Top 10 Things Expert Plumbers Recommend for New Homeowners

As a new homeowner, it’s important to understand how to take care of your home’s plumbing system. Ignoring plumbing maintenance can lead to costly repairs and headaches down the line. But don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.

In this article, expert plumbers share their top recommendations for new homeowners.

From preventing drain clogs to knowing when to call a professional, you’ll learn valuable tips to keep your plumbing in tip-top shape. So let’s dive in and discover the essential advice from the pros.

11 things expert plumbers recommend for new homeowners

1. Locate and know your main water shut-off valve

Familiarize yourself with the location of the main water shut-off valve in your home, which is typically found where the main water supply enters your house.

Ensure it is easily accessible, and test it to ensure proper functionality. Consider attaching a tag or label for easy identification during emergencies.

2. Insulate exposed pipes

Identify and insulate exposed pipes in areas prone to cold temperatures using foam pipe insulation sleeves or heat tape.

Focus on areas vulnerable to drafts and close to exterior walls. Properly seal the insulation to provide optimal protection against freezing.

3. Don’t overload garbage disposals

Use your garbage disposal for small food scraps, but avoid disposing of hard items or fibrous materials that can damage the disposal.

Run cold water while using it and for a few seconds afterward to help flush debris down the drain. Maintain freshness by grinding ice cubes and lemon peels periodically.

4. Use drain covers

Install drain covers or strainers in sinks, showers, and tubs to catch hair, food particles, and debris.

This prevents clogs and ensures smooth drainage. Regularly clean the covers to prevent buildup and maintain their effectiveness.

5. Avoid chemical drain cleaners

Instead of relying on harsh chemical drain cleaners, use natural or enzymatic drain cleaners.

Create a mixture of baking soda and vinegar and pour it down drains to maintain their cleanliness and prevent clogs. Flush with hot water for added effectiveness.

6. Check for leaks regularly

Conduct routine inspections of plumbing fixtures, pipes, and faucets for any signs of leaks, such as dampness, water stains, or dripping.

Promptly address leaks to prevent water damage and reduce water waste. Consider seeking professional assistance for complex repairs.

7. Be cautious with toilet usage

Educate your household about what can and cannot be flushed down the toilet.

Avoid disposing of items such as sanitary products, wipes, or excessive toilet paper, as they can cause clogs and sewer line issues. Place small waste bins in bathrooms for proper disposal.

8. Know your water pressure

Periodically monitor your home’s water pressure using a pressure gauge. High water pressure can strain pipes, fittings, and appliances, leading to leaks or bursts.

Consider installing a pressure regulator if the pressure exceeds the recommended range.

9. Avoid DIY plumbing repairs beyond your expertise

While minor plumbing issues can be tackled, complex repairs should be left to professional plumbers.

Attempting repairs beyond your knowledge and skills can worsen the problem and cause expensive damage. Consult a licensed plumber for complex issues.

10. Schedule regular plumbing inspections

Arrange for professional plumbers to conduct periodic inspections of your plumbing system.

They can identify potential issues early on and address them before they become major problems. Regular maintenance helps ensure the longevity and efficiency of your plumbing system.

11. Learn the basics of your plumbing system

Familiarize yourself with the locations of shut-off valves, water meters, and other important plumbing components in your home.

Understanding how your plumbing system works can help you handle emergencies and communicate effectively with plumbers when discussing issues or seeking assistance.

What is the best way to prevent drain clogs?

The best way to prevent drain clogs is through regular maintenance and mindful usage. Use drain covers or strainers in sinks, showers, and tubs to catch hair, food particles, and other debris.

Avoid pouring grease, oil, or coffee grounds down the drain, as they can solidify and cause clogs.

Flush drains periodically with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar, followed by hot water, to keep them clean.

Avoid flushing non-flushable items down toilets and educate household members about proper toilet usage.

Being proactive in maintaining clean drains and being cautious about what goes down them can significantly reduce the likelihood of clogs.

How do you use a plunger correctly?

  1. Choose the right plunger: Select a plunger specifically designed for sink or toilet drains. Sink plungers have a flat bottom, while toilet plungers have an extension flange.
  2. Position the plunger: Place the plunger over the drain, ensuring a tight seal. For sink plungers, cover the entire drain opening with the plunger cup. For toilet plungers, insert the flange into the drain opening to create a seal.
  3. Create suction: With a firm grip, push the plunger down slowly to expel air and create suction. Then, pull up quickly to draw water or air back into the drain. Repeat this motion several times, maintaining a good seal with the plunger.
  4. Apply vigorous plunging: Start plunging with a rhythmic motion, using forceful pushes and pulls. This action helps dislodge the clog by creating pressure variations in the drain pipe.
  5. Check for results: After plunging for a minute or two, test the drain with running water. If the water flows smoothly, you have successfully cleared the clog. If not, repeat the plunging process a few more times.

How can you maintain a home plumbing system?

  • Regular inspections: Conduct periodic inspections of your plumbing system to check for any leaks, signs of corrosion, or damaged pipes. Look for dampness, water stains, or unusual odors. Promptly address any issues you find.
  • Preventative measures: Take preventative measures to avoid plumbing problems. Install drain covers or strainers to catch debris and prevent clogs. Insulate exposed pipes to protect them from freezing. Avoid pouring grease, oil, or coffee grounds down the drain, as they can lead to clogs.
  • Monitor water pressure: Keep an eye on your home’s water pressure. High water pressure can strain pipes and fittings, leading to leaks or bursts. Use a pressure gauge to measure the pressure, and consider installing a pressure regulator if it exceeds the recommended range.
  • Proper usage: Educate your household members about proper plumbing usage. Avoid flushing non-flushable items down toilets and be cautious about what goes down drains. Use garbage disposals appropriately, and run water while using them.
  • Prevent frozen pipes: During cold weather, take steps to prevent frozen pipes. Insulate exposed pipes, especially those in attics, crawl spaces, or exterior walls. Keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes. In severe weather, let faucets drip to relieve pressure.
  • Regular drain cleaning: Periodically clean your drains to prevent buildup and clogs. Use natural or enzymatic drain cleaners to maintain their cleanliness. Flush drains with hot water regularly to help clear away any debris.
  • Water heater maintenance: Flush your water heater annually to remove sediment buildup, which can affect its efficiency and lifespan. Check the temperature and pressure relief valve periodically to ensure they’re functioning properly.
  • Professional inspections: Schedule regular professional inspections of your plumbing system. Plumbers can identify potential issues, perform maintenance tasks, and provide expert recommendations to keep your system in good condition.
  • Address leaks promptly: If you notice any leaks, no matter how minor, address them promptly. Even small leaks can lead to water damage and mold growth. Fixing leaks early can save you from more extensive and costly repairs later on.
  • Know your shut-off valves: Familiarize yourself with the locations of shut-off valves in your home, including the main water shut-off valve. Knowing how to shut off the water quickly during emergencies can prevent further damage.

How frequently should a plumbing system have a professional inspection?

It is typical advice to have a professional inspect a plumbing system at least once a year.

Annual inspections help identify potential issues early on, allowing for timely repairs or maintenance.

However, the frequency of inspections may vary depending on various factors, such as the age of the plumbing system, the overall condition of the pipes, and any specific concerns or past plumbing problems.

Also, if you notice any signs of plumbing issues, such as leaks, reduced water pressure, or unusual odors, it is advisable to contact a professional plumber for an inspection and assessment.

Their expertise can help ensure the continued functionality and reliability of your plumbing system.

What are some homemade products that are safe for plumbing?

  • Baking soda and vinegar: This combination is effective for unclogging drains. After pouring 1/2 cup of vinegar down the drain, add 1/2 cup of baking soda. Let it fizz for a few minutes, and then flush with hot water. It helps break down buildup and deodorize the drain.
  • Hot water and dish soap: Mix a few drops of mild dish soap with hot water to clean greasy residues from kitchen sink pipes. Pour the mixture down the drain and rinse with hot water. This helps remove grease and keeps the pipes flowing smoothly.
  • Lemon juice and salt: Create a paste by mixing lemon juice and salt. Apply the paste to faucets and fixtures to remove mineral deposits and stains. Scrub gently and rinse thoroughly. Lemon juice acts as a natural acid cleaner, while salt provides gentle abrasion.
  • Baking soda and hot water: To remove odors from garbage disposals, sprinkle baking soda into the disposal, followed by a few cups of hot water. Let it sit for a few minutes, then turn on the disposal and flush with more hot water. It helps neutralize odors and clean the disposal.
  • Boiling water: Pouring boiling water down drains can help dissolve and flush away minor clogs caused by grease or soap scum. Use caution with delicate or older pipes, as excessive heat can cause damage.

When do you know you should call a plumber instead of doing it yourself?

Knowing when to call a plumber instead of attempting a DIY fix is essential to avoiding further damage and ensuring the proper resolution of plumbing issues.

Here are some indicators that it’s time to enlist the help of a professional plumber:

  • When facing complex or major plumbing problems beyond your knowledge and expertise
  • When dealing with gas line issues
  • When there is a risk of water damage or flooding
  • When multiple fixtures or areas are affected simultaneously
  • When repeated attempts to fix the issue have been unsuccessful
  • When you simply lack the necessary tools, equipment, or confidence to handle the repair effectively.

Calling a plumber in such situations ensures the problem is addressed correctly, prevents potential safety hazards, and provides peace of mind that the plumbing system will be repaired or maintained by a trained professional.

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