Are you excited to be a new homeowner? Congratulations! It’s a relief to own your home and not answer to a landlord. Still, homeownership comes with lots of new responsibilities. For example, you are now responsible for keeping the pipes and plumbing fixtures in good working order.
The last thing you want is to deal with a plumbing issue immediately after moving in, so it’s smart to confirm everything is squared away before closing day. Here are eight valuable plumbing tips every new homeowner should be aware of.
1. Consider a Plumbing Inspection
Once you pick out your dream home, it’s a good idea to schedule a professional plumbing inspection. This reveals previously hidden issues with the supply lines, fixtures, appliances and drains you may not have noticed. Weak water pressure or a slow toilet leak may not be a deal-breaker, but it’s better to clear up these problems before you settle in.
2. Look for Pipe Insulation
The pipes may freeze and burst if they’re exposed to cold temperatures. No new homeowner wants to deal with that, so take a look at all exposed pipes before moving 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
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 is located.
If your home has a basement or crawl space, the shutoff valve is probably found on a wall near 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 occasionally located in a utility box buried around the street. Try to find a round or rectangular metal cover by the grass or sidewalk. It might be labeled “water meter” to help you find it.
If you still can’t track down 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
Along with the main shutoff valve, most fixtures and appliances will have dedicated valves on the wall behind them. This enables you to turn off the water while completing repairs or to minimize damage in an emergency. Familiarize yourself with the location of these valves when you buy a new house.
5. Recognize the Signs of a Plumbing Leak
Water damage is the biggest concern associated with plumbing leaks, but a leaky faucet can also drain your wallet. As an example, just one drip every second wastes more than 1,600 gallons annually. To prevent this, look for these signs of plumbing leaks in your new 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
- Loose 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 continuously. What's more, they only offer a temporary solution at best.
A safer alternative is to have non-chemical supplies on hand the next time you have a plumbing disaster. 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 mitigate the flow of a plumbing leak until a plumber arrives
7. Avoid Clogged Drains from Day One
Whatever flows down the drain aside from water could cause a clog. Keep your drains flowing smoothly with these preventive tips:
- Put in 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 grease down the kitchen sink
- Pour a large pot of near-boiling water down every drain monthly
8. Have a Plumber on Speed Dial
While these plumbing tips for new homeowners should keep many problems under control, it’s still smart to know a reliable plumber in town. For dependable, affordable work, there’s no better place to turn than McKinley Heating Service Experts.
We have locations across North America to support our customers from coast to coast. When you call our insured plumbers for the job, you can rest easy that every repair and installation job is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Get in touch with your local McKinley Heating Service Experts office to request plumbing services with us today.