Are you ready to be a new homeowner? Well done! It’s a relief to own a home and not answer to a landlord. Nonetheless, homeownership presents lots of new responsibilities. For example, you are now accountable for keeping the pipes and plumbing fixtures in good working order.
The last thing you want is to resolve a plumbing issue immediately after moving in, so it’s sensible to confirm everything is ready to go before closing day. Here are eight valuable plumbing tips every new homeowner should know.
1. Schedule a Plumbing Inspection
Once you find your dream home, it’s smart to schedule a professional plumbing inspection. This can reveal previously hidden issues with the supply lines, fixtures, appliances and drains you may not have known about. Poor water pressure or a slow toilet leak might not be a deal-breaker, but it’s best to clear up these problems before you settle in.
2. Try to find any Pipe Insulation
The 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 you move in. If the pipes aren’t insulated, this low-cost 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 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 the house has a basement or crawl space, the shutoff valve is probably placed on a wall along the front of the house. If the building is on a slab foundation, take a look in the garage or near the water heater.
Still no luck? The shutoff valve is sometimes located in a utility box buried close to the street. Search for a round or rectangular metal cover by the grass or sidewalk. It might be labeled “water meter” to help you find it.
If you still can’t find the primary 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 on the wall behind them. This allows you to shut off the water while completing repairs or to minimize damage after an emergency. Familiarize yourself with the location of every valve whenever you buy a new house.
5. Know the Signs of a Plumbing Leak
Water damage is a common concern associated with plumbing leaks, but a leaky faucet can also drain your wallet. As an example, one drip per second wastes more than 1,600 gallons per year. To prevent this, watch for any signs of plumbing leaks in your home:
- Dripping or bubbling sounds
- High water bills
- Changing water meter readings despite not using any water
- Standing water, wood rot or mold growth under your sinks
- Loose toilet
- Water stains on the ceilings and walls
- Lingering musty odors
6. Stock a Basic Plumbing Emergency Kit
Despite what you may have heard, chemical drain openers don’t belong in a plumbing emergency kit. These caustic cleaners can damage your pipes if used frequently. What's more, they only offer a temporary remedy at best.
An effective alternative is to have non-chemical supplies on hand the next time you have a plumbing crisis. These include:
- Cup plunger for clogged 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 can help
7. Prevent Clogged Drains from Day One
Whatever flows down the drain besides water can cause a clog. Use your drains flowing smoothly with these preventive tips:
- Place 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
- Never pour cooking oil down the drain
- Pour a large pot of near-boiling water in every drain each month
8. Put a Plumber on Speed Dial
While our plumbing tips for new homeowners should keep many problems from happening, it’s always sensible to know a reliable plumber in the area. For dependable, affordable work, there’s no better place to turn than Neal Harris Service Experts.
We have Experts across North America to assist customers from coast to coast. When you call our insured 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 Neal Harris Service Experts office to schedule plumbing services with us today.