If you've recently purchased your first home, you're probably looking forward to experiencing the joys of homeownership, such as treating family and friends to holiday meals, having backyard barbecues in summer, and enjoying the freedom to paint and decorate to suit your individual needs and preferences rather than having to deal with the stark white walls of the vast majority of rental properties. However, along with the joys of home ownership come the responsibilities. Although most homeowners don't perform all of their repair and maintenance tasks themselves, they still need to know certain basics so that they can limit the amount of damage done when something goes wrong. Here's three things pertaining to plumbing that all new homeowners should learn how to do as soon as possible.
How to Turn the Main Water Valve Off
Every homeowner needs to know how to turn off the home's main water supply—not knowing how and when to do this can result in having to pay thousands of dollars in plumbing bills. For instance, many homeowners go away for the weekend or on vacation and return home to discover that their homes have somehow been flooded while they've been gone. Simply turning off the main water valve before leaving can prevent this expensive and inconvenient scenario.
In warm weather climates, the main water valve is typically located on the exterior of the home against an outside wall or possibly underground near the streetside edge of the property. If you live in an area that experiences cold winter weather, the main valve will be located in the basement. If your home doesn't have a basement, you'll probably be able to find the main valve in the crawl space.
The property inspection report that you received when you bought the house should indicate the location of the main water shutoff valve. Besides shutting off the water before you leave home for a weekend or vacation, you should shut if off whenever you're performing any type of minor maintenance on your plumbing system.
How to Unclog a Drain
If you're like most fledgling homeowners, you may have already picked up over-the-counter drain clearing products in order to have them on hand in the event that you need to unclog a drain at some point in the future. However, depending on these products does your pipes more harm than good. Because they contain corrosive elements, over-the-counter drain cleaners eat away at the pipes. Other reasons not to use these products is that they emit toxic fumes into your living space and cause damage to the environment. Furthermore, these products often don't even work.
It's better to have a small plumber's snake on hand as well as a plunger designed specifically for use in sinks. You can purchase both of these at your local home improvement retail store.
How to Protect Your Pipes From Freezing
Pipes that freeze and burst are one of the most expensive mishaps that a homeowner can face—and the situation is entirely preventable. There are a number of steps that you can take to prevent pipes from freezing. For instance, you should leave your thermostat at the same setting 24 hours per day during periods when nighttime temperatures are dipping below freezing. You should also keep your garage doors closed if the garage contains exposed pipes, as well as opening the cabinets under kitchen and bathroom sinks to allow warm air to more easily access these spaces. You can also leave a trickle of water running in your indoor faucets when temperatures are below freezing.
If your area typically gets a lot of days and nights when temperatures are below freezing, contact plumbing contractors in your area for help and advice on applying heat tape and other materials designed to help prevent pipes from freezing.
When was the last time you realized that you had a serious plumbing problem? About a month ago, I knew that I had to make some big changes, so I began talking with different plumbers about getting the job done. I told them that I wanted to replace the bathtub in the bathroom and the sink and faucet in the kitchen, and they took my requests in stride. Before I knew it, my entire home was updated and I felt great about the work. I wanted to start this blog to help other people to learn more about plumbing and repair.