5 Plumbing checks you should do before buying a house

So you’re on the hunt to buy a property, and you’ve found a house that fits the bill. Your building and pest inspection has come back clear, and you’re ready to sign on the dotted line. But before you get trigger happy with your contract, did you know that a building inspection doesn’t cover a check of the sewer pipes or stormwater system?

What’s beneath the surface?

The tricky thing when it comes to spotting drainage dramas, is that pipes aren’t easy to visibly check. In many cases, drains run deep under the ground, making it hard to know if there are any leaks or blockages. We’ve put together a few tips on the things you should look out for when you’re checking the plumbing health of your potential new home.

Signs to look, listen and smell for

When you’re inspecting a property, there are a few things you can check that could be a giveaway of pipe blockage going unseen. Of course, as well as taking a look for yourself, it’s always a good idea to ask the estate agent or owner if the property has had any plumbing woes in the past few years.

1. Check the hot water system

Most hot water systems are built to last for a bit over 10 years. Have a sticky beak and check the tag on the system to see how old it is – this’ll give you a good idea of how soon you’ll need to replace it, and if it’s likely to give you any problems in the near future.  

2. Test out the taps

Try turning on the taps in the kitchen and bathrooms and see how the water flow is. If it stops and starts, this could be an indication of a blockage down the line.

Have a look at the colour of the water, too. It should run clear, and there shouldn’t be any odours.

3. Look for leaks

Check out the shower and the tap fittings for any water pooling or running. Stains on the walls or tiles around taps or showerhead fixtures could indicate that there’s an ongoing leak.

4. Listen for noise

While you’re inspecting the house, keep an ear out for any strange gurgling noises – especially when you test out the taps. If you hear a water hammer sound, this is a result of the pressure of water suddenly stopping or changing direction, which could eventually result in pipe collapse. Gurgling sounds could also mean there’s a leak or blockage that’s creating air pockets.

5. Don’t dismiss strange smells

One of the biggest, and most unpleasant giveaways of drain dramas is a bad smell in the bathroom area. This could mean there’s a blocked sewer pipe that isn’t allowing water to flow away properly, letting it stagnate and creating a nasty smell.

6. Have a look at the lawn

Are there any green patches that look out of place? Or, is there a particularly healthy looking tree amongst the garden? These can be signs that there are cracks in the pipes that are leaking and treating the garden to a regular source of water. If there’s a leak, tree roots seek out this water and can block up pipes.

7. Book in a pre-purchase plumbing inspection

If you have suspicions that the drains in your potential new home might not be up to scratch, or are keen for peace of mind, you can book in a pre-purchase drain inspection with a plumber. They’ll use a CCTV drain inspection camera to assess your pipes, and they should also provide a comprehensive report of any issues along with a copy of the video footage, so you can check them out for yourself.

Have more questions?

If you have more questions about what to look for when you’re assessing a property, or want to book in a pre-purchase plumbing inspection, your local Nuflow team can help. Chat with us today to find out more.

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