Are you excited to be a new homeowner? Congratulations! It’s exhilarating to own a home and not answer to a landlord. Still, homeownership includes all sorts of new responsibilities. For one, you are now responsible for keeping your pipes and plumbing fixtures in good working order.
The last thing you want is to deal with a plumbing issue right after moving in, so it’s wise to make sure everything is in good shape before closing day. Check out these eight valuable plumbing tips every new homeowner should know.
1. Consider a Plumbing Inspection
Once you pick out your dream home, it’s wise to get a professional plumbing inspection. This can reveal underlying issues with the supply lines, fixtures, appliances and drains you may not have noticed. Low water pressure or a slow toilet leak might not be a deal-breaker, but it’s better to resolve these problems before you move in.
2. Look for Pipe Insulation
Your pipes could freeze and burst if they’re exposed to cold temperatures. No new homeowner has time to deal with that, so check all exposed pipes before moving 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 encounter a major emergency like 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 most likely found 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 occasionally located in a utility box buried around the street. Look for a round or rectangular metal cover by the grass or sidewalk. It might 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 a critical plumbing problem on your hands.
4. Find Individual Shutoff Valves
Alongside the main shutoff valve, most fixtures and appliances will have dedicated valves on the wall behind them. This allows you to shut off the water while completing repairs or to mitigate damage in an emergency. Familiarize yourself with the location of every valve when 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, one drip per second wastes more than 1,600 gallons annually. To prevent this, watch for these signs of plumbing leaks in your new home:
- Dripping or bubbling sounds
- A spike in 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
- Strong musty odors
6. Stock a Basic Plumbing Emergency Kit
Despite what you may have heard, chemical drain openers shouldn't go in a plumbing emergency kit. These potent cleaners can damage your pipes if used frequently. In addition, they only offer a temporary solution at best.
An effective alternative is to have non-chemical supplies close by 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 arrives
7. Avoid Clogged Drains from Day One
Whatever flows down the drain apart from water could cause a clog. Use your drains flowing smoothly with these preventive tips:
- Install mesh drain covers in bathroom sinks and showers
- Never flush anything down the toilet aside from human waste and a small amount of toilet paper
- Do not pour cooking grease down the drain
- Pour a large pot of near-boiling water into every drain each 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 town. For quality, affordable work, there’s no better place to turn than Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning.
We have locations across North America to serve 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 your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office to request plumbing services with us today.