Looks aren’t everything. As good as old houses look, they can often hide plumbing problems that are a nasty surprise for any homeowner. The older the house is, or the longer it’s been since its renovation, the more of these issues you should be aware of.
Looking at the Pipes
There are a lot of potential risks with old pipes. Some old homes in the US may still rely on lead pipes, which didn’t get phased out until the 1920s, and can be highly poisonous.
More common issues with pipes come from erosion of the interior by decades of running water. This is especially true if you have galvanized iron pipes that are older than a few decades. Polybutylene pipes, which were briefly popular around the 1980s for mobile homes and others, are also notorious for forming blockages.
Before Buying a Home
Before you buy a home, you should find out the kind of pipes it has and how old they are, otherwise you might find yourself having to replace them when you’re unprepared. Also remember that older pipe systems may not be able to handle the volume of water demanded by modern appliances.
The pipes themselves might not even be the issue. Even the foundation around them could erode over time. This could cause pipe bellies, which is when pipes droop down and get backed up that way.
At the same time you’re checking your pipes, don’t forget the sewer line. Older homes are more likely to have their sewer lines breached by tree roots or shifted out of alignment.
Checking the Fixtures
The beauty of older houses comes with more wear and tear. This could also mean faulty sinks and showers, broken knobs, and other annoyances. Even if you don’t notice anything of the sort when moving in, it’s advisable to get a plumber to check over the entire house, and to do this annually for really old houses. If there are any parts of the house that were previously fixed by an unprofessional, perhaps by a previous DIY-happy owner, then ask a plumber to especially check that area.