3 Plumbing Issues That Alarm Home Buyers

Buying a house can be stressful, because some properties can have serious maintenance problems. The only way to protect yourself from these serious maintenance problems is to negotiate repairs during the sale process, or walk away from the purchase.

Plumbing problems can do damage to the structure of the house, causing rot and even mold. You can avoid these issues by watching out for certain plumbing problems when looking at homes to buy. Here’s what you need to watch for when going to home showings during the home buying process.  

1. Old Water Heater

Water heaters usually last, at most, about 12 years. However, old water heaters can develop leaks that do serious damage inside homes. If the home you’re thinking about buying has an old water heater, you may have to buy a new one after the home purchase.

The home warranty (if the house comes with one) may cover the cost for a replacement water heater when the old one breaks. Homeowners insurance may repair the water damage. However, you won’t be able to recover the time and energy spent drying the house and making repairs if your water heater breaks down.

If you buy a home with an old water heater, you may be better off replacing the appliance before it breaks. It’s often hard to tell how old a water heater is just by looking. The best way to find out is to ask the real estate agent representing the seller, or ask the home inspector when you have it inspected.

2. Polybutylene Pipes

Polybutylene (PB) pipes are a type of inexpensive, plastic pipes that were popular decades ago from 1978 through 1995. These pipes are not typically installed in modern homes, so most residential PB piping is several decades old. Over many years, polybutylene pipes will flake apart and start to leak at the joints, causing water damage.

PB pipes are often found in the supply lines that feed water into faucets. Pipes connecting drains to the sewer are often made out of another plastic material known as PVC, so you probably won’t be able to tell just by looking under the sink whether or not a home has PB pipes or PVC pipes.

The best way to determine whether or not a house has PB pipes is to ask the real estate agent representing the seller. Sometimes this information will also be available in the listing. If you buy a home that does have PB piping, you may be replacing those pipes in just a few years.

3. Sewer or Septic Tank Problems

Sewer and septic tank problems can do hundreds or thousands of dollars in damage. Though these issues aren’t always easy to identify, you might be able to tell if a home has a clogged sewer or septic tank by flushing the toilets and running water down the drains.

If there’s a clog in the main line or the sewer, the lowest drains in the house may drain slowly. You might also notice a gurgling noise in the drains.

When flushing the toilets, you may see water backup into the bathtub. These situations could all be signs of a serious problem. If you are able to identify signs of a sewer or septic tank problem, have the sewer or septic tank inspected carefully before making an offer on a home.

Work With the Experts

Old plumbing can be a problem. Talk to your real estate agent to negotiate repairs before finalizing the sale, or ask for a discount during the negotiating process.

If you’re a home buyer who is thinking about purchasing an older home, contact a plumbing expert for advice and information about old home plumbing. At Cleary Plumbing, we’re happy to answer your questions about plumbing and buying a home. Call today for more information.

5 Ways to Protect Your Plumbing & Your Young Children

When you have young children, you probably worry about everything from their food to their future educations. What you might not realize is that you also need to worry about their access to the plumbing in your home. Young children are naturally curious, which can lead to some serious plumbing and health problems. Not only that, but there are things that you might do as a parent that have negative effects on your plumbing. Here are five crucial ways to protect your plumbing and your young children.

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Plumbing Checklist for Home Buyers

You have your eye on a new home, and everything seems perfect, so it’s time get down to examining the not-so-obvious functional features, specifically the plumbing. Plumbing problems in a home do affect its overall value. Certain features should be assessed by you or a plumbing professional before you ever make an offer. Here are five things to check about a home’s plumbing before you buy.  Read more

Types of Toilets to Choose From

A constantly clogging toilet typically warrants a call to the plumber. But when the fixture needs more than just a quick fix, you may decide to have the pro install a new one. Even though they all serve a common purpose, not every toilet is the same. Before you buy a toilet, take a look at the different options you have to choose from.

The Mechanism

All toilets, other than the port-a-potty variety, flush. But there are different ways that the flushing happens. The two primary types of flush options are gravity-feed and pressure-assisted.


The gravity-feed option is the most common type of residential toilet. Like the name says, it uses gravity to flush. When you push the gravity-assisted toilet’s handle, the flush valve opens, and water drops from the tank into the bowl. The moving water then carries the waste away.

Given the popularity of these toilets, you can easily make repairs and find replacement parts for models with this option. Gravity-feed toilets are also typically quieter than the pressure-assisted variety.


Pressure-assisted toilets are more powerful and use less water than ones with a gravity-assisted flush. Instead of gravity, these toilets use compressed air to push waste down the drain. Even though these toilets work more efficiently than traditional gravity-assisted models, they are noisy and often more expensive.

If you’re not sure which way to go, the newer dual-flush toilet is the best of both worlds. This toilet uses a combination of gravity and compressed air, depending on which type of waste is being flushed — liquid or solid.

The Style

When it comes to the outward aesthetic, you have several different options. One of the options is to choose a single or two-piece model. The single or one-piece toilet is exactly what the name implies — one continuous ceramic piece. Likewise, the two-piece toilet consists of two pieces. These include the tank and the bowl.

The Flush

Again, a flush isn’t always a flush. Not only can you decide which flush mechanism option your want (gravity or pressure-assisted), you can also select from a single or double flush. A single flush, like the name says, uses one flush to move waste away. This type of toilet comes with a set water usage per flush, giving you an idea of how many gallons you’ll use each time.

A double or dual-flush toilet has two flushing options. This flush system allows you to press the handle or lever half-way or lightly in order to remove liquid waste. This uses less water, saving you money in the long-run. When you need to flush solid waste, press the handle all the way down. This uses more water but provides the full flush you need.

The Bowl Shape

The two primary toilet bowl shapes are round and elongated. Round bowls are fairly traditional, whereas elongated toilets have an oval-shaped bowl that is longer than a traditional round. Some elongated toilets also come in a compact version. This gives you the same oval shape as an elongated model but comes in a shorter or smaller size.

Choosing one shape over the other comes down to personal preference, depending on your bathroom design goals. Even though most new toilets come with coordinating seats if you need to replace yours it needs to match the shape.

The Size

Along with the shape of the bowl, toilets also come in different sizes or heights. The most common toilet is a standard height model. These are typically comfortable for most older children, teens, and adults.

Adults with mobility restrictions or limitations may benefit from an ADA-compliant toilet. These are taller than standard models, making them easier to maneuver around.

Do you need a new toilet? Contact Cleary Plumbing to choose the toilet that suits your needs.

3 Reasons to Add a Garbage Disposal to Your Kitchen

Preparing a meal in your kitchen can be affordable and nutritious. However, if your kitchen doesn’t have the right tools, then the inconvenience of food preparation tasks may prevent you from eating in as often as you would like.

One of the tools that every modern kitchen needs is a garbage disposal. The addition of a garbage disposal to your kitchen sink can greatly enhance your cooking and cleaning experiences.

Upgrade your quality of life by opting to install a garbage disposal in your kitchen. Read more

Tips for Properly Maintaining Your Home’s Plumbing System

Many homeowners do not think about their plumbing system until a problem develops. By this point, repairs are often needed, and depending on the issue, they can be costly. To reduce the cost of repairs and extend the life span of your plumbing system, take some simple steps.

Continue reading to learn more about preventative maintenance for your plumbing system. Read more

3 Signs Your Older House Needs a Plumbing Overhaul

Your old house is filled with all those little nostalgic touches that make it unique in the modern world. However, a few things in the house probably should be updated for functionality, and plumbing is one of them. While a lot of the old plumbing processes have remained the same, plumbing components have drastically evolved from what they once were.  Read more

5 Ways to Save Water on Toilet Flushing

Whether you’re an eco-conscious homeowner trying to cut back on water waste or whether you’re looking for water-stretching tips to use in a drought, the toilet is a great place to start. If you have an older model toilet, it could be using as much as 5-7 gallons with every flush. Here are five ways to reduce that number. Read more

3 Benefits of Sewer Line Camera Inspections

Your home relies on its sewer lines on a daily basis. They supply your home with fresh water while also ensuring that waste water flows safely back to municipal processing plants. Yet sewer lines can also be the cause of much stress should they stop functioning properly. This can completely interrupt the flow of your daily life, both literally and figuratively.

Fortunately, modern technology offers plumbing companies new and improved ways to repair sewer line issues. One of the most commonly used techniques for diagnosing a sewer line problem involves the use of hose-mounted cameras threaded down into your pipes. This article will outline three key benefits of sewer line camera inspections. Read more

3 Tech-Savvy Additions for Your Plumbing System

Are you a lover of all things fresh and new? If you are someone who has the latest gadgets lining your desk, your wrist, and your car, invite your love of technology into your home — more specifically, into your plumbing system.

From fixtures that reduce your water footprint to automation systems, you can make several innovative home updates. Keep reading to learn about some of them.

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