Are you happy to be a new homeowner? Congratulations! It’s thrilling to own a home and not have to deal with a landlord. Still, homeownership presents lots of new responsibilities. For instance, you are now in charge of keeping your pipes and plumbing fixtures in good shape.
The last thing you want is to resolve a plumbing problem immediately after moving in, so it’s sensible to make sure everything is ready to go before closing day. Consider these eight valuable plumbing tips every new homeowner should be familiar with.
1. Consider a Plumbing Inspection
Once you pick out your dream home, it’s a good idea to schedule a professional plumbing inspection. This can uncover previously hidden issues with the supply lines, fixtures, appliances and drains you may not have been aware of. Weak water pressure or a slow toilet leak might not be a deal-breaker, but it’s better to clear up these problems before moving in.
2. Look for Pipe Insulation
Your home's pipes could freeze and burst if they’re exposed to cold temperatures. No new homeowner should have to deal with that, so take a look at all exposed pipes before moving in. If the pipes aren’t insulated, this inexpensive upgrade is an excellent preventive measure against frozen and burst pipes.
3. Find the Main Water Shutoff Valve
Shutting off the water to your house can greatly reduce property damage if you encounter a major emergency such as a burst pipe. But you must first know where the valve is located.
If the property has a basement or crawl space, the shutoff valve is probably situated 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 sometimes located in a utility box buried around the street. Search for a round or rectangular metal cover by the grass or sidewalk. It may be labeled “water meter” to help you recognize it.
If you still can’t track down the primary water shutoff valve, call a plumber for help locating it before you have a crisis.
4. Find Individual Shutoff Valves
Alongside 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 working on repairs or to minimize damage during an emergency. Familiarize yourself with the location of every valve anytime you buy a new house.
5. Recognize the Signs of a Plumbing Leak
Water damage is the greatest concern associated with plumbing leaks, but a leaky faucet can also empty your wallet. For example, one drip each 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
- High 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. Get a Basic Plumbing Emergency Kit
Despite what you may think, chemical drain openers don’t belong in a plumbing emergency kit. These potent cleaners can harm your pipes if used continuously. Plus, they only offer a temporary solution at best.
A safer alternative is to have non-chemical supplies available 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 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 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 apart from water can 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 oil down the kitchen sink
- Pour a large pot of near-boiling water down every drain once a month
8. Keep a Plumber on Speed Dial
While these plumbing tips for new homeowners should keep many problems at bay, it’s always wise to know a reliable plumber in the area. For quality, affordable work, there’s no better place to turn than Becht/Givens Service Experts.
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 Becht/Givens Service Experts office to schedule plumbing services with us today.