Most home inspectors agree that water damage to the structure is one of the most unhygienic and costly problems you encounter. Water is the leading cause of dry rot, expensive structural damage and toxic mold, maybe due to uninsulated plumbing pipes or old & defective pipes.
You will find spongy ground around the foundation and leaks in the basement. Different situations can lead to different issues around the home. When the land around the home slopes down toward the home, that can lead to damp or wet crawl spaces, movement of the foundation, or cracking of the foundation. If the water wicks up the foundation, that can lead to rot in the walls and mold.
Problematic Septic Tank
The septic tank must be checked for an efficient sewage system. If septic tanks are not installed, it could lead to clogged, broken, bent, or missing gutters. When a home with a septic tank includes sections that are not functioning correctly, water is not being channeled away from the home as it should be.
This is another issue that can result in water damage to your house. Water must drain away from the home to prevent water intrusion. If there are no septic tanks or downspouts, adding them can help prevent or rectify the drainage problems.
Illegal Pipe Material
Polyethylene (PE) pipes and polybutylene (PB) pipes can both be a problem. They are prone to brittle, slow crack growth. These cracks can initiate microscopic stress-raising flaws inherent in the basic pipe product or defects.
PB pipes have been completely banned in the US since 2010. PE pipes are illegal for all uses in home plumbing, except for being used with water pressure tanks and main water turn-off valves.
Rusted Galvanized Pipes
Was the home you’re buying or selling built before 1960? If so, it could have galvanized pipes made of lead and covered with a protective layer of zinc. This type of pipe is a problem because, over time, the zinc erodes. You then risk having lead released into the home’s water supply. The Environmental Protection Agency has warned that consuming excessive amounts of lead places people at a higher risk of cardiovascular and reproductive problems and decreased kidney function.
Causes behind broken pipes:
- Accidental crushing with a car or heavy piece of equipment.
- Hitting it with a hammer during a DIY project.
- Flushing corrosive materials that weaken the pipes.
On the other hand, the age of the pipes can also cause them to break more easily.
Clogged Sewer Lines
Sewer line clogs make it difficult for waste to exit your home and can cause water to back up and leak. If the problem frequently occurs, stagnant water can damage the flooring. One of the most common causes of sewer clogs is tree roots, which will usually need to be dealt with by a professional. A cross-connection or overlapping could lead to clogging too.
Slow Leaks Behind Walls
Leaks behind the wall can go undetected for a long time. In the meantime, they’re increasing your water bill and causing damage to your home, like destroying flooring or drywall and creating mildew and/or mold problem. Regular inspections can help detect these hidden menaces.
Why Are Plumbing Issues important?
- Ensure Clean and safe water
- Prevent plumbing disasters like leakages
- Clogging of toilets and sinks can be avoided
What Happens During a Plumbing Inspection?
Tackling plumbing problems head-on will potentially save you a fortune on serious repairs and make sure your new home is perfectly habitable and safe for you, your family, or future tenants. Before you dive into buying a house, here are five ways home inspection engineers will check for plumbing issues and one essential tip to bear in mind when looking for defects to repair.
Water & Drain Lines
The first things you should check are the property’s water lines and drain lines. These are two fairly simple tests but can reveal a lot about the plumbing. First, check down the drain for signs of corrosion as it can cause problems. Second, check the visible water lines, such as those underneath the sink in the kitchen, and make sure there are no leaks or discoloration.
Home inspections also include checking the drainage – turn on the faucets, and observe to make sure the drainage speed is suitable.
Water heaters generally have a lifespan of about a decade. Enquiring after the age of the heater will tell you how soon it’ll need replacing and whether you’ll need to budget for the replacement if it’s nearing the 10-year mark. It’s also worthwhile assessing the water heater location and how much damage potential leaks could cause.
Water pressure may not be the first thing that you look for in a new home, but poor pressure can be a nightmare to deal with. Testing the water pressure in the property with a pressure gauge will give you a pressure reading – if poor, it may reveal that the plumbing pipes need to be unclogged. If the water pressure is too high, it could start to damage the water heater and other appliances in the house.
There are many obvious signs of water damage that may be present when you’re shown around a property. If there has been a leak, either from pipes or the roof, then you may notice brown marks on the ceiling. Similarly, there may be signs of water damage in the crawlspace or basement, so it’s essential to stay vigilant and check for stains, obvious leaks, and any faulty repair work. Check the toilet for leaks or warping, particularly around the base, and ensure it flushes properly.
The last thing you’ll want to do when moving into a new home is to unexpectedly pay out for brand-new water supply pipes, so it’s certainly worth getting them inspected! The age of the pipes and material is important to determine how long it’ll be until a replacement is required or whether the material is suitable for modern plumbing. If the pipes are constructed from galvanized steel or polybutylene, as an example, they’ll probably need replacing.
BONUS TIP: Ask a professional plumber to take a look at the plumbing for a ground check.
Focussing on plumbing issues as part of structural home inspection is something the engineer must be made to evaluate. These issues, if resolved in time will save a lot of inconvenience. An adept team of engineers, home inspection experts and professional plumbers can help build up a comfortable, healthy and airy space for you and your loved ones.