What to Look for in Plumbing Before Buying a House

Plumbing is one of the most important things to consider when buying a new home. Plumbing issues in newly bought homes are a common unfortunate occurrence. To help avoid unnecessary costs and hassle, here are some of the most essential plumbing features to check before buying your new home.

Sewer line

Checking the sewer line is essential, especially in the event of a collapse, which could cause your house to stink up and your toilets to stop flushing. Have a professional run a camera through the line in your street to check for any potential problems. Corrosion, clogs, or tree roots are some of the blockages that could be cause for concern. 

Water Heater

Buying and installing a water heater can be an expensive and time-consuming process. To avoid that before purchasing a new home, have your plumbing inspector check the home’s water heater. Some things to look at can be its location, condition, age, and capacity. 

When buying a new home, find out where the water heater is and see if its placement could lead to any property damage. For instance, if there’s a leak, will it ruin a hardwood or carpet floor? Will it damage the drywall? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, consider what steps you can take to prevent damage. 

Check the condition of the water heater to make sure that it is able to function properly in your home. Look for any indications of corrosion or buildup on the pipes going to and from the tank. If there is corrosion present on the tank, that means you need to replace it.

Age is important because old water heaters can cause a wide array of problems. The majority of water heaters last between eight and ten years. The actual need to replace a heater could arise before or after this timeline. A gas water heater that isn’t properly taken care of can also release carbon monoxide into the home. Just a few hours of exposure can have life-threatening consequences. 

Checking the capacity is specific to the needs of your family. A bigger family may require a bigger water heater. A bigger home also requires an adequately sized water heater. These are all factors to consider if your potential home may need a new water heater. 


It’s easy to overlook the important details of toilets during a basic inspection. One of the biggest issues homeowners often fail to notice is a leaky toilet base. If your toilet is leaking from the base, water can seep into your floors. Over time, this water can damage the structural support beneath and around your toilet and may lead to unsafe conditions in the floor of your bathroom. When this happens homeowners often try to seal the base themselves. Which can only add more damage and make the situation even worse. 

Some other issues include warping or discoloration around the toilet’s base, the floors feeling soft at the base, and or the toilet bowl rocks or slides when you grasp it on either side. This can mean one of three things: the seal is bad, the flange isn’t completely secured, or the toilet isn’t properly secured to the flange. Make sure to have these details in mind when getting your toilets inspected. 


Plumbing pipes are the foundation of any plumbing system. They are essential to each and every piece of your entire system. Due to their location behind walls and under foundations, homeowners aren’t usually aware of any pipe-related problems until they’ve caused a lot of damage. 

Pipe size is important because the size of the pipes can affect water pressure. The size of a home’s water pipes is usually checked to determine if a home has sufficient water pressure. The size of the pipes leading to the house from the water source should be at least three-quarters of an inch, and pipes going to the faucets should measure at least half an inch. Although most sellers won’t go to the trouble of re-plumbing their homes, inspecting will at least give you an idea of what you have to work with. If you determine the piping contains lead, it’s recommended that you walk away from the purchase. 

Water pressure is a surefire way to check the size of your pipes. Any home built before 1980 will contain galvanized pipes, which have a short lifespan and rust easily. They are also extremely heavy and vulnerable to corrosion. Make sure to check for any lead which can lead to poor water quality and has been illegal to have in pipes in the U.S. since 1986.  Low water pressure could mean that the pipes are corroded or stopped up. 

Some other things to consider are inside water lines and drain lines. Check any visible lines under your sinks and in your toilet base for discoloration and leaks. It also doesn’t hurt to take a quick peek down your drain for blockages. 

Checking all of the above plumbing factors will save you money and heartache when buying your new home. Any home can come with a variety of plumbing issues- many of which aren’t immediately obvious without tests and inspections. 

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