There is nothing like the charm and character of an older home. The established neighborhood and beautiful large trees add to the value of these homes in the area. But potential home buyers should be aware that there can be a few drawbacks to these wonderful older homes as well. While these possible issues should not be deal-breakers, you should be aware that they could exist and be prepared to have a licensed plumber complete a thorough plumbing evaluation before making an offer. You might discover that the home you fell in love with needs more than just a little bit of TLC. Here are the significant concerns that your plumber should be looking for during the inspection process.
Copper pipes are found in many homes built from the 1930s up to today. But what is dangerous is that the older homes often have lead-based solder connecting the lines. In high levels, lead is toxic and can result in kidney and brain damage, especially in small children. In 1986, Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act, which prohibits using lead in water pipes. But before this legislation passed, lead-based solder was legal and often used. Ask your plumber to test the solder used in the copper pipes of any older home you might be considering.
Old Sewer Lines
Every home has one sewer pipe that connects all of the house’s drains and toilets to the city sewer system. And older sewer lines have been found to start eroding and leaking at around the 25-year mark. Leaking water and waste act as a natural fertilizer for tree roots and will cause them to thrive. The result is often a sewer line clogged and shattered by massive clumps of tree roots. A simple sewer line inspection will reveal any damage to the pipe, the type of pipe, and any clogs that could create a flood of sewage in your new home.
Out-Dated Water Heater
A conventional water heater is expected to last between 8 and 12 years. But that is the best-case scenario, which means proper care and maintenance each year. If the tank was not drained and flushed each year, the life expectancy could be significantly less than a decade. So the five or six-year-old water heater that looks perfect could be about to spring a leak due to corrosion and mineral build-up in the holding tank. Your licensed plumber will inspect the water heater and tank to be sure that it still has several years of reliable service left in it for you to enjoy.
The Handy Work Of A DIY Owner
We all take matters into our own hands from time to time to save a few dollars. But there is a big difference between adding new caulking to the shower and replacing the shower plumbing. Many homeowners will take on a DIY project to increase the value of their homes. But sadly, they are actually decreasing the value because they are not aware of the plumbing code or proper installation process. Having a licensed plumber inspect all of the fixtures, piping, and appliances in an older home is an excellent way to eliminate many headaches caused by less than professional DIY work.
Simple Old Age
Having older plumbing in a home does not mean that you should not buy it. But you should be aware that over time, plumbing pipes, fittings, and fixtures wear out. And when they fail, there is the potential for significant water damage. So have your plumber investigate the system’s age and let you know how much life those older pipes might have left in them. Then you can decide if you are ready to invest in plumbing repiping in a few years. If that is not going to be in your budget, then maybe a newer home is a better choice for you.
To learn more about the plumbing of any home you might purchase, call (301) 278-8786 to schedule an inspection with a A Better Plumber & Air Conditioning licensed professional. This evaluation could save you tens of thousands of dollars in the future and a massive amount of stress and frustration.