Try Before You Buy: Tap a Pro to Know the Cons
There are many considerations when buying a new home or business. Plumbing fixes can be very expensive, which is why it’s in your best interest to have a professional plumbing inspection before you invest in a property. It’s your first step in preventative plumbing maintenance, so you’ll know what you’re getting into before you get the keys.
For example, replacing old pipes in a 1,500 square-foot home can cost between $4,000 and $10,000. If you go into it knowing that’s what it’s going to take, you may be able to get all of the plumbing replaced before you move in. That sounds great, but most of us aren’t in the position to spend that kind of money after buying a house. A professional inspection can tell you what repairs will be required, and give you a realistic timeline and cost analysis on the necessary repairs. Here is what a plumbing professional can look for in your local Glendale, AZ area home or business:
- Connections – Are there poor connections between pipes where leaks are more likely to occur? A professional plumber looks for poor connections. These areas might be a do-it-yourself repair job or installation, a junction that goes between the original home and an out building, or a transition between old and new pipes. Obvious evidence you can see, such as water damage, stains, dampness and/or mold, but many pipes are located behind walls. A professional plumber can use a camera to check the plumbing lines, spotting connections that are problematic.
- Materials – What are the pipes made from? In older homes, a plumbing system can be a mixture of materials and be long overdue for an upgrade. Even if some of the pipes aren’t broken or visibly damaged, you may still need to fix them – older PVC and galvanized metal can break down over time, leaching chemicals into your home or office’s water supply. For example, galvanized pipes can rust from the inside and that’s particularly true if a building has been unoccupied for more than six months. The pipes and drains dry out and rust begins to form. Once you begin using the water again, rust flakes break off from the inside of the pipe, travel through the plumbing and create a blockage. All of that is the beginning of an expensive and unsanitary cleanup.
- Flow – Adequate water pressure through the faucets and toilets can show you that the water system is currently running fine, but it can be a poor predictor of potential problems. A professional plumber can show you where repairs occurred and identify areas where you’ll have to upgrade to bring your prospective system up to local building codes to prevent unwanted water flow. How do the taps work? Do they turn easily or require a lot of force? Do they drip? Having a professional there to make assessments and evaluate the water flow can save you on future bills and repairs.
- Control – Great water flow is excellent, but you want control over it, too. Are there shut-offs at every tap? What kind of sewage system is in use? Is there a gray water system in place? Is it on a timer? A professional can help you determine if shut-offs and clean-outs need to be upgraded or added.
- Heat – Hot water isn’t merely a luxury, it’s needed for sanitation. Unless there are obvious signs of leaking or rust, you may not be able to determine how old the hot water tank is. That’s important to know because older water heaters can suddenly stop working or begin leaking. If the water heater is more than 15 years old, you may want to consider replacement costs and other available options such as a tankless heater. A plumbing inspection can tell you what size the tank is, whether it’s gas or electric, and if the shut-off valve is up to code.
- Quality – Is the water safe? Water samples at various taps are a great predictor of what water quality. In turn, that can help isolate where any problems are and what’s causing them. A professional plumber can provide you with next steps and the associated costs, and even help you prepare a timeline of how long it may take to make the necessary repairs.