Buying a house can be an exciting time, but before you sign the contract it’s important to make sure that you know what you’re buying.

Your new home’s plumbing system may have some common problems that can lead to expensive repairs if left unmanaged.

Plumbing leak detection and other methods used by experts can help to find and fix minor issues before they become more difficult to deal with, saving you money and ensuring your home’s plumbing will work for years to come.

Plumbing Leak Detection

Water leaks can contribute to structural damage and are often a sign of a deeper problem with your plumbing system. Unfortunately, as the majority of your home’s plumbing will be hidden in walls, floors and ceilings, it can be difficult to find the source of a leak.

Professional plumbers can use a method known as acoustic leak detection, which enables them to detect and follow sonic vibrations from water leaks to their source. Not only does this allow them to accurately detect the source of a problem, but it also means your floors and walls won’t need to be unnecessarily damaged to follow a leak.

Hot Water System

Most hot water systems have an expected life of 10 years when not regularly serviced. Check the compliance plate of the hot water system in your new home so you know its age and have a rough indication of when it will need to be replaced.

Visible rust and brown or discolored water running through hot water taps can be an indication of corrosion in the water heater, requiring replacement of the entire unit. The cost of replacing a water heater can range between $1,000 to $2,500 depending on your brand.

If you’re prepared to replace the water heater, consider its present location and whether it can be shifted to avoid leakage issues in future.

Water Meter

Most water meters can be found at the front of a property and record the amount of water that is used by a home. Check the water meter of your new home to discover whether you have a potential leak.

To complete this test, simply turn off water fixtures in your home and check to see if your water meter has changed after a brief period. If you aren’t using any water but your meter is still turning, it could mean your home has a leak.

The rate of change in your water meter can indicate whether the leak is large or small, however even minor leaks should be addressed, as over time they can cause significant damage and lead to expensive repairs.

Taps and Fixtures

The water flow of taps and fixtures can indicate if there are any issues in associated pipes. Strong and consistent water pressure, as well as immediate hot water are both signs of a healthy plumbing system.

The drainage rate of your sinks, shower and other fixtures should also be checked to make sure there aren’t any blockages. Water should go down drains quickly and without any delays, including when flushing the toilet.

Poor water pressure and slow drains can be an indication of leaks or other problems with entry and exit pipes to fixtures and should be investigated further by professionals.

Septic System

If your home uses a septic system instead of local sewerage, it’s important to check that it’s working properly. Running a video camera through your septic system is one of the best ways to detect issues.

Broken pipes are a common problem with septic tanks as they are usually installed close to the surface outside your home, leaving them vulnerable.

Causes of broken pipes in this area can include tree roots, pipe corrosion and blockages.

If you notice green and healthy patches of grass growing along your sewer line, especially in areas where there shouldn’t be any plants, this could be an indication of a leak or broken pipe.

Check Your Plumbing

Hiring a professional to check your potential home can be a smart investment and help find any undisclosed plumbing issues. This service can often give you more leverage as a home buyer, saving you money on your home’s sale price and ensuring you move into a home with a functional plumbing system.

Minor checks that you can do at home can also help find problem areas before a professional’s visit, saving you further time and money. However, having your home professionally checked is the best way to ensure your plumbing is free of issues.

This article was written by Daniel Defendi from Tunnel Vision plumbers. You can catch Daniel on LinkedIn to discuss this piece.

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

Learn More