When you buy a home and move in, you may discover a few things you are surprised you overlooked when viewing and considering the home. Usually, these are things like stains on the carpet or windows that don't quite lock. However, you really do not want there to be problems with the plumbing. After all, an overlooked plumbing issue could lead to an overflowing toilet or a big plumbing leak. So, it's important to pay close attention to the plumbing when you're thinking about buying a house. Here are a few particular things to look for.
Venture into the basement or any other area where you can see some of the home's pipes exposed. Take a close look at the pipes to see what they appear to be made from. What you really want to see are either copper or white plastic pipes. Typically, white plastic pipes are made from PVC.
If you see blue-gray plastic pipes, this is reason for concern. Chances are, they're made from polybutylene, a material that is no longer used to make pipes because it can crack and burst randomly. You may not want a home with polybutylene pipes because it will be prone to flooding if the pipes are not replaced.
As you walk through the home, turn on every faucet and observe how the water runs down the drain. If the water drains very slowly, this is a cause for concern. There is a chance that just the immediate drain is clogged or has some grime in it, and that's an easy problem for a plumber to fix. However, there's also a chance that there is a bigger clog further down in the pipe, which could lead to a sewage backup and the need for an expensive sewer pipe replacement. Have a plumber take a closer look before you buy a home where one or more drains are slow.
As you try out the drains, also listen closely. Do you hear a gurgling noise as water goes down the drain? This could indicate a problem with the sewer vent pipes. These pipes are necessary in order to allow air to escape from the plumbing system. If they are clogged, you could face sewage overflows and ongoing bad odors. Some issues with plumbing vents are easily fixed, so again, you need to let your plumber take a look before you buy this house.
Before you buy a home, check over the plumbing system. Consider hiring a plumber to do a more in-depth inspection, too. This is especially helpful in an older home.