Being a first-time homeowner is truly an exciting time. But it also comes with its own unique challenges and bumps in the road that will need your attention and time. One of these will be your home plumbing issues. Thankfully, even without being an expert, there are a lot of ways you can protect your home and family from potential plumbing problems, which can be messy and expensive. Here are some plumbing tips you need to be mindful of as a new homeowner.
7 Plumbing Tips for New Homeowners
1. Locate the Main Valves
Every home has a shut-off valve for the main line that can be found in the basement or crawlspace, near the water heater, under the kitchen sink, or in a covered utility box. If you’re unsure, ask your inspector or real estate agent for its location.
Shutting off your main line minimizes the chances of water flooding your home and destroying your property during a plumbing emergency. The same goes for your gas line, where you can immediately stop gas from leaking throughout your home. To shut off the valves, turn the knob clockwise (or use a hex key) to stop the flow of water or gas.
Knowing where and how to turn off the valves is not only a simple and inexpensive plumbing tip, but it helps ensure the safety of your home, property, and your family.
2. Get a Heating and Plumbing Inspection
To prevent plumbing problems from damaging your home and costing you a lot of money, it's essential that you get heating and plumbing inspections. Regular inspections reveal issues early on and will help you determine what fixes should be made immediately.
Professional inspectors use high-technology cameras to check sewer systems and hidden water pipes to uncover their current condition or possible problems. Once complete, you are given a list of things to be repaired or replaced, allowing you to budget accordingly.
With regular inspections, you can ensure that your heating and plumbing systems are in top shape and working efficiently.
3. Clean the Drains Regularly
Kitchen and shower drains collect a lot of debris, dirt, grease, hair, and soap that cause clogging. If there is standing water in your bathroom and kitchen sink or you smell an unpleasant odor, it could be a sign of clogged drains.
Install a catcher or remove solid items to prevent them from going down the drain. It's also beneficial to clean the drains at least once a month – using a dish liquid and vinegar solution and flushing it out with running hot water – to ensure that the pipes are well-maintained. If there is a clog already, use a plunger to open up the drain and pour hot water down the drain to melt the grease or grime.
Regular cleaning helps ensure faster drainage, reduce risks of clogging that can damage the house, get rid of bad odor, and improve the lifespan of your plumbing systems.
4. Weather-Proof Your Home Pipes
Protecting your home pipes, especially for the colder seasons, saves you a lot of money (and headaches) in the long run.
To avoid bursting pipes due to frozen water in them, be sure to clear the lines and turn off valves before the weather gets too cold. Consider insulating spigots and exposed pipes with heating tape, foam rubber sleeves, or fiberglass. You can also detach gardenhoses, drain water from pipe lines, put faucets on a slow drip, and open cabinet doors so warm air can circulate.
5. Take Advantage of Simple Home Items
Sometimes, you don’t really have to spend much to fix your home plumbing problems. You can easily use home resources – like a bucket of water, plunger, or drain snake – to remedy the issues.
If your toilet flush has been a pain, try to fill up half a bucket of water and quickly dump it down the toilet bowl. Putting a lot of water down the drain at a high speed will help flush away the clog and unblock the toilet.
Another practical home must-have is a plunger, which is useful when unclogging drains, sinks, toilets, and tubs. To use this effectively, first seal off overflow holes and ensure that there’s enough water in the basin you’re plunging. Get a tight seal, and then plunge up and down for about 20 to 30 seconds. If a plunger doesn’t work, use a drain snake to break up the clog.
6. Use DIY Fixes for Leaking Pipes
If left unattended, a leaking pipe leads to big costs and serious damages to your home. That’s why knowing how to spot and fix them on your own (at least temporarily) saves you a lot of trouble in the long run.
While waiting for a professional plumber to check the pipes, be sure to shut off the main water valve. Try to apply epoxy gum or paste on the hole to seal off the leak. You can also use a pipe clamp or pipe repair kit with tape to stop the dripping.
7. Keep Emergency Items Handy
Always keep your plumbing kit accessible so you can easily grab tools when needed. Your kit should at least have duct tape, heavy duty paper rolls, a plunger, screw driver, and small towel rags. It also helps to have a set of hex keys ready as these can be used to adjust small bolts or nuts and address multiple plumbing and home issues.
At some point, you’ll need a professional to fix your home plumbing problems. And hiring one can save you a lot of time and money in the long run. That’s why it’s vital to have the contact details of your local plumber or plumbing services company. Before hiring one, research their qualifications, ask around, and check if they have a license to operate. This will help guarantee that they are experienced and proficient, and are able to provide the best products and services for your plumbing needs.
How to Prevent Plumbing Problems
Prevention is just as important as troubleshooting and regular care practices. Here are some tips you should remember:
- Avoid flushing cleaning wipes, cotton balls, sanitary napkins, and other solid items down the toilet.
- Avoid using chemical-based liquid cleaners as they cause more damage to the pipes.
- Don’t throw large, solid, or starchy and greasy things into the garbage disposal (e.g. coffee grounds, eggshells, fats and oils, rough bones, pasta or rice, and metal or plastic non-food items).
- Never pour grease like cooking oil down the drain as this can harden and clog your pipes.
- Regularly check smaller valves (under the sink or behind the toilet) to note that they can be turned off and on easily.
- Replace broken faucets, toilet handles, and tank parts as soon as you see them wearing out.
Home plumbing isn’t always the easiest task. But these tips can help you keep your home plumbing system operational and damage-free. If there are problems you can’t fix with DIY care, be sure to seek help from professionals.
Being a new homeowner can get confusing and overwhelming. With so many moving parts, it helps to have an experienced real estate agent who can help you throughout the journey. And that’s where The Brendan King Group comes in.
Ready to find your dream home in Las Vegas? Contact us today, let us know what you’re looking for, and we’ll help you make it happen.