Things You Need to Check During a Plumbing Inspection before Buying a House

November 23, 2022

Choosing your next home can be fun, but it can also be stressful, especially when it comes to having to check all the different components of the house you are thinking about buying.

Once you have an offer accepted on the house you’ve been waiting to buy, it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement and forget to ask about its history or basic maintenance needs. However, if you want to be prepared for any surprises that could cost you money down the line, make sure your real estate agent gives you the following list of things to check during a plumbing inspection before buying a house.

Don’t leave your investment in someone else’s hands when there are so many little things you can do to keep it running smoothly—and prevent wasting your hard-earned money!

Luckily, with this guide you’ll be able to stay focused and aware of the most important parts of your prospective home’s plumbing system that need to be inspected before buying the house. You’ll learn about things you should check during your plumbing inspection and how to deal with these problems before you buy the home.

So if you’re ready to make an offer on your new home, read on!

Check the toilets

Here’re some of the things that could spell trouble in toilets:

  • Toilet is constantly running, it could be caused by a clogged up drain.
  • Toilet bowl is stained; you may have hard water or rust in your pipes.
  • There are cracks on the inside of the bowl; this could be a sign of old age or it could mean that it was not installed correctly or had been recently shifted.
  • The toilet is leaking from the base, this could mean there’re issues with the connection of the toilet with the floor or the seal might be leaking.
  • The water tank of the toilet is leaking.
  • The toilet move sideways as you grasp it on either side. Such a movement means the flange of the toilet is not property secured.
  • The color of your toilet can indicate if you have hard water and what type: yellow-stained toilets mean you have high levels of iron in your water supply; red-stained toilets mean that too much acid is in your water; black-stained toilets mean that too many minerals are in your water supply.

Check the water heater

You can either hire a plumber or check for yourself for the location and capacity of water heater and if it requires any repair or replacement. The water heater is usually located in the basement, and it’s important to make sure the unit has been recently serviced. A water heater typically lasts 10-12 years, but can last longer if you are diligent about flushing out sediment.

Generally a plumber inspects different components of water heater include thermostat, connections, temperature, pressure relief valve, temperature settings, thermocouple, emergency shut-off and flue pipe. There are two types of water heaters – gas and electric. If there’s an electric unit, be sure there is at least six inches of clearance on all sides of the unit and that there is no debris collecting around it.

Also Read: Sneaky Foods That Can Clog Your Garbage Disposal (and How to Avoid Them)


Pipes are one of the most important parts of your plumbing system, and they are often overlooked when someone is looking for problems with their plumbing. So, make sure you check the size of the pipe as well as the pressure of water through the faucets.

For typical pressure in residential buildings, the pipes are ½” in diameter while the lines from the main source of water should be ¾” to 1” in size. If you’re purchasing a house that’s built before 1986, it’s best to ask plumber for checking against lead pipes as it is toxic and is not good to live in such a condition.

Pipes can be found in just about every aspect of your home from water supply lines, to drain and waste lines. Pipes also connect many different fixtures together such as sinks, toilets, showers and more. The pipes that connect fixtures together are called fixture shutoffs.

These pipes allow you to turn off the flow of water at any time without having to turn off the main water supply valve. If you suspect that there may be something wrong with your pipes then it is important that you have them inspected before buying a house.

Also read: Why is my boiler losing pressure? Here’re some reasons


Another important element of a plumbing system is the drains.  The drain pipes are usually located in the basement or crawl space and can be inspected by removing the access panel at the bottom of the sink.

So, make sure you detect the plumbing system for any drainage issue. Sewer drains can be clogged due to shifting ground or due to poor installation. Similarly, the drain lines must not have any nearby tress because they can cause problem for your drainage lines. Reputable plumbing companies offer in-line camera inspection through which they can easily detect any problem with the pipe lines thereby eliminating the guesswork.

There are also two pipes coming out of each side of your toilet that need to be inspected. If there’s any rust or corrosion, it’s likely time for new pipes.

If you have a garbage disposal, make sure it is not clogged with food, hair, or other debris that would cause an unpleasant odor from seeping out from under your sink. This might mean getting your plumber on board for this inspection as well!

Also Read: Sneaky Foods That Can Clog Your Garbage Disposal (and How to Avoid Them)

Check bathroom Faucets

Check for leaks around the faucet handle, on the side of the handle, and near the spout. Turn on the water and check for any drips or leaks. If you notice any, ask your realtor or inspector about it. Faucets can be replaced with just an hour of work if they need to be fixed.

You must also check the faucets for the material. Because brass faucets during late ‘70s till 2014 have 8 percent lead that facilitates the manufacturing and ensure leak-free connections.

Check for leaks around shower, sink, or toilets

Checking for leaks is also an important thing you need to do when inspecting the plumbing in your future home. Toilets, showerheads, sinks and faucets are all common sources of water leaks. If you’re looking at a house with an older toilet, be sure that it doesn’t have any cracks or signs of leakage.

When inspecting the shower area, make sure that there are no signs of water on the tile or behind the walls – especially if there’s wallpaper peeling or other signs that moisture may be getting in from outside. Sinks should be inspected for any type of leak by checking under both sides of it for any sign of wetness on either side.

Time to call experts

A large number of the homes in the United States have some sort of plumbing issues, and many of those problems could be caught before purchasing a home if buyers did the necessary inspections.

So, if you’re planning to buy a home in the next few months, we recommend hiring a professional plumber to perform necessary plumbing inspections before buying the property. This inspection will help you avoid expensive renovations and repairs, or even worse, mold infestations or water damage from burst pipes.

David Otanga

David is a homeowner DIY and a lifestyle expert and writer specializing in writing about different construction trades. His work has appeared in top-notch trade blogs. David also worked for, where he managed an international team of writers and experts.

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