Buying A House? 2 Plumbing Issues To Watch Out For

When you buy a house for the first time, it isn't always easy to tell which issues are serious and which things are simple quirks. However, that funny smell or drippy faucet could end up costing you a lot of money if you aren't careful. Here are two plumbing issues that you should watch out for, and what might happen if you decide to ignore the problem:

1: Super-High Water Pressure

After you move into your new house, the presence of high water pressure might seem like more of an asset than a liability. In fact, you might find yourself bragging to your friends about the power of your sink sprayer, or the fact that you can practically pressure-wash your driveway without any extra equipment. However, high water pressure can be extremely hard on plumbing and cause these problems:

  • Extra Pipe Movement: If you have high water pressure and you turn on your faucets too quickly, water will surge through those lines and make your pipes move a little. After awhile, clamps can shake loose or break, making it even easier for your plumbing to dance around. In addition to making banging noises, this extra movement can also deteriorate your plumbing and lead to cracked lines.
  • Leaks: What do you think will happen if those pipes spring a leak under pressure? Unfortunately, the faster water moves through your plumbing, the faster it can flood your home if there is a problem. High water pressure can also put extra force on your taps and lead to drippy faucets.  
  • Running Toilets: Your toilets are designed to stop sending water through the system after waste has been removed. Unfortunately, if you have high water pressure, your toilets might run more often than they should. In addition to increasing your utility bill, this extra movement can also wear out your toilet before its time.

If your water pressure seems a little high, hire a plumber to test your system. Residential water pressure should be between 30-50 psi. If yours is on the high side, ask a professional plumber to install a pressure-regulating valve on your main water line. That way, you can keep high water pressure from destroying your plumbing.

2: Sewer Gas Smells

Do you smell something? Although you might be tempted to assume the smell is leftover from the previous homeowners, the fact of the matter is that some odors can indicate serious plumbing problems. Here are a few things that could be wrong if something doesn't smell quite right:

  • Full Septic System: If you rely on a septic system, your tank will need to be pumped regularly to remove solid material. If your septic tank gets too full, it can allow sewer gas to back up into your home. Unfortunately, if you overlook this issue, the sewage itself can eventually overflow into your house. If you notice bad smells emanating from your plumbing fixtures, have a plumber inspect your septic system.
  • Improper Plumbing: Have you ever wondered why the plumbing underneath your sink typically contains deep J-shaped bends? Believe it or not, these bends are designed to hold a small amount of water to keep sewer gases from entering your home. Unfortunately, if your plumbing was installed improperly, those gases might be flowing right into your breathable air.   

A few bad smells might seem like a simple annoyance, but sewer gas can actually be pretty dangerous. In fact, one Kansas City woman died in 2013 after inhaling sewer gas from a disassembled sink. If you sense trouble, don't risk it. Call in a professional to identify and repair any plumbing issues.

Being familiar with the signs of plumbing problems could save you a lot of time and money down the road, so that you can focus on other things. Click here for more info on addressing common plumbing issues.