Many home buyers are attracted to the undeniable charm and intricate architectural details of older homes. They provide an ambiance and character that is often lacking in newer homes. And if you are looking at older homes, you must undoubtedly be aware that you will have the opportunity to complete many projects to update and customize your new home. But what you might not be considering are the hidden projects that could be lurking in the walls of the older diamond in the rough that you have your heart set on owning.
The plumbing in a house accounts for approximately 15% of the property’s value. And if the home is over 25 years old, you will want to investigate the upgrades and updates that have been undertaken on the plumbing system to know what challenges you might face in the next few years. Regular care and maintenance are a must for all plumbing systems. And if the house has not been appropriately cared for, you could be facing some very costly repairs in the future. Even if the home appears to be in good condition, it is always smart to hire a professional plumber to inspect the house before you make an offer. A plumber is likely to catch many issues that could slip past a traditional home inspector. Some of the items to look out for include:
While copper piping is still in use in homes built today, older plumbing standards allowed for the use of lead-based solder from the early 1930s to 1986. At that time, Congress enacted the Safe Drinking Water Act which prohibited the use of lead in water pipes. Lead is toxic and has been linked to kidney and brain damage. It can be ingested in high levels with prolonged exposure to lead solder. Young children appear to be the most susceptible. Be sure to have older copper pipes tested for lead-based solders before purchasing a home.
OLD SEWER LINES
Every home has a sewer line that carries waste and dirty water to the city sewer system. After about 25 years of service, the sewer pipes can begin to experience leaks at the joints, which result in tree root invasions. Once tree roots have entered the sewer pipe, there will be constant issues with blockages and even additional cracks and damage to the pipe. Hire a professional plumber to visually inspect a home’s sewer lines using a tiny camera to determine the age and function of the current sewer pipe.
OLD WATER HEATER
The average conventional water heater is expected to last between 8 and 12 years. But that is only if the unit has been properly maintained and serviced. A licensed plumber will be able to inspect the unit to determine if it was flushed correctly and serviced over its lifetime. Tankless water heaters will last 20 or more years and require regular service and cleaning to reach the full life expectancy. Your plumber will be able to confirm if the home’s water heater is in good condition or if it should be replaced.
OLD PLUMBING IN GENERAL
If you are buying an old house, you can expect to find that it has old plumbing. And you should also expect some repairs to be required from time to time. However, a licensed plumber will be able to inspect the entire plumbing system to warn you if it will need complete repiping in the near future. This process can be very costly and require some destruction to the interior walls and floors. You would want to know if repiping will be necessary before you begin any other renovation to the home’s interior.
Some homeowners are competent and will complete small plumbing repairs on their own. But then others should never even consider doing even the most basic of plumbing repairs. Your trusted plumber will be able to quickly evaluate any repairs to the plumbing system to warn you of DIY projects that are not completed to code or industry standard.
When you are shopping for an older home in the area, know that a single call to (301) 278-8786 could save you thousands of dollars and many hours of frustration. Schedule a plumbing inspection from one of the licensed plumbers at A Better Plumber to know the precise condition of the piping, fixtures, and appliances in the home that you are thinking about buying. The small amount that you invest in the inspection will provide a substantial return on your investment.