Nothing can spoil the excitement of moving into a new home more quickly than finding out that there is a plumbing problem you didn’t expect. While home inspections can uncover current malfunctions in the plumbing, sometimes there are warning signs of possible future troubles that are missed. To help ensure that you don’t have any nasty plumbing surprises when you move in, be sure to do the following:

Enquire about the water heater – Always ask how old the water heater is in any home that you’re considering purchasing. The average lifespan of a water heater is about 13 years, so you can judge the likelihood of needing a replacement based on the information provided to you.

Conduct a plumbing test – Try turning on the water in the shower and then turning on the sink or flushing the toilet. Observe both the temperature and flow of the water. You should also run the hot tap continuously for a minute and check the temperature. Put the plug into the drain in the sink whilst you try this and listen for any loud noises or slow draining issues when you release the water.

Give it a sniff – As you walk by the drains in every room, lean over and take a sniff. Foul odours could indicate that clogs are present in the pipes.

Ask about the pipes – Older homes may still have lead pipes, and these will definitely require replacing to protect you and your family from harmful toxins.

Inspect the shut-off valve – The shut-off valve controls the flow of water into and out of the house, and you want to be sure that it is in good condition before you move into a home. To test it, locate the shut-off valve and switch off the supply. Then, go inside and try all of the taps. If any water leaks, this indicates a replacement valve is likely necessary and will mean added costs once you move in.

Get down! In the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room, get down on the floor and look around. Spots on the floors and or watermarks on the ceilings, walls, or cabinetry could indicate a current leak. Ask questions about any discoloration to find out if the flaws are due to a past plumbing problem or a present one.