A home inspector does not conduct a thorough review of the plumbing in your home. This is because they can't see the pipes behind the walls or underground. However, there are some indicators that they use to determine whether something may be wrong with the system, including slow draining, low water pressure, brown or rust-colored water coming out of the faucet, or the age of the pipes. If they suspect there may be something amiss with the system or that you will need to make repairs to it, they may recommend that you get the plumbing inspected further by a plumber. If you have never gone through this before, you may be wondering how that works. Here are the steps a plumber follows in conducting an inspection of the plumbing system in the home you are looking to purchase.
Inspecting Incoming and Outgoing Plumbing Lines
One of the things that a plumber will do when conducting a thorough home plumbing inspection is use either digital or video cameras to look inside of your income and outgoing pipes. These small cameras are fed through the pipes in your home and can go all the way out to your drain or sewer connection. This allows the plumber to see the exact condition of the pipes. They can tell how worn the pipes are, whether there are any clogs, whether there are any obstructions, and whether there are any weak spots or cracks in the pipes. This can tell you whether you need drain cleaning done, whether tree roots are growing into the plumbing system, or whether the pipes will need to be replaced in the near future. Based on this, you can ask the seller to correct the problem or buy the home, making sure to budget enough to fix the problem in the near future.
Inspecting Plumbing behind Walls
It is not economical or a good use of time to use digital or video cameras throughout the plumbing system in your entire home. You have pipes that go behind a lot of the walls in your home, and feeding a camera through all of them would be very time consuming. As such, typically, only underground pipes are looked at with the camera. For the pipes that are behind walls, a thermal imaging device is used. A thermal imaging device is able to detect changes in temperature behind walls, cabinets, and tiled shower stalls. Water is a different temperature than air. Therefore, if the thermal imaging device picks up a change in temperature behind the wall, there's a good chance it's a water leak. If a leak is suspected, a plumbing camera can then be used in the area to determine whether the pipe is cracked and how extensive the damage may be, allowing you to bring it to the current homeowner's attention or walk away from the home.
Inspecting the Plumbing Vent or Stack
A plumbing stack, also referred to as a plumbing vent, serves many purposes. It allows trapped gas in your sewer line to escape while also pulling air in to provide you with water pressure. Most home inspectors will briefly inspect the visible portions of a plumbing stack for cracks, but not all of the plumbing stack is visible. If the home you are looking to purchase has low water pressure, a plumber will likely begin by inspecting the plumbing stack. The first thing that will be done is to go on the roof and look downward into the stack. If there are any obstructions, that's likely the cause of the problem. If there aren't any obstructions, a camera can be feed through the stack, just like with the incoming and outgoing plumbing lines, to look for cracks, corrosion, or crumbling. A plumbing stack can be pricey to repair or fix, so if a problem is found, you may want to get the seller to fix it or reduce the price you offered for the home so you can make the needed repairs.
A home is a big purchase to make, and the last thing many buyers want is to spend money on a down payment and closing costs only to find out they have to sink more money into the home in repairs. A home inspector can look for some issues, but isn't trained to look thoroughly at every aspect of the home. If they think the plumbing may not be up to par, a plumber can conduct a more thorough review of the plumbing system, letting you know exactly what you may be dealing with and what it may cost to repair. You can then use this information to lower the offer you made on the home, ask the sellers to fix it, or withdraw your offer. Contact a local company for these plumbing services.