Whether you are buying a new property, have an established family home or are looking to get some maintenance work done in your kitchen or bathroom, this guide details a simple plumbing list covering all of your home plumbing tips. It is a good idea to keep a list of plumbing areas that you are auditing. Doing so will prevent major plumbing problems from occurring and - prevention is better than a cure.
Plumbing is an important part of any property. It is the main source of water supply, it heats up your gas appliances, keeps your household hygienic by disposing of human waste through proper drainage and provides clean water for cooking and washing. Without correct plumbing, your home will suffer from leaks, messy blockages and an environment that will be difficult and possibly hazardous to live in.
How Do You Inspect Plumbing In A House?
To carry out a plumbing inspection on your property, it is best to focus on one room at a time. Start with one area and create a checklist that lists all of the different parts and fixtures. For instance, your bathroom will have bath taps, sink taps, a shower, drains etc.
Note these down on a piece of paper and with a pass or fail option. Have some guidelines to determine what is a pass or fail. Below are some tips and things you need to test and be on the lookout for.
Turn on the tap and let the water run for a few seconds. Your water supply should be clear, colourless and odourless. If you notice a strange colour, sediment or debris coming out of the faucets or a strong smell being omitted, this could indicate a problem with the pipes or your city's main water supply. Or you could be looking at a broken sewer pipe underneath the house.
The water pressure should be easily altered and not too weak or overly strong. It needs to be at an even flow and steady. If the property has older pipes, then water flow may come out in trickles. Broken pipes are a leading cause of weak water pressure. Leaks in the pipeline will cause the water supply to alter in pressure and temperature.
A drain should be free from any obstruction or clogs. Items and materials such as hair, food, and fatty liquids can create a blockage in your pipes. One way to check the condition of your drain is to run water from the faucet and see how quickly the water drains down the sink. If there is no gurgling sound and the water flows quickly then the drains are clear. Inspect all sinks in your home.
Your toilet can suffer from a clogged drain also. Flush the water and see if it backs up, or if it makes a gurgling sound. Rising water is also a sign of a blockage. A clogged pipe may start from deep inside the line from tree root intrusions.
A telltale sign of an issue with the drains and pipework is puddles of water in your yard. This is an indication of a burst pipe or issue with the sewer line. Keep your drain system healthy through regular clearing by a licenced drain cleaner. They can use a high-pressure jet blaster to remove clogs in the lines and use a CCTV camera to further inspect the condition of the drain pipe.
Check the toilet for a leak or faulty pipes and valve. Water can leak out onto the floor or it can be running into the bowl. You should also make sure that the flush buttons are secure and working efficiently. Test it by pressing the flush button and watch how long it takes for water to fill up the tank and bowl. Is the flush valve loose on the toilet?
Conduct a visual check for a wobbly toilet seat and cracked tank or bowl. And if there is a strong smell coming from the drain, even after you have thoroughly cleaned it, check for issues with the main sewer lines.
Sink and Vanities/Cabinet
Look inside your cabinetry and look for signs of mould, water damage, or puddles. Stainless steel flexible hoses that connect to the tap can fray and damage. You should replace the flexi hose every 5 years. Leaving this kind of leak in the sink can damage the foundation of your washroom and warp the benchtops. As well as create a larger than normal utility bill.
Search around the rim of the sink for gaps. Moisture will seep through the open spaces and create damage to the surrounding cabinets and fixtures.
Shower fixtures such as faucets and showerheads should provide water pressure that is steady and even. The temperature should be safe to use and not cause scalds and burns. Inspect walls and floor surfaces for present water, leaks or mould. Ensure the floor drain is flowing efficiently. A smelly drain could be a sign of a blockage.
Conducting an inspection of the tiling is important to find loose tiles and hidden moisture. The waterproofing may need to be replaced or done to stop leaks from entering into the foundation of walls and the surfaces.
The laundry is another wet room that you should watch for issues. Search for leaks under the sink or from the faucets. Signs of leaky walls and floors could be due to burst pipes or faulty waterproofing. Search for leaks around the laundry tub.
The washing machine could have a faulty pipe connection or a hose that is causing a leak. Check all taps and fixtures for faults such as leaking washers and valves. Washing machine hoses can be easily replaced.
Your hot water system is important to the overall plumbing system at your property. A water heater needs to provide heated water properly, free from sediment and debris. Keep an eye out for discolouration or foul-tasting water as this could indicate a rusty tank. An inspection of the tank should determine the installation date. A water heater that is over 10 years old, should be replaced.
It is a good idea to replace the tempering valve and pressure limiting valve every 5 years as this helps to protect your household from burns and extends the lifespan of the hot water unit. Regular service of the unit can also help.
Where you position the heater plays a big part in the effective hot water. If it is installed too far away from the bathroom, it could take a long time for the heat to travel through the pipes and reach the faucets and showerhead, leaving you with cold water.
Professional Property Inspection
There are some areas of your property that you are not familiar with or are concealed and hard to check with the naked eye. This is where a professional team can carry out an extensive and thorough search of any plumbing problem.
A fully licensed and experienced plumber will be able to identify major hazards such as gas leaks and severe blockages early on. Having this knowledge can save you money and time and minimise extensive repair work. As well as keep you and your family safe.
The proper on-site testing on your plumbing system can pick up faults in your water service that you may not be aware of. And a fully qualified technician may be able to determine what is a quick fix, what you can replace or what needs to be urgently repaired. It is beneficial to you to check your property regularly once a year every 6-12 months. This will save time and money on maintenance and repair work.
A leaking toilet, for instance, may seem like a small issue but it can turn into a bigger problem for you if you don't pick up on it sooner rather than later.
Everything from your washing machine, sewer drain system, toilet, shower faucet and kitchen sink need to be properly inspected before you purchase a property and also throughout your time there.
Good luck with your inspection and remember if there is something you are not sure about, it's best to contact a professional plumber.