Are you happy to be a new homeowner? Congrats! It’s a relief to own your home and not have to deal with a landlord. Nonetheless, homeownership comes with all sorts of new responsibilities. For one, you are now in charge of keeping your pipes and plumbing fixtures in good condition.
The last thing you want is to be faced with a plumbing issue right 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. Request a Plumbing Inspection
Once you settle on your dream home, it’s a good idea to get a professional plumbing inspection. This can reveal underlying issues with the supply lines, fixtures, appliances and drains you may not have noticed. Weak water pressure or a slow toilet leak won't always be a deal-breaker, but it’s better to clear up these problems before moving in.
2. Check for Pipe Insulation
Your home's pipes can freeze and burst if they’re exposed to cold temperatures. No new homeowner should have to deal with that, so check all exposed pipes before moving in. If the pipes aren’t insulated, this inexpensive upgrade is a valuable 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 to deal with 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 placed 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 occasionally located in a utility box buried close to the street. Try to find a round or rectangular metal cover flush with the grass or sidewalk. It could be labeled “water meter” to help you recognize 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
Alongside the main shutoff valve, most fixtures and appliances will have dedicated valves entering the wall behind them. This allows you to turn off the water while making repairs or to mitigate damage in an emergency. Familiarize yourself with the location of all plumbing valves when you buy a new house.
5. Understand the Signs of a Plumbing Leak
Water damage is the greatest concern regarding plumbing leaks, but a leaky faucet can also empty your wallet. As an example, just one drip every second wastes more than 1,600 gallons per 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 the sinks
- Wobbly toilet
- Water stains on the ceilings and walls
- Strong musty odors
6. Get a Basic Plumbing Emergency Kit
Despite what you may have heard, chemical drain openers shouldn't go in a plumbing emergency kit. These caustic cleaners can harm your pipes if used over and over. In addition, they only offer a temporary solution at best.
A better alternative is to have non-chemical supplies close by the next time you have a plumbing emergency. 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 reduce the flow of a plumbing leak until a plumber is on the way
7. Prevent Clogged Drains from Day One
Anything that 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
- Do not flush anything down the toilet besides human waste and a small amount of toilet paper
- Don't pour cooking grease down the kitchen sink
- Pour a large pot of near-boiling water down every drain once a month
8. Put a Plumber on Speed Dial
While our plumbing tips for new homeowners should keep many problems under control, it’s always sensible to know a reliable plumber in town. For quality, affordable work, there’s no better place to turn than Sunbeam Service Experts.
We have Experts across North America to serve customers from coast to coast. When you contact our licensed plumbers for the job, you can rest easy that every repair and installation job is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Contact us to request plumbing services with us today.