Buying an older home does come with some risks. Some components of the home are likely to be more worn-out and more likely to need repair or replacement in the coming years. You may know you have some remodeling to get to. These risks and shortcomings are manageable, but one thing that's a lot less manageable is a big plumbing issue. Most people do not want to buy an older home with deficient plumbing since it means a major flooding or clog incident is just around the corner. A good way to manage this risk is to have a plumber look over the home before buying it. Here are the key things to have them check for.
Clogged Sewer Mains
The sewer main is the big pipe that carries all of your home's sewage to the public sewer system. A clog in this main line is a big deal since it means nothing will go down your drains or toilets. You would know if the home had a full sewage line clog since the drains would not work, but a partial clog is harder to detect. A plumber can use a sewer line camera to visualize any buildup inside the pipe. If there are tree roots, collapsed sections, or excessive accumulations of grease, then the line may soon clog. You'll want to have the owner either clear or replace the line before you buy the home, assuming you're still interested.
Another thing you should have the plumber check for is any pipes made from galvanized steel. If they do discover galvanized pipes, you should be concerned about rusted and leaky pipes in the future. Plumbers have not installed galvanized pipes in decades, which means these pipes are likely pretty old. When they get old, the galvanized layer wears away and the steel starts to rust out. If the owner does not have the pipes replaced before you buy the home, you can expect to have to do it in the next few years.
Slab leaks are leaks in the main, affluent water lines that run below a home's foundation. A leak in one of these pipes can cause moisture in the basement, damage to the landscaping, and really high water bills. A plumber should send a camera down into these lines to check for a slab leak. If one is discovered, ask the owner to have it repaired before it gets any worse. Or, walk away from the sale.
These three big issues are quite common in older homes and are well worth checking for before you buy. Contact a plumber for more information about pipeline camera inspections.