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Plumbing checks to make when buying or selling a home

Checking the plumbing is one of the most important things to do when you’re buying or selling a home. As a potential buyer, you don’t want to be stuck with an unexpected and expensive repair bill once you’ve moved into your new place. On the other hand, if you’re selling your house, you could lose £9,571 from its value if there are signs of damp or mould (commonly associated with plumbing problems), according to The Rated People Home Improvement Trends Report: 2021.

The best way to avoid any nasty and costly surprises is to find any issues before they find you! To help you do just that, we’ve put together 5 things that you should look for that suggest plumbing problems in a home. Plus, to mark World Plumbing Day (11th March 2021), we’ve explained the benefits of using a plumber during the house buying or selling process. Read it all below.

Water stains on the ceiling and walls

Plumbing problems - Brown water stain on interior wall

Brown stains can be a sign of water damage due to leaky pipes. Leaky pipes are usually cheap to fix. But, if they’ve caused a substantial amount of structural damage to walls or the ceiling, then they could end up being pricier to correct.  Leaky pipes can also ruin furniture, and indicate a deeper problem with the plumbing system.

Leaky taps, toilets and radiators

Plumbing problems - Dripping kitchen tap

You might not think that a leaky tap, toilet or radiator is an issue, but they can cause permanent damage if they’re left unfixed for a long time.

  • Taps: Aside from increasing your annual water bill by 6% (according to Direct Line), a dripping tap can also create damp areas, which can lead to mould building up in the home.
  • Toilets: An external leak around the toilet base could warp and discolour the flooring around it. It could even cause the floor underneath it to rot! On the other hand, if there’s an irritating trickling noise coming from a toilet, then there’s likely an internal leak. You can have a go at a DIY fix, or get a plumber in to do the job efficiently and correctly.
  • Radiators: If you spot a wet patch below a radiator, then you can find out exactly where the leak is coming from by placing some toilet roll over the radiator parts. A leaky valve is normally a quick fix, but if the radiator’s leaking from its body then you might need a professional to replace the whole thing.

There might also be a leak if there’s low water pressure, rust on pipes or mould/water stains on the walls and ceilings throughout the home.

Signs of an outdoor leak

A burst or leaking underground pipe can affect a home’s water supply. A property might have an outdoor leak if you notice things like:

  • Cracks in the pavement outside the home.
  • Reduced water pressure.
  • Sinkholes.
  • Dirt or air bubbles when you run the water.

Read more about how to fix a burst pipe, plus tips on how to maintain your pipework, in our blog post: Common plumbing problems and how to fix them

Issues with the water heater

Plumber repairing hot water heater

Water heaters generally last about 10 to 15 years before they need replacing. If a property’s water heater is nearing the end of its life, or you notice rust on the tank or leaky valves, then a plumber might need to replace it.

Unsafe lead pipes or lead solder jointing

If a property’s got lead pipes or copper pipes that have been jointed using lead solder for its water supply, then you could be at serious risk of lead poisoning.

The use of lead in plumbing has been banned for over 25 years in the UK. But, if a house was built before 1970, then it might still have lead pipes. Lead can still be found on pipes in newer homes though, if lead solder is used. This usually happens if an unqualified person joints the pipes.

A vetted plumber can replace lead pipes or pipes with lead solder jointing, with plastic or copper ones. Find a plumber on Rated People.

How a plumber can help you when you’re buying or selling

British currency - banknotes and pound coins

Before you buy a home

You can get a plumbing survey to unearth any plumbing issues that the surveyor might not have noticed during the property survey. If the survey reveals any problems, then you might be able to use it to negotiate on the house’s price.

Once you’ve moved in

Once you’ve completed on your new home (congrats!) then one of our top tips for moving is to find a tradesperson that you trust to complete any work, whether it’s plumbing-related or otherwise.

If you’re selling your property

As a seller, identifying and fixing any plumbing problems before you put your home on the market will make it more attractive to potential buyers, meaning it could sell faster. Connect with an expert plumber on Rated People.

If you’re hiring someone to do plumbing work in your home, then it’s important to make sure they can do the job safely. At Rated People, we do personal and business screening on our tradespeople, and work with third parties to complete fraud checks. You can also see the qualifications that a plumber has in the ‘Certifications’ section of their Rated People profile. Find out more about how our service works.


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