Maximum Value Mechanical Projects: Plumbing

The plumbing in your home is comprised of two separate subsystems. One subsystem -- known as the supply system -- brings freshwater in while the other -- the drainage system -- takes wastewater out. Because there are many different pipes, drains, fixtures and valves that are all a part of the plumbing in your home, it is important to understand their importance when it comes to the big picture.

Although plumbing projects are not always the most fun thing on your Saturday to-do list, they are crucial to the functionality of your home and the standard of livability that all potential homebuyers are sure to look for.

CURRENT TRENDS

  • Tankless water heater. Not only do they provide endless hot water, but tankless water heaters provide water only when it is needed. Without the use of a storage tank, you avoid standby heat loss -- saving money in the end. Most tankless water heaters have a life expectancy of more than 20 years with easy-to-replace parts -- making them a wise investment at purchase and in the long haul.
  • Recirculating hot water systems. Thanks to this system that constantly recirculates hot water, any spigot in the home can immediately have hot water available. A recirculating hot water system is a pump and valve combination that delivers hot water wherever you need it -- in an instant. Water and money can be saved by installing this system because you don't have to wait for the water to heat up.

BIGGEST MISTAKE

According to appraisal expert Leslie Sellers, president of the Appraisal Institute, the biggest plumbing mistake you can make is putting in a system when it's not necessarily needed. Features like a recirculating hot water system are mostly found in higher-end markets, so instead of spending a lot of money and seeing less of a return, Sellers recommends sticking with the basic repairs and making sure everything is in proper working order.

EXPERT TIPS

  • On a Budget: In order to stick to a budget, it's most practical to replace old technology with newer, more functioning systems. Sellers notes that just by taking an "old, clanky hot water heater" and putting in a new one will help tremendously. Nowadays, energy efficient models come in all price ranges, so even if you are on strict budget, you can still keep up to date with current trends.
  • Mid-Range: Along with replacing old technology with more efficient systems, other features -- such as a tankless hot water system -- can be purchased at a mid-range price point. Recirculating hot water systems can also be a nice option, but it is important to remember that these types of "extra" systems will all depend on what market you find yourself in.
  • High-End: Commercial quality fixtures and systems are the new trend in the high-end housing market. All kinds of technology fall into this category -- from recirculating hot water systems and drainwater heat recovery to low-flow fixtures and tankless water heaters. The more on-trend you can be, the more attractive the features are to potential homebuyers.
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