Foleys' Essential Plumbing Checks Before Buying Your New Home

10 January 2024

If you're in the process of purchasing a new home, ensuring the plumbing is in good shape is vital to avoid unwelcome surprises like leaky pipes or water damage shortly after moving in. To make certain you start off on the right foot, we’ve compiled some essential tips for assessing the plumbing in any house before making your decision.

Top 5 plumbing checks before buying your new home

Test all taps for signs of blockage: It may sound obvious, but it’s essential to inspect every tap and shower in the house. Turn them on for a few seconds and watch for signs of blockage, like limited flow or an erratic water supply.

Pay attention to the water pressure too. Excessively high pressure could harm your popes, while low pressure may indicate a blockage in the system. Also, take note of the water’s colour and odour as it flows. Rusty or foul-smelling water can be a sign of pipe damage or contaminated water, which poses health risks. Sometimes, rusty water is just due to disuse, so consider having the taps checked for any potential rusty or corroded pipes.

Check for leaks and discolouration: Before moving in, inspect every nook and cranny for subtle signs of water damage, such as warping, mould around toilets, or unusual stains on ceilings and walls.

Don’t forget to test the toilets by flushing them thoroughly and assessing the water flow and bowl. Look out for suspicious odours or signs of leaks around sinks and other bathroom fixtures. If you spot any issues, consider getting them professionally inspected by a plumber.

Assess the hot water systems: Evaluating the hot water system is a crucial aspect of any plumbing inspection. After all, no one wants to deal with icy showers during the winter. Water heaters can be expensive to replace, so make sure to run hot water through all taps and showers and inspect the water heater for any signs of damage.

Keep in mind that water heating systems typically wear out after 10 years. Determining the installation date of the heater can provide insights into potential future replacement needs.

Inspect the sewer lines: Problems with sewer lines can lead to pipe clogs, sewage buildup, and foul odours. If there are indications of sewer line blockage, consider a camera inspection of the pipes to rule out corrosion or leaks. 

Sometimes, tree roots can infiltrate the lines and cause damage. Inadequate drainage can be a significant hassle for homeowners, so it’s crucial to thoroughly evaluate the drainage system.

Speak to the current/previous owners: If the house was recently occupied, reaching out to the current or previous owners is a useful step. Inquire about any repairs or maintenance performed on the pipes and bathroom fixtures. This can provide insights into the general condition of the plumbing and what potential costs you might fact in the future.

However, it’s essential to supplement this information with your own professional plumbing inspection.

Seek professional plumbing assistance: Lastly, if plumbing systems seem daunting or you observe any signs of water damage in the house, consider contacting a professional plumber. A skilled plumber can help you assess the current condition of your pipes and drainage system, provide maintenance advice, and identify any damage.


To summarise, when buying a home, pay close attention to the water flows in taps and showers, hot water availability, and the condition of pipes and drainage systems. Be vigilant for signs of water damage like leaks, discolouration, stains or mould. Don’t forget to thoroughly inspect bathroom fixtures, especially the toilets. If you're uncertain about plumbing intricacies or notice any issues, don't hesitate to seek the assistance of a professional plumber.

Need plumbing expertise? Contact your local Foleys branch or get in touch online.