Cindy and Darren had just moved into their new home here in Gilbert, Arizona. They were pretty excited about the possibilities that lay ahead of them…and that little bit of extra money they were going to put into new flooring in the new home.
After a week in the new house, the hot water disappeared, never to return. The water heater had crapped out, just a week after Cindy and Darren had bene in this new house!
Needless to say, they were more than a little bit upset with the previous homeowner as well as the home inspector. Shouldn’t they have caught this!?
Well, the fact of the matter is that home inspectors don’t always catch everything, and the previous homeowner perhaps didn’t even know the water heater was about to go. Sometimes, it’s just luck…or a lack of luck.
So, Darren and Cindy were forced to give their local Gilbert plumber a call…and awaited the worst news…the new water heater was going to cost a fortune and the new flooring was going to have to wait.
The obvious questions swirled in their heads:
- How did the home inspector miss this?
- How did the previous homeowner not know?
- How could have we known that water heater was going out in our new home?
- How can we prevent this from happening again?
Let’s go through these common questions together.
How Did the Home Inspector Miss This?
The previous Gilbert homeowner is actually responsible for the water heater and they should have known it was going out. However, it is difficult to prove that the previous homeowner knew the water heater was in trouble.
The home inspector also should have been able to determine if the water heater was having issues. But, again, there’s not much that you can do in terms of recourse if the Gilbert home inspector misses it.
How Did the Previous Homeowner Not Know?
There are a few signs that point to a slacking water heater. For example, if there was water around the base of the water heater, that’s a pretty good sign that something isn’t right. Also, if the water tends to come out discolored…a rust color…that’s a pretty good sign the water heater is going out.
How Could We Have Known?
When you move into a new, or previously owned, Gilbert home, don’t depend fully on your home inspector to find all the issues with your home. You need to be your greatest advocate and must know what to look for.
So, when moving into a new or previously owned home, look for these symptoms:
Look at the serial number. The serial number will have a date code such as “F051052638”. F is for the month and F is the sixth letter in the alphabet, so it represents the sixth month, June. Next, the first two digits of the serial number are 05, which represents the year, 2005. So this water heater was made in June 2005. If the water heater is close to 10 years, replace it.
The color of water. Run the water, not for just one second, but let it run as you check out the kitchen, the dining room, the family room…let it run. If the color changes to rust, the water heater is going out. Run the hot water. Repeat. Run the cold water. Repeat. Move to different areas of the house and repeat.
Noises. If the water heater is making noise while you’re walking through, taking a look at this new Gilbert home…there is a huge problem. This is something that cannot be ignored, and can easily be blamed on the previous homeowner for ignoring.
Leak. Again, another one of the biggest and most dramatic signs that your new Gilbert home, or one that you’re thinking about buying, has water around, underneath or near the water heater…it’s a sure sign that water heater is going out. Do not ignore water around the water heater, on the walls around the water heater, or even on the outer wall of the water heater.
So, the next time you check out a previously owned Gilbert home, take a good look at that water heater. You don’t want to end up like Cindy and Darren who ended up spending their flooring money on a new water heater in their previously owned Gilbert home.