Are you excited to be a new homeowner? Well done! It’s a relief to own a home and not answer to a landlord. Still, homeownership comes with plenty of new responsibilities. For one, you are now accountable for keeping your pipes and plumbing fixtures in good shape.
The last thing you want is to resolve a plumbing issue immediately after moving in, so it’s sensible to confirm everything is squared away before closing day. Consider these eight valuable plumbing tips every new homeowner should be familiar with.
1. Schedule a Plumbing Inspection
Once you find your dream home, it’s wise to schedule a professional plumbing inspection. This reveals underlying issues with the supply lines, fixtures, appliances and drains you may 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 moving 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 inspect all exposed pipes before moving 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
Turning 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 your home has a basement or crawl space, the shutoff valve is most likely 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 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 identify it.
If you still can’t find the primary 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
Alongside the main shutoff valve, most fixtures and appliances should have dedicated valves on the wall behind them. This enables you to shut off the water while making repairs or to minimize damage after an emergency. Familiarize yourself with the location of all plumbing valves anytime you buy a new house.
5. Recognize the Signs of a Plumbing Leak
Water damage is a common concern regarding plumbing leaks, but a leaky faucet can also empty your wallet. For example, just one drip per second wastes more than 1,600 gallons per year. To prevent this, look for any 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 your sinks
- Wobbly toilet
- Water stains on the ceilings and walls
- Lingering musty odors
6. Purchase a Basic Plumbing Emergency Kit
Despite what you may think, chemical drain openers shouldn't go in a plumbing emergency kit. These corrosive cleaners can damage your pipes if used frequently. In addition, 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 disaster. 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 stem the flow of a plumbing leak until a plumber can help
7. Prevent Clogged Drains from Day One
Anything that flows down the drain besides water could cause a clog. Run your drains flowing 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 into every drain monthly
8. Keep 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 town. For quality, affordable work, there’s no better place to turn than Orangutan Home Services.
We have locations across North America to support our customers from coast to coast. When you choose 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 Orangutan Home Services office to schedule plumbing services with us today.