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Buying a New Home: Plumbing Inspections


Are you buying a new home? When we say “new,” we’re not necessarily talking about a brand new home, but new to you. If you put an offer in on a house, you’re going to order a home inspection and depending on where you live, possibly a termite inspection.

But, what about the plumbing, have you put much thought into that? Home buyers need to know all of what they’re getting into or they may end up in hot water. Let’s say you found your dream home. It’s been a rental for the last 20 years, but you don’t mind. The owners recently re-painted the whole house from the inside out, and they installed new carpets. You’re ready to make an offer and seal the deal, assuming the inspection goes well.

The general contractor who moonlights as a home inspector, or the inspection service recommended by the real estate agent, says the house looks good but did he take a close look at the plumbing? It has had several renters over the years, and that could be cause for concern.

You could schedule an in-depth plumbing inspection after you get the keys, but if you wait that long, will it be too late to address potential problems with the water supply, septic system, water lines? After all, if you get a follow-up plumbing inspection after the house is yours, it’s not like you can bring in the receipt to your realtor and say, “I’d like a refund please.”

As Kansas City plumbers, we regularly receive calls from new homeowners who were not aware of a pre-existing problem with their home’s plumbing system. Sometimes, we have to be the bearer of bad news, which is the least favorite part of our jobs.

If you’re looking for a new home, here are some of the things that you should take into consideration before signing the final loan documents and should be addressed in a home plumbing inspection and provide peace of mind.

Main Sewer Line 

The main sewer line can be a problem, especially for older homes. Either the line can deteriorate because of time, wear and tear, or thirsty tree roots can invade the main line.

If the line is obstructed or deteriorating, clogs will be imminent. If the line is in a serious state of deterioration, the line could collapse in the near future, forcing the new homeowners to pay for major repairs or a full replacement.

Camera Inspection

It’s wise to have a camera inspection if you’re buying a home, especially if it is an older home and has older plumbing. If there is deterioration or corrosion, but the pipes are in good enough shape, it may be possible to make repairs before the problem worsens and requires more in depth plumbing services. It can also show build-up that could lead to a blockage, standing water, water leaks, as well as allow a professional plumber to see details there’s just no other way to discover.

When you purchase a home, you can’t be sure if it has drainage problems, but a simple camera inspection can uncover a hidden clog or costly plumbing issues before you decide to buy the house.

Water Heaters

Water heaters should last about 10 years, but it depends on the quality of the water, the frequency of use, and how the water heater was installed and maintained.

You want to think about where the tank is located. If it leaks, will it cause damage to your flooring or furnishings? If it’s in a bad location where it can lead to costly damage, is there something that can be done to prevent that?

A licensed plumber can determine the age and condition of the water heater. Is it up to code, and is it working safely? Does it meet the demands of your home? Maybe the previous owners had a much bigger family, and you’ll save money if you replace it with a smaller unit.


It’s important to check all toilets for leaks. A small leak may seem like no big deal, but over time, the water can cause quite a bit of damage to the flooring. If you see discoloration around the base of the toilet, or if the ground is soft at the base, or if the toilet rocks, then you should have it inspected by a plumber right away as these are signs of a leak.

When you buy a home, it’s likely the largest investment of your life. Knowing that the plumbing is old and in need of replacement, or that a house has copper drain pipes, or galvanized water pipes can help when negotiating the price of the home.

With so many possible plumbing issues, it’s wise to have a whole house plumbing inspection and a camera inspection before you decide to buy a house at all.

To schedule a whole house, professional plumbing inspection in Kansas City or the surrounding areas, contact A-1 Sewer & Septic Service Inc.!