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Seven Plumbing Tips for First Time Homeowners

Confidence begins with preparedness.

Moving into your first home is the best feeling ever!  Although it comes with a new sense of freedom, being a first-time homeowner means that you must take care of everything from plumbing to cleaning. While most new homeowners find it exciting to learn things such as painting or installing flooring, they seem to always overlook plumbing basics. They only come to realize later that plumbing is one of the areas that can cause sleepless nights. While you can always call a plumber to take care of any problem with your draining system, simple things like knowing how to turn off the water until a professional arrives can prevent water damage. For those who have just purchased new homes and know little about plumbing, apart from turning on the shower, here are a few tips:


  1. Schedule an Inspection

You probably had an inspection prior to purchase but if you didn’t and want to establish a baseline, you can begin your new life in your new home by scheduling a plumbing inspection.  Since most plumbing essentials are hidden from plain sight, professionals can show you where every essential item is located and provide you with a list of things that need maintenance or repair. They will also educate you on the things to look out for that will let you know if there is a potential plumbing issue.  Now is the time to establish a long-term relationship with the plumber (and HVAC) now.


  1. Locate Your Home’s Shut Off Valves for Both Water and Gas

The most crucial plumbing tips that any homeowner should learn first, are where the shutoff valves for their homes are located and how to turn them off. It would be detrimental if you started searching for a shutoff valve when water or gas has already started leaking. Knowing how to shut water and gas off from the main valve will ensure that a small issue does not become a catastrophe.   Consider having an automatic shut off valve installed for the plumbing.   It’s worth the price for your peace of mind.


  1. Invest in a High-quality Plunger

As a matter of fact, purchase two. A red one and a black one.  One for the bathroom toilet and one for the kitchen.  As a new homeowner, your first plumbing issue will be clogged sinks, toilets and drains. However, if you have high-quality plungers at your disposal, this will be a non-issue. This powerful tool can be used to suck up water and dust particles from any blocked drain, allowing you to enjoy free-flowing wastewater in your toilets, bathroom drains, and sinks.   But do not use the plunger used in your toilet to unstop a hygienic drain like your kitchen sink, bathroom sink or bathing tub.   Germs will be germs.


  1. Learn What Should Go Down the Garbage Disposer.

Understand up front, garbage disposers are not wonder toys.  They have their reasons, their limitations and their expected results.   If it is available review the disposer’s operating instructions.   If it is not available (most likely) find the model number on the unit and research it on the internet.

It would help if you were careful what you put inside your garbage disposer. When hard substances find their way into the drainage system, they can cause a massive clog that can be expensive to unclog. Some of the things you should not put into the garbage disposer include bones, starchy vegetables, pasta & rice, non-food items, oil, grease, and fats.  You can clean your disposer by running a cup of ice cubes.  Remember to always run water into the disposer while in operation

  1. Prevent Frozen Pipes.

Water pipes don’t have to go through a freezing spell to break but if you reside in a place with a subfreezing climate, the possibility is increased.  You have to know how to protect your pipes from freezing during winter. Begin preparing in the Autumn.  It is crucial to ensure that all your outdoor pipes are winterized before the cold weather hits. Make sure that all outdoor pipe spigots are covered, and the garden hoses detached. Suggestion: take the detached garden hose into your garage.  It will not freeze solid and may be usable during a non-freezing period of winter.   Frozen pipes can crack and burst open at any time, causing flooding in your home. If any plumbing pipes are exposed, in any unfinished areas like the crawl space or laundry room, go head and wrap them with insulation.  It’s rather easy and the insulation can be picked up at your local hardware outlet. While you’re there, pick up the spigot covers. They are not expensive.  Incidentally, this is another reason to have an automatic shut off valve installed.

And realize that not all plumbing crises are covered by your homeowner’s insurance. Even if they are, will the repair be less than your homeowner’s insurance deductible?  Prepare and save money.


  1. Protect your drains. Seriously!

Your drains are gateways to riddance.  But they do not like to be abused. Just because something went down the drain does not mean it is out of your life.   Allowing the wrong items to go down are not necessarily “by-by”, they could be “I’ll be back”.   If you don’t know by now, you will find out, hair, rinsed off food particles, non-dissolving paper, and junior’s deceased gerbil should not go down the drain.   Manage what does down and you will not have to manage a nasty clog.


  1. Have a Plumber’s Number on Speed Dial.

Let’s see, you have emergency numbers on your refrigerator.   Go ahead and write in a reputable plumber’s number.   Make your choice now so you do not spend time in a crisis researching who and when.   Best idea, start building relationships with a plumber and a heating/cooling firm.  Know their name and they will remember yours.

Ensure that you get the phone number from a licensed, insured, and high-qualified plumber who is available 24/7. When emergencies hit, they can give you heartache if you don’t have a reliable plumber on speed dial.

Oh, and to make it easier on you, we suggest putting C&M Plumbers’ number on the fridge: 916-667-4432.   Do it now and be that much more prepared.