Common Plumbing Problems During Home Inspections

Updated: 03/04/2024

plumbing home inspection

When it comes to purchasing a new home, a thorough inspection is a critical step in the process. While you might expect to uncover issues with the roof, foundation, or electrical systems, it’s essential not to overlook the plumbing. Common plumbing problems can lurk beneath the surface, potentially turning your dream home into a costly renovation project. In this article, we’ll delve into the often-overlooked world of plumbing issues that frequently arise during home inspections. Understanding these challenges can help you make informed decisions and ensure a smooth transition into your new home and any plumbing services Emmaus PA that you might need.

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The Role of Plumbing in Home Inspections

Plumbing systems form the backbone of any residential property, serving as the vital infrastructure that ensures the delivery of clean water and the removal of wastewater. Their integral role in a home cannot be overstated, as they influence the daily lives of occupants in countless ways. From showers and toilets to kitchen sinks and laundry machines, plumbing systems enable the functioning of these essential amenities. However, the significance of plumbing goes beyond convenience; it extends to the overall condition and value of the property.

Plumbing issues, if left unaddressed, can have a substantial impact on the condition of a property. Leaky pipes, for instance, can lead to water damage, mold growth, and structural deterioration. Clogged drains can disrupt the normal flow of wastewater, resulting in backups and potential contamination. Faulty water heaters can cause discomfort and inconvenience. To prevent these issues from escalating and to ensure the long-term health of a property, a comprehensive plumbing inspection is imperative during home inspections. It serves as a proactive measure to detect and address plumbing problems early, safeguarding both the property’s condition and the well-being of its occupants. If you find that you’re in need of plumbing services Emmaus PA, give Robinson Plumbing a call.

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Common Plumbing Problems Found In Emmaus PA Plumbing Inspections

Home inspections are an essential step in the home-buying process, but certain plumbing issues often escape even the keenest eye. It’s crucial to be aware of these common plumbing problems that may go unnoticed during inspections so that you can schedule plumbing services Emmaus PA:

Leaky Pipes and Faucets

water leak

One of the most pervasive plumbing issues encountered in homes is the occurrence of leaky pipes and faucets. These seemingly minor drips can have far-reaching consequences if left unchecked. Leaky pipes not only waste precious water but can also lead to insidious problems like structural damage, mold growth, and compromised water quality. Additionally, the constant dripping can be an unwelcome source of noise and annoyance. Identifying and addressing these leaks promptly can save homeowners from costly repairs and prevent further damage.

According to data published by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), American households lose more than one trillion gallons of water annually through water leaks. In addition, about 10% of US homes lose more than 90 gallons of water per day due to the same problem. A professional plumber can accurately identify a water leak by using sophisticated tools like:

  • ground microphones
  • acoustical detectors
  • leak correlators
  • hydrogen tracer gas equipment
  • pipe location tools

Moreover, the plumber would physically examine the plumbing system of the house you intend to buy or sell to identify the exact location of a water leak.

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Clogged Drains

Another prevalent plumbing concern that often remains hidden during inspections is the presence of clogged drains. Whether caused by the gradual accumulation of debris, grease buildup, or the introduction of foreign objects, clogged drains can manifest as slow drainage or, worse, backups that disrupt daily life. If left unattended, these blockages can lead to pipe damage and necessitate extensive repairs. Being vigilant about drain maintenance and addressing clogs promptly is key to a smoothly functioning plumbing system. If you have a clogged drain, schedule plumbing services Emmaus PA with Robinson Plumbing.

Faulty Water Heaters

image of a water heater repair

Water heaters, although essential for daily comfort, are susceptible to wear and tear over time. Home inspectors may not always catch signs of aging or malfunctioning water heaters. A faulty water heater can translate into inconvenience, with the potential for cold showers and inefficient water heating. To ensure an uninterrupted hot water supply and prevent unexpected replacements, it’s advisable for homeowners to monitor the condition of their water heaters and schedule regular maintenance.

A plumber can diagnose and resolve plumbing issues related to your water heater. They can identify sediment buildup, rusting water pipes, and a malfunctioning thermostat. This also includes an examination of:

  •  pressure relief valves
  • anode rods, drain valves
  • dip tubes

They check the water heater thermocouple and thermostat of the property you want to buy or sell. Water heater problems generally vary depending on the type of water heater installed (gas or electric). For instance, a clogged vent pipe may restrict airflow in a gas water heater, thereby preventing proper heating of water. If this your situation, then call Robinson Plumbing for plumbing services Emmaus PA.

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Sewer Line Issues

Hidden from view, problems with the main sewer line can be some of the most costly and hazardous plumbing issues a homeowner may face. Sewer line issues can result in sewage backups within the home, posing health risks and requiring extensive remediation. Identifying these issues early through thorough inspections, including camera inspections if necessary, can save homeowners from significant expenses and protect their property’s integrity.

A clogged sewer line can cause raw sewage to back up into your home. Luckily, a professional plumber can resolve these issues by inspecting your home’s septic system. They can listen for gurgling sounds emanating from toilet drainpipes. They can also look for signs of water backing up after flushing a toilet. A plumber can also use dual segment analysis technology (DSA) to identify sewer line blockages. In cases where tree roots have punctured sewer lines and caused blockage, a plumber can replace the damaged part. Call Robinson Plumbing for plumbing services Emmaus PA.

Low Water Pressure

low water pressure

Low water pressure is a frustrating plumbing problem that can affect daily tasks such as showering, dishwashing, and laundry. It may not always be evident during inspections, but it can lead to inconvenience and dissatisfaction for homeowners. Low water pressure can stem from various causes, including pipe obstructions or system design. Addressing the root cause promptly is essential to restore efficient water flow and improve the overall plumbing experience.

Corrosion and Rust

Over time, plumbing pipes may succumb to corrosion or develop rust. These issues can adversely affect water quality and, in some cases, lead to leaks. While home inspectors may identify visible signs of corrosion, deeper issues within the pipes may go unnoticed. Regular pipe inspections and maintenance can help homeowners address these problems before they escalate, ensuring safe and reliable water supply.

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Outdated Plumbing Materials

Homes with outdated plumbing materials, such as galvanized pipes, may be more susceptible to a range of plumbing issues. These materials can corrode and degrade over time, increasing the risk of leaks and reduced water quality. Replacing outdated plumbing materials with modern alternatives is often a wise investment to enhance the long-term durability and efficiency of the plumbing system.

Being aware of these common plumbing issues and proactively addressing them can empower homeowners to maintain a smoothly functioning plumbing system, ensuring both comfort and the protection of their property’s value.

What To Know About Galvanized Pipes

galvanized plumbing pipe thats corroded and clogged

Most homes built before the 1960s have galvanized pipes that should be replaced. These pipes have a protective zinc layer that degrades over time causing the pipes to leach lead into water. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who consume such water could develop health complications such as:

  • anemia
  • kidney damage
  • abdominal pain
  • brain damage
  • depression
  • constipation
  • heart disease
  • reduced fertility
  • high blood pressure

When buying/selling a house, you should hire a professional plumber to identify the pipes that need to be replaced and replace them.

Cross Connection Problems

This problem occurs when water piping connects to other plumbing fixtures internally or externally. When improperly fixed, cross connections can allow reverse flow of contaminants into your home’s water piping system. Since backflow can occur when firefighters use large quantities of water, a plumber can install a cutout system that isolates the water distribution system whenever water pressure rises or falls below a pre-determined range.

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The Plumber’s Perspective: Spotting Hidden Plumbing Issues

A seasoned plumber possesses a unique set of skills and experience that enables them to spot plumbing issues far more effectively than a typical home inspector. With specialized knowledge of plumbing systems, plumbers can identify subtle signs of problems that may elude a general home inspector’s inspection. Their expertise extends to diagnosing issues related to water pressure, drainage, pipe materials, and water heater performance. Utilizing tools like cameras and pressure tests, plumbers can uncover hidden concerns within pipes and sewer lines. This specialized insight allows homeowners to address plumbing issues comprehensively, ensuring the long-term reliability and safety of their plumbing systems.


When buying or selling a house, you perform a plumbing inspection. In other words, you should hire a professional plumber to diagnose and fix issues related to blocked sewer lines, undetected water leaks, cross connections in your home’s plumbing system, galvanized pipes, and water heating system.

It is important to know what to look for when you are buying or selling a home. Many people have made the mistake of purchasing a home, and shortly after, they have found that they have an extremely expensive plumbing problem on their hands. This is avoidable with the help of a competent plumber who will be able to spot these types of issues before you purchase or sell a home.

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Call Robinson Plumbing For Superior Plumbing Services

Contact Robinson Plumbing, a trusted plumbing company in the Lehigh Valley, for a range of reliable services like drain clogs, water heater replacements, toilet repairs, and more. We provide multiple solutions to suit your home and budget for any repair or replacement needs.

Facing an unexpected plumbing issue? Robinson Plumbing’s expert team offers same-day emergency services, ensuring quick, correct, and affordable solutions.

Robinson Plumbing, known for being the most affordable plumbing company in the Lehigh Valley, ensures customer satisfaction with licensed plumbers and guaranteed work. Schedule your free estimate with us today.

Call us today at (610) 351-9889 or contact us for any questions that you might have! Click the link to view our service area.

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