Warm, summer days bring many homebuyers out in search of their dream home. Often new homebuyers find out too late that the home of their dreams is actually the stuff of nightmares, riddled with water leaks and/or poor plumbing systems. 

To avoid problems, carefully inspect any potential home for damage using the tips below.  (These tips are also helpful just to make sure your own home is in good shape and is maintaining its value!)

  • Check to see that the toilet(s) flush with reasonable speed. 
  • Check around the base of the toilet(s) for signs of water damage (i.e.; rolled vinyl, black,  white or rust stains).
  • To check for a “soft floor,” stand straddled over the toilet(s) and rock back and forth on each foot. If the floor feels spongy, it is probably rotting or weakened.
  • Check for leaky or loose tiles by pressing on the walls where they come in contact with the bathtub. If the walls are soft, water may have created damage behind the tiles.
  • Turn on water in bathtub and in the kitchen sink. If there is a noticeable reduction in water volume, the piping in the house may need to be replaced because of calcium and mineral deposits.
  • If the home has a basement, check exposed piping for signs of leaking or recent repairs.
  • Find the main line cleanout and ensure that it is accessible.
  • Check the date of the water heater. The first four numbers of the serial number on the water heater are the month and year. Any heater over 15 years old is a candidate to be replaced.
  • Keep in mind, a rusty water heater tank is a sign of pending problems.
  • Check to make sure that the garbage disposal and dishwasher connections are tight and leak free.
  • Survey the inside of cabinets (with a flashlight) for signs of water damage, warped cabinet bottom or stains. Make sure that traps and supply tubes are not leaking.
  • Check washing machine hoses for rupture. Turn valves on and off to test for leaks.
  • Standing water is another common problem resulting from leaky or broken pipes. Excess water in a yard may be coming from a damaged sewer line and may contain waste from the home. Standing water is not healthy for children or pets, and is a breeding ground for insects and germs.

Whether it’s your current home or your potential dream home, any serious plumbing problems should be looked at by a professional plumber.