Are you happy to be a new homeowner? Congrats! It’s exhilarating to own a home and not answer to a landlord. Still, homeownership presents plenty of new responsibilities. For one, you are now accountable for keeping the pipes and plumbing fixtures in good working order.
The last thing you want is to resolve a plumbing problem right after moving in, so it’s smart to make sure everything is in good shape before closing day. Check out these eight valuable plumbing tips every new homeowner should be aware of.
1. Schedule a Plumbing Inspection
Once you pick out your dream home, it’s wise to get a professional plumbing inspection. This can reveal previously hidden issues with the supply lines, fixtures, appliances and drains you might not have been aware of. Poor water pressure or a slow toilet leak might not be a deal-breaker, but it’s best to clear up these problems before you move in.
2. Look for Pipe Insulation
Your home's pipes may freeze and burst if they’re exposed to cold temperatures. No new homeowner has time to deal with that, so check all exposed pipes before you move in. If the pipes aren’t insulated, this low-cost upgrade is a valuable preventive measure against 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 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 occasionally 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 find it.
If you still can’t find 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 will have dedicated valves entering the wall behind them. This allows you to turn off the water while working on repairs or to minimize damage after an emergency. Familiarize yourself with the location of all plumbing valves whenever you buy a new house.
5. Know the Signs of a Plumbing Leak
Water damage is the biggest concern relating to plumbing leaks, but a leaky faucet can also drain your wallet. For example, just one drip each second wastes more than 1,600 gallons each year. To prevent this, keep an eye out for these signs of plumbing leaks in your home:
- Dripping or bubbling sounds
- A spike in water bills
- Changes in the 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
- Lingering musty odors
6. Get a Basic Plumbing Emergency Kit
Despite what you may think, chemical drain openers shouldn't go in a plumbing emergency kit. These caustic cleaners can damage your pipes if used repeatedly. In addition, they only offer a temporary solution at best.
A better alternative is to have non-chemical supplies on hand 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 stem the flow of a plumbing leak until a plumber can help
7. Avoid Clogged Drains from Day One
Whatever flows down the drain aside from water could lead to a clog. Use your drains flowing smoothly with these preventive tips:
- Place mesh drain covers in bathroom sinks and showers
- Never flush anything down the toilet besides human waste and a small amount of toilet paper
- Do not pour cooking grease down the drain
- Pour a large pot of near-boiling water down every drain monthly
8. Put a Plumber on Speed Dial
While our plumbing tips for new homeowners should keep many problems under control, it’s always smart to know a reliable plumber in your area. For dependable, affordable work, there’s no better place to turn than Jack Nelson Service Experts.
We have locations across North America to assist customers from coast to coast. When you contact our insured plumbers for the job, you can rest assured that every repair and installation job is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Contact your local Jack Nelson Service Experts office to request plumbing services with us today.