Plumbing Questions to Ask When Looking for a Home
Buying a home is a complicated and lengthy process, and you’ll likely work with people who will help you make the right choice. As plumbing professionals, we always see mistakes left behind when homeowners move into a new house. Whether they knew of the issues or weren’t aware of the severity of the problems, it can be a headache to fix.
That’s why it’s crucial to make sure you’re as informed as possible about your potential new home’s plumbing system before you decide it’s the right house for you. Here are some questions to ask during the process.
What kind of water heater is there?
Not only should you inquire about how old the water heater is, but you should also see what kind of heater is being used. Ask if the unit is tankless or traditional, and when it was installed. Tankless units often last twice the amount of time as a tank unit, so that may factor into your personal assessment of the home’s value.
A tankless water heater lasts longer, takes up less space, and is more efficient than traditional models. The vast majority of homes still use traditional heaters, but tankless are becoming a more popular option.
What material are the pipes?
Pipe material and age are two important factors in potential issues you may face. While different types of pipes don’t necessarily indicate a problem, you need to know how to take care of the pipes that are installed.
Common types of pipes are copper, galvanized steel, and PEX. The age of the pipes is important to know whether or not corrosion is a problem in the near future.
Have the pipes ever been replaced?
Ask if the pipes have ever been replaced and why they were. Was there a problem with the soil? Corrosion? Or are you buying an old home, and the pipes were replaced as part of regular upkeep? These are all questions that will help you better take care of your pipes.
Is there a water treatment system in place?
If you’re moving to a new neighborhood or water district, you should first read up on the water quality and hardness. Then, see if the home you’re interested in has a water treatment system in place, whether general filtration or a softener.
How old is the sewer/septic system?
It’s essential to be familiar with the sewer or septic system of a new home. Ask which system is in place and how long it’s been there. If it’s a septic system, ask when it’s last been pumped, what kind of tank is installed, and when it was last replaced. For sewer systems, ask what material the main line is made of and when it was installed.
If the system is new, that’s a bonus! But you should ask the exact age to know when to plan for a replacement and the current condition.
Does the kitchen have a garbage disposal?
While this may not be a deal-breaker, it might be important to you and your routine if you’re coming from a home with a garbage disposal. You should also be aware of how old the unit is and whether or not it’s in good working order. Garbage disposals also require regular cleanings, so that may factor into your decision.
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