How to check plumbing issues when moving house
Moving into a new house or flat is always a challenging time. To minimise the stress try and find out as much about the property’s plumbing situation before you buy. For instance some properties may have a water meter and this can affect your water usage within the property.
Here are the checks to run:
Follow your nose
Bad smells are a tell-tale sign of plumbing problems. These may not be evident during your viewing of the house. If possible try and view the property during a heavy rainy period and you will most likely find out whether there are any issues with sewage water. Of course if the water tastes funny that is also a red flag that you may have plumbing issues.
Look for the stop cock
An internal stop cock (sometimes called a stop tap or stop valve) is usually found where your water supply pipe enters your house. The most common places are under the kitchen sink, under the stairs, in a garage, utility room or bathroom. Make sure it’s working properly and you can turn it on and off easily, in case you need to in an emergency. If you have a flooding situation then turning off the stop cock is a priority as you can stop the water flow at source.
Test the plumbing
Run all the appliances if possible so you can see what the water pressure is like. Signs of rust, water stains or mould on ceilings and walls and a dead give away that something is up with the plumbing too. In the garden if any grass looks particularly sodden that may be evidence of leaks. Fixing a leak will save you money if you have a water meter and can prevent damage from occurring to your property or outside space.
You can also test the plumbing lines in a property. Where the main pipes come down from a sink, look for any evidence of leaks or run your hand along the pipe to feel for moisture.
Get your boiler service history
Do ask the current owners or your estate agent how old the boiler is and how regularly it’s been serviced. They need to provide a service history from a Gas Safe registered engineer. If there’s a cold water tank in the attic, make sure it’s clean and that it has a lid fitted. Making sure that there are no lead pipes, if it is an old property – is very important for health and safety reasons. Many homes built before 1970 have lead pipes. If you apply a magnet to a lead pipe the magnet will not stick. Finally, don’t forget that if you plan to build a new bathroom in the property – just check whether any planning permissions are required!