All homes should undergo a plumbing inspection every few years, with older homes needing more frequent checks. This can help to uncover small problems before they turn into big ones that can be very inconvenient and expensive to fix.
If you are wondering what potential issues a thorough inspection can detect, here is a look at the top reasons a home might fail a plumbing inspection.
Old or Defective Piping
One of the most common issues revealed in a home plumbing inspection is faulty or old plumbing. The pipes that run through a home are responsible for transporting many gallons of water every day. If even one of these pipes has a small issue, it can cause major problems throughout the home in the form of contaminated water or leaks.
If your home is older, its pipes might need to be updated. Here is a look at some of the older types of piping that can be flagged in a plumbing inspection.
Rusted Cast Iron Pipes
In older homes, it is not unusual to come across cast iron piping, which was a common pipe material prior to the 1970s. In some cases, this piping may still be in good condition. However, if it has rusted or begun to leak, it will be very expensive to repair and may need to be replaced with a less expensive alternative, such as PVC.
In homes that were built before 1960, pipes were often galvanized, or coated with a protective layer of zinc to prevent them from corroding. Unfortunately, the life expectancy of galvanized pipes is not very long. When they corrode, they are considered a serious defect in a home inspection given their extreme vulnerability to failure and will usually need to be replaced entirely. These pipes tend to corrode from the inside out, which means that they may look fine from the outside.
Another big problem with galvanized piping is the fact that it has been linked to higher levels of lead in drinking water. Lead is sometimes present in the zinc coating used in galvanized pipes and can eventually make its way into the home’s water. This can lead to serious health conditions, including reproductive problems, cardiovascular disease, and learning difficulties in children.
ABS Waste Piping
A type of drain piping that was common in the 1980s and 1990s, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, or ABS, piping is still found in thousands of homes. ABS piping was part of a class action lawsuit in the 1980s and is prone to a slew of problems if it was not primed and glued correctly during construction. This can lead to cracking that can put the home’s entire plumbing system in jeopardy.
Water Heater Problems
In plumbing inspections and general home inspections alike, water heating equipment – including its venting connections, pressure relief valves and energy sources-is inspected carefully for signs of defects that can stop it from working as it should. A lack of hot water, inconsistent water temperatures, very old equipment, sediment buildup, leaking, and a foul smell all require investigation by a licensed plumber.
Leaks in Walls
During a plumbing inspection, hidden leaks may be detected in the wall or under the floorboards. These types of leaks are one of the biggest sources of water wastage in the nation, with the average American household leak creating 10,000 gallons of wastewater every year. It may take months or years to detect these leaks as they tend to be silent, which is why a plumbing inspection can be so valuable.
Untreated leaks of this nature can lead to major structural issues, including foundation movement, cracking in walls, and uneven floors. It can also foster the development of mold and mildew, which forms when spores present in the air start to grow on wet surfaces. A house with active mold growth can cause respiratory illnesses, asthma, and allergic reactions in its inhabitants.
However, many of these leaks can be fixed fairly easily by a plumber. The challenging part of these leaks is not usually repairing them but detecting them in the first place. Some of the signs that a plumbing inspector will look out for include musty smells, buckling flooring and walls, dark stains on the ceiling or walls, and bubbling or peeling paint on the walls.
Clogged Sewer Lines
When a sewer line is clogged, it can cause raw sewage to back up out of the drains, leading to significant damage to the property. Some of the causes of this problem are broken sewer lines that fill up with dirt or tree roots that grow into a sewer line. This can be difficult to diagnose as the pipework is located underground and is often only detected in a thorough plumbing inspection. There may be slow draining or gurgling sounds and a foul smell, and eventually wastewater will back up into the home.
Reach Out to the D.C. Metro Area Plumbers
If you have any concerns about your plumbing or would like to arrange a full plumbing inspection to prevent future problems, contact the professional D.C. metro area plumbers at O’Connor Plumbing today.