Cincinnati home Inspector Chris
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A second look at Galvanized Water Pipes, Copper Drain Pipes, and other potential problems:

You're looking at the house of your dreams, and you make an offer. Your offer is accepted by the seller, and you order your inspection. The inspection is done and all is well.

Or is it?

There are several items on a normal home inspection that can not be determined by the naked eye, here is a list of a few items I would consider having inspected during your home plumbing problemsinspection:

Sewer Lines:

Main sewer lines are one of those things that can not be inspected by the naked eye, it is impossible to inspect the drain lines without ordering a sewer scope of them. Many home buyers are on a budget when buying a home and don't have the funds to complete all the necessary inspections, but sewer drain pipe scopes can save you thousands of dollars in major repairs that go unseen during the normal inspection.

  • Costing roughly $200-$350 depending on the area, it is well worth the cost of a sewer inspection during your home inspection.

That little bit of money can save you thousands in repairs if you have a cracked drain pipe, large belly or roots in the pipe, or any other damages.

Hot Water Heater:

Though the average water heater lasts about 8-12 years, it's a good idea to have it inspected. The life span depends on the water quality, how the water heater is being used, maintenance and installation. Consider the location of the tank, will it ruin your carpet or hardwood floor if it leaks? Will it cause dry wall damage? If it's in a location where property damage could occur, what will help prevent that? It's common to find water heaters placed in areas where they're out of sight, yet could cause a lot of damage if they leak; such as utility closets, mobile home water heater closets or a garage that abuts a finished living space.

  • Even if it is sitting in a pan with a drain, who would ever see it to know to fix the problem before it causes damage? Water heater pans can only hold so much water before they overflow.

Typically water heater leaks in these installations are noticed because of evidence of water or the damage already caused. When a water heater is installed where it's likely to cause property damage due to a leak, it should be replaced as a preventative measure before it's too late.

Leaky Toilet:

Another issue that homeowners often overlook and neglect to have fixed is a leak at the base of a toilet. The leak typically appears small or insignificant, but over time the water will begin to rot the subfloor and even get between the subfloor and finished floor.

Here are some signs that you have a toilet problem:

  • Discoloration and/or warping around the base of the toilet and around the floor.
  • If the floor moves or feels soft around the base of the toilet by applying weight with your foot.
  • If the toilet bowl has any movement. It should feel solid, and when grasped on either side, the toilet should not rock or slide.

Health of Plumbing Systems - bottom line:

Buying a home is a big investment, but knowing if you have any plumbing issues such as galvanized water pipes, copper drain pipes, lead closet bends, or an inferior piping system can be handy when negotiating the sale of a home. There are so many types of piping systems and conditions that it's a good idea to get a whole house plumbing inspection in addition to a water heater and sewer camera inspection. Plan to be there with the plumber and ask plenty of questions such as, "What would you do if you were buying this house?" Spending that little bit of extra time on an inspection and minor maintenance can go a long way towards knowing what you're about to purchase, or whether it's even worth buying at all.  

lead water pipes

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