If life were perfect, you’d find your dream home, make an offer on it, have it accepted, and live happily ever after. If you only use a home inspector to look at your plumbing system prior to purchasing that home, that dream can quickly become a nightmare of additional debt.
Home inspectors perform an essential service to the real estate industry, and they are expected to be a “jack-of-all-trades,” with a little bit of knowledge in each area of home construction. What a home inspector does not have is a plumbing license that allows them to perform a proper “from the inside out” inspection of your plumbing system.
Keep yourself from buying a home with plumbing problems in Houston by reading this blog and calling John or Richard at Nick’s Plumbing and Sewer Services if you have any questions.
Doesn’t the Seller Have to Disclose Any Issues with the Home?
Legally, the answer is yes. Unfortunately, there are several loopholes within the real estate disclosure laws that are more apt to protect the seller in the event of a problem. Problems with a home that are not “known issues” can’t be disclosed, and the burden of proof would be on the buyer to prove any deceptive sales practices in court.
Long story short, if you buy a home without a proper plumbing inspection by a licensed plumber, you’ll be the one paying for any repairs to the plumbing system after closing.
Critical Areas of Pre-Purchase Plumbing Inspections
Many items are routinely checked during a pre-purchase plumbing inspection; too many to list in a brief blog. Some of these more important items that your plumbing inspector will check are also among the most expensive components to replace.
SEWER LINE PLUMBING PROBLEMS
Sewer lines are located mostly underground, making them difficult (if not impossible) to inspect thoroughly from above ground. During a pre-purchase home plumbing inspection, our technician will use a high-definition video camera to visually check the entire length of your drain and sewer lines. The video inspection will allow the tech to discover any breaks, leaks, or blockages that are present in your sewer line, and will also confirm if your sewer lines are suffering from root intrusion.
Variables that come into play in the cost of a sewer line repair or replacement will include the location of the sewer line, whether any excavation is needed, as well as the length of the sewer line itself.
WATER HEATER PLUMBING PROBLEMS
Water heaters are one of the pricier components of your plumbing system when it is time to replace them. Tank-type water heaters have a life expectancy from between seven to twelve years when properly maintained. If your due diligence uncovers water heaters that are older than seven years old, you should ask for a concession in the price to replace the water heater.
When looking at a potential home purchase, you need to know a few things about your water heaters. Consider not only the age of the water heaters, but also, pay attention to their placement in your new home. Water heaters located in an attic should be located above a garage or mud room and ever directly above common living areas like bedrooms or living rooms. The average cost to replace a tank-type water heater tends to run between $1,800 – 2,500, with tankless units costing an average of $4,000 – 6,000 installed.
TOILET PLUMBING PROBLEMS
The toilet is easily the most used appliance in every home, and like any other mechanical device, will need some attention and maintenance to perform. Well-made toilets can last up to one hundred years, and only ever need to be changed if they become cracked. Components that perform the mechanical functions of the toilet have a life expectancy anywhere between two and five years.
During a plumbing inspection, toilets will be checked for rust inside the tanks, as well as leaks inside the tank and at the base of the toilet. Leaks or discoloration at the base of a toilet is an indication of a broken flange (the seal between the toilet and your sewer pipe). Over time, a broken flange will leak water and raw sewage into the sub-floor of your bathroom, causing contamination and severe wood damage.
The cost to replace a toilet varies wildly as the sky is the limit when discussing custom toilet and all the options currently available. For this blog, we’ll say that the average starting price on the installation of a new, basic toilet is around $600 with the most elaborate toilets costing up to $10,000.
WATER SUPPLY LINE PLUMBING PROBLEMS
Finally, we’re going to look at the part of the plumbing system where it all begins, the water supply lines. Your water supply lines bring water in from either your city/municipal water delivery system or from a well or other reservoir.
Your plumbing inspector will inform you about the construction and condition of your water supply lines when they inspect it. Knowing what your supply pipes are made of makes it easier to gauge how long they may could last. Copper supply lines are going to last longer than PVC or galvanized pipes and have the added benefit of being both anti-bacterial and corrosion resistant.
Your plumbing inspection technician will also check the water supply pressure at the various faucets inside and outside of the home. Any decrease in water pressure between zones indicates a possible leak in the water supply lines and needs to be further inspected through isolation testing.
When it’s time for you to consider purchasing a new home for your family, let Nick’s Plumbing and Sewer Services help keep you away from the nightmare that is buying a home with plumbing problems in Houston Again, if you have any questions, call Richard or John in the office at 713-868-9907.