10 Plumbing Tips Every Homeowner Should Know

Congratulations on your new home!  You want to start off right and get into good practices that will keep your home in top form.  Consider this a housewarming gift: valuable plumbing tips that ALL homeowners should know.  

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Know the location of shut off valves

Before moving into a new home, note the location of the main shut-off valve and drain (in some cases, the shut-off will be located outside the house). You should also get acquainted with sewer line access points, in case you need to conduct periodic clean outs. Note that apartments and condos may not have their own dedicated shut-off valves.

Don't puncture pipes

Are you planning to drill holes or pound nails into your walls, floors, or ceiling? First determine if there are any supply or drainage pipes behind your work area, since you don’t want to accidentally puncture them. You may be able to locate pipes behind walls with an inexpensive stud finder. Alternatively, you could invest in an endoscopic camera, which can be snaked into the walls.

Watch what goes down the toilet

Homeowners shouldn’t use their toilet as a trash can, since flushing anything except toilet paper leads to nasty clogs. Even “flushable” baby wipes can back up the system!

Don't put garbage down the drain

Never dump coffee grounds, food debris, grease, vegetable peelings, or starchy foods like rice or potatoes down the kitchen drain; they will almost certainly clog your pipes. It’s also smart to read the manufacturer’s manual for your garbage disposal to know what, exactly, the unit can handle.

Take the plunge

Invest in a high-quality plunger to clear clogs in toilets, sinks, and drains. If you’re planning to clean sink traps, use a plunger to push most of the water out before removing the trap. The task will be a lot less wet and messy.

Pull out the vacuum

When you're trying to dislodge a clog caused by a small, hard object (like a child’s toy, toothbrush, or comb), rely on a wet-dry vacuum. It's more effective to suck the object out. A plunger will only push it deeper into the drain, making it more difficult to remove.

Don't ignore leaks

That steady drip, drip, drip of a fixture symbolizes money going down the drain. In fact, a leaky faucet typically wastes up to eight gallons of water per day.  Fix small leaks promptly before they become big—and costly—problems.

Running toilets

The constant trickle of running toilet water is one of the most annoying sounds ever, not to mention wasteful. But most importantly it’s probably a sign that your toilet’s flapper is damaged.  One way to resolve this is to check if your flapper’s closed properly. If that’s fine and the problem still persists, it might be a good idea to replace the flapper with a new one to avoid escalating water bills.

Control the temperature

Set your water heater temperature no higher than 120 degrees for maximum efficiency. Setting it any higher can decrease efficiency and increase the chance of scalding.

Know a good plumber

Unfortunately, there may come a time when you need a professional plumber.  Know the plumbers in your area.  We're here to help you in times of trouble.  Before trouble arises, give us a call for a home inspection and we'll come out and assist you in finding trouble areas and keeping your house's plumbing running smoothly.  Happy home owning!