All The Plumbing Info You Need When Buying A Home
Plumbing can be a mysterious trade even for homeowners who have decades of experience with their house. When you're buying a new home, it's especially important to assess the condition of its plumbing before you make a commitment. The information below will give you a good idea of warning signs to look out for and smart ways to prepare for the challenges of a new home's plumbing.
Professional Expertise Trumps All
When it comes to assessing the plumbing in an unfamiliar house, no one is going to give you a more reliable opinion than the professionals at The Melbourne Plumber
. While thorough building inspections are a normal part of your home-buying decisions, plumbing often deserves special attention. Finding a good plumber is easy if you're already familiar with (or living in) the area, but it's trickier in a town that you haven't lived in. Your Realtor will probably have suggestions for you, but it's wiser to make your own selection. Take a look at online reviews and find a plumber with a good track record when it comes to satisfying clients.
Benefits And Drawbacks To Old Plumbing
If you're considering buying an older house, assessing its plumbing properly is especially important. With older homes, the plumbing news tends to be either extremely good or extremely bad. If a house is old enough, it may be plumbed in copper. This is terrific material, and its durability is unbeatable. Copper plumbing will add significantly to the value of a home - if it's properly maintained. On the other hand, homes built in the middle of the twentieth century will likely feature zinc, steel, or cast iron pipes and fittings. These materials inevitably degrade over time, and you may be in for significant repair work if you find them. You should also be on the lookout for lead. While lead pipes haven't been used since the 1930s, lead solder was used extensively in plumbing until it was banned in the eighties. If you find lead solder or fittings, they'll have to be replaced.
Watch Out For Slab-On-Grade
"Slab-on-Grade" is the technical term for homes built directly on a concrete foundation platform. It's a very economical way to build a home, and it's frequently used where soil conditions make other foundation systems unfeasible. The drawback to slab on grade homes when it comes to plumbing is a distinct lack of workspace for running pipes. In many cases, major plumbing lines will be embedded directly in the foundation. This type of plumbing is extremely difficult to work on, and you definitely need a good plumber's opinion of the pipes' current condition. A slab-on-grade home that needs major plumbing work may be more trouble than it's worth.
Inspect Fixtures Carefully
One part of plumbing inspection that you can handle on your own is reviewing the current fittings in the bathrooms and the kitchen. Figure out manufacturers whenever possible, and try to gauge the age of the fixtures you see. Look for wear, damage, and scale deposits - you'll need to either replace worn-out fixtures or put some effort into rehabilitating. Be wary if you see very new, all-matching fixtures throughout the home, especially if they're cheap ones. Sometimes sellers will slap in new plumbing fixtures to make a home more appealing; sometimes this is a warning sign of more serious plumbing issues lurking in the walls.
Always Set Aside Money For Repairs
Even if you're closing in on a deal on a house that's received a clean bill of health from your plumber and other experts, it's an excellent idea to budget some money for doing repair work. Earmarking a healthy portion of this reserve for plumbing work is strongly advised. Even if you don't run into unexpected issues to fix, you can immediately increase the value of your new home (and make it more liveable!) by investing in quality fixtures of your own choosing.
Know Your Services Ahead Of Time
Part of buying a home is learning about the services available in your new neighborhood. Don't forget to pick out a plumber while you're doing this. It's a good idea to consult your new neighbors about their own preferences for plumbers as you get to know them. If you worked with a trustworthy local plumber during the inspection process, make sure you give him an opportunity to meet your future plumbing needs. Ideally, you should have contact information for one or two plumbers (perhaps an emergency repair service as well as a full-blown plumbing contractor) ready to use on the day you move in.