There is a lot of focus currently on the aesthetics of homes; kitchens, cabinets, bathrooms, and living rooms, but who is focusing on the foundation. The heating, cooling, electrical and plumbing? The stuff you know… that makes your house function, and allows you to stay warm, flush the toilet and turn on the lights. With all the focus on the look of a home, many forget about the functionality. There is this “HGTV mindset” that has people more concerned about whether the counter tops are granite than if the plumbing or electrical is in sound working order. These functional considerations are not as big of a concern for new builds because of modern building standards. However with homes that are 30+ years old, these are much more concerning.
Unfortunately contractors can cut corners during renovations and cause a lot of hazards and future headaches for homeowners.
We have seen countless spotty jobs throughout our careers as contractors and have fixed more mistakes then we care to talk about. However it’s important that talk about a few of these to save homeowners a lot of potential headache. It’s important to consult with a plumber and an electrician even after you have already consulted with an inspector before you buy a home. Regardless if it’s a third party inspector with a great track record, there is still things that inspectors miss. A friend from Cure All Plumbing out of Tempe Arizona has seen quite a few interesting scenarios in his day. Especially servicing Tempe AZ where many of the homes they are called to have been built 50+ years ago. When serving these homes it’s typically that they will discover patchy plumbing jobs that consist of previous plumbers doing the bare minimum to stop a plumbing issue. Typically this results in the homeowner having to call a plumber only a few months, or a year later. Besides simple negligence on behalf of previous plumbers, the guys at Cure All often encounter plumbing issues, that are simply the result of age. Often times they will experience plumbing back ups or draining issues that are a result of large tree roots that have grown so big that they have grown into the pipes underground or seriously damaged them. This type of thing is common and requires an extensive amount of repair to fix. Sometimes there is also a back up in the public mainline that can cause plumbing issues for properties that feed to that mainline. Sometimes this requires more extensive city maintenance, but many times the issue can be resolved by replacing old pipes that feed directly to these mainlines. All in all plumbing is a vital component to a properly functioning home. A well plumbed home will save you a ton of headache in the future, and can save you a lot of money. Have a plumber that you trust evaluate your your property before purchasing.
Plumbing is not the only thing that contractors will slack on, or cut corners. Electricians are notorious for doing patchy work. The only difference between an electricians patchy work and a plumbers is that an electricians work can be dangerous. Although the placement of electrical outlets in the home, and the limited voltage that is wired to your home can be irritating. Since there can be too few outlets, or oddly placed outlets. As well as not enough power flowing through your home to accommodate modern day appliances, or an increase in power usage because of an addition to your home, such as a garage or shed, or because of a new family member. This can be easily fixed though, even if it might cost you financially. A greater concern for questionable electrician practices is when electricians or other contractors advise on hiding outlets. For example putting dry wall or plaster in front of outlets. This is not only a bad practice, but an extremely dangerous one. Live wires that are masked behind drywall or plaster are a big fire hazard. Unfortunately this practice of building on top of live wires is often unbeknownst to the property owners that occupy the property. Home owners tend to trust contractors that they will complete a job to the best of their abilities following strict guidelines, but that is not always the case. If your home, or potential home has live wires in the ceiling or in the walls that are hidden it is important that is repaired and brought up to code. Although it is an unwanted expense that adds no aesthetic value to your home, it is a necessary expense that needs to be addressed.
Every home owner wishes that there home required no future maintenance after it was built, but that’s obviously not the case. If you are purchasing a home that was built 30+ years ago it’s important that you evaluate the integrity of these core elements, like the plumbing and electricity before purchasing. Even though the granite counter tops sold you, it’s important to make sure the house functions as good as it looks.