If you’re about to buy or rent a new home, you’ll want to make sure that the plumbing is in order and that you’re not going to experience any nasty surprises when you move in.
Our handy little guide gives you the lowdown on what to do and what to check with regards to boilers, heating, radiators and pipework with our top 10 plumbing checks to look out for before you move into a new property.
Boilers and Heating
- Determine whether it’s a wall hung, combi/condensing boiler or a back boiler.
- Find out when the boiler was installed. As you can imagine, the newer the boiler, the more efficient they tend to be, and the less you’ll have to pay for heating your house and water. If the boiler is newly installed ask to see the Gas Safe certificate, which will confirm that a fully qualified and competent heating engineer fitted the boiler.
- Does the boiler have a regular maintenance and servicing contract? Take a look at the general appearance of the boiler, and check to see whether there are signs of dripping water or rust around any of the boiler’s connections. If it looks dusty or dirty, it’s likely that it’s not been inspected for a while. If you’re renting a property this is your landlord’s responsibility but you can also call your local boiler service if it is more efficient.
- If your boiler feeds a hot water cylinder, check to see that the cylinder is properly insulated.
- Try the heating to see if it works efficiently. If the heating is switched on at the beginning of your property viewing, the radiators should start to feel warm by the time you’re ready to leave.
Radiators and Leaks
- Once you’ve determined that the heating is working, it’s time to check the radiators. Are they warm from the bottom of the radiator to the top?
- Take a look at the valve connections on the radiators, and the radiators themselves to see if they’re rusty. If there’s evidence of rust, this would indicate that they’ve been leaking. That said; we suggest that you look under the valves and the radiators, and along the pipework to see if you can see any further signs of leakage.
Toilets and Drains
- Give the toilet a flush to check that the flushing mechanism is working and that all levers, handles and buttons work properly.
- Do the bathrooms and toilets smell fresh? Be wary if there’s a strong smell of air freshener as this may have been used to disguise a problem with the drainage. If you suspect that there is a drainage problem, you may want to check the drains outside too.
Ask where the stopcock is so you’ll know where to turn the water off if there is a plumbing emergency.
If in doubt call in the plumbers
If you’re renting a property, all plumbing is the responsibility of the landlord, but if you’re planning to buy an older property and you’re not sure that the plumbing is up to scratch, you may want to ask your local plumber to carry out a thorough Plumbing and Heating Health Check before you sign the house purchase contract.