Practical Steps to Check Out and Inspect Plumbing for First Time Homebuyers

If you are a first time homebuyer, you likely have a certain level of anxiety when it comes to making sure that you cover all of the bases associated with buying a home. Of course, covering all of the proverbial bases includes making sure all of the primary elements of a residence you consider purchasing are in solid condition. This includes the all-important plumbing at a home.

Of course, you will be obtaining different types of inspections when you sign a contract to buy a home. However, in advance of that, there are some steps that you can take on your own to get a preliminary overview of the state of the plumbing at a residence that you've at least some interest in making on offer on.

The Toilet Test

One plumbing item that you will want to pre-test on your own involves the toilet or toilets in the residence. There are a number of strategies that you can employ in this regard to ascertain the functionality of toilets in a residence.

First, flush each toilet in a residence individually. You will want to listen to the sound of water after a toilet is flushed. If water continues to run for an inordinate period of time after flushing, or if there is something of a trickling sound when the bowl refills, there may be an issue with leakage. There is at least something to explore further. 

There is another trick you can take to ascertain if a toilet might have a leak. You can remove the tank lid and add about 10 drops of food coloring into the water. Place the lid back on the tank and wait about 15 minutes. At that time, remove the lid again. If the water is still colored, there likely is no issue with a leaking toilet. 

When it comes to the colored water test, you will want to ask the homeowner if you can perform it. If the homeowner is not around, at least explain to the real estate agent showing the property what you want to do and why. 

Also, take the time to closely check around the toilet. If there is discoloration on the floor around the toilet, this can be evidence of existing or at least previous issues with water leakage. 

Drain Flow Test

You will also want to confirm that drains don't have an issue with clogs or poor drainage for some other reason. The key here is to turn each of the faucets throughout the house for a few minutes each to actually see how they drain. Many people turn on faucets, and particularly the shower, to check out water pressure. However, you really do want to do more and leave them all running for a few minutes to determine how well each individual drain the home works. 

If you hear gurgling or witness inordinate water accumulation in a sink, shower, or bathtub, there may be a drainage issue. Indeed, there may be more of an issue than an over the counter drain clog liquid can address. In any event, it signals something that you will definitely want to explore further if you have an interest in buying a particular home.

Overview of Pipes

Although the real inspection of pipes in a house needs to be left to a professional, there are a few things you can consider yourself. One key thing is to ascertain what all of the pipes in the residence are made of as part of your initial consideration of a particular home.

One factor to bear in mind is that many homes built before 1986 may have lead pipes. This type of pipe was fairly widely used prior to that year. Lead pipes can be hazardous. Research has demonstrated that there is no amount of lead a person can appropriately or safely consume. This includes trace amounts of lead that may enter the body via water run through lead pipes. This can be particularly harmful to children.

Home sellers are required to make certain disclosures to buyers. This includes providing certain information about the presence of lead in a residence. 

Check the Water Meter

As part of your own initial plumbing self inspection, you will also want to consider the water meter itself. For example, depending on the design of the meter, the device can be helpful in identifying a leak in the residence. If the meter is showing notable movement when the water throughout the house is off, there is likely a leak somewhere in the plumbing system at the residence. 

By undertaking these preliminary examinations on your own, you provide yourself with a better perspective about the state of the plumbing in a particular home before you make any further decisions about proceeding with a contract. By taking these steps, you can save yourself a good deal of time and money by eliminating a property that doesn't appear up to par when it comes to plumbing-related issues. 

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