Plumbing Features to Check Before Buying a New Home

Buying a new home is a big investment, so it’s important to inspect a property well before signing on the dotted line. When looking at homes to purchase, we recommend inspecting the following parts of the plumbing system. Good plumbing inspection practices can help you avoid falling in love with a property that has major flaws.


Toilets have a way of developing problems like leaks and clogs over time. You can determine whether or not a home’s toilets are functional and in good condition by doing the following:

  • Flush the toilet. When a toilet is flushed, the water should swirl quickly down the drain until the bowl is empty of water, then the water should refill the bowl to a standard level of water.
  • Sit on the toilet to see if it is unstable. Instability in a toilet is an indication that the wax ring around the toilet’s base has deteriorated. Wax rings are easy to replace, but an active leak can cause wood rot and mold in the sub floor. If the leak has been going on long enough, the repairs for this kind of damage could be expensive.
  • Inspect the area around the toilet. To determine once and for all whether or not a toilet has a leak around the wax ring, check the area around the base of the toilet for discoloration and warped floorboards. If you see signs of damage , talk to your realtor about having the area around the toilet professionally inspected. If there is damage, have your realtor negotiate a deal with the homeowners.

Water Heater

Water heaters have a service life of about 10 years. When they get older, they’ll start to show signs of wear and tear. The most obvious sign that a water heater is reaching the end of its rope is a puddle of water beneath the tank. It’s unlikely that you’ll see the water heater leaking when you’re inspecting the home, however, there may be other signs of deterioration that you can detect. Look for the following:

  • Scale buildup on the outside of the water heater.
  • Rust on the outside of the water heater.
  • Signs of smoke or soot on the tank’s exterior.

All of these are signs that a water heater is having trouble and may need to be replaced soon.

Water Hardness

Hard water can create trouble in a variety of ways. Hard water causes stains and scale buildup on fixtures. Hard water can also make cleaning the dishes and windows difficult. What’s worse, if hard water goes untreated, it can lead to scale buildup inside the plumbing. Over time, this can destroy the water pressure and lead to clogs in the pipes.

The best way to determine whether or not a home has hard water is to simply check the exterior of the fixtures for signs of scale buildup. If you find signs of scale buildup, try to negotiate a water softener into the purchase of the home, or ask for a reduced price. Remember that hard water can damage the inside of a home’s pipes, so have the home’s plumbing professionally inspected if you see signs that hard water has taken its toll.

Contact Terry’s Plumbing

At Terry’s Plumbing we help homeowners take care of their plumbing. We can also help home buyers determine whether or not a home’s plumbing is sound. To find out more about getting a home inspected, contact us today at (412) 364-9114.