Top plumbing checks

Top plumbing checks to tick off your home buying list

You’ve found your dream home, but are there some unseen problems with the plumbing? Homebuyers are advised to inspect all internal and external areas of the property they are interested in buying. However, they are often oblivious that they also need to check the plumbing in the home.  Many problems can occur with plumbing, which many homeowners don’t check if they don’t already know. This blog will look at the top plumbing checks to make before you purchase your home.

The importance of making your top plumbing checks before you purchase 

We all know that purchasing a new home can be the most exciting (and stressful) time for many people. With so many things to remember and check, you can often feel like it’s a never-ending period of worry about whether you have made the right choice. However, checking the plumbing in your new home is one of the most vital checks you need to make before you purchase, as your plumbing supports all the heat and hot water into your home. Failure to do so may result in you having to spend a lot of money in a short space of time to make your plumbing safe and efficient again. 

Know the location of your internal stop tap, water meter and any drains

Simple points to tick off, but often forgotten by excited new owners until they move in and have a problem with their water! Ensure you ask your estate agent for the following information before you move into your new home: 

Location of your internal stop tap (also known as a stop cock or stop valve) – this is generally found somewhere near where your water supply enters your home. Under the kitchen sink, under the stairs, in the garage or bathroom are good places to start looking. 

Do you have a water meter? Not all homes have a water meter, and those who do will be charged for the amount of water you use. Generally found in the ground outside your home or near the stop tap. If you cannot locate it but believe the house may have one, your water supply company (ours is Thames Water) will be able to advise you. 

Check where your drains are located within your property boundaries as if you are in the middle of the street; you may find that even if your neighbours have a plumbing issue, the plumbers may have to have access to the outside drains to locate the problem. It’s worth knowing before you move how many homes your drain supports. 

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Check your boilers complete service history 

The boiler is one of the most critical aspects of your home, and it’s vital that it’s looked after and serviced regularly. Your boiler should be serviced once a year to ensure that it is running both safely and efficiently. Failure to service your boiler regularly could lead to high energy bills, faults and boiler failure (leaving you with no heating or hot water) and with your warranty potentially ending. Before purchasing your new home, ask the estate agent how old the current boiler is and its servicing history. 

If your new home has not had a recent boiler service, we recommend calling a Gas Safe plumber and advising them of the situation. They will then come out and service your boiler, ensuring that it is safe to use and there are no faults present. 

In terms of replacing your boiler, if it is well maintained and regularly serviced, it should continue to run effectively for about 15 years. After this time, your energy efficiency may be reduced, and you could be spending more to heat your home and water. You should also be aware that if your home has an older boiler in situ, it may be worth replacing your boiler, as it could cost you more money in the long run if you don’t. 

Suspicious watermarks on the walls could be a sign of a leak somewhere

If there’s a noticeable stain on walls or ceilings, then this may indicate that there has been leakage from pipes that have burst due to old age. This will require immediate attention by a local plumber who can fix it before further damage occurs. If you notice stains around windows or doors, make sure that mould growth isn’t caused. It’s essential to get rid of mould immediately because it can lead to health complications such as asthma attacks.

Whilst you are checking the walls and ceilings, keep an eye out for leaky taps in the kitchen and bathroom, as well as leaking radiators and toilets. This can be caused by several issues, including the main water valve, damage to the appliances themselves, or a simple loose connection. It’s best to get these issues resolved as quickly as possible before it does any considerable water damage to your home.

Find out what your pipes are made from

For older properties, in particular, those built before 1970, it’s of particular importance that you ensure your pipes are not made from lead, and they don’t have any lead solder joints. The use of lead for plumbing was banned in the UK over 25 years ago. However, those homes built before could still have lead pipes throughout the house. Lead was banned because it contaminates water that has passed through it, making it unsafe to consume. Pregnant women and children, in particular, were affected.

If you do find lead plumbing throughout your chosen home – often evident by its matte grey look that can turn shiny if you scrap something against it – you may want to get this replaced with copper or plastic piping to make your water safer.  We suggest calling a trusted plumber like Three Counties in to complete this work as it can be a difficult job to complete. 

Three Counties Plumbing and Heating provide your top plumbing checks

Three Counties Plumbing has been working with clients in the Home Counties area for over 21 years and has built a solid reputation as a reliable and friendly family-run business. Our team is fully qualified and Gas Safe registered to support all gas boilers and appliances safely and effectively. If you have found issues in your new home or would like a plumber to check the plumbing in the home you are about to purchase, why not give us a call today and see how we can support you in making your new home purchase a little less stressful.

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