If you’re new to owning a home, “plumbing” has a different role in your vocabulary. No more calls to maintenance or the building super; you’re on your own when it comes to fixing a problem or calling a plumber.
The P word isn’t a scary one, however. You’ve got this. A little insight into your home’s plumbing will go a long way. (And existing homeowners? We think you’ll find some good tidbits here, too.)
Precautions and Planning
Get a sense of what things cost, how to prevent problems, and how to prepare for plumbing emergencies big and small:
House guests. Hooray, you’ve got a new home! And now you want to show it to your family and friends. You want their bathroom experience to be a positive one (because no one wants to be the guest who says “I think I broke the handle on your toilet.”). Check for—and tend to—leaky faucets, weak-flushing toilets, and slow drains to avoid awkward situations for you and your guests. If you can’t repair the issue, at least give them a heads-up.
Monthly maintenance. A little monthly maintenance goes a long way. Each month, you should: clean the dishwasher drain bin and garbage disposal, run water and flush toilets in unused spaces, and inspect and change HVAC filters as needed.
Yearly maintenance. There are a number of things you should do at least once a year, too, including: flush the water heater, test your sump pump, check for “silent” leaks (sinks, toilets, dishwashers, refrigerators, and showers), and remove sediment from shower heads.
Renovations. Eventually your new home will become an older home. Or maybe you bought it with the intent to upgrade. Note that the average bathroom renovation costs more than $15,000. Do you need to change the plumbing itself or just the fixtures? If it’s the former, save up—plumbing renovations drive up the cost. If it’s the latter, save up anyway...and then go ahead and splurge on aesthetics fixtures. You’ll still have money left over.
DIY vs. Call a Plumber
One of the biggest plumbing challenges as a homeowner is knowing what you can and should do yourself and what warrants a call to the plumber. Here are three examples:
- Jewelry down the drain is upsetting but all is not lost--literally! It’s likely in the P-trap below your sink. Stop the water immediately, put a bucket under the pipe, disconnect by removing the J-bend nuts (both ends), shake out the jewelry, and reconnect.
- The basement is scary because of horror movies and (even scarier) water damage potential. Water on the floor could be due to leaky pipes or a sump pump problem—your best bet is to call a plumber. Water on the walls means runoff is penetrating your foundation; check the sump pump, gutters, and other downspouts for clogs. If that doesn’t resolve the problem, call a plumber.
- A clogged toilet can sometimes resolve with a plunger (wait 10 minutes if it overflowed) or plumber’s snake. Call a plumber if that doesn’t do the trick.
Expert Charlotte Plumbers
We have been in business for more than 20 years—we’ve seen it all! Consider us for all your repair, maintenance, and emergency plumbing needs. We service Charlotte and a 30-mile radius. Give us a call at 704-846-5371 or use our online contact form for residential plumbing service.
P.S. This post is just one of many posts in our Understanding Your Home's Plumbing series! Check out our many helpful posts here on the blog, and use the handy search bar in the upper right hand side of the page to find articles specific to topics that matter to you. Can't find the answer to a particular question? Visit our Ask Dave page and post a question directly to Dave, owner and master plumber. He'll get back to you with an answer tailored to your situation. Hope this helps!
Quick question & answer: What are the best plumbing tips for new homeowners?
The best plumbing tips for new homeowners involve checking for and tending to leaky faucets, weak-flushing toilets, and slow drains. Also, monthly, clean dishwasher drain bin and garbage disposal, run water and flush toilets in unused spaces, and inspect and change HVAC filters. Yearly, flush water heater, test sump pump, check for appliance leaks, and remove sediment from shower heads.