If you own a home that is over 30 years old then you probably understand that older homes tend to have a lot of plumbing issues. And if you do not already know this then hopefully this article will help you discover plumbing issues in a home that you are considering purchasing or in the home that you currently live in. So whether you are a real estate owner, Realtor, or a first time home buyer you will want to get to know the basics of a homes plumbing system.
While at first glance a homes plumbing diagrams look like something out of an alien spaceship movie, when you know the basics it will all begin to come together for you.
The most important thing that you need to know is that gravity pulls water down. So anything that you do at the top of the home in regards to the homes pipes and water, the lower part of the home will be effected. For example; if there is a septic leak in the master bathroom upstairs and that issue is not resolved the room underneath may begin to become toxic because of wall fungus, mold and the presence of feces.
When we interviewed a Virginia home inspector about the importance of detecting plumbing issues early they told us that septic issues especially upstairs in a home can cause the home to be condemned. While septic problems from an upstairs bathroom are probably some of the most extreme plumbing cases that you can imagine, even if the home has a small water leak that manages to keep leaking undetected for a long period of time there could be a lot of potential health problems, not including the damages that will be caused to the home.
What to look for first? – Look for obvious signs of water intrusion. Look for stains on the ceiling and walls. Check the floor. If there is a rug that you can pull up, pull it up to peak under it. Another addition to your plumbing issue quest is to purchase a moisture meter. A moisture meter can be purchased from and home improvement store and usually cost less than $50-$100. A moisture meter has a probe on the end of it that allows you to push the probe into wall and ceiling surfaces to determine if there is a moisture problem.
Once a moisture problem has been established it is now a matter of following the the moisture to the source. Many of the older homes have a lot of leaky pipe issues. And many of the leaks end up getting repaired by unqualified people using improper tools. There comes a point when the home owner needs to decide to replace all of the pipes in the home or to just keep placing band aids over the issues until they sell the home. Is this the type of home that you are looking at?
Do not underestimate the damage potential of a leaky pipe or other plumbing issue.
Damage to a home from water intrusion and leaky pipes begins as soon as the water begins to soak into the walls, ceiling, floors and cabinets. Anything that water hits that is made out of particle board swells and needs to be replaced. Carpet padding will need to be removed and replaced. And in many cases the carpet too will need to be replaced. So, keep an eye out and stop water damage and leaky pipes immediately!