Being a homeowner comes with a long list of new responsibilities. You are officially your own landlord. That means if any issues arise, you’re tasked with sorting them out on your own. Repairs, routine upkeep, and general maintenance fall on you. 

Plumbing maintenance is a particularly important part of homeownership. It’s not uncommon to face the occasional clogged drain, running toilet, or pipe leak. As you take up the challenge of owning your own home, be sure you’re prepared to properly maintain your plumbing. 

Here are 6 need-to-know plumbing tips for first-time homeowners!

1. Keep Proper Tools Close at Hand 

Either before your closing day or as soon as you move into your new home, secure all the tools you’ll need for plumbing maintenance. There are a lot of handy items you should have around that could save you a lot of money in plumbing repairs. 

Some important tools to have are… 

  • A plunger in every bathroom 
  • Clip light or flashlight 
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Crescent wrenches
  • A plumbing snake or auger 
  • Tongue-and-groove pliers
  • A set of hex keys or Allen wrenches
  • Screwdriver multi-tool 

2. Know Where Your Shut-Off Valves Are 

In the event of a leak, it’s vital to know where all the shut-off valves are in your home are. There will be a main water valve as well as a separate valve for each appliance. In an emergency such as a burst pipe, you’ll want to use the main water valve. When you’re making a repair in an isolated area such as the sink, you can use the shut-off valve specific to that appliance.  

Be sure to keep the path towards your main water shut-off valve as free as possible. You don’t want anything like furniture or boxes in your way. The last thing you need during an emergency plumbing situation is an obstructed path towards the shut-off valve. This can slow down your progress and lead to more severe water damage. 

3. Don’t Neglect Your Drains 

Drains are not equipped to handle all waste – even if there’s a garbage disposal attached. New homeowners often make the mistake of putting things down the sink that can inadvertently cause a clog. Be sure to avoid disposing of oil or grease in your sink. You should also avoid putting bones, eggshells, coffee grounds, and vegetable peels down your garbage disposal. 

Hair can be a nuisance when it comes to caring for your drains. Over time, this hair will meld with soap scum, dead skin, and dirt and potentially cause a slow or clogged drain. While it might not be possible to avoid getting any hair at all down your shower drain, a hair trap can help reduce how much you flush into your drains. 

Toilet drains require special care too. You shouldn’t flush anything besides waste and toilet paper. Items such as feminine products and wet wipes (even if they claim to be “flushable”) can cause clogs. 

Ignoring a clog for too long can cause you a lot of issues down the line. Be sure to address a slow or stopped up drain as soon as possible. 

4. DON’T Use Drano 

When you notice the water in your sink or tub draining slower than usual, you might get the impulse to reach towards the Drano. Don’t do it! Drano is extremely harmful to drains. It also poses a safety risk to those that use it. In fact, some plumbers might not be willing to work on your pipes if you’ve used a chemical drain cleaner recently. 

Drano is harmful to your health and the environment. This toxic product will cause you more harm than good. It may degrade your pipes and lead to even worse issues than a clog. There are a lot of better ways to address slow, clogged drains than reaching towards Drano. 

5. Know How to Handle a Clogged Drain 

There are two ways to address a clogged drain: with a solvent or with manual force. 

A safer alternative to Drano is a homemade drain cleaner. You’ll need baking soda, vinegar, and boiling water. Simply pour the baking soda into the clogged drain followed by the vinegar. Let the chemical reaction loosen the dirt and grease for about 5-10 minutes. Pour boiling water down the drain to melt away any lingering, stuck-on gunk. 

When manually removing a clog, you’ll need a snake, auger, or plunger. Plungers are usually your first line of defense. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to opt for a more invasive method. Snakes and augers descend deep into a drain to loosen any clogs within the pipes. 

If the methods above don’t work, it’s time to call your trusted plumber

6. Winterize Pipes in the Winter

When winter comes around, you need to take special care to protect your pipes from freezing temperatures. When the temperatures drop, pipes can freeze and eventually even burst. Winterizing your pipes is a vital part of homeownership you should not neglect. This involves blowing out your sprinkler system, insulating pipes close to the exterior of your home, and, in some cases, filling your pipes with an anti-freeze treatment. You might want to lean on professionals to help you complete that last suggestion. 

7. Select a Go-To Plumber 

When you settle into your new home, pick out a go-to plumber you can trust as soon as possible. We hardly ever see it coming when a plumbing emergency strikes. In the midst of such a frantic situation, the last thing you want to do is scramble around trying to find a plumber you can count on. Figure this out ahead of time to save yourself the stress. 

To the T Plumbing and Heating would be honored to keep your home’s plumbing running smoothly. We service the Denver and Northern Colorado areas. Be sure to take advantage of our 24/7 emergency services and HVAC services as well! Contact us to schedule your service today!