Homebuyers guide to plumbing checks
2 November 2020 Water Saving

Homebuyers guide to plumbing checks

Here for you during life’s most significant moments, read Cobra’s homebuyers guide to plumbing checks.


Here for you during some of life’s most significant moments, read Cobra’s homebuyers guide to routine plumbing checks. When plumbing goes wrong it can go horribly wrong resulting in costly repairs, sometimes significant replacements, and water work complications that first-time homeowners may never have anticipated when buying their first home. A momentous life event and a significant commitment to your future, buying a home is a tall order no matter how young or old you may be. And as exciting as this time is, first-time homeowners should arm themselves with as much information to make an informed purchase decision that secures them a property that provides years of happiness and memorable moments. 


Cobra’s First Time Homebuyers Plumbing Inspection Checklist 


When inspecting a home’s plumbing follow a systematic process, checking all critical plumbing installations and taking note of any concerns that should be raised with the realtor. From leaks and clogs to signs of damp or mould and (interestingly indicative) specific plumbing sounds that could raise a red flag, find Cobra’s homebuyers guide to plumbing checks to follow.


Start at the Mains

Ask to be shown the main water supply, and during your inspection take note of anything out of the ordinary including damage or corrosion to the taps and visible pipes. It would also be a great idea to shut off all taps in the house and the garden and check if the water meter is still running, this would clearly indicate that there could be a leak within the plumbing.


Look Up 

When walking through the house always check the ceiling for watermarks, mould or any indication of damp. While this may have originated from cracked or shifted roof tile, leaking geysers or downpipes will reveal themselves by staining the ceiling with their watermarks. 


Flush the Loo

Always pay a visit to the bathroom and if possible, check all the toilets by flushing each in order to inspect the sewage drainage and flow. Wait until the cistern has finished filling up, and check that no water is still trickling into the toilet bowl, which happens when there are worn out parts in the cistern mechanism. For an even more pedantic check, have someone with you stand outside to keep an eye on the outside sewer drain, watching for rising water levels or leaking sewer lines and other signs of greywater leaks. 


Outside Plumbing Checks

From inspecting the outside drains, their water level and how they smell, to checking the main sewage line pipes for damage or haphazard repairs and looking for a persistent geyser overflow drip, an indication of associated damp or mould,  plumbing problems may be just as easy to spot outside of the property as they are inside the bathrooms and kitchens. Be sure to take a walkabout to inspect exterior plumbing for these tell-tale warning signs.  


Check the Taps and Water Pressure

Before turning each bathroom, shower and kitchen tap on, have a look for any signs of corrosion, rust and water lines under the sink. Following this dry check, turn each tap on and observe the water pressure, the colour of the water and note any debris in the water. Any of these could indicate an underlying plumbing problem. 


What's the Plumbing Saying?

Plumbing sounds can be a great source of information to a first-time homebuyer when you know what to listen out for. Rattling pipes that can be heard through the wall could indicate that they are not secured in place correctly. While this sound is an easy fix a more concerning noise to take note of would be the sound of a water hammer that sounds much as the name suggests. When turning on your kitchen or bathroom taps to the sound of a fast and repetitive banging could indicate a damaged valve inhibiting the steady flow of water that will inevitably cause damage to pipe systems. Gurgling drains should also raise concerns as a not to be ignored noise offering a clear sign of a blocked sewage line that may result in hazardous sewage spill or overflow.


While any property will call for routine plumbing maintenance from time to time and of course when buying an older property will inevitably need more significant upkeep, certain regions insist upon an obligatory plumbing compliance certificate required when buying and selling a house. This can be arranged through IOPSA complete with a comprehensive check list which can be done by a PIRB registered plumber offering you the reassurance needed.