Plumbing problems can cause you a great deal of stress. What may initially seem like a minor water leak can waste thousands of gallons of water. One in 10 U.S. households has plumbing leaks that waste an average of 90 gallons of water every day. A small rip in a backyard irrigation system the width of a dime can potentially waste 6,300 gallons of water in 30 days.
Water waste isn’t the only consequence of unchecked plumbing problems. Major plumber repairs can easily leave homeowners’ wallets considerably lighter. Leaks can lead to greater issues around the house as well, like flooding, water damage, and mold and mildew.
Save yourself the trouble. As a new homeowner or soon-to-be new homeowner, ensure the plumbing in your home is running at its best. Find out the top reasons to call a plumber and have their number at the ready should they come up.
You Are Building a New House
“You can save 40% to 50% on building costs as an owner-builder,” real estate agent Daryl Hanna tells HomeLight. Working with custom home builders to build your own home takes a lot of coordination and a healthy amount of construction know-how. The Spruce recommends bringing in plumbers at several different stages of the process. First right before pouring a concrete, slab-type foundation and again when the exterior of your home is complete and you are ready to devote efforts to the inner workings of your home, like plumbing, electricity, and insulation.
Initially, “Pipes are laid by plumbers, and these pipes are later covered up,” The Spruce explains. Once the frame, side, and roof are complete, plumbers continue working on pipes and pipe fittings. Toward the end of construction, after walls are up and ceilings are put in, plumbing contractors will put finishing touches on plumbing and plumbing connections.
Remember, there are many different reasons to call a plumber and only some of them involve repairs. If you are building your own home from scratch, it is essential to bring in a plumber or a team of plumbers to ensure pipes are laid out and secured correctly.
You Are Buying an Older House
Older homes make up the bulk of the market. “More than 38% of all U.S. homes were built prior to 1970,” according to Money Crashers. By contrast, 19% of homes are slightly newer, dating back to 2000, and 3% of homes on the market were built in 2011 or after.
Whether you plan to purchase an older home for the considerable cost savings or for its charm, it is important to bring in plumbers to thoroughly inspect your plumbing. What are inspectors looking for? When purchasing an older home, especially one that is listed “as-is,” you may be contending with low water pressure, slow draining tubs and toilets, mold and mildew, faulty plumbing, and possibly even pipes so old, they contain lead. If you suspect any of these problems or simply want to eliminate worrying possibilities, here is what you can do:
- Hire a plumber. Not sure where to start? A local minority business enterprise can help you find reliable contractors to perform inspections and repairs. That can save you considerable time if you have a long list of to-dos after purchasing an older home.
- Ask for residue analysis. “There are many materials containing lead, such as plumbing materials, battery plates, type metal, solder, glass, and paint,” ScienceDirect writes. Older plumbing is significantly more likely to contain lead as building codes have evolved over time. Very early building codes did not specifically prohibit the use of lead. A residue analysis can help detect the presence of lead and help you determine if replacing pipes and plumbing is a wise investment.
- Talk to plumbers about any signs of trouble. If your tubs and toilets drain too slowly or if your water pressure is undesirably low, there are actions plumbers can take to correct these problems. For example, plumbers may be able to install an air admittance valve or an automatic vent to correct slow-draining tubs or slow-flushing toilets.
Similarly, old pipes may be markedly more prone to wear. Steel pipes last just 20 years, while brass and copper varieties last 50 years or more. Old pipes may also be vulnerable to damage from deep tree roots. A plumber can replace pipes and/or clear existing ones with a process called hydro jetting. Further, if old pipes are in locations susceptible to damage from roots, plumbers can install new, stronger pipes with a protective barrier.
If you are purchasing an older home, there are many potential reasons to call a plumber. Work with plumbers and rest assured that your household plumbing is safe and running at its best.
You Are Remodeling Your Home
When tackling house remodeling, there are some things you can reasonably do on your own and some things you should not do without the help of a professional. Things in the latter category include any plumbing and electrical work. Why?
Taking on big remodeling projects, like finishing a basement, should give you plenty of reasons to call a plumber. Without a plumber, you risk violating building codes, leaks, improper venting, and safety hazards. Learn more below.
- A word on building codes. One of the many reasons to call a plumber is to take advantage of their expertise. Plumbing contractors know building codes in and out, meaning that they can tackle remodeling projects safely and without violating the law. If you choose to go it alone, it may be wise to schedule an inspection of new plumbing at an absolute minimum. That way, plumbers will be able to tell you if you are in violation of any building codes and help you weed out the best options to fix it.
- Leaks that cost money, waste water, and pose risks of damages. If you do not install your plumbing correctly, chances are high that you will have some major or minor leaks. Unchecked leaks can lead to flooding, water damage, and structural damage. Leaks can leave behind mold and mildew and ultimately pose a risk to your health.
- Dangerous mistakes. Speaking of risks, leaks are only the beginning. Unfortunately, many of the possible risks pose serious safety hazards. If you fail to install a temperature and pressure relief valve or a T and P valve on a hot water heater or fail to correctly install it, for example, pressure can buildup to such an extreme degree that your water heater may ultimately explode. A poorly designed layout may result in cross-contamination, meaning that it is possible for plumbing and sewage systems to dangerously intersect. Avoid all these foibles by working with an experienced professional, particularly when your home renovations require significant plumbing.
Among the top reasons to call a plumber is the prevention of safety hazards. Work closely with a plumber to avoid mold and mildew infestations, cross-contamination, and the dangerous buildup of pressure in your hot water heater.
What to Get Inspected or Installed in Any Home
If you need more reasons to call a plumber, consider your needs moving forward. Over time, a new homeowner will need regular inspections of household systems as well as protective equipment to keep their homes safe.
For example, many homes require a biannual inspection of their heating and cooling units. Some plumbers tackle multiple venues and can also perform electrical work and provide services for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC). If this describes your plumber of choice, great. If not, it is still imperative to get these inspections to keep the plumbing in working order. For example, a faulty heating system can lead to freezing temperatures and frozen pipes.
Likewise, it is important to think of the future safety of your home when considering reasons to call a plumber. What is a reason that may surprise you? A good amount of homeowners call in plumbing services for fire protection sprinkler system installation. Home sprinkler systems reduce damages to your home — and they save lives. “The civilian death rate was 81% lower in homes with fire sprinklers than in homes without them [and] the average firefighter injury rate was nearly 80% lower when fire sprinklers were present during fires,” according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). If you have any concerns about installing these systems, know that the smoke, fire, and fire hoses cause significantly more damage than a fire sprinkler system when it activates. It is also worth noting that only 1 in 16 million sprinklers accidentally activate, and “hazard insurance rates are typically discounted for homes with interior sprinkler systems,” the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues.
Some reasons to call a plumber are more straightforward than others. When moving into a new home, address any immediate concerns and make sure to think carefully about the future, too.
When to Get a Repair
Unless your home is a new build, there is a fairly high chance that it will need repairs, and at least some of those repairs are likely to be plumbing related. Chances are also high that you will find out about the need for these repairs during your home inspection.
Any major repairs, such a sewer line repair or pipeline corrosion, will be on your home inspection report. From there, it is up to you whether you would like to request the repair and make the sale of your home contingent on any repair requests, choose a happy middle ground (often asking the seller to put some money toward closing costs — if they make the repairs before closing, they get their money back; if not, the buyer uses that money to lower final costs), or choose not to request the repair at all.
What should you do? If major sewer line repair on the table and the home is not listed “as-is,” request the repair. Sewer line repairs are definitely among the top reasons to call a plumber and, prior to the final sale of your home, that is not your personal responsibility.
As for pipeline corrosion, whether or not you choose to request it is up to your discretion. It is another problem that the buyer will likely fix if you request it. Remember buyers are likely to fix any problems that cause them to fail the home inspection or receive poor marks. That includes any major plumbing or structural issues. If you choose to tackle this particular repair on your own, however, you can go the extra mile. If the seller fixes it, chances are they complete the repair in the cheapest way possible. On the other hand, you can choose to invest in your home’s future and do it right. If you are going to take on the repair on your own, consider installing pipeline corrosion protection to prevent issues from cropping up again in the future.
Traditional reasons, like necessary repairs, need to be among your reasons to call a plumber. Contact local contractors if you need major or minor repairs.
Why Getting Inspections, Installations, and Repairs in Your Home Matter
Your reasons to call a plumber do not end there. You also need to consider the bigger picture. Call in a plumber whenever you need maintenance, inspections, or new plumbing. Attempting to tackle these projects on your own puts you and your family members at risk. Do not end up rushing your little ones to urgent care or your pets to a nearby animal hospital. Work with a professional to ensure that plumbing projects are done right and do not pose hazards to your health.
Plumbing is not a straightforward undertaking. It requires precision, experience, and in-depth knowledge of plumbing systems and building codes. Work with a team of professionals to ensure that your soon-to-be new home, your new home, and/or your home renovations are up to code and projects are as high quality as possible.
According to Zillow, one in three homeowners end up regretting a DIY home project. Do not count yourself among them. Know what projects to tackle on your own and know when you need to call a plumber.