Are you excited to be a new homeowner? Well done! It’s exhilarating to own your home and not answer to a landlord. Nevertheless, homeownership presents plenty of new responsibilities. For example, you are now in charge of keeping the pipes and plumbing fixtures in good shape.
The last thing you want is to resolve a plumbing problem right after moving in, so it’s smart to confirm everything is ready to go before closing day. Here are eight valuable plumbing tips every new homeowner should be familiar with.
1. Request a Plumbing Inspection
Once you find your dream home, it’s a good idea to schedule a professional plumbing inspection. This can reveal previously hidden issues with the supply lines, fixtures, appliances and drains you may not have known about. Poor water pressure or a slow toilet leak might not be a deal-breaker, but it’s best to resolve these problems before you move in.
2. Check for Pipe Insulation
Your home's pipes could freeze and burst if they’re exposed to cold temperatures. No new homeowner wants to deal with that, so check 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. Find the Main Water Shutoff Valve
Turning off the water to your house can significantly reduce property damage if you encounter a major emergency such as a burst pipe. But you must first know where the valve can be found.
If the house has a basement or crawl space, the shutoff valve is probably placed on a wall along 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 around the street. Search for a round or rectangular metal cover flush with the grass or sidewalk. It could 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 will have dedicated valves for 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 anytime you buy a new house.
5. Understand the Signs of a Plumbing Leak
Water damage is a common concern relating to plumbing leaks, but a leaky faucet can also drain your wallet. Consider that a single drip every second wastes more than 1,600 gallons annually. To prevent this, look for the telltale 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
- Loose toilet
- Water stains on the ceilings and walls
- Strong musty odors
6. Get a Basic Plumbing Emergency Kit
Despite what you may have heard, chemical drain openers shouldn't go in a plumbing emergency kit. These caustic cleaners can harm your pipes if used repeatedly. Plus, they only offer a temporary remedy at best.
A safer alternative is to have non-chemical supplies on hand the next time you have a plumbing emergency. 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 reduce the flow of a plumbing leak until a plumber is on the way
7. Prevent Clogged Drains from Day One
Whatever flows down the drain besides water could lead to a clog. Run your drains running smoothly with these preventive tips:
- Place mesh drain covers in bathroom sinks and showers
- Do not flush anything down the toilet aside from human waste and a small amount of toilet paper
- Don't pour cooking oil down the kitchen sink
- Pour a large pot of near-boiling water into every drain each month
8. Put a Plumber on Speed Dial
While our plumbing tips for new homeowners should keep many problems at bay, it’s still sensible to know a reliable plumber in town. For dependable, affordable work, there’s no better place to turn than Barlow Service Experts.
We have Experts across North America to assist customers from coast to coast. When you contact our certified 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 Barlow Service Experts office to arrange plumbing services with us today.