10 Reasons Why Plumbing Inspections Are Essential When Purchasing a HomeCat McCarthy
What is a pre-purchase plumbing inspection report?
It’s November 2022, interest rates are rising rapidly yet buyers are still in the market, looking to secure a property of their own. When purchasing a home for your family, a building inspection is often one of the steps mortgage brokers, conveyancers and the like suggest you undertake before signing up for your expensive investment.
Whilst building inspections are extremely important (we work with many quality building inspectors in the Wyndham, City of Melbourne, Maribyrnong and Hobsons Bay areas) they only cover basic inspections of plumbing and gas at a property, as they aren’t licensed for gas testing, and often don’t have the equipment for extensive drain inspections.
If it’s not a visual plumbing defect, or a compliancy issue, it may go unnoticed. If you’re purchasing a home that has extensive leaks, blockages and broken pipes this will cost you tens of thousands of dollars in rectifications.
We recommend a pre-purchase plumbing inspection to be carried out by a licensed and insured plumber before your home purchase is complete.
Plumbing Health Check
A plumbing inspection needn’t be just for home purchasers; McCarthy Plumbing Group recommends a plumbing health check be conducted every 1-3 years to ensure your plumbing appliances, fittings and fixtures are well maintained as prevention is always better than cure.
The cost of a plumbing inspection overwhelmingly outweighs the cost of a broken drain due to years of growth from tree roots; if we can nip the cause in the bud (excuse the pun) we can save thousands of dollars in future repairs. During the plumbing health check, our plumbers can also spot a flood disaster waiting to happen such as a frayed or rusted flexi hose.
Here’s a list of our top ten reasons for investing in a plumbing health check for your home, or new home you’re looking to purchase:
- Your hot water system may be on the blink
The first step in our plumbing health check is to pay a visit to the hot water system. We’ll check out the age of the unit, the condition it’s in and what recommendations we might have (adding a frost protection valve, setting the correct temp on the tempering valve to prevent scalding, legionnaires disease etc).
Given Hot water units are between $1,600 (for a straight swap solar booster) to upwards of $2,600 (for a 300L unit), you’ll want to know in advance if you are buying a property with a 20-year-old unit on its last legs, as it’s something you’ll need to account for in future expenses.
- Your water meter could have issues
Our plumber will then visit your water meter. They’ll complete a few tests while they are here including a pressure test (to test the amount of pressure), a static pressure test (to see if there is any pressure drop at all) and see if there is a 500kpa Pressure Reducing Valve (PRV) installed at meter. The plumber will note down any recommendations (for example if the pressure is too high, they could suggest a PRV installed at a new angle).
- Your roof could be in poor condition
Our plumbers will strap themselves into their harnesses, and jump onto your roof to conduct the next part of the inspection. Whilst up on your roof, we will note down the roof type, the condition we believe it to be in (fair, good, poor etc), if it follows the SA HB 39:2015 and AS/NZ 3500.3:2015 standards.
Some comments our plumbers could make are if you have any cracked roof tiles, how the pointing is, any water stains on ceilings, any tile openings, whether the roof is compliant etc. They’ll recommend if rectifications need to occur (immediately, in the near future etc) in order to prevent potential roof leaks.
Again, the plumber will assess the guttering, determine the condition, whether they have been installed as per the plumbing standards, and whether or not they need cleaning or repairing. The plumber will do the same when inspecting the downpipes of the home and will ensure they have all been connected to stormwater drains appropriately.
- You could have a poorly operational overflow relief gully (ORG)
An overflow relief gully is something you may have never heard of before and may not care too much about…. unless of course you have a sewer blockage, then this little guy will be your BFF. An ORG (if installed correctly) will be the one wearing the cape if you have a blocked sewer, as it’s sole purpose is to blow its top (so to speak) and release pressure, directing sewage AWAY from your home, protecting it from a sewer spill. It’ll direct the flow into your garden, not your bedroom.
Our plumber will let you know where yours is (and to keep it uncovered if its hiding) if it has been installed correctly (you want it running downhill AWAY from your home), if the fixture is discharging to the ORG, if the correct grate is used and if it’s the correct distance above ground level.
- You’ll know where your sewer shaft is located
Halfway through our checklist, but still on the topic of sewers. Our plumbers will locate your sewer and stormwater shafts, and ensure they have been installed up to ground with a removable cover, and are in good condition. This is an important shaft, in case a drain inspection or unblocking is necessary in the future.
- You’ll know how sustainable your property is
We’re big on stormwater harvesting and water retention systems at McCarthy Plumbing Group. If your property has a rain water tank, our plumber will examine its condition, note down the pump make, model & age (this is helpful in case of future issues) and they’ll note if its servicing your toilets, and your garden, efficiently and effectively.
- You’ll find out if your gas appliances are operating safely
Gas appliances can be dangerous, so our plumbers undergo intensive testing of them to ensure they are operating safely around you and your family. We’ll note down their age and condition, and any recommendations we may have for them.
Gas appliances on your property could include gas heating (which require CO testing), gas cooktops, gas boosted hot water units and outdoor gas barbeques.
- You’ll find out if you have any undetected shower or toilet leaks
Bathrooms and Toilets, they’re our forte. So we know what to look for to ensure there are no ticking time bomb risks to a home being flooded (like a frayed flexi hose or no mini stops fitted). Our plumber will check out the general condition of the taps, basin and under the vanity, checking for leaks and drips from the shower and tapware. We’ll make sure your toilets are all flushing/filling efficiently and aren’t leaking.
We’ll make sure all toilets and basins have been fitted with mini stops too (they are the handy little devices you can shut off in a leak/burst situation which will isolate the issue at the source, without having to shut of the water at the mains).
The plumber will examine the condition of the shower recess (checking for cracks and leakages), ensure a leak control flange has been installed and the general condition of the area. S/he will assess the bath too for faults and leaks.
- You’ll know if your washing machine could cause a flood
The condition of your laundry trough will be inspected (and the mini stops and flexi hoses underneath too). Critically, the washing machine hose connection will be inspected for potential leakages (ie if the trap nipple is open without a washing machine connected it may continuously leak).
Any frayed, kinked or rusted flexi hoses will need to be changed immediately.
- You could have an undetected leak in the kitchen
On a recent pre-purchase plumbing inspection, our plumber found upon examining the kitchen that there was a stain under the kitchen sink. The owner had tried to clean it, however the plumber tested it and observed that there was a leak from the mixer tap which would need rectifying immediately upon/before purchase of the home.
During our plumbing health check, our plumber will check all of the kitchen’s tap conditions, ensure mini stops have been fitted, flexi hoses are in good condition, the under-sink pipework condition, and the fridge water line connection (if installed).
Plumbing Inspections are Essential
As you can see from above, undertaking a pre-purchase plumbing inspection is critical to diagnose any potential plumbing issues you may face in your new property. If the plumbing observations and recommendations highlight some costly fixes, you could utilise the photos and suggestions in our complex report to help you negotiate on the final sale price.
Already in your purchased home? Consider a plumbing inspection to be a health check, underlining any potential issues before they eventuate and cost you tens of thousands of dollars in plumbing rectifications.
Give McCarthy Plumbing Group a call today on 03 9931 0905 to book in your plumbing inspection.