Essential Plumbing Checks to Carry Out if You are Buying a New House

If you’re buying a new home, there are lots of factors to consider and even if you fall in love with the property, you’ll need to check that it’s in a fit condition.

As well as the overall structure, checks on the plumbing system are essential to make sure you won’t have to pay out for costly repairs after you move in.

Here are a few suggestions about the plumbing checks you should carry out before you buy a house.

Water stains

Check the walls and the ceilings for any signs of mould, dampness or water stains as this could be an indication that there are leaky pipes somewhere.

Fixing a leaking pipe shouldn’t be expensive but tracking it down can sometimes be time-consuming and if it’s been left to leak for some time,
damage could have been caused by the persistent moisture.

Be wary of any signs of new plaster, paint or wallpaper, or parts of a room which appear to be more decorated than others. This could be an indication that something is being covered up.

A minor thing to look for is limescale building up around the tap; this shouldn’t stop you buying the house but does tell you that you could be in a hard water area and will need softeners of some kind.

The boiler

Replacing or repairing a boiler which doesn’t work is an arduous and expensive job so where possible you need to make sure that it’s in good working order before you agree a sale.
If the boiler isn’t working you should negotiate a reduced price to take account of the repairs you will have to carry out. Make sure you don’t underestimate this as boiler repairs can be costly.

Even if you don’t have to repair the boiler, one which is old and inefficient means that your bills will be far higher than one which is modern and more efficient. If this is the case make sure you ask plenty of questions about the approximate size of the heating and water bills.

To get a feel for how well the boiler is performing, ask to switch it on as you start viewing the property. By the time you’ve gone round each room and carried out an inspection, you should be able to see the radiators gradually warming up.

To see if it’s been well looked after, check the boiler itself for a sticker; this should bear the date of the last time it was serviced.


A strong smell of air freshener when you open the bathroom door could be an attempt to present the house in the best possible light, but it could also be an attempt to disguise smelly drains.

Don’t forget to inspect the drainage areas outside too; this is much harder to cover up and will show you whether there is some kind of drainage problem.

Don’t be afraid to flush the toilet either. The mechanism should be smooth and easy, with no clunkiness. The cistern should also fill quickly and efficiently. If the cistern is slow to refill or the operation of the toilet isn’t easy, it may indicate little or no maintenance has been carried out and you should pay particularly close attention to spot any defects.

Water tank

It may not always be possible but you should ask to see the water tank itself; if it’s in the loft you should refrain from making a firm offer until you have been able to check it out.

Look for any signs of rust or corrosion as this could indicate that there’s a leak in the water tank area itself.


The above checks will help ensure that any property you are interested in purchasing doesn’t have any plumbing problems, and that there’s no expensive repairs waiting for you once you are ready to move.

Image Credits: Ceiling Mold and Velo Bus Driver