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 includes all sorts of new responsibilities. For example, you are now in charge of keeping any pipes and plumbing fixtures in good condition.
The last thing you want is to be faced with a plumbing problem just after moving in, so it’s sensible to make sure everything is ready to go before closing day. Here are eight valuable plumbing tips every new homeowner should be aware of.
1. Request a Plumbing Inspection
Once you find your dream home, it’s smart to get a professional plumbing inspection. This reveals underlying issues with the supply lines, fixtures, appliances and drains you might not have noticed. Low water pressure or a slow toilet leak won't always be a deal-breaker, but it’s best to clear up these problems before you move in.
2. Look for Pipe Insulation
The pipes can freeze and burst if they’re exposed to cold temperatures. No new homeowner should have to deal with that, so check all exposed pipes before you move in. If the pipes aren’t insulated, this inexpensive upgrade is an effective preventive measure against frozen and burst pipes.
3. Locate the Main Water Shutoff Valve
Shutting off the water to your house can significantly reduce property damage if you have to deal with a major emergency like a burst pipe. But you must first know where the valve can be found.
If the property has a basement or crawl space, the shutoff valve is most likely situated on a wall close to the front of the house. If the building is on a slab foundation, take a look in the garage or near the water heater.
Still no luck? The shutoff valve is sometimes located in a utility box buried near the street. Look for a round or rectangular metal cover flush with the grass or sidewalk. It could be labeled “water meter” to help you recognize it.
If you still can’t track down the main water shutoff valve, call a plumber for help locating it before you have a crisis.
4. Find Individual Shutoff Valves
Along with the main shutoff valve, most fixtures and appliances should have dedicated valves on the wall behind them. This allows you to shut off the water while completing repairs or to mitigate 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 regarding plumbing leaks, but a leaky faucet can also empty your wallet. For example, just one drip every second wastes more than 1,600 gallons per year. To prevent this, look for these signs of plumbing leaks in your new home:
- Dripping or bubbling sounds
- Steeper 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. Stock a Basic Plumbing Emergency Kit
Contrary to popular belief, chemical drain openers shouldn't go in a plumbing emergency kit. These corrosive cleaners can harm your pipes if used continuously. Plus, they only offer a temporary remedy at best.
An effective 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 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 apart from water could cause a clog. Keep your drains running smoothly with these preventive tips:
- Place mesh drain covers in bathroom sinks and showers
- Don’t flush anything down the toilet other than human waste and a small amount of toilet paper
- Do not pour cooking oil down the kitchen sink
- Pour a large pot of near-boiling water down every drain monthly
8. Put a Plumber on Speed Dial
While these plumbing tips for new homeowners should keep many problems at bay, it’s still sensible to know a reliable plumber in the area. For dependable, affordable work, there’s no better place to turn than Finch Air Conditioning & Heating.
We have locations across North America to support our customers from coast to coast. When you call our licensed 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 Finch Air Conditioning & Heating office to request plumbing services with us today.