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The Plumbing System: Transports Water and Waste

During your home inspection, inspectors will examine the flow of water within the home by running faucets, tubs, showers, and sinks. They will also determine what type of water pipes enter your home from the exterior and distribute water throughout your home. Depending on the type of piping they find, an inspector can then assess the potential or existing issues that might be responsible for the way water is flowing in the home. In addition to examining piping, inspectors will look at leaks and drips and whether plumbing fixtures have been damaged and if water drains correctly.

There are several major types of piping: copper, galvanized steel, or polybutylene plumbing  – a kind of plastic piping linked with copper or aluminum fittings. Copper is among the most reliable and long-lasting plumbing material, and galvanized steel among the most challenging, especially if it is an older installation. Galvanized steel, while competent, can accumulate buildup from corrosion within pipes that constricts water flow over time and may require inhabitants of the house to take turns using water-related appliances rather than using them simultaneously. Polybutylene plumbing, which was installed between the 1970s and 1990s, has been found defective and buyers would be advised to research whether the seller will replace it or if they will qualify for funding available through class action lawsuit settlements to replace it.

Replacing distribution pipes can be a pricey endeavor, as can replacing exterior pipes that have corroded. Some exterior pipes are made of lead. For health reasons, it’s recommended that lead pipes be replaced so that drinking water does not pass through them. Plumbing issues are often responsible for moisture-related complications in a home such as rot or mildew, so it’s important to make sure pipes, sinks, and other water-related appliances function correctly and are not causing damage to the home’s structure.