Whether you’re looking to sell this season, next year, or just some time in the future, increasing your home’s value is a solid investment that can pay dividends down the line. If you’re looking for a place to start, consider your plumbing. While not the most glamorous renovation, improved plumbing can lower bills, increase performance in several key rooms, and improve comfort for everyone under your roof. If you live in the greater Chicago area, here are 4 plumbing upgrades that can increase your home value.
Modernized, Weatherized Pipes
It’s no secret that the winter weather in Chicago can be tough. Still, that won’t stop us from spouting this fact several times through the course of this guide. High winds, freezing temperatures, and a whole lot of precipitation are big reasons behind a few Chicago plumbing upgrades on our list. Take your pipes, for a start.
Pipes in many older homes are made with galvanized steel, which is prone to corrosion internally and erosion externally. Internal corrosion can contaminate your water supply, and external erosion can cause your pipes to break, potentially leading to expensive water damage. Aside from galvanized steel, there are two other pipe materials that can be problematic for homeowners. The first is polybutylene, which is quite fragile and prone to cracking. The second (though rare today) is lead, which can cause serious health issues if consumed.
If you’ve found that your pipes are made from any of the above three materials, it’s a good idea to upgrade them as soon as possible. Not only will this increase the safety of everyone in your home—it will help ensure that your next set of pipes lasts for a lifetime. This is a big plus for you (the current resident) and whomever you may be selling your home to in the future. Wondering which materials you should use for your pipes? We recommend copper for all your water supply pipes and PVC for all of your waste outlets.
A Dishwasher — And Drain Repair
It doesn’t take much imagination to picture why adding a dishwasher to your home would increase its value. Dishwashers are a huge labor-saver and great modern amenity. Every homebuyer wants one, and many expect their new homes to have one. If your current home does not, we suggest installing one in the kitchen to make sure your home is ready to impress all buyers.
As many homes already have dishwashers, we decided to touch on another upgrade in this section: drain repair. Having all of the drains inspected (and perhaps replaced) in your home is a great way to discourage water damage and mold buildup while ensuring that everything flows smoothly from your fixtures into your pipes. When you go to sell your home, mentioning that you recently had your drains inspected and replaced will definitely give prospective home buyers extra peace of mind.
Better Bathroom Appliances—Or a Whole New Bathroom
After the price, one of the first numbers homebuyers look for on a listing is the number of bathrooms. The larger that number is, the more desirable a home looks—especially for growing families. While it’s a bigger undertaking than other upgrades on this list, adding an extra bathroom to your home can help it appeal to a wider demographic of buyers. In most cases, it can allow you to increase your listing price by thousands more than the cost of renovation itself.
If an entire bathroom renovation seems a bit too daunting at present time, there are smaller upgrades you can make to your existing bathrooms to help make them look and perform their best. We suggest starting with the fixtures: sinks, showers, bathtubs, and toilets. These get a lot of use, and when they’re brand-new, buyers notice. Not only will new fixtures act as an endorsement of your bathroom’s excellent performance—they’ll also give a much-used room a much-needed modern makeover. Something also to think about is making good use of the space available. Buyers are turned off by oversized or undersized sinks that don’t complement the size of the bathroom. These days, you’ll find a wide variety of sinks, toilets, and even shower enclosures to fit any size bathroom space.
Tankless Water Heaters
Midwest winters can get pretty darn cold—and snowy. When you’re stuck inside, there’s nothing more comforting (or essential) than warm water. Traditionally, homes are outfitted with tank water heaters, which heat and store a fixed amount of water to send to whichever rooms need it. While these water heaters work well, there are now newer water heaters that work even better.
Tankless water heaters are small, electric or gas heating systems that can be placed throughout the house to heat water nearly instantaneously. Wall-mounted and typically no bigger than a fuse box, tankless water heaters use either a gas burner or electric element to heat water directly from your pipes. Tankless water heaters offer a number of advantages over traditional tank water heaters, including:
- Heating speed. Tankless water heaters are powerful enough to heat water in seconds. And unlike tank water heaters — which are typically located in basements and must wait for cold water to push out of the pipes to disseminate warm water — tankless systems can be placed much closer to faucets and can heat the cold water already in the pipes. This all but eliminates wait times for hot water.
- Hot water amounts. Tank water heaters can only heat what they can store in their tanks. When that runs out, you’re out of hot water until it refills and reheats. With tankless systems, this problem is a thing of the past. That’s because these powerful heaters heat water on-demand as it passes through your pipes. As long as you have water, you have hot water.
- Energy efficiency. A huge plus for homebuyers, tankless water heaters are more energy-efficient than their traditional cousins. This is because tankless systems do not have to work to keep water heated when it’s not in use. Tank heaters must work around the clock to keep the water in their tanks hot. Throw in the fact that even the best-insulated tanks will lose heat slowly, and you’ve got a major energy drain on your hands. With tankless heaters, you get a smarter system that uses energy only when it needs to.
- Space efficiency. As mentioned above, a tankless water heater is roughly the same size as a fuse box. (A tank water heater, by contrast, is often bigger than an adult person.) Tankless heaters can be mounted anywhere you have water pipes while taking up next to no space. You can also install multiple tankless systems in your home to improve performance without sacrificing square footage.
- Lifespan. Tankless water heaters typically have a longer lifespan than traditional tank water heaters. In some cases, they can last twice as long as their larger rivals, which typically only last 11 years. This is great news from homebuyers in search of a hands-off homeowning experience.
Needless to say, tankless water heaters are an excellent upgrade to any home in the greater Chicago area. First-time homebuyers and seasoned property alike love to see convenient, efficient, and high-performing appliance in their homes — and in the cold Midwest, this one tops the list.
Get Stared: Contact A Plumbing Professional in Your Area
When it comes to Chicago plumbing upgrades, there is no time like the present to get started. Contact a plumbing professional in your area to get a quote on any of the upgrades covered in this guide, or to learn more about plumbing fixes that can increase your home’s value.