Are you happy to be a new homeowner? Congratulations! It’s a relief to own your home and not have to deal with a landlord. Nevertheless, homeownership presents all sorts of new responsibilities. For example, you are now accountable 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 confirm everything is squared away before closing day. Consider these eight valuable plumbing tips every new homeowner should know.
1. Request a Plumbing Inspection
Once you pick out your dream home, it’s smart to schedule a professional plumbing inspection. This reveals previously hidden issues with the supply lines, fixtures, appliances and drains you may not have noticed. Weak water pressure or a slow toilet leak might not be a deal-breaker, but it’s nice to resolve these problems before you move 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 take a look at 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. Locate the Main Water Shutoff Valve
Shutting off the water to your house can greatly reduce property damage if you encounter a major emergency like a burst pipe. But you must first know where the valve is located.
If the house 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 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. Look 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 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
In addition to the main shutoff valve, most fixtures and appliances should have dedicated valves entering the wall behind them. This allows you to shut off the water while completing repairs or to mitigate damage after an emergency. Familiarize yourself with the location of these valves anytime you buy a new house.
5. Know the Signs of a Plumbing Leak
Water damage is a common concern regarding plumbing leaks, but a leaky faucet can also empty your wallet. As an example, a single drip per 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 the sinks
- Wobbly 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 don’t belong in a plumbing emergency kit. These potent cleaners can harm your pipes if used continuously. What's more, 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 clogged 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 stem the flow of a plumbing leak until a plumber can help
7. Prevent Clogged Drains from Day One
Whatever flows down the drain aside from water can cause a clog. Keep your drains running smoothly with these preventive tips:
- Install mesh drain covers in bathroom sinks and showers
- Don’t 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 each month
8. Have a Plumber on Speed Dial
While these plumbing tips for new homeowners should keep many problems from happening, it’s still wise to know a reliable plumber in the area. For dependable, 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 certified 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. Get in touch with your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office to schedule plumbing services with us today.