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Checking the Plumbing in a New House: What to Look For

Buying a new home means checking the plumbing in detail.

Checking the Plumbing in a New House: What to Look For

Buying a new home, especially buying a home for the first time, is as nerve-wracking as it is exciting. You’re about to start a brand-new chapter in your life, and that’s great! However, you also have to take the process of looking for a new home very seriously, and carefully looking over the plumbing in a potential house is part of that.


To the average person looking for a new house, navigating the plumbing and knowing what red flags to look for can feel like rocket science. Luckily, here at The Plumbing Works, that’s our bread and butter, so here’s what we think you should be checking and looking out for when touring a new house!

Check the Water and Drains

The most basic question to ask when touring a house: is water coming in and flowing out properly? Answering this question is fairly straightforward– you’ll want to take a look at the drains for starters. Do they look corroded and worn out? This could indicate a problem. Second, run some water and watch how fast it drains. Slow drains could indicate bigger problems as well. Lastly, pop your head under the sink and look at the visible water lines, keeping an eye out for leaks or discoloration. 

Find Out How Old the Water Heater Is

Water heaters, like many appliances and pieces of equipment in a house, have a limited lifespan, around a decade or so. Ask your realtor or the owner of the house when the last time the water heater was replaced was. If it’s been a while, you may have to consider whether or not you have the budget for a new water heater when you’re thinking about whether or not to buy this house.

Check Water Pressure

Low water pressure can be a complete pain to deal with in your home, so checking the pressure before you buy is always a good idea. You can use a pressure gauge to see if it’s too low or too high, which could indicate clogs or lead to damaged appliances respectively. You could also turn on taps, faucets, and showerheads and let them run for a minute or two and check the pressure this way. While it isn’t as specific as a gauge, it’ll give you a good feel for how the pressure is in your potential house.

Look for Water Damage

The last thing you want is to move into a home only to find out that parts of the structure have water damage that you’ll have to deal with, so it’s important to check for water damage before you buy a house. Take a look at the ceilings, crawlspaces, and basement of the home for discoloration, mildew, or mold, which could all indicate leaks and water damage. You should also look to see if the toilet is warped or leaking, especially around the base, and check that it flushes properly.

Ask About Water Supply

Water supply pipes can be expensive and labor intensive to replace, so you’ll want to ask about the age of the pipes and the material they’re made of when you’re touring a new house. Galvanized steel or polybutylene, for example, will probably need to be replaced, as they’re not considered suitable for modern plumbing. If the pipes aren’t in great condition, you’ll have to consider whether you have the budget and time to replace them.


Even with all of this preparation, when you own a home, some plumbing issues are inevitable. That’s why when you’re shopping for a new house, it can be helpful to identify a reliable plumber in the area whose number you can have on hand in case of an emergency. If you’re looking for new houses in the Reading or Lancaster, PA areas, The Plumbing Works is that expert plumber that you need! Contact us here for more information.