Home Inspection: A Few Plumbing Basics

When a home inspection is performed, the plumbing system is one of the critical systems examined. One if the first things checked will be the faucets and fixtures to look for leaks. Almost 15 percent of all the water used in a typical household is wasted through plumbing leaks according to the American Water Works.

Having your home inspector find these leaks will save money on water and energy bills if repairs are made. Water damage is especially dangerous to a home and can cause expensive damage. Water damage to floors and other areas is all too common. It is critical that water issues are dealt with promptly to prevent further problems.

When buying a home you may not even think to check if cold water comes out of the right side and hot water out of the left. But this is something your inspector will check because sometimes it is plumbed backwards. It would be a terrible surprise to get scalded in the shower of your new home right after moving in.

Your inspector should check the type and condition of water pipes. These could be plastic, copper, brass or even galvanized. Plastic and copper are the most common and desirable. Galvanized pipes can signal that the piping system is old and may need repair soon.

Copper piping is best for water distribution piping. It is often trouble free and lasts the longest. Mineral content in water can affect the durability of brass pipe. If there are white mineral deposits on brass pipes this indicates pinhole leaks are present. The pipes are deteriorating, may need replacement, and certainly signal current or future repair costs.

Galvanized steel pipes corrode on the inside so the damage is not visible. This corrosion constricts water flow. You may have problems using more than one water fixture at a time if these pipes are in poor condition.

If someone is taking a shower, you do not want to flush the toilet or run the dishwasher. Running a washing machine at the same time is also a problem. Any of these could cause the shower to become very hot or cold. Other factors can cause the same issue and there are also features that can be installed in the shower for protection from this situation.

Included in your inspection report should be information on what types of materials are used for the plumbing pipes and what condition they are currently in. Replacing the piping system in a home is very expensive. And water damage from leaking pipes can cause expensive damage.

Your home may also need a water filtration system to minimize issues from the piping or due to the water coming into the home. A water filtration system can be installed where the water enters the building. You should also consider adding a system in the kitchen to treat water used for drinking and cooking.

Another component of the plumbing system is the water heater. Your inspector should check this. No matter whether the heater is gas or electric it can have safety issues that could hurt your family. Ventilation and pressure are both issues with a water heater.

These are some the items in the plumbing system and some of the issues that can be found in the plumbing system of a home. There are many more items associated with the plumbing system that your inspector will check. The inspection report should includes the information you need to know and pictures of any issues identified.

The plumbing system is one of the most important components of your home. And most home buyers are not experienced enough in plumbing issues, including code and safety issues, to find problems on their own, Identifying and resolving plumbing problems are an important part of the inspectors job.

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