Buying a house is a very substantial investment. Hence, you need to ensure that you look into every tiny detail of the home before purchasing it. Sometimes, what you see on the marketing photos may be different from the actual situation. At first glance, you will see beautiful floors, freshly painted walls, and other superficial upgrades. What you cannot see is ancient plumbing, dangerous wiring, and broken appliances.
Therefore, it is a good idea that you walk around the residence to assess its condition. If you feel dissatisfied with the house, you can ask the owner to fix any problems or give you credit toward the repairs in closing. Here are various aspects that you need to inspect.
1. Test the Thermostat
Start with the thermostat to ensure that all functions operate efficiently. Adjust the temperature, and then confirm whether the cooling and heating systems respond appropriately. Check the thermostat power source for blown fuses, old batteries, or tripped breakers. Inspect to see whether there are loose screws, wires, or corroded parts that can affect the thermostat’s efficiency. Do not ignore signs of dust, dirt, or spider webs since they can cause the thermostat’s components to malfunction.
2. Assess the HVAC Unit’s Energy Efficiency
Look for the energy efficiency label on the HVAC unit. The more efficient your system is, the less you will pay on energy bills. For the air conditioner, check the SEER to know how effectively it converts electricity into cooling. You can assess the furnace’s energy efficiency by checking the AFUE rating. For example, if the unit has 85% AFUE, that means it uses up 85% of the heating energy, losing 15% to combustion. For a heat pump, check the HSPF. Again, the higher the number, the more efficient the unit is.
However, you should not always trust the efficiency number. Always remember that the rate refers to a brand-new system, and the unit might not be as efficient as labeled by now unless the owner maintained it regularly.
It is also a good idea that you ask about the house’s insulation. Remember that leaky houses make it difficult to cool or heat the home, causing your HVAC unit to work harder and thereby decreasing its lifespan and increasing your bills.
3. Perform HVAC System Inspection
Do some virtual inspection of the HVAC unit. Look for rust, cracks, dents, or stains. Also, try heating or cooling the house while inside to see how long it takes. While in operation, pay attention to any awful smell or strange noises. Be sure to notice how comfortable various rooms feel while running the unit. If possible, ask the homeowner for the system’s documentation. Remember that an HVAC unit that is more than 10-15 years old needs an upgrade.
Additionally, check the unit’s maintenance records. Annual preventive maintenance helps keep the system in working condition and maintains its warranty. Some technicians will even leave dated maintenance reports on the unit, so ensure that you look for this. Also, ask about past repairs. If the unit undergoes constant repairs for significant components like the blower motor or compressor, replace it to avoid future problems.
4. Check the Ductwork
Take a thorough look at the ductwork to identify any faults. Check for loose connections, gaps, or signs of condensation within the ducts. Again, if they appear dusty, it means the homeowner has not kept up with maintenance. Keep in mind that improperly sized, old, or leaky ductwork can cause significant problems in your unit in the future. You might end up spending more money, so consider upgrading.
5. Consider the Refrigerant Used
Older units may contain the R-22 refrigerant, which the Environmental Protection Agency banned a while ago. If the home still has this type, you might choose to continue using it, but you will have problems finding a regular supply. You will also pay more for refrigerant services. Consider replacing or retrofitting your refrigerant with a safer option.
6. Inspect the Toilet
Check for leaks at the toilet base, and be sure to also look for any discoloration or warping. Next, walk around the toilet to determine if the floor feels soft when you apply weight with your foot. Remember to confirm if the toilet bowl is firm. If it slides on either side, there could be a problem with the seal, or it might have a loose flange.
7. Do Sewer Line Inspection
Remember to verify the condition of the sewer system. Sewer-related issues are very disgusting, and it is the last thing you would wish to deal with in your new house. Assess the property’s septic tank size and line locations, and also inquire about the previous service dates. Look around the tank for any seepage that could result in foul odors or water puddles.
Run the shower and sinks and test for sewer backup. Spotting issues in a sewer system can be very challenging, so it is a good idea to seek help from a qualified plumber. You can get a proper diagnosis of your sewer lines through professional camera scoping. It might reveal blockages, damage to the pipe system, and other problems you should be aware of.
8. Check the Pipe’s Conditions
Inspect the pipes before moving in for any signs of leaks. Also, check the pipe size to assess the water pressure in the house. Undersized pipes could result in low water pressure. Also, an older home could still have galvanized pipes that rust quickly, so you may want to have them replaced with PVC pipes.
Look under the sink to see whether the homeowner added new lines. Inspect the water’s color, too. A faint brown or yellow color indicates rusted pipes. Turn off the water in the house, and then check the meter. If it is still running, this is a sign of leaks in the plumbing system.
9. Inspect the Water Heater
Replacing a water heater soon after paying for a new house can be a considerable expense. Hence, it is a good idea that you take a closer look at it before moving in. Ask the homeowner of the unit’s age, and if it is around 12 to 15 years old, consider a replacement. Check for leaks or any strange noises while in operation. Open the faucet, and if muddy or sandy water comes out, it is a sign of poor maintenance.
Also, assess the capacity and ensure that the water heater can meet your needs. Examine all connections around the heater for safety purposes. Check its location to determine whether it could cause property damage. For instance, if it is located near carpeted surfaces or finished living spaces, any leaks could cause significant damage. Talk to a professional to advise you on the best way to prevent damage.
It is a good idea to inspect a house thoroughly before moving in to ensure that it is in good condition. You will get a deeper understanding of which items need immediate attention or maintenance once you move in. Based on what you find, you can decide to look for another alternative or purchase the home with negotiations.
Should you need professional assistance, reach out to Beyer Plumbing. We provide leak repairs, water heaters, drain stoppages, and toilet clog services. Our company also deals with complete drain cleaning and hydro-jetting. In addition, we offer maintenance plans that include two service visits per year to ensure that your water heater and the entire plumbing system perform optimally. Our company always aims to provide services quickly. We serve San Antonio, TX, and the surrounding areas. Call us today to schedule an appointment and enjoy our exceptional services.