Are you excited to be a new homeowner? Congratulations! It’s a relief to own your home and not have to deal with a landlord. Nevertheless, homeownership includes lots of new responsibilities. For one, you are now responsible for keeping any pipes and plumbing fixtures in good shape.
The last thing you want is to be faced with a plumbing problem immediately after moving in, so it’s smart to confirm everything is squared away before closing day. Here are eight valuable plumbing tips every new homeowner should be aware of.
1. Schedule a Plumbing Inspection
Once you find your dream home, it’s smart to schedule a professional plumbing inspection. This can uncover previously hidden issues with the supply lines, fixtures, appliances and drains you might not have known about. Low water pressure or a slow toilet leak might not be a deal-breaker, but it’s best to resolve these problems before you settle in.
2. Look 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 inspect all exposed pipes before you move in. If the pipes aren’t insulated, this low-cost upgrade is a valuable preventive measure for frozen and burst pipes.
3. Find 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 located.
If your home has a basement or crawl space, the shutoff valve is most likely placed on a wall near 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 occasionally located in a utility box buried close to the street. Try to find a round or rectangular metal cover by the grass or sidewalk. It may be labeled “water meter” to help you find it.
If you still can’t track down the main 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 turn off the water while making repairs or to reduce damage after an emergency. Familiarize yourself with the location of all plumbing valves anytime you buy a new house.
5. Recognize the Signs of a Plumbing Leak
Water damage is the biggest concern associated with plumbing leaks, but a leaky faucet can also empty your wallet. Consider that just one drip each second wastes more than 1,600 gallons each year. To prevent this, keep an eye out for any signs of plumbing leaks in your new 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
- Wobbly toilet
- Water stains on the ceilings and walls
- Lasting musty odors
6. Purchase a Basic Plumbing Emergency Kit
Contrary to popular belief, chemical drain openers don’t belong in a plumbing emergency kit. These caustic cleaners can harm your pipes if used continuously. In addition, they only offer a temporary remedy at best.
A safer 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 minor 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 mitigate 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. Keep your drains flowing smoothly with these preventive tips:
- Put in 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 oil down the drain
- Pour a large pot of near-boiling water into every drain once a month
8. Put a Plumber on Speed Dial
While our plumbing tips for new homeowners should keep many problems at bay, it’s always sensible to know a reliable plumber in the area. For reliable, affordable work, there’s no better place to turn than Teays Valley Service Experts.
We have locations across North America to serve customers from coast to coast. When you contact our certified plumbers for the job, you can rest easy that every repair and installation job is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Contact your local Teays Valley Service Experts office to schedule plumbing services with us today.