Plumbing Inspection Tips for Home Buyers

Everyone knows that buying a house is not something that should be done impulsively. It should be a well thought out plan that might take a few days or a few weeks depending on inspections like electrical inspection, plumbing inspection and so on. Each one of these inspections reveals a new aspect of the house and it helps you determine the real value of the house. Plumbing inspection in particular is very important and it should be looked into carefully lest you end up with a money guzzling pit instead of a beautiful home.

This article has plumbing inspection tips you should be mindful of when purchasing your next home. For example, when you walk into a home, you should pay attention to the blots forming on the ceiling. Or the unusual noises that might be coming from the wall. You should definitely inspect the basement and the attic if the house has one. These are hotspots that could be masking any issues with the home. Without further ado, lets jump into our plumbing inspection guide.

Home Plumbing Inspection Checklist

Water Heater

When observing the water heater, the most obvious sign to know if it is working properly is how well it produces hot water. Beyond this, you should also look out for leaks that might occur around the tank, whining or rumbling noises or a putrid or stain odor. Any of these coupled with a mineral deposit in the tank could affect the tank’s water capacity and is caused by use for many years. Most tanks are able to run for 10 years before needing replacement so you should check the tank’s age by looking up its serial number.

Sewage System:

The sewage system is responsible for taking waste from the house to the septic tank or the municipal sewer. If the house is using a septic tank, we advise you find out where it is located, its capacity, date of last service and the location of the drain field. Observe any unpleasant smell or presence of a pool of water if any in the vicinity.

The Toilet:

You can begin this process by flushing all the toilets in the house and listening for any continuous running or trickling after flushing. Toilet leaks can be detected by simply hearing it. Another way to vet a toilet is by doing the following:

  • Remove the lid of the tank and place it somewhere it won’t fall and break
  • Put a dye tablet or color additive into the tank
  • Replace the tank’s lid
  • Do not flush

Subsequently wait for 15 minutes and watch out for colored water, if you do not see any, the toilet is leak free. Leaks can also make the floor rot so if you observe any discoloration near the toilet that is an obvious sign as well.


These are another stop on our plumbing inspection checklist. A clogged drain will cause the bathtub, toilet or sink to drain slowly or not drain at all. The water will rise at first before it begins to empty out and in some cases it could make some gurgling noises. These noises refer to the air trapped by the blockage and will be pushed up when it is dislodged. You could also switch on all the faucets in the bathroom, kitchen and the basement for a few minutes to check. While you are doing this, you should also inspect for molds, watermarks or previous plumbing issues beneath each sink.

Beware of Water Stains:

If you walk into a home, the first thing you need to do is look at the ceilings. If there are any brown stains, the home either has a leaky pipe or a leak from the roof. Ensure you find out what is causing the leak and if it has been dealt with before moving on.

Sump Pump:

A great question to ask agents is if the home you are inspecting has experienced flooding before. This is especially important for properties that experience a lot of rainfall. If it has experienced flooding before. Check the sump pump for loud noises as it could be an indicator that needs replacing or fixing. Sump pumps usually have a life span of 10 years and are often motor operated using massive amounts of energy.


You need to ensure that the pipes are wrapped with sufficient insulation materials for protection during winter. Without these, leaks, breaks or water frozen and stuck in the pipes could happen. Be extra sensitive with houses that contain lead made pipes. These kinds of houses are usually those built before 1986 and these pipes are hazardous especially if it engages water that has low mineral content or a high level of acidity.  Our bodies cannot tolerate any quantity of lead making it extremely harmful and could leave lingering effects for many years after exposure.

Water Meter:

Inspecting the water meter helps you know if you have a leakage and it can help you check out water usage. The valve often has the main control of the house’s entire water system and you can turn the water off – for example if you are going away for a longer period of time or the house is undergoing a major plumbing work. If water comes out of any of these faucets while the water is completely turned off, the valve needs to be replaced. But if you are able to ascertain it is working fine, you can check the meter to see if it still runs while the faucets are off. If it does, you might have a leakage on your hands.

Washing Machine:

This is an underrated yet very important part of the plumbing inspection checklist. The washing machine is relied on very heavily and it is also in the top 10 list of water damage causes.

If you are looking to invest in a new house, the smart thing to do is to invest in a professional plumber. They will be able to carry out a plumbing inspection process and the results of their investigation can be very helpful when you are negotiating the final price for your home. This checklist will help you to have a place to start or have a sense of what the plumber will be doing during their process.