Plumbing Checklist: Buying an Older Home in Richmond

Posted on December 26th, 2021 by carrolladmin

Neighborhoods like The Fan, Shockoe Bottom, Church Hill, and Bon Air offer Richmond homeowners a residence of historic charm and character. From Tudor Revival to Spanish Colonial style, Queen Anne to Victorian, these majestic homes have been standing strong for decades, some even centuries. 

There are many perks to investing in an older home and making it your own. But before buying a property in one of these neighborhoods, it is important to consider the condition of the plumbing in older Richmond, VA homes.

Below are some of the things to keep in mind as you evaluate an older home’s plumbing, and what you can do after your purchase to either upgrade or maintain the existing system.

Plumbing Inspections

Before buying an older home in Richmond, it is critical to obtain a thorough professional inspection that takes several areas of the home, including plumbing, into account. 

This comprehensive process should help discover and identify potential issues. These inspections may find anything from water leaks to sewage blockages and outdated plumbing. 

Taking preventative measures will be key to avoiding costly problems such as mold and water damage. In addition, you may be able to ask the seller to complete any necessary upgrades and repairs before your purchase.

Be sure that your inspection includes the following areas:

  • Testing water flow and water pressure
  • Evaluating materials for toxicity such as lead and copper
  • Checking sewer lines for any signs of deterioration
  • Identifying any previous repairs that may have been faulty or cut corners
  • Checking for corrosion and outdated plumbing
  • Ensuring sewer lines are free from tree roots and other common issues
  • Inspecting all pipes and fixtures for leaks or clogs
  • Checking for “pipe belly” formation or other plumbing displacements

Plumbing Maintenance

After the purchase of your property is complete, there are a few things you’ll need to know about maintaining the plumbing of an older home.

Regular preventative maintenance and care will keep your home in the best possible shape, no matter the age. In fact, depending on the material of your pipes, a properly maintained plumbing system can last for a few decades or more.

To keep up with your system, any home’s maintenance plan should cover the following:

  • Regularly service appliances, including water heaters, washing machines, and dishwashers
  • Regularly inspect all water lines for leaks and cracks, or corrosion
  • Maintain a consistent water pressure within an optimal range (typically around 50-70 psi)
  • Consider turning off the water supply and draining the lines during hard freezes
  • Avoid the use of harsh chemicals such as drain cleaners (which can cause corrosion)
  • Take care of any minor damage or leaks immediately to prevent larger problems
  • Identify the location of your water shut-off valves in case of emergency
  • Wrap your pipes in cold weather and insulate plumbing against a freeze
  • Consider an annual professional plumbing inspection to guard against defects

Plumbing Upgrades

In some cases, you may need to undergo extensive renovations when purchasing an older home, and a property’s plumbing is no exception. Thankfully, a properly done plumbing upgrade can improve your home’s functionality, increase your property value, and prevent costly repairs down the road.

Whether you are simply replacing plumbing materials or reconfiguring the layout of your kitchen and bathrooms, there are some things to keep in mind.

The task of upgrading your plumbing system should consider and include the following points:

  • Identify the age and condition of your pipes and whether or not they need to be replaced
  • Select high-quality modern materials – such as PVC – to replace outdated ones like lead
  • Select fixtures and materials that will increase the property value of your home
  • Consider a reconfiguration of the system to better service your home and improve functionality
  • Consider if you will be relocating any appliances or kitchen and bathroom fixtures
  • Check your renovation plans against any local building codes and regulations
  • Keep water conservation in mind with the selection of water-saving toilets and other fixtures
  • Consider upgrading to energy-efficient appliances, including water heaters and dishwashers
  • Consider adding a laundry room or additional bathroom to your historic Richmond home
  • Utilize the services of a professional plumbing company for your repiping project to avoid damaging your historic home

Need Plumbing Renovations in an Older Richmond, VA Home? 

At Carroll Plumbing and Heating, our licensed and experienced team can help you tackle your home improvement or renovation project of any size. Our history of servicing the Richmond area dates back to 1968, and we have an in-depth understanding of the ins and outs of historic Richmond homes.

To learn more about inspecting, upgrading, or maintaining your home’s plumbing system, reach out to us or click below to start learning more about our approach.