A Homebuyer’s Guide to Plumbing Inspection

House Hunting?

Summer is typically the most popular season to buy a house. One of the most important steps all potential home buyers should take is to receive a pre-sale home inspection. Not only can a home inspection point out potential problem areas, it could save you from buying a total lemon of a house. With the average home inspection costing buyers anywhere from $200 to $600 depending on the size of the home, if you end up having to have multiple homes inspected the costs can add up quickly. When going through your pre-sale walkthroughs, knowing what to look for can help save you the cost of a home inspection by recognizing the warning signs of underlying plumbing issues.

Don’t inherit someone else’s plumbing problems. Make your own checklist of areas to take a look at.

Home Plumbing Inspection: What To Look At


From hot water tanks to dishwashers, washing machines and more, most modern or updated homes contain several different appliances that are connected to your home’s water supply lines. For starters, any appliance that is hooked up properly should have its own functioning shut off valve. Locate the valves and make sure it moves freely and doesn’t leak. While you inspect the shut off valves, take a look around to see if there are any signs of water damage such as warped cabinet bottoms or stains. For washing machines, check the supply hoses and traps themselves to ensure the lines are not frayed and free of leaks as well.

It’s also advised to inspect the home’s water heater, as it’s one of the top appliances replaced throughout the life of the home. A water heater’s age and condition are the 2 most important factors when determining its longevity. If the water heater looks rusted, or is leaking, it will probably need to be replaced. Similarly, if the water heater is over 15 years old, it will more than likely need replacing. You can determine the age of a water heater by locating the serial number of the unit–the first four numbers will indicate the month and year. With any appliance if you notice any water damage throughout the home, make sure that the underlying issue has been addressed and repaired by a professional plumber.


Modern bathrooms have a variety of appliances that can cause issues, so it’s important to know where the most common problems can occur. For toilets, make sure it flushes properly and the surrounding area is free of water damage by stepping and putting weight around the fixture itself. If the floor feels loose or spongy it’s a good indicator of water damage and rot that will need replacing or repairs. The shower and/or bathtub should also be inspected. Ensure that the faucets and valves are all properly functioning and free of visible leaks. Take your hand and press against the walls around the shower stall to search for loose tiles or soft spots as those can be indicators of water penetration behind the walls. Turn on the water in the bathtub and in the kitchen sink. If there is a noticeable reduction in water volume, the piping in the house may need to be replaced because of calcium and mineral deposits restricting water flow.


When it comes to plumbing, what’s going on outside is just as important as what’s happening inside. When taking a look around the exterior of the house, check the yard for standing water which could be the result of leaky or broken pipes. If the issue is from a broken sewer pipe, it could be leaking waste from the home right into the backyard. If you notice standing water it’s a good idea to arrange a video line inspection of the underground sewer pipe. A professional inspection can reveal problems that may not be visible to the naked eye.

Professional Plumbers

If you’re in the market for a new home, don’t inherit someone else’s headaches. While it’s standard to get a home inspection before signing on the dotted line, knowing what to look for could save you money by identifying potential problems and eliminating houses with issues.

Found the home of your dreams but worried about a potential plumbing problem? The Plumber offers full home plumbing and sewer inspections that can identify problems before they escalate and offer estimates for any repairs or updates you may need. Call The Plumber today at (716) 834-0294 to learn more.

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