A vacant home to one is a haven to another. A vacant house fares better when the electricity and air conditioning is still on, but shares some of the same problems that plague abandoned homes. While you may never know a small action figure or toy car went down the toilet, you will know a backed-up toilet when it strikes. Adding a vegetable sprayer to a kitchen sink, you encounter the same chances for problems. Tweet this. Whether it’s litter and bedding from a human squatter or a protective mother raccoon with a nest of babies, the hazards and defects in a vacant house can differ from those you’ll find in occupied homes. Equipment installed as part of an original ’60s floor plan is likely nearing the end of its expected lifespan. The zinc lasts a while, but not forever. A small item could start a very slow-building clog. var new_url = wpvl_paramReplace('height', new_url, height); Vacant homes can be a buyer’s dream, at least from a purchase price standpoint. Insulate Pipes. A vacant house might look great from the curb, but have lots of hidden issues inside. var width = $(window).innerWidth(); Here are common vacant house problems that cause the most damage to your house value: Biggest Vacant House Problems. if(width < setwidth) $("a#5fc82dcc32a76").attr('href', new_url); There is a likelihood that its previous occupants simply turned off the water without draining or treating the pipes before moving out. You might not be worried about theft with a vacant property. //console.log("device width "+width+", set width "+640+", ratio "+0.75+", new height "+ height); Six plumbing problems in old homes originate with original pipes; namely galvanized pipes in older homes. Then beginning with those on the top floor, open all faucets and leave them open. Similar to pipe bellies are pipe channeling, where hard water carves its own channel in the bottom of a sewer pipe, rendering it very weak. var link = 'https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTQc32fZ9ac&rel=0&width=640&height=480'; Relying on a piece of rubber and a hose clamp to prevent a leak in a corroded pipe is foolhardy, since a leak could cause damage far beyond the cost of a plumber to replace the corroded pipe. When they buckle or bow, they form a pipe belly, a low spot that defies gravity’s pull on sewage. While some original fixtures are notably sturdier and of better quality than their corresponding modern fixtures, many older ones simply wear out with time. Faulty Appliance. The galvanic process means coating an iron pipe with molten zinc to prevent the iron from corroding. Plumbing is the main concern when evaluating winter damage. Plumbing and Piping - almost "vacant" house; plumbing - Hi to all, I have an aunt, mid 80s, who for a variety of medical reasons, has been placed in an assisted living facility. Even slightly freezing temperatures will … And most plumbing lines are located in walls, which promotes even faster freezing of the pipes. Sewer lines take your home’s gray and black water from drains to the sewer main, where it travels on to a municipal treatment plant. Main sewer line clogs usually cause water to back up out of a drain or plumbing system. That cute squirrel in a tree out back might have a whole family living in the attic. This can cause pipes to fail, but the warning signal is easy to spot: Your water will become discolored from the rust in it. Consider professional attention that includes proper, rigid pipe and possibly an additional shut-off valve. ICA School has one of the best programs available, and you can take the courses at your own pace. A tree branch here and a wind-blown object there, and a vacant house might sit for months before anyone even notices. The most common problems of vacant houses can be remedied with a bit of supervision from an agent or property manager you hire. Watch for bats, squirrels, opossums, rats, mice and stray cats in any vacant home that you inspect. This is a cheap repair that will not last as long as the piping around it. Sewers and sewer lines are definitely at the top of a lot of people’s old house plumbing problems. A worry spot in any home is the shut-off valve for a toilet. The roof and attic of a vacant house might be left alone for very long periods of time, so getting a roof inspection for about $500 before cold weather hits is a fantastic idea, and could end up saving you some serious money in the long run. Do-it-yourself kits sold by big-box home improvement stores provide temporary, amateur repairs for sinks, toilets and showers. Your home’s water may appear discolored. Clogs develop in pipes in all drains, but toilet, kitchen, and bathroom sink drains are particularly prone to clogs. A Proactive Approach to Preventing Large Plumbing Problems You may inherit a lot of questionable repair work when you purchase an older home. Director of the Cleveland Plumbing Industry, Jason Shank, tells Realty Today that in dishwashers, for example, valves can stick in the closed position. Mix-and-match plumbing is another amateur fix. While this settling occurs slowly, you will eventually notice poor drainage, slow-flushing toilets and, ultimately, a clogged sewer line. { var height = 480; I know, you have more important things to do than to deal with that vacant house because it’s not going anywhere. As your Phoenix home rises and falls in its surrounding soil, the pipes leading into your home will rise and fall, too. Unfortunately, even many homeowners who do not consider themselves handy with tools still attempt home repairs. Here at Brothers Plumbing, Heating & Electric, we can help you get your home ready for the winter months. Let’s say that empty house you have on the market sells, or your out-of-state work assignment gets cut short. Sometimes break-ins are purely to cause mischief. ©2020 ACE Home Services. If frozen hard enough for long enough, broken lines are a fairly common result. Sometimes, the valves in dishwashers and bath tubs can get stuck in the closed position when they are not used for too long. The freeze and thaw cycles that some climates go through every winter can wreak havoc on water supply lines. BUT, if the utilities have been off for two years, there could be a LOT of problems, ranging from burst pipes and insect/animal infestation to warped floors and corrosion on the electrical systems. So can insects of all varieties, including the wood-boring variety. Stems and handles break. A trained plumber can replace not only the flexible tube to the toilet tank, but the antiquated or stuck shut-off valve. For an occupied home, this isn't a problem, but for vacant homes, it may not be enough time to flush out problems caused by standing water. She lived height = Math.floor(width * 0.75); In the long run, it ends up costing them more to have a plumber come in and fix the original problem and their mistakes. Broken windows are practically a plague on many vacant homes. Sewer lines are always wet, so they attract tree roots. Common in older homes, galvanized pipes are a constant source of potential problems after a half century. When a house sits empty there can be problems with the plumbing, electrical, and even with pests. How to Troubleshoot Plumbing Problems. The 3 V’s – VERMIN, VAGRANTS & VANDALS. or call 888-374-4096, Home Inspection Training & Certification Online. It’s also a good idea to open cabinet doors under your sinks so that heated indoor air has greater access to your pipes. There is also a high probability that appliances in a house that has been vacant for too long take a major hit. If the house was winterized before the last owners or tenants moved out, the plumbing throughout stands a better chance of surviving vacancy intact. ACE Home Services can solve all these problems with just one telephone call. Understanding exactly what hard water is and how it affects your plumbing can help you determine what, if anything, needs to be done about it. Vacant house inspections might not happen often, but you’ll want to know what you could be walking into. The distinctive smell of sewer gas wafting through your home means something is wrong with the plumbing. People leave home for a number of reasons. A 50- or 60-year-old house may have had three or four owners before it came to you. Appliances are a perfect example. Birds can be another problem. Fifty years of draining water, soap scum, sewage and shampoo can take a toll on your older Phoenix home’s drains. © 2020 Home Inspection Training & Certification Online. As time goes on, homeowners experience more and more polybutylene pipe problems. var new_url = wpvl_paramReplace('width', link, width); While in the summer you want a vacant house to have a higher setting on the thermostat, in the winter you should turn it down to about 60 degrees. We have convenient financing options, offer senior and veteran discounts, and provide special offers. Hard water is not bad for your health, but it can cause problems in plumbing and appliances and is considered a nuisance by many homeowners. Water is constantly under pressure; otherwise it would not come out of your spigots. Vacant homes can suffer a lot of problems, some from outside sources and some from just being unused. Was the house regularly checked during the vacancy, and were the utilities always on? If there’s nobody living inside, windows and not-so-casually thrown objects seem to find each other with an unfortunate amount of regularity. The problem: Plumbing is a vacant house’s vulnerable spot, says Jason Shank, training director of Cleveland Plumbing Industry. Sewers and sewer lines are definitely at the top of a lot of people’s old house plumbing problems. There may be many reasons why a home is vacant — a deceased relative; you’ve moved an elderly parent into assisted living; or a renter has left, you may have relocated; or maybe you’re a snowbird with a home in warmer climate in the winter and only living on Long Island during the … Sanitize the well. //console.log(new_url); Heating system/Electrical The heating system should be cleaned and inspected by a contractor to help ensure it is working properly, especially through the winter months, to […] Below we’ve gathered a list of common plumbing problems in old houses. Sewer lines take your home’s gray and black water from drains to the sewer main, where it travels on to a municipal treatment plant. If the house is vacant: It's important to keep a vacant house at a temperature well above freezing; the standard is between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Ensure your plumbing is set up to withstand the cold, and consider utilizing … From the perspective of value, however, that might be a different story. You couldn’t have reasonably discovered the plumbing issue before the sale of the house; The seller intentionally misrepresented the condition of the plumbing (Florida law requires that the seller must disclose any conditions of the home that have an impact on its value or desirability) Step #3: Hire a plumber to repair the problem The longer anything sits unused, the more it can fall into disrepair. If your house is to be vacated during cold weather and the heating system turned off, follow this procedure: Shut off the water supply at the main shut-off valve at the street. Here are some of the biggest issues we’ve personally seen with vacant houses in Washington. Refrigerators can be another problem, especially models with built-in ice makers and water dispensers. Give us … These are neither code-compliant nor safe. Although not usually found in newer homes, galvanized steel water supply lines in older homes are common. var setwidth = 640; Although draining the entire system is not part of every major repair or addition to the home plumbing system, it can sometimes be necessary, such as when a basement bathroom is being installed, and the plumbing pipes lying above the installation need to be drained when the new pipes are connected to the existing system. However, not many buyers consider the damage a vacant house can have. Whatever the reason, the longer that house sits empty, the more money it costs you. But if you don’t initiate the action the problems will multiply and so will the costs. }); Broken windows also make perfect front doors for any vermin that you might find living inside. Placing pipe insulation around your pipes is … Prepare Your Plumbing Ensure your plumbing is set up to withstand the cold, and consider utilizing … Major Plumbing Repairs . Periodically inspect the roof, insulation, attic, basement, gutters, and other areas of the house for any necessary repairs, mold, damage or other problems. Even homes with the best insulation will freeze inside if they go long enough without heat. {"cart_token":"","hash":"","cart_data":""}, How to Handle a Claim Against Your Inspection Business, 4 Reasons Why a Wet Basement is Often an Easy Fix, Inspection Certification Associates is now part of the Army COOL Program, How to Market Your Home Inspection Business, Experts Weigh in on Solar Roofing Inspections, New Additions: The Importance of Permits When Improving Your Home, Worth It: Certification Beyond Home Inspection Licensing Requirement, How Home Inspectors and Realtors Work Together, A Step by Step Guide to Home Inspection (Infographic). The Structuretech home inspection blog says that if the water flows fast at first and then slows to a crawl, there’s probably sediment to blame. Otherwise a leak could destroy furniture, furnishings, flooring and more. Suite 1032-C286 Beyond intentional damage, storm damage is another problem. Hi all I have a house in Morayshire (near Inverness) which is likely to be empty over the winter months. Plumbing Issues. If your main sewer line is clogged, you will have issues with waste water draining from the house. But the easier way to determine whether pipes are in poor condition is by turning on a tap. Consider the many ways ACE Home Services can solve old problems and prevent new ones: While you may call ACE Home Services for a leaky kitchen sink, if you take the time to allow our professional technicians to examine other fixtures and appliances, we may be able to save you substantial money on a suite of repairs and upgrades. jQuery(document).ready(function($){ Please schedule an appointment today to help cure your older home’s plumbing issues by calling (602) 943-2000 right away. Call a plumbing specialist at ACE Home Services by phone at (602) 428-9453 or schedule a Service Request Appointment online to receive plumbing repair support. Toilets are infamous targets for children, fascinated by the disappearing act. We need to consider each in turn. Burglars steal copper from wiring and air conditioning units, and in doing so, cause lots of damage. If you’re called on for an inspection of a home that’s been vacant for very long, here are some of the more common defects you’re likely to find: If the house was winterized before the last owners or tenants moved out, the plumbing throughout stands a better chance of surviving vacancy intact. A well-trained plumber and assistant can perform this work in relatively short time, ensuring a constant water pressure, no odd taste or color to your water and no leaks. But if the house is in a climate where winters are cold enough to freeze, there might be leaks and other damage in various areas. If so, there shouldn't be major issues due to its being vacant. This little-used valve attaches where the rigid pipe exits the wall, down below the tank, and a flexible metal and plastic tube connects the water supply to the tank. Vacant house problems can turn your home into a depreciating asset even when the rest of the homes in the area are appreciating. Additions, remodeling and upgraded appliances are also areas where questionable plumbing may leave you vulnerable to surprise leaks, pinholes in pipes or clogs. The answer is to have galvanized pipes professionally replaced by modern alternatives, such as copper or PEX (Cross-Linked Polyethylene). } Inspecting vacant homes poses one more challenge that you’ll want to discuss with the prospective buyer or the entity selling the property. Another potential plumbing issue is sediment buildup inside the water supply lines. When a house sits for a long time the pipes can take some damage. 332 S. Michigan Ave Vacant home insurance is usually written as a 12-month policy, but has a lot of flexibility. Plumbing problems can arise, damage from storms and other natural events can wreak havoc on a vacant house. Prepare Your Plumbing. Speaking from experience, when homeowners try and deal with plumbing issues on their own, they often end up causing more damage than there was to begin with. A for-sale house that’s been vacant may look like a bargain, but buyers should be cautious because expensive problems often lurk inside homes that have been unoccupied for some time. If you have an entire house piped in PB, you need the services of an experienced local plumber to replace every run, every elbow and tee, and every connection to fixtures throughout your house. This means you never have to worry about turning off the water to the toilet should a bowl clog cause your toilet to back up. It breaks down with exposure to water and water’s dissolved solids, so it is not acceptable anymore. The fun of vacation or seasonal time away at a cabin might beckon them. Many Phoenix homeowners consider themselves handy with a basin wrench and brazing torch, but that does not make them plumbers. The joint is often a trouble spot, as the ridges from interior threads and unlike diameters can catch hair and soap scum, leading to clogs. One of the most common problems is the aging cast iron pipe that was used in construction until about 1980, when PVC was introduced to residential building. Kitchen sink drains also tend to accept things that should not go down the drain, like kitchen fats, bits of food that should go through a sink strainer and even bone. Here some lengths of copper pipe may have been replaced with plastic, creating a joint between two unlike materials. This way, your home inspector will have an easy time detecting any potential plumbing problems. Managing a vacant or remote house – Monthly, Quarterly, and Annual Maintenance Checklist. If you’re thinking about taking the plunge and getting your education to be a home inspector, you’ve come to the right place. How to Stop Sewer Gas From Entering the House. These clogs can cause a gurgling sound to come from your drains. $(function(){ The Plumbing Checklist for Vacation The Plumbing Checklist: 20 Things to Do Around Your House Before Leaving for Vacation. As the zinc erodes, the exposed iron begins to rust. Draining Plumbing in a Vacant House. Homeowners do not always properly shut off their water and this can lead to problems for a buyer. Plumbing problems in older homes often stem from two different sources: original equipment and multiple owners. Gutters, like plumbing, can develop real problems if … This is a much more affordable option than the disgusting and expensive issues created by a sewer backing up.