Home Buyer’s Guide to Plumbing

In the current Vancouver Real Estate market, including a home inspection as a subject to sale is pretty much a guarantee that your offer won’t even be considered. It’s incredibly unfortunate, but it’s a harsh reality of our current housing climate.

Buyers are being offered little-to-no protection for their purchase, and unless you are a professional in multiple trades, there really is no way to know if the dream home you so desperately want to purchase is hiding any deep dark secrets within its walls. Here are a few tips and things to look for while you’re at your showing.

Clogging and Faulty Parts in the Toilet

Flush the toilets in each bathroom. If the bowl is slow to empty, to fill back up, or it won’t drain at all, you need to investigate further. There could be a clog, or the workings inside the tank have worn out and need replacing. Be sure to check behind the toilet for leaks during flushing too.

Water Pressure

Test the water pressure in the showers and all the faucets in the house by turning them on. Low water pressure could be a sign of sediment in the pipes or something as simple as a clogged aerator. Don’t forget to check any outdoor hosebibs as well. No water pressure? Check the shut off valves in the house!

Water Heater

Check the warranty on the water heater. We cannot stress this one enough. All you need to know is the brand and the serial number. Go to the manufacturer’s website, plug in the serial number and voila! It will let you know if the warranty is still valid or has expired. Yes, do this even if the home you are wanting to purchase is a new build. We have attended too many new homes where the water heater has failed, only to discover that a used tank was installed after construction was completed and the home owner was none the wiser. Shady as heck? Absolutely! Unfortunately we have seen it happen too often!

Water Pipes

What type of pipes are in the house? Avoid homes with lead pipes like the plague! Are they Poly B pipes? They were commonly installed in homes between 1978 and 1995. If so, you may want to replace them. The fittings are notorious for breaking down and cracking over time, creating water mayhem in the process.

Basements and Crawlspaces

Inspect the basement and/or crawlspace for evidence of previous and current leaks. Check the exposed pipes, any exposed rafters, and the walls.


Buying a home is the most expensive and one of the most stressful things you will ever do in life. Take some of that pressure off by educating yourself and following any advice you can get from experts online or people you may know. If you ARE able to conduct a plumbing inspection, be sure the call the Red Seal professionals at Water Heater Rescue and book your appointment today!


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