Plumbing: What to look for when purchasing a new home

Purchasing a new home is an exciting time that can sometimes be a time-consuming process, trying to find the ideal home and location within your budget. We often focus on the kitchen, room sizes and yard space but often the plumbing is overlooked or a proper inspection isn’t performed.

Plumbing issues are among the most common problems new homeowners face, turning a dream home into a nightmare scenario. A home as little as 10 years old can start showing signs of plumbing issues, especially in everyday home fixtures such as a water heater, water supply lines, toilets and faucets. To save yourself a headache and the cost of major repairs after you buy a home, here are some of the most important plumbing features to look at.

Faucets, Sinks & Toilets

Sinks and faucets can give you a good indication of the general health of the home’s plumbing. Follow the tips below to get a clearer understanding of potential hidden plumbing issues and avoid costly repairs.

  • Turn on each faucet in the house
  • Ensure that the water drains properly
  • Inspect for potential leaks coming from the faucet and underneath the sink
  • Flush toilets in every bathroom to inspect proper drainage
  • Septic tanks
  • Inspect around the base of the toilet and tank for leakage

Main Sewer Drain

Inspecting the condition of your main sewer will require more than just flushing toilets or checking sinks for proper drainage. The main sewer line could be breaking down due to its age and material used. Other factors to consider is improper installation, seismic activity that has caused a shift in the plumbing, or root intrusion from trees on or near the property. A proper inspection of the main sewer line from a licensed plumber performing a camera inspection is the only proper way to fully know the condition of the sewer pipe.

Fixing a broken sewer line can be costly and knowing the condition of the sewer system before purchasing a home can save you time and money. The other benefit is requesting the seller to fix the sewer line before the purchase or negotiate the asking price to accommodate the cost of the sewer line repairs.

Water Heater

Water heaters are an essential part of our homes, providing hot water to our showers and faucets. Having your hot water interrupted is not only a huge inconvenience but can be costly to diagnose, repair or replace your water heater. Take a close look at the water heater and keep an eye out for the following signs.

  • The age of the water heater (Most last only 10-12 years)
  • The presence of leaks at the inlet or outlet valves while in operation
  • Strange noises or popping sounds coming from the tank
  • Grainy, sandy, muddy or discolored water coming out of the hot water faucet
  • Septic tanks
  • Inspect around the base of the toilet and tank for leakage

Water Meter & Shut Off Valves

Another costly repair to keep in mind when inspecting your plumbing is a hidden water leak. Aside from wasting water and creating higher water bills, a hidden water leak could lead to structural damage and potential health risks by way of mold growth affecting not only your wallet but your health.

Inspecting the water meter after ensuring all water faucets have been turned off can help you determine if there is a leak on the property. The water meter should have stopped. If the meter is still turning, there’s a good chance there is a leak somewhere on the property.

Inspect the home’s main water shut off valve ensuring that it is properly working. Close the valve fully and turn on some faucets in the house. If there is a drip or water is coming out, the valve is faulty and will need to be replaced. You should also inspect the individual shut off valves that control the flow of water to fixtures such as faucets, showers & toilets.


Purchasing a new home is one of the biggest investments we make in life. Adding an extra insurance and peace of mind to your purchase can save you thousands of dollars. Option One Plumbing is licensed to carry out professional home inspections and has made this service available to buyers, sellers and real estate agents for a fee. We provide documentation detailing our findings and can provide additional services such as recorded video inspections. Option One Plumbing has been trusted by thousands of new homeowners in their decision making when purchasing a new home.