Buying a home can be an exciting adventure and the biggest investment for most of us. For many new homeowners, the biggest shock can come from unexpected plumbing failures which are not always caught or present at the time of an inspection. Here are the most common emergency checklist items to check for when you purchase a home:
- Washing machine hoses – Did you know manufacturers recommend that most rubber washing machine hoses be replaced every 5 years? Replacing them with braided stainless steel mesh hoses allow for a far longer lifespan. Hose failure is one of the leading causes of clean water flooding in a home.
- Shut-off valves – One thing that can make a plumbing emergency even worse would be going to shut off a faucet or fixture only to realize that the shut-off valve doesn’t work. We recommend testing all shut-off valves including the main, water heater, outside faucets, and emergency fixture shut-offs.
- Sump pump – Does the home have a sump pump? If so, the pump should be checked for age, wear, smooth operation, build up inside the basin, and if possible, the discharge line going outside. Another thing to check for is the back-up sump pump. Does the home have one of these and does it function properly? For most homes with sump pumps, it’s best to consider where the water heater and furnace are located and if these costly appliances will be affected in the event of a flood and sump pump failure or power outage. Having a back-up sump pump installed or checked by a plumber can prevent a hefty repair and restoration cost. Keep in mind that generally sump pumps last about 8-10 years and some back-up sump pumps last even longer. It’s best to have a licensed plumber inspect these if there is any concern or questions.
- Water heater – A home’s water heater will last on average about 11 years. The date of manufacture can either be found on the label or it is encoded in the serial number and can be found on the manufacturer’s website. You will want to check for any visible corrosion on or above the tank. It’s recommended to also check the cold water shut-off valve to the water heater. If the tank starts leaking, you will need to be able to shut it off. You can also listen for any popping or banging sounds while the water is heating. These sounds can be a sign of excessive build-up in the tank and can greatly increase the risk of a ruptured tank. Another thing to check for is whether there is a flood prevention pan installed under the tank and piped to a floor drain or sump basin. All tank style water heaters leak eventually. You will want to ensure your property is protected when it does.