Getting your new home is an exciting, and sometimes overwhelming process. There is so much to do and learn, it can be hard to know where to start. We are here to tell you to put plumbing knowledge at the top of that list. Here are some invaluable tips for new homeowners.
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New Homeowners – We’re Here to Help
It is common to experience various issues when moving into a new place, especially if it’s an older home. Armed with a little awareness and know how, you can be prepared to face everyday plumbing issues a new homeowner might face.
Why is Plumbing so Important?
The purpose of your plumbing is to bring safe, clean water into the house, and to remove waste from the house. Some houses also need gas supplied. Numerous issues can disrupt this process, the consequences of which can be damaging to your health and property.
- Wastewater is full of germs that can cause disease if it is leaked into the house, environment, or worst case, into the drinking water supply (https://gbrand.com).
- Any water leaks or flooding can cause severe damage to the house, as well as your belongings inside, including furniture and appliances.
- Gas leaks can be dangerous and in some cases, deadly. Everything must be correctly installed to avoid future damage or harm.
Most Common Plumbing Problems (And How to Fix Them)
Learning what you can about common plumbing issues that might show up in your house can help you safeguard your health and possessions. Here is some info you can add to your homeowner arsenal:
Unclogging a Toilet
You will know your toilet is clogged if the bowl fills up when you flush and the water level does not go down at all, or takes a longtime to drain. If this happens, check the drainage of the toilet by taking the tank lid off, and reaching in to lift the flapper to let a cup or two of water out.
If the water level does not go down in the bowl, then it is time to try the plunger. Place the bottom of the plunger over the toilet drain, and gently push/plunge in and out, maintaining the seal over the drain. Pushing the air in and out of the drain is usually enough to loosen most clogs (https://www.familyhandyman.com).
Cleaning a Trap
Each plumbing fixture in your home such as sinks, showers ,tubs, and even the washing machine, all have a drain trap underneath. The purpose of this curved piece of pipe is to keep sewer gasses from entering your home through the drain. Each time the drain is used, a little water is held in the curve of the pipe. This standing water helps seal the drain, keeping gasses, and the bad smells that come with them, out (https://www.thespruce.com).
Sometimes small items and debris can build up in the drain trap, causing the sink to become clogged. To remove and clean the trap, you will need to:
- Place a bucket under the drain trap to catch water and debris in the trap.
- Use an adjustable wrench or pliers, to loosen the slip joints nuts on each end of the trap.
- Gently remove the trap , keeping track of the o-rings, and use a bottle brush, or something similar, to clean the trap.
- When finished, put the o-rings back on and reattach the trap(https://www.plumbingsupply.com).
All drains in your house will need to be used every couple of weeks to make sure the drain traps do not dry out, which allows sewer stink to seep-in. There are more benefits to drain cleaning including faster drains and less main sewer line blockages.
Why/how to Use Plumbers Tape for Drips & Seals
Plumbers tape, also known as thread seal, is a thin film tape that is routinely used to seal threads in plumbing fixtures (https://en.wikipedia.org). It acts as a filler and lubricant between the threads, keeping any leaks from forming while also making it easy to disassemble in the future.
To apply the tape, first make sure to wipe off any dirt or grime from the thread and then wrap it around the thread before reattaching and fastening the pipe or nut.
The use of plumbers tape is mentioned more in-depth in our article covering what to do about a leaky sink drain.
What NOT to Flush
As a general rule you should save yourself as much trouble as possible by watching what you flush down the toilet. Most things will cause a clog. Toilet paper and waste are the only things that should go down our drains. If you can throw it away, do not flush it down the toilet, or it may come back to haunt you later in the form of expensive, time consuming plumbing damage (https://metrocouncil.org).
While nothing but toilet paper and waste should be flushed, here is a list of things that should definitely NOT be flushed down the toilet:
- Wipes (even if they are labeled “flushable,” they do not break down)
- Tissues and paper towels
- Dental floss
- Tampons and sanitary pads
- Clumping cat litter
- Oil-based hand scrubs
- Cotton swabs and cotton balls
- Oil or grease
- Dead pet fish
- Cigarette Butts
If you’re curious as to the damage hair and other substances can cause, read our article covering what happens when hair goes down the drain.
How to Turn Off Water
It will be useful to know how to shut off the water to your various appliances, as well as the whole house. Anytime you need to make a repair on a toilet or sink, you will need to know how to turn off the water beforehand.
To turn off water to a sink, look underneath in the cabinet. There are usually two shut off valves, one for hot water and one for cold water. Turn the valves to close them, taking care not to damage them by over-tightening. Then turn on the sink faucets to allow any water still in the pipes to drain out (https://www.ehow.com).
To turn off the water to a toilet, locate the valve at the end of the silver supply line connecting the toilet to the wall and turn it to the off position. If that fails, turn off the main water supply.
You will also want to know how to turn off the water to your whole house for repairs or emergencies. There are usually two valves for the main water supply, one located inside the house and one located outside, usually underground. It is wise to learn the location of the valve and even practice shutting it off before an emergency occurs (https://www.bobvila.com).
Most Necessary Plumbing Tools
Having the right tools can make a world of difference when the time comes for simple repairs. To save some money by doing it yourself, here are some common tools for plumbing every homeowner may need:
- Hand Auger
- Plumbers Tape
- Screw Driver
- Adjustable Wrench
- Duct tape
- Strap Wrench
- Pipe Wrench
- Basin Wrench
Knowing When to Call a Pro
There are some minor repairs that it is possible you could do yourself such as replacing the seat washer on a leaky faucet, unclogging a drain without chemicals, or fixing a running toilet. It is important to have the proper tools and parts for the task and to know where the water shut off is for the fixture and the house. Never hesitate to call a professional if you are not sure. Damage caused by leaks can be expensive to repair, so don’t wait to get help if you spot one. A licensed plumber will be able to quickly and correctly solve your problem, saving you time and giving you peace of mind.
Now with a basic understanding of some of the most common plumbing issues for new homeowners, you can have the tools you need on hand and be ready. When the issue is in danger of getting out of hand, call in Premiere Plumbing to resolve it quickly and effectively.
Metro-Detroit Plumbing Problems Hotline:
Location: White Lake, Michigan
Phone: (248) 363-5864
Location: Hartland, Michigan
Phone: (810) 632-7420
Location: Fowlerville, Michigan
Phone: (517) 223-4360
Email: [email protected]
Request a FREE repair quote with Premier Plumbing, Inc. online at premierplumbing-mi.com/get-a-plumbing-quote/