What Are Common Plumbing Problems for NYC Property Buyers or Renters?

Balkan University
November 3, 2020

by David Balkan

NYC Property Buyers Plumbing Considerations

Attention NYC property buyers or renters! Buying a dwelling in New York City is an exciting adventure. For folks who love NYC but also enjoy the updates, comfortable surroundings, and accouterments that make a home attractive and safe, purchasing or renting a property in New York may seem like a no-brainer. One step in finding a home in NYC that is right for you is to check for common plumbing problems. It’s smart to ensure the sewage, water system, and other necessary plumbing standards are in place. It is also much simpler for the buyer when these plumbing issues either work properly, or can quickly face replacement in a budget-friendly manner. Of course, knowing these things before you sign an agreement to buy or rent is pretty important.

NYC Property Buyers Plumbing Considerations

A List Of Some Common Plumbing Problems

You might assume that if someone is selling their home or renting an apartment that the plumbing is all 100% operational, and without worry. While thinking that may give you great comfort, it may be far form the fact of the matter. Many times plumbing problems that range from mild to serious remain for the new inhabitants to deal with. What follows is a relatively easy checklist to look for common plumbing problems:

Low Water Pressure

People will live with low water pressure for years, and never correct the issue. Therefore it goes without saying that when someone is selling their home, the issue will very well go unaddressed. Providing proper water pressure is an obligation of a seller or renter. When you check for water pressure you should test each and every plumbing fixture. Poor water pressure may be isolated to just one fixture. On the other hand, it may affect the entire home. That’s why you should always open two plumbing fixtures, and flush a toilet all at the same time. There should be no drop in pressure. Low water pressure is a one of the most common plumbing problems, yet infrequently checked before a purchase is made even though it only takes minutes. If an insufficiently sized water service line is the culprit, a complete water line replacement could cost thousands of dollars.

Clogged water or drain pipes can lead to expensive repairs

Slow or Clogged Drains

Slow running or clogged drains are just so easy to check for, yet rarely done. Think about it, how long doe sit take to turn on a faucet or spigot, and see if the water drains out properly? To test an entire house would take less than 30 minutes. A slow or clogged drain can cost as little as $75.00 or so to cure. Or, your investigation could lead to finding out the house drain pipes, or the main home sewer is defective.

It is strongly suggested that prior to purchasing any home or property to have a sewer camera inspection done. You should do this regardless even if all plumbing fixtures seem to drain properly. A HD sewer camera inspection costs a couple of hundred dollars or so, a house sewer replacement in NYC costs thousands of dollars. That should make it an easy decision to commit to about having a camera inspection done.

Broken or Faulty Water Valves

Like the above plumbing tests for common plumbing problems, checking each and every water valve in a home takes just minutes. From the main control valve on the main service line, to the branch valve for each fixture, check them all. A failure to do so can lead to water damage and aggravation if the plumbing fails, or if a sink, toilet, or shower drain overflows.

Every plumbing fixture should have shut off valves

Dirty Water

Many times the plumbing in one of the city’s multi-family buildings has problems caused by water pipe corrosion. Over time, sewage lines and water lines deteriorate and often leak. Replacing or fixing these issues must be addressed. Water stains on the walls and ceiling of an apartment mean that maintenance is imperative (i.e., mold and peeling paint). There can also be a foul odor that gets the attention of the residents of the building. The most unfortunate part of this ongoing maintenance is that warning signs of impending plumbing problems are often indiscernible.

Slow Leaks On Water Pipes or Drain Lines

Not all plumbing problems are self evident. Most residents with a trained eye can spot the buckling of a ceiling or dampness on a wall. Look around carefully, checking walls, floors, ceilings, and in the basement. Dampness, mold, and water staining are all telltale signs of common plumbing problems.

Simple Repairs by Building Superintendents

If a tenant encounters a clogged toilet, a stopped up sink, or slow emptying shower drains, the super is usually able to deal with this type of maintenance. Other easy fixes include repairing faucets and replacing a washer in a faucet. Beyond these forthright measures, superintendents do not have the licensing certifications to handle more complicated plumbing issues.

Additional Plumbing-Related Issues

1. Landlords must remedy the loss of heating in the winter months or hot water at any time during the year. Be clear that you and your landlord have discussed that your living area must be warm, and you must have hot water at all times. After all, it is the law.

2. New York City, like many other large urban cities in the US, has plumbing that, in some cases, is aging. Ask your landlord or the building supervisor about the quality of the water in your building. The city’s inhabitants get its drinking water from 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes located across almost 2,000 square-mile watershed that covers upstate portions of the Catskill Mountains, the Hudson Valley.

3. The NYC Environmental Protection Water Supply System provides safe drinking water to New York City’s 8.5 million individuals each day. Almost 110 million gallons a day give water to a million people who live in the counties of Ulster, Westchester, Putnam, and Orange.

Before Signing on the Dotted Line

All home buyers must make it a priority to look, peruse, eagle eye, and be downright nosy when deciding on buying a home. Now is the time to ask plenty of questions, such as:

Are there maintenance issues I may not be able to fix without assistance?

What actions will be left to me if I live in this building? (i.e., trash removal, noise issues, reporting problems, getting help if I need it, and more); Is transportation close and easy to access? When were the last improvements made? How much is the average utility bill? Why are sellers moving out?

Balkan Sewer and Water Main Service

Balkan Sewer has a reputation in New York. After almost 70 years in the business, Balkan has accrued the respect and loyalty of more than 70,000 satisfied customers. Balkan is always ready to tackle plumbing problems or replacements. For all NYC property buyers, and we are prepared to assist you with plumbing and sewer issues quickly and with top-notch capabilities. Contact Balkan Sewer And Water Main today!

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David Balkan

David Balkan is the CEO of Balkan Sewer And Water Main, the largest and most trusted service in New York City. David is extremely active in various NYC plumber organizations being the Chairman of the Subsurface Committee in the Master Plumbers Council, and Vice President of the Subsurface Plumbers Association. In addition David’s expertise is respected by officials of New York City agencies such as the NYC DEP, NYC DOB, and the NYC DOT. He frequently provides valuable input on a variety of industry related matters.

Dave Balkan

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