Are you ready to be a new homeowner? Congratulations! It’s a relief to own your home and not have to deal with a landlord. Nevertheless, homeownership presents all sorts of new responsibilities. For one, you are now accountable for keeping any pipes and plumbing fixtures in good working order.
The last thing you want is to deal with a plumbing concern just after moving in, so it’s smart to make sure everything is ready to go before closing day. Here are eight valuable plumbing tips every new homeowner should be familiar with.
1. Schedule a Plumbing Inspection
Once you pick out your dream home, it’s wise to schedule a professional plumbing inspection. This reveals underlying issues with the supply lines, fixtures, appliances and drains you may not have noticed. Low water pressure or a slow toilet leak won't always be a deal-breaker, but it’s better to resolve these problems before you settle in.
2. Check for Pipe Insulation
Your home's pipes can freeze and burst if they’re exposed to cold temperatures. No new homeowner has time to deal with that, so take a look at all exposed pipes before you move in. If the pipes aren’t insulated, this inexpensive upgrade is an effective preventive measure against frozen and burst pipes.
3. Locate the Main Water Shutoff Valve
Shutting off the water to your house can greatly reduce property damage if you have to deal with a major emergency such as a burst pipe. But you must first know where the valve is located.
If your home has a basement or crawl space, the shutoff valve is most likely placed on a wall close to 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. Search for a round or rectangular metal cover close to the grass or sidewalk. It may be labeled “water meter” to help you recognize it.
If you still can’t track down the primary water shutoff valve, call a plumber for help locating it before you have a crisis.
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 enables you to turn off the water while making repairs or to reduce damage in an emergency. Familiarize yourself with the location of every valve anytime you buy a new house.
5. Know the Signs of a Plumbing Leak
Water damage is the greatest concern regarding plumbing leaks, but a leaky faucet can also empty your wallet. For example, just one drip every second wastes more than 1,600 gallons each year. To prevent this, keep an eye out for these signs of plumbing leaks in your home:
- Dripping or bubbling sounds
- Steeper 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 damage your pipes if used continuously. What's more, they only offer a temporary remedy at best.
A better alternative is to have non-chemical supplies available the next time you have a plumbing crisis. These include:
- Cup plunger for backed up sinks, tubs and showers
- Flange plunger for clogged toilets
- Hand-crank drain snake for small 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 arrives
7. Prevent Clogged Drains from Day One
Whatever flows down the drain besides water could lead to a clog. Use your drains flowing smoothly with these preventive tips:
- Install mesh drain covers in bathroom sinks and showers
- Don’t flush anything down the toilet besides human waste and a small amount of toilet paper
- Don't pour cooking grease down the drain
- Pour a large pot of near-boiling water in every drain once a month
8. Have a Plumber on Speed Dial
While our plumbing tips for new homeowners should keep many problems under control, it’s always smart to know a reliable plumber in the area. For reliable, affordable work, there’s no better place to turn than Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning.
We have Experts across North America to support our customers from coast to coast. When you choose our certified plumbers for the job, you can rest assured that every repair and installation job is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office to request plumbing services with us today.