Are you ready to be a new homeowner? Congrats! It’s a relief to own a home and not have to deal with a landlord. Nonetheless, homeownership comes with all sorts of new responsibilities. For instance, you are now responsible for keeping any pipes and plumbing fixtures in good shape.
The last thing you want is to deal with a plumbing problem just after moving in, so it’s wise to confirm everything is squared away before closing day. Consider these eight valuable plumbing tips every new homeowner should be aware of.
1. Request a Plumbing Inspection
Once you settle on your dream home, it’s wise to get a professional plumbing inspection. This reveals underlying issues with the supply lines, fixtures, appliances and drains you might not have noticed. Weak 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
The pipes could freeze and burst if they’re exposed to cold temperatures. No new homeowner wants to deal with that, so inspect all exposed pipes before you move in. If the pipes aren’t insulated, this low-cost upgrade is an effective preventive measure for frozen and burst pipes.
3. Locate the Main Water Shutoff Valve
Turning off the water to your house can greatly reduce property damage if you have a major emergency such as a burst pipe. But you must first know where the valve can be found.
If the property has a basement or crawl space, the shutoff valve is probably situated on a wall close to the front of the house. If the building is on a slab foundation, check 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. 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 primary water shutoff valve, call a plumber for help locating it before you have an emergency.
4. Find Individual Shutoff Valves
Along with the main shutoff valve, most fixtures and appliances will have dedicated valves entering 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 anytime you buy a new house.
5. Understand the Signs of a Plumbing Leak
Water damage is the biggest concern regarding plumbing leaks, but a leaky faucet can also empty your wallet. Consider that one drip each second wastes more than 1,600 gallons annually. To prevent this, keep an eye out for these signs of plumbing leaks in your home:
- Dripping or bubbling sounds
- High 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
- Lingering musty odors
6. Purchase a Basic Plumbing Emergency Kit
Despite what you may think, chemical drain openers don’t belong in a plumbing emergency kit. These corrosive 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 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 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 aside from water could cause a clog. Keep your drains running smoothly with these preventive tips:
- Install 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 grease down the drain
- Pour a large pot of near-boiling water in every drain monthly
8. Have a Plumber on Speed Dial
While these plumbing tips for new homeowners should keep many problems from happening, it’s still smart to know a reliable plumber in the area. For reliable, affordable work, there’s no better place to turn than McElroy Service Experts.
We have Experts across North America to serve customers from coast to coast. When you call our insured 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 schedule plumbing services with us today.