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Choosing a new house and moving is stressful. What should you check regarding plumbing? Is it just about beautiful bathrooms?
Stopcocks Women Plumbers have provided some tips to make the whole process clearer whether you’re going to buy, sell or rent. Our guide will tell you what to do and what to check on boilers, heating, radiators, pipework etc which might make a difference to you either selling or buying a new property and could influence negotiations on price.
In the Buying section there are tips for before the sale or purchase to ensure that you don’t buy a property which has glaring problems – we have a special offer on our Plumbing Health Check during January, check the info at the end of this blog.
Rental is simpler, since these things are not your responsibility to carry out. In general, follow the tips for Buyers, but also read the Rental section, which tells you exactly what paperwork you need to ask for to know your plumbing has all been fully checked and is in proper working order.
So, here come the tips:
Most of these items should not put you off buying a property you like, but it’s good to be aware how much work you may need to carry out yourself should you go ahead.
If it’s apparent many of these issues need resolving then it’s probably true that other house maintenance has not been carried out well either. Then your question will be whether the price reflects this and do you want to buy a doer upper.
Check whether there are any on your pipework – you can hardly have too many of these and they’re a definite bonus. They look like a screw head in the pipe and allow the water to the radiator, basin, wc, kitchen sink etc to be turned off. This saves draining down the entire system which adds to the time the plumber will have to be at your house!
1. Do not be put off by an ugly bathroom. Taste is very personal and changing a bathroom can be quite affordable (ask your local Stopcocks Women Plumber <https://stopcocks.uk/dreambathroom/>) always remember; a beautiful bathroom in a cold house is not a great deal! Enjoy planning your own dream bathroom and make the house more your own.
Boilers and Heating
2. How old is the boiler? Newer boilers are more efficient and tend to save money because of this. If the boiler has been recently installed there should be a Notification issued directly from Gas Safe confirming the boiler was fitted by a competent, properly qualified person – ask to see this.
3. Is there a regular maintenance and servicing contract for the boiler? Look for a date on the servicing sticker or booklet – is this within the last twelve months?
4. Note the general appearance of the boiler – if it is dirty or dusty it may not have been touched for some time.
5. What type of boiler is it eg: wall hung, back boiler, combi/condensing boiler?
6. If there is a hot water cylinder, is it properly lagged or insulated?
7. Are there any signs of dripping or rust around any of the connections?
8. Does the heating work efficiently? Ask to put the heating on at the start of your viewing – by the time you have been round the house the radiators should be getting warm.
Radiators and Leaks
9. Are the radiators warm from bottom to top?
10. Are radiators downstairs warm (heat rises)?
11. Are there cold patches in the house?
12. Are the valve connections on the radiators rusty?
13. Are there any signs of damp patches under the radiator valves, under radiators or along pipework?
14. Are there any signs of rust on the radiators themselves?
15. Do the radiators have individual thermostats? These allow you to vary the temperature in different rooms and you may wish to install them.
16. Look out for patches of damp or mould – whilst these could be a result of a temporary leak, they may indicate something more serious.
17. If it’s possible, taking a look at any water tanks – which may be in the loft or attic or some other difficult to access place. Make the same checks for leaks, rust or corrosion on these.
18. New patches of paint, plaster or strips of wallpaper may be hiding a problem (damp may be from leaky pipes, tanks and cylinders or the result of other types of problems).
19. Are there isolation valves on the pipework leading to the radiators? These can be a great aid when any work needs completing in the future and can save time and money, you may want to consider having them installed.
Toilets, Drains and Smells
20. What does the bathroom smell like? Is there a very strong smell of air freshener which may be an attempt to disguise a problem?
21. Flush the toilet, check the mechanism is smooth not clunky and any handles, levers or buttons work properly watch it fill. These are cheap and easy to fix but could be a sign of poor maintenance.
22. Check outside for smells from any drains – this may indicate that there is a blockage or other problem.
23. Ask where the stopcock is and turn it off and on again. Is it easily accessible and in good working order?
If this is all a bit overwhelming it could be simpler to get your local Stopcocks Woman Plumber to carry out a thorough Plumbing and Heating Health Check – just £67 during January 2016 and give you a full report with recommendations. If you are buying, you can use this to negotiate a better price if it shows any problems. When all the recommended work has been completed this can also enable you to receive a preferential rate of insurance from our recommended broker (contact Stopcocks Women Plumbers for details of this on 0800 8620010) It will also save you money as all your heating etc will be working at top efficiency.
Now the final two tips which are for all you renters out there:
When choosing a new rental property you know you will not be responsible for anything that goes wrong. This can however be a double edged sword if your landlord is hard to reach.
24. Making the checks 1-23 described in the Buying section will give you a better idea of the level of maintenance the property has received, but do ask the landlord if you can make arrangements yourself if anything goes wrong. This is often quickest and gives you the choice of who will be coming into your living space and carrying out any repairs.
If you want to rent you can ask for one of Stopcocks Plumbing and Heating Health Check (or get the landlord to organise it) to ensure there won’t be any plumbing maintenance problems.
25. The primary difference with the checks a buyer will make is for you to ask to see the Landlord’s Safety Check Certificate which will cover all gas appliances, including the boiler, the cooker and any gas fires or water heaters. This must be fully up to date to be legal.