inspection completed. Still, for an older home, it is also a wise investment to hire a licensed plumber to do a deep dive into the condition of the home’s plumbing and drain system. Some of the most common defects and issues to look for include:
Copper pipes were the norm for houses built from the 1930s to today. But some of the homes built in those early years could have lead-based solder in the pipe joints and fittings. Lead in high levels is toxic and has been linked to many health issues, including kidney and brain damage. And the risk of these illnesses is increased in children. In 1986, the Safe Drinking Water Act prohibited the use of lead-based solder in water pipes. A house built before 1986 could have lead-contaminated copper water lines.
Old Sewer Lines
The life expectancy of sewer lines is about 25 years. So a home with substantially older sewer lines could require some significant investment in a new sewer line. Old pipes become brittle and tend to crack and then become invaded by tree roots. Once the sewer line is blocked, there is no place for the sewage to go but back into your home. To avoid this unpleasant and costly issue, ask your plumber to use a video camera to inspect the sewer line for blockages, damage, and deterioration.
Outdated Water Heater
The average traditional water heater will last between 8 and 12 years. But that will only happen with regular maintenance and flushing. Your plumber can inspect the water heater to determine its age and also drain some water from the holding tank to determine if there is excessive sediment inside. If the tank does not appear to be well maintained, it is best to request a new unit be installed at the seller’s expense.
A good cleaning can do wonders for the appearance of old plumbing fixtures. But there is really no way to repair the wear and tear that comes with years of use. If the plumbing faucets and showerheads are more than a few years old, ask for them to be replaced or to have an allowance to replace them yourself. Even well maintained older fixtures would be less efficient than newer models. This is especially true when it comes to low flow showerheads and toilets. Replacing the items can save you thousands of gallons of water and much money in just a single year of homeownership.
Even if the appliances look good and functional, it is vital to check the hoses and water line connections. An old brittle hose on a dishwasher or refrigerator water dispenser could develop a slight crack and leak a substantial amount of water before the problem is discovered. The result could be thousands of dollars in water damage, toxic black mold contamination remediation, and even health issues for you and your loved ones.
When you find the house that you would like to make your new home, invest a little bit of money and time for a professional inspection by a licensed plumber. The team at Flow Plumbing has decades of experience installing, repairing, and inspecting plumbing in homes of all ages. Call us today at (214) 388-8838, and we will be happy to evaluate any home in the area for you.