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San Jose Homebuyers' Plumbing Checklist When Purchasing a New House

When buying a home in San Jose or any other location, a thorough plumbing inspection is essential to ensure that the property's plumbing system is in good condition. Here's a comprehensive checklist of what you should check on plumbing during a home purchase:

Water Pressure

Assess water pressure in all faucets and showers. Low water pressure may indicate issues with the plumbing system, such as clogged pipes or faulty fixtures.


Look for any visible signs of leaks, including water stains on walls or ceilings, dampness around fixtures, and pooling water. Investigate under sinks, around toilets, and near the water heater.

Water Heater

Check the age and condition of the water heater. Look for signs of corrosion, rust, or water pooling around the unit. Inquire about the maintenance history and anticipate potential replacement costs if the unit is old.

Pipes and Materials

Identify the types of pipes used in the plumbing system. Common materials include copper, galvanized steel, or PVC. Older homes may have pipes more prone to corrosion, so understanding the materials used is crucial.

Sewer Lines

Consider a sewer line inspection, especially in older homes. Issues with sewer lines can lead to costly repairs. A professional inspection can identify potential problems such as tree root intrusion, blockages, or deterioration of the sewer pipes.

Drainage System

Evaluate the property's drainage system. Ensure that gutters and downspouts direct water away from the foundation, minimizing the risk of water damage. Check for signs of water pooling around the property.

Toilets and Fixtures

Test toilets for proper flushing and check for any signs of leaks around the base. Assess the functionality of sinks, showers, and tubs. Confirm that drains are not slow or clogged.

Plumbing Code Compliance

Verify that the plumbing system complies with local building codes and regulations. Non-compliance may result in the need for corrective measures to bring the plumbing up to standard.

Water Quality

Consider water quality testing to check for contaminants or issues with the water supply. While not always part of a standard home inspection, it can provide valuable information about the safety and quality of the water.


In regions with colder temperatures, check if pipes are adequately insulated to prevent freezing during winter months. Frozen pipes can burst and cause extensive damage, so proper insulation is crucial.

Previous Repairs and Disclosures

Review any disclosure statements provided by the seller regarding past plumbing issues or repairs. Understanding the history of the plumbing system can offer insights into potential future challenges.

Septic Tank (if applicable)

If the property has a septic system, consider a septic tank inspection. Evaluate the condition of the tank, check for signs of backups, and ensure that the entire system is operating effectively.

Water Meter and Shut-Off Valve

Locate the water meter and shut-off valve. Familiarize yourself with their locations for future maintenance or emergencies. Ensure that the shut-off valve is operational.

Hot Water Temperature

Test the hot water temperature to ensure it meets your preferences. Adjustments may be needed to the water heater thermostat if the temperature is too high or too low.

Pressure Regulator: Check if the property has a pressure regulator installed. Pressure regulators help prevent excessive water pressure, which can lead to plumbing issues. Ensure it is in good condition.

Ventilation: Confirm that plumbing vents are clear and functioning to prevent sewer gas backup and maintain proper drainage.

Exterior Faucets: Test exterior faucets to ensure they are functioning properly. Leaks or damage to exterior faucets could impact the property's landscaping and outdoor water use.

Appliance Connections: Check connections to plumbing appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, and refrigerators with water dispensers. Look for signs of leaks or wear.

Engaging a licensed and experienced home inspector or plumber can provide a more in-depth analysis of the plumbing system. This checklist aims to provide a comprehensive overview of potential areas to inspect, helping you make an informed decision when purchasing a home in San Jose

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