It’s time to get excited. You just bought your new home and you have so many things you want to do. It’s also time to start thinking about being a home owner, who doesn’t need to call the plumber for every little drip. To get you started, here are 5 tips to help you
1. Know where your water main shut off is
Whether you are on municipal water or have a pump, there is a water shut-off valve which allows you to cut water to your house. You need to know where that shut-off valve is in case you have a major pipe burst and need to cut the water supply. You can usually find the shut-off valve in the basement or in a utility area close to an outside wall. If you cannot locate the valve, ask a plumber to find it for you.
2. Verify all valves under sinks can be shut off
Both the hot and cold water supply lines under a sink should have valves which allow you to turn off the water. A lot of these lines are left open for years if there is no reason to shut off the water. Over time, the valve fitting may deteriorate and no longer work. You want to make sure those valves are working, before you find yourself with a major leak and have no way to turn off the water. If the water supply lines don’t have valves, have a plumber install them.
3. Make sure you have access to shower and tub valves
You should be able to access the water supply valves for the tub or shower via an access panel on the opposite side of the wall. You may find the access panel in the back of a closet or utility space. However, in some homes, you may find the valves to the tub and shower are enclosed in the walls. So, if you have a leak and need to shut off the water, you won’t have access to do so.
If you cannot find the valves, a plumber can locate them and create an access panel for you.
4. Know where the sewer clean-outs are.
Your home should have a place where plumbers can access the sewer lines for inspections and clean outs. Most sewer clean-outs are outside the walls of your home’s foundation/basement. It should be in an enclosure to keep soil from gathering around it. Look along the perimeter of your home, especially on the side where the main sewer line runs or where your septic tank is installed. If your home has a slab foundation, you may find the clean-out in the garage or in a utility room.
You will want to know where that clean-out is when you have a clog and the waste starts to back up.
5. Fix leaks immediately.
Fixing leaks immediately may seem obvious. But, it is easy to overlook small leaks when you are busy with life. A dripping faucet may not do damage, but it drives up your water bill and it can leave behind stains. At least once a year, go into your basement or crawl space and look for any pipe leaks. If you find a leak, even minor, fix it. Doing these minor fixes can prevent a major leak from occurring down the line.
These tips will help you keep your home’s plumbing in good working order. A little bit of maintenance will ensure the water (and the waste) continues to flow for years to come.