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Buying An Older Home? Ask About These Common Plumbing Issues

January 17, 2023

What You Need To Know About The Plumbing
In Older Homes In Richmond, CA

Before Buying Ask About These Common
Plumbing Issues

Older homes throughout the Richmond, CA, area can be a massive draw for many people looking to buy a new home. The classic look and style can often be hard to ignore. However, there are certain things buyers should look out for when it comes to plumbing in older homes.

There are always extra costs involved in purchasing an older home. But while most homeowners focus on the cosmetic and aesthetic upgrades they may need to make, they often forget about the plumbing that they have to deal with.

Even the best-designed and installed plumbing has a limited lifespan. This is especially true for homes in areas like Richmond, CA. Whether these issues are broken water lines or clogged sewer lines, they can cause a lot of inconvenience and expense.

For this reason, you should be looking at the older home you want to buy and questioning the homeowner or real estate agent about the plumbing in the house. You may want to consider having this inspected by a licensed plumber even before buying so that you know just what you are getting yourself into it.

Pay special attention to the plumbing in your new home to protect your new investment. We’ve put together a list of what you need to know about the plumbing in an older home, to best prepare for any surprises.

1. The Type Of Pipes In The Home

First, you want to find out what types of pipes are installed in your new home. If you’re looking at a home built before the 1930s, copper pipes were probably used. Are they still present? If so, ask specifically about the soldering used to connect these pipes. Before the 1930s, the use of lead-based solders was extremely common.

The problem with copper pipes that use lead solders is that lead can easily contaminate the water, which can affect your health. Lead has been linked to not only brain damage but kidney issues as well.

If copper pipes are present in the home, having the water tested for lead is a must! If you find that lead is in the water, it may mean having to rip out all the copper and replacing it for your safety which could cost thousands of dollars.

2. How Old Are The Sewer Lines

If you are looking at a fairly old home in the Richmond, CA, area, ask about the sewer lines. Have the lines ever been worked on? If not, depending on the date the home was built, you could be dealing with clay or cast iron sewer lines.

The issue with clay and cast iron sewer lines is that they are very vulnerable. These can easily collapse on themselves or crack — leading to leaks in the yard, and they are very susceptible to tree root intrusion.

If the clay or cast iron sewer lines are present in the home, you will more than likely end up replacing these with PVC pipe — which can be pricey to get done but will be necessary to ensure you do not have the sewer backing up into your home.

3. The Age Of The Water Heater And Other Appliances

While buying an older home may be your dream, we seriously doubt that you dream about having the water heater quit on you when you move into the home of your dreams. Ask about the age of the water heater.

Typically, traditional water heaters last anywhere between eight and twelve years. If the water heater is older than this time frame, it could be a ticking time bomb and should be one of the first things on your list to take care of after buying the home and moving into it.

In addition, check to see if the age of the other appliances that may use water, such as the faucets and toilets, is known. Old appliances are less energy efficient and could become a potential nightmare for you, the new homeowner.

4. Visual Inspection For DIY Jobs

Many people attempt their own plumbing fixes to save a little money. Look under the sinks and see if you notice any odd repair jobs. In these cases, many DIY jobs need to be updated, which could affect your insurance rates and whether or not the inspector approves the home for a mortgage.

How Does Knowing These Plumbing Issues Beforehand
Help You?

When buying an older home, the more you know — the better prepared you can be. If you know that the plumbing will need a major overhaul, you’ll know where to invest your hard-earned money first.

Nevertheless, knowing the plumbing issues that could be present or become a problem later is the knowledge you can leverage to buy the home at a better price. If a licensed plumber or even a home inspector notes certain items on the walk-through, you can utilize this information to make a more competitive offer on the home.

Many people have been able to negotiate a lower price when they state how much money they will have to put into the home to make the plumbing work for them. In addition, if the plumbing is completely out of code — knowing this could be a bargaining chip to use with the seller.

Knowledge is power when it comes to plumbing in an older home! So, be sure to ask about these items and have them inspected for your safety.

Free Quotes For Your Richmond, CA Plumbing

Whether you have purchased an older home that needs plumbing work in the Richmond, CA, area or you are looking for a licensed plumber to take a look at a home you are considering, we are here to help.