Rental property plumbing maintenance is such a vital responsibility of a landlord that it can make or break a landlord’s real estate business. Due to its central role in the comfort and sanitation of a home, it can be the reason tenants leave or stay in a rental. And given that the plumbing systems make up 15% of a home’s value, proper plumbing maintenance can boost or depreciate the property’s value.
Proper plumbing maintenance should be a key aspect of the landlord’s short-term and long-term strategies. But the problem with plumbing is that there are no short-cut ways to get around plumbing maintenance. Managing a rental’s plumbing systems often requires landlords to be willing to work with their hands.
Property owners must be savvy to detect and deal with problems. And this can be a challenge for many owners, especially new landlords. Not only is it hard to know what is important, but it is even harder to keep tabs on the long list of plumbing issues. Without a system to keep them on track, owners are apt to overlook important items.
This is why this plumbing checklist is important. It will help landlords ensure that they never overlook important plumbing maintenance items in their property again. The checklist is in three sections.
Section one deals with the common problem areas landlords should pay attention to. Section two is about the specific plumbing issues of various parts of the home. Section three covers general plumbing maintenance tips.
Section one: what to look for during plumbing checks
There are six categories of problems that landlords should look for during maintenance checks:
- The signs of an active leak are moisture, water puddles, water spots, mold, and mildew. Common sites where leaks occur are; valves, faucets, dripping showerheads, worn-out toilet flappers and loose pipe fittings.
- Looking at and listening to showers, tubs, and sink drains, will help detect any drain blockage. Signs to look for include; bubbles appearing when water is draining and gurgling.
- Pipes and pipe joints around the home, including basements and crawlspaces, can start to corrode. Rust on steel and iron or bluish-green deposits on brass and copper are the visible signs of corrosion.
- Low water pressure makes taking a shower or using the difficult. High water pressure can destroy valves and appliances. Check water pressure with a test gauge, even if there is a pressure regulator installed.
- At least, once a year, the water heater should be flushed and the anode rod replaced. The Temperature and Pressure Relief valve should be checked to be sure it is functioning properly.
- In the event of a blowout, valves allow the water supply to the affected part of a home to be shut-off. Valves should be checked to ensure they are operating correctly.
Section two: plumbing checklist for different parts of the home
Important items to inspect: supply line; shut-off valve; flapper/flush valve; and ballcock.
Tasks: perform the flush test; check for running toilets; check the tank for drips; check faucets for drips; rock toilet gently to check if it is loose, and inspect toilet mounting bolts.
Tasks: Check under the sink for drain leaks (look for stains, mildew, warping, or peeling), check faucet operation, test drain for speed of drainage, clear drains, and p-trap.
Bathtubs and showers
Important items to inspect: tub faucets, diverter spout, faucet aerators, showerheads, and drain.
Tasks: Check tub/shower valves for leaks and drips, check faucet aerators and showerheads for debris and mineral deposits, and test drain for speed of drainage.
Important items to inspect: shut-off valves, pressure relief valves, pilot/burner assembly, electrical & valve connections, integrity of flue pipes; temperature setting, and tank capacity.
Tasks: Test to make sure the water heater is working, listen for strange noise during operation, check for exterior moisture, look under the water heater for signs of leakage (water puddles), and inspect heater for corrosion and rust. For more information about how to repair common water heater issues, read this article.
Section three: general plumbing check
- Run water at high volume throughout the entire home to flush water lines.
- Check washing machines hoses for swelling or corrosion.
- Check the operation of every faucet; look for leaks around the handles and valves.
- Find the shut-off valve for every fixture that is inspected and test their operation.
- Check refrigerator ice maker; inspect water supply tubing and connection for leaks.
- Check caulking around tubs, shower, shower doors, sinks, and toilet bases. Look out for spots with dried-out, missing or insufficient caulking, and replace them.
- Check washing machine water supply lines for brittleness and cracks. Inspect surrounding walls and floor for leaks. Ensure that connections are properly secured.
- Locate the main water shut-off and sewage cleanouts.
- Clean out garbage disposal and clear the p-trap.
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