Are you happy to be a new homeowner? Congrats! It’s a relief to own your home and not answer to a landlord. Still, homeownership comes with lots of new responsibilities. For one, you are now accountable for keeping your pipes and plumbing fixtures in good shape.
The last thing you want is to resolve a plumbing concern immediately after moving in, so it’s wise to confirm everything is in good shape before closing day. Here are eight valuable plumbing tips every new homeowner should be familiar with.
1. Consider a Plumbing Inspection
Once you settle on your dream home, it’s wise to schedule a professional plumbing inspection. This can reveal underlying issues with the supply lines, fixtures, appliances and drains you might not have noticed. Low water pressure or a slow toilet leak might not be a deal-breaker, but it’s better to clear up these problems before you settle in.
2. Try to find any Pipe Insulation
Your home's pipes could freeze and burst if they’re exposed to cold temperatures. No new homeowner wants to deal with that, so check all exposed pipes before moving in. If the pipes aren’t insulated, this inexpensive upgrade is an effective preventive measure against frozen and burst pipes.
3. Find the Main Water Shutoff Valve
Turning off the water to your house can significantly reduce property damage if you have a major emergency such as a burst pipe. But you must first know where the valve is found.
If your home has a basement or crawl space, the shutoff valve is probably found on a wall near the front of the house. If the building is on a slab foundation, check in the garage or near the water heater.
Still no luck? The shutoff valve is sometimes located in a utility box buried around the street. Look for a round or rectangular metal cover flush with the grass or sidewalk. It could be labeled “water meter” to help you identify it.
If you still can’t track down the main water shutoff valve, call a plumber for help locating it before you have an emergency.
4. Find Individual Shutoff Valves
In addition to the main shutoff valve, most fixtures and appliances should have dedicated valves for the wall behind them. This allows you to shut off the water while working on repairs or to mitigate damage in an emergency. Familiarize yourself with the location of these valves whenever you buy a new house.
5. Understand the Signs of a Plumbing Leak
Water damage is the biggest concern associated with plumbing leaks, but a leaky faucet can also drain your wallet. For example, just one drip each second wastes more than 1,600 gallons annually. To prevent this, look for any signs of plumbing leaks in your home:
- Dripping or bubbling sounds
- A spike in water bills
- Changes in the water meter readings despite not using any water
- Standing water, wood rot or mold growth under your sinks
- Wobbly toilet
- Water stains on the ceilings and walls
- Strong musty odors
6. Purchase a Basic Plumbing Emergency Kit
Contrary to popular belief, chemical drain openers shouldn't go in a plumbing emergency kit. These corrosive cleaners can harm your pipes if used repeatedly. In addition, they only offer a temporary solution at best.
A better alternative is to have non-chemical supplies available the next time you have a plumbing disaster. These include:
- Cup plunger for backed up sinks, tubs and showers
- Flange plunger for clogged toilets
- Hand-crank drain snake for minor blockages
- Adjustable wrench to remove the P-trap from under clogged sinks
- Utility bucket to catch water from a leaky pipe
- Plumber’s tape to fix leaky showerheads
- Duct tape to stem the flow of a plumbing leak until a plumber can help
7. Avoid Clogged Drains from Day One
Anything that flows down the drain aside from water can cause a clog. Keep your drains running smoothly with these preventive tips:
- Put in mesh drain covers in bathroom sinks and showers
- Do not flush anything down the toilet other than human waste and a small amount of toilet paper
- Do not pour cooking oil down the drain
- Pour a large pot of near-boiling water in every drain once a month
8. Put a Plumber on Speed Dial
While these plumbing tips for new homeowners should keep many problems at bay, it’s always smart to know a reliable plumber in the area. For dependable, affordable work, there’s no better place to turn than Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning.
We have locations across North America to assist customers from coast to coast. When you choose our insured plumbers for the job, you can enjoy the peace of mind that every repair and installation job is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Contact us to request plumbing services with us today.