Congratulations, you’re a first-time homeowner, or you’re looking to buy your first home. How exciting!
If you were living at home with family, living with roommates, or renting your own apartment, you may not have had the same responsibilities you have now that you own a home. You’re now 100% in charge of your home and the systems that make it livable, meaning that if your plumbing has issues, you can’t call the landlord or property manager; you’ll need to call a plumber. But don’t worry—with a little bit of basic plumbing knowledge and some simple maintenance, you can keep your plumbing system running smoothly and avoid any major disasters.
Here are some essential plumbing tips to get you started as a new homeowner.
Tip #1: Schedule a Plumbing Inspection
Your home’s plumbing history is an important part of understanding how your plumbing works. You will want to know how old your pipes are and if they will need to need to be replaced fairly soon. Re-piping or rerouting your pipes can be an added cost to your home.
Before you agree to purchase a home, we strongly advise that you schedule a plumbing inspection. Plumbing is generally included in the home inspection during escrow, but a second opinion from a local plumber can be helpful in identifying any areas that may potentially need attention.
Tip #2: Take Care of Your Drains
Your drains in your home can’t go without cleaning, but you can also damage them if you use the wrong substance. When cleaning your drains yourself, avoid using chemical drain cleaners. They are toxic, harmful to your health, and can actually weaken your pipes, not to mention their harmful impact on the environment.
You may want to try DIY options with ingredients that may already be in the kitchen, such as lemon and vinegar.
Keep the following drain clog prevention tips in mind as well:
- Always dispose of cooking grease and oils in the trash can, never down your sink
- Avoid putting things like egg shells, bones, vegetable peels, and coffee grounds into the garbage disposal
- Add a hair trap over your bath tub and shower drains to avoid clogs
- Never flush anything that isn’t #1, #2, or toilet paper (more on that below!)
Tip #3: Take Care of Your Toilets
Avoiding an inconvenient and potentially messy problem is as simple as knowing what can and cannot go down the toilet. As simple as it sounds, flushing one wrong thing can clog up your whole plumbing system.
Only flush toilet paper and human waste down the toilet. That’s it!
- Paper towels
- Any wipes, even if they claim to be “flushable”
- Kitty Litter
- Sanitary products
- Other trash
Also, be aware of how to use a plunger just in case your toilet clogs up.
Tip #4: Locate Shut Off Valves
Something important to know prior to plumbing emergencies is where your shut off valves are for your water and gas. Leaks can be messy and can cause major damage to your property, but when you know where your shut off valves are, you can prevent further damage.
If you don’t know where your water main is, now is the time to find it!
You may have multiple water shut off valves in your home since water is supplied to multiple fixtures and appliances throughout the home. This can be incredibly useful because if you have one appliance leaking, you may not need to shut off the main water supply.
There may be times where you will need to shut off the main water supply to your home, which is generally located outside.
It is also important to know where the gas shutoff is and what to do in case of a gas leak:
- If you suspect a gas leak is in your home, please evacuate all people and pets immediately.
- Call your local fire department and gas company to report the situation. Remember, do not reenter your home until they arrive and shut off the gas line.
- When your property is deemed safe to enter, call a plumber to inspect your gas line, find the damage, and repair it.
Tip #5: Keep Useful Tools Handy
You may want to keep some plumbing tools within reach if needed.
Some useful tools to keep around include:
- A plunger
- Allen wrenches
- Heavy-duty gloves
- Tape measure
Tip #6: Have a Plumber on Speed Dial for Emergencies
When it comes to plumbing, there are some things that may be a fixable DIY style, but others are not. It is important to have a local plumber’s number on hand in case of plumbing emergencies. We are here for you 24 hours a day because plumbing emergencies don’t wait.