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10 Common Plumbing Issues to Look for When Buying an Old House

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

Buying an old house can be an exciting experience, especially if you're looking for a unique property with character and history. However, it's essential to understand that older homes can come with plumbing problems that may not be immediately apparent. In this article, we'll explore the ten most common plumbing issues to look for when buying an old house.



  1. Old Pipes: One of the most significant plumbing problems in older homes is old pipes that can corrode, rust, and clog over time. As a result, you may experience leaks, low water pressure, or even burst pipes. If the pipes are made of materials like lead or galvanized steel, the problem can be more severe.

  2. Lead Pipes: Lead pipes were commonly used in homes built before 1986, and they can be harmful to your health. Ingesting lead can lead to a range of health problems, including developmental delays, behavioral issues, and anemia. If you're buying an old house, make sure to check if the pipes have been replaced or plan to replace them.

  3. Galvanized Pipes: Galvanized pipes were commonly used in homes built before the 1960s and can corrode over time, leading to leaks and clogs. Corroded pipes can also cause discoloration of your water and a metallic taste.

  4. Polybutylene Pipes: Homes built between the 1970s and 1990s may have polybutylene pipes, which are prone to leaking and can cause extensive water damage. This material was found to be problematic and is no longer used in modern homes.

  5. Sewer Lines: Old houses may have sewer lines that are damaged or blocked, resulting in sewage backups and unpleasant odors. This can be a health hazard and a costly repair.

  6. Water Heater: Check the age and condition of the water heater. It may need to be replaced soon if it's old or in poor condition. Older water heaters are less energy-efficient and can be fire hazards.

  7. Faucets and Fixtures: Older faucets and fixtures can become corroded and leaky, leading to wasted water and higher bills. This can also cause discoloration of your water and a metallic taste.

  8. Toilets: Older toilets can use a lot of water and may be prone to clogs and leaks. Upgrading to a newer model can save water and money on your utility bills.

  9. Water Pressure: Check the water pressure to make sure it's adequate for your needs. Low water pressure may indicate a problem with the pipes or plumbing system. This can be caused by clogs, leaks, or other issues.

  10. Drainage: Make sure the home has proper drainage to prevent water damage and flooding. Poor drainage can lead to water damage and mold, which can be costly to repair.

In addition to these plumbing issues, you should keep in mind that the plumbing system must be up to code and meet current safety standards. Old homes may have plumbing systems that aren't up to current standards, and upgrading them can be expensive. You should also consider the cost of repairs and maintenance when making an offer on an old home. Finally, it's always a good idea to have a professional plumber inspect the plumbing system before you make an offer on an old home. This can save you time and money in the long run and give you peace of mind knowing that you're making a smart investment.


In conclusion, buying an old house can be a rewarding experience, but it's important to be aware of potential plumbing issues that could arise. By being aware of these common plumbing issues, you can make an informed decision when buying an old house and avoid potential headaches down the line. If you have any doubts about the plumbing system in an old house, always consult with a professional plumber to get a better understanding of the situation.


About Local Rooter Corporation.

Local Rooter Corporation has been working hard to satisfy the plumbing system needs of home and business owners in San Jose and surrounding areas. Integrity and skills are served as our top priorities Whether it is a service, repair, or installation job, our licensed technicians are here to heed the call of duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition to a wide range of standard services, we also provide a number of specialty plumbing solutions to homeowners in the area. Contact us at 408-641-9245


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