There’s always risk when it comes to purchasing older homes—there’s always the potential of nasty surprises, and you can never be sure just how well the previous owner took care of it. This is why pre-purchase inspections are so important, as an inspector will find severe issues before you put pen to paper. If you’re considering the purchase of a home built decades ago, take note of these plumbing problems commonly found in older houses. Save yourself stress by knowing what to look for, and who to call if and when you do find a problem or two!
Don’t be caught out, know what to look for when it comes to finding plumbing problems in an old home!
1. Roots in old sewer lines
While plumbing pipes are built tough and strong, they are not impervious to damage by tree roots over many years. Tree roots naturally take the easiest path to find water, so if your pipes are cracked or broken, this leaves them more susceptible to further damage by tree roots. Metal (cast iron, copper and galvanised) pipes can erode and clay pipes are easily crushed, so it’s important to know what lies beneath your old home.
2. Problem drainage
The earth is constantly moving, so your old house is constantly shifting and settling. This can directly impact the piping system, especially in older homes—as it can result in cracks, bellies and debris, which can cause slow drainage or even blocked drains. To test how well your drains are working, fill up a sink and see how long it takes to drain away. If it’s slow, you may have an issue.
3. Water leaks
Whether it’s the roof that needs some TLC after years of erosion, or your water bills are constantly high and you’re not sure why, water leaks can be a big problem. If you’re worried about escalating water bills, it could be due to an invisible leak along your pipeline. For a quick way to determine a leak, turn off the water main and check the meter—it will show the smallest amount of water use. Think you have a water leak? You’ll need to call in a professional plumber.
Other things to look for
Remember to check other plumbing components that can erode over time such as supply lines, faucets and shut-off valves. If these have not been properly maintained over the years, these components can become problematic.