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More Problems Home Inspectors Tend to Miss: Indoor Plumbing & Appliances

Before buying a home, it’s important to schedule an inspection of the property to determine if you’ll be buying any major issues along with the house. However, in previous articles I’ve explored how home inspectors can often miss large problems either because they are not considered part of the inspection or because your inspector lacks expertise in certain areas. In last month’s blog, I discussed the largest plumbing problems you may purchase with a new home: sewer and septic tank issues. This month, I want to focus on other frequently-missed plumbing issues many new homeowners discover after the fact when they finally receive the keys to their new property.

Plumbing Appliances

plumber camera inspectionMany smaller—but no less annoying—plumbing problems lie inside the house. A home inspector may check to make sure the dishwasher runs and the water heater isn’t leaking, but these quick checks don’t evaluate the actual condition of the appliances. When you are considering a property for sale, walk through the home and turn on every tap—both hot and cold water—and flush every toilet. Check the showers and tubs to make sure the drains aren’t clogged and that the water pressure is adequate for your needs. Poor water pressure in only some areas of the home could indicate a larger plumbing problem. If your home purchase will include a washer and dryer, check the hose at the back of the washing machine for wear—burst washing machine hoses are one of the most common reasons for homeowners’ insurance claims. You should also evaluate your new home’s water heater. Turn on the hot water and put your hand under the flow to measure how long it takes for the water to heat up. Check the water coming from the tap to ensure there is no sediment or rust in the water.

Dirty water can indicate severe scale buildup inside the water heater’s tank, meaning it will need to be replaced soon. If possible, let the hot water run in one of the showers for a full ten minutes to make sure the heater produces enough water for comfortable bathing. The greater problems occur with older pipes in the home. Make sure to call a licensed plumber to fix older pipes.

Pipes and Drains

A home is a network of plumbing pipes that carry water to taps and appliances as well as away from the home toward the sewer or septic tank. With so many pipes comes the very real possibility of cracks and leaks, especially if you are considering an older home. Continued use of chemical drain cleaners can warp and weaken plumbing pipes, while natural wear and tear or hard water can also cause issues shortly after you move into your new house. Find out if your new home is located in an area with hard water, which can cause premature damage and wear to plumbing and appliances. If the home you plan to purchase has hard water, you may want to consider installing a water softening system to prolong the functionality of your plumbing and appliances.

Even if you pay to have a potential home inspected, it’s essential to perform your own personal inspection to check for issues that may have been missed. A single home has many pipes, taps, and appliances, and you’ll want to make sure each is in excellent condition before making your big purchase. Remember to call licensed plumber for home inspections.

What’s your biggest plumbing concern when buying a new home?

  • Broken fixtures
  • Clogged drains
  • A poor-quality water heater