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How do you know when you close on your new home that it’s going to be an investment and not a sinking ship loaded with problems? Many home owners often have the home checked for roof and termites problems, but often never consider turning on faucets to check for possible costly plumbing issues. When you purchase your home it should be a smooth process, not one that quickly turns into a money pit. Here are a few checks you can perform to make sure your new home is in perfect move-in condition.
Once considered “the Pipe of the future,” Polybutylene piping was a low cost and easy to manufacture pipe that was widely used between 1978 until 1995. However oxidants in water, such as chlorine, have a negative reaction with the pipe causing these pipes to become brittle and failing. This type of pipe is very dangerous to have in a home and must be replaced.
How to tell: Polybutylene piping is normally blue in color and is 1/2” to 1” in diameter.
Cost consequences: The estimated cost to replace piping is between $1,500 – $3,000. However if your home is flooded due to pipe failure you could be looking at: $3,000 -$50,000+ for repairs.
The average life of a septic tank is approximately 25 years and they should be pumped every 2 years. Find out the age of the septic tank before purchasing your home as well as when the last time the tank was pumped. It’s also a good idea to know how many people occupied the home. The recommendation for pumping a tank increases with more people in the home; a 5 member family home septic tank should be pumped every year.
How to tell: Even if they given acceptable information on the age and most recent date of septic tank pumping, the septic tank might be in a state of failure. It’s best to have a plumber perform a check on the tank to insure perfect condition.
Cost consequences: The estimated cost to replace a septic tank is between $10,000 – $30,000+. Repair cost on septic tanks range from a few hundred dollars to several thousands.
Sewer Lines are subject to many possible problems. Often times they become clogged or roots will penetrate the lines causing debris to enter the line. Over time the sewer line will leak, from a clog, or burst from pressure build up.
How to tell: Check the yard for random wet spots. The pipes are more than 20 years old. Well developed trees in the front yard are normally an issue for sewer lines. Fill the bath tub 1/3 then pull the plug to drain the water. If the water drains fast without any issues it’s a good sign. However, if the drain suction is weak and seems to drain in increments and you hear a gurgling noise it’s normally an indicator of a clogged sewer line. If you’re seeing signs of sewer line problems have a plumber inspect it.
Cost consequences: The average cost for sewer line repairs and replacement range from $700 – $6,000+. Also water leaks increases the water bill, expect to not only pay for pipe repairs but also high water bills until the pipe is fixed.
The average life span of a water heater is 10-15 years after which the internal parts become corroded and have build-up of water minerals. This eventually leads to total failure of the water heater. Before you buy your home, always find out the age of the water heater.
How to tell: Turn on the hot water. How long does it take for the water to become heated? How hot does the water get? Is the water clear or rusty in appearance? Is there any visible sediment in the water? Taste the water. Does the water taste normal or metallic? Your water should be clear, normal in taste, and free of sediments. When the hot water heater is on do you hear loud cracks and popping noises? If you hear these noises it’s an indicator of a bad water heater.
Cost consequences: The average cost to replace a water heater is between $700- $2,000 depending on the type of system it is replaced with.
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