Moving into a new home is an exciting time, but it can also be cause for concern if you are worried about the unexpected expense of ailing pipework, dodgy drains or worse still, a broken boiler.
While you may not have the time, opportunity or expertise to undertake an in-depth inspection of the plumbing during your viewing, there are some tell-tale signs that you should keep an eye out for when you move in.
- Obvious signs of leaks or water damage
While any home can suffer from the odd leaky pipe from time to time, stains on ceilings that appear to grow or damp spots that spread across the wall often mean that you are dealing with an ongoing problem. If you see obvious signs of a leak or water damage, check to see if it feels damp before calling in a professional plumber to appraise and solve the problem for you.
- Inspect the loo
No doubt you will want to clean your new loo when you first move in, but for your own piece of mind you should also have a good look for signs of leaks or damage while you are at it. Minor cracks in the porcelaine or slightly loose fittings may seem like nothing to worry about now, but they can get worse over time. Avoid future problems by checking for signs of leaks at the base of the toilet, as well as around the cistern and around the seals of the waste pipe. If you do see warped or stained flooring around the base of the toilet, or any other sign of damage, call in a qualified plumber to fix it for you.
- Locate the stop cock
A stop cock is an internal tap that is used to shut off the water supply to the property. If you are unlucky enough to suffer from leak, it is wise to turn the stop cock off to prevent further water from potentially damaging your home and your belongings. These taps are usually found in easy to locate places including beneath the kitchen sink, under the stairs, in the utility room or bathroom or even in the garage. While you may never need to disrupt the flow of water to your new home, it is vital that you know where to find it just in case.
- Check the boiler service history
You should always ask the current owner where the boiler is located, as well as the age of the boiler and how regularly it has been serviced. If you have already purchased the property, you may have been provided with some details of the age and make of the boiler during the purchase process. When you eventually move in, you should make a visual inspection of the boiler a priority.
While you should never tamper with the boiler, or try to repair any faults on your own, you can look around the boiler for signs of previous leaks or damage. You should also check to see if the instructions are somewhere in the property, as well as written records of the service history. If you are in any doubt about the safety of the boiler, or if it is due a service, speak to a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer.
- Find out if you have a water meter
Metered water is becoming increasingly popular with providers throughout the UK. They provide a much more accurate idea of usage per property and you may get to benefit from more efficient billing in your new home. If the previous owner or agent has not been able to advise you of whether or not there is a meter on the property, you may be able to find it just outside the front door, or inside near the stop cock. You could also speak to your local supplier to find out more about their own water meter policies.
- Give your cold-water tank the once over
Some homes have a water tank in the loft. If this is the case in your new home, you should make a point of ensuring that there is a lid on the tank so that is always remains free from contamination from dust, vermin and even birds. If you suspect that there is a problem with the cold water tank it may be that it needs cleaning or even replacing. It should also be insulated to prevent the water from becoming too hot or cold. If you are unsure of how well your water tank is performing, have a qualified plumber come and inspect it for you.
- Insulate your pipes
Cold weather can cause havoc for domestic heating systems. To keep your house warm and cosy all year round, be sure that you indoor pipes and exposed outdoor pipes are lagged and protected before the cold weather sets in. You can call your plumber to come and help you to do this is you want them to.
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