Buying a house is one of the greatest experiences in any person’s life. Whether you're buying solo or with/for your family, it's a great feeling to become the proud owner of your own house. Every shingle on the roof to every flower in the garden is yours to command. Of course, with great power comes great responsibility. You are also the proud owner of every faucet, pipe, and drain in your home's plumbing system. Are you ready?
There are a few helpful plumbing tips that every new homeowner should know to get the best performance, avoid plumbing disasters, and take good care of your pipes along the way.
Update Your Fixtures
Did you know that it's easy to swap out faucet heads and shower heads? Most homeowners don't realize just how easy it is to update your fixtures to faucets and handles that you like best. Get rid of rusting old fixtures and install a nice pot-filler in the kitchen and a waterfall showerhead in the bathroom. Usually, the process is no more than a few hex-screws away from an all-new experience. That means you're not stuck with the fixture your home came with, and you don't have to remodel to make these basic upgrades.
Showerheads are the easiest to replace but many homeowners handy with a wrench or screwdriver can also replace any faucet in the house. Want plumbing fixtures that are completely different from what you have now? It's easier than you think. Home plumbing upgrades are at your fingertips.
Not only will your home look more stylish, but you’ll also enjoy your sinks and showers a little extra every day.
Know Your Drain Clogs
Drain clogs are the single most common problem that homeowners will run into regarding their newly owned plumbing. Clogs can be nearby - easy to plunge, flush, or snake - or they can be hidden in the plumbing network below the house - or it might be as deep as the municipal sewer line. Watch out for common drain symptoms
- Slow drain, especially from multiple nearby drains
- Gurgling drain
- Unpleasant smells from the drain
- Stopped and clogged drain
A slow drain or multiple clogs can indicate a clog that needs to be flushed or snaked to remove an incomplete obstruction. A stopped drain will need to be plunged or snaked. Unpleasant smells can mean an issue with your septic or sewer system. And a rattle means there's a ring lost in your s-trap.
Get Comfortable Opening the S-Trap
Other than clearing drains, the single most common repair a homeowner will do on plumbing is opening the S-trap. Most sinks have a special trap-piece to catch valuable items that are dropped down the drain. It's a little messy to do, but anyone can remove, clear, and reinstall an s-trap for their own sink - unless the sink was installed strangely before you bought the house.
If you can get comfortable opening the S-trap (we advise a bucket underneath the water-filled trap when you detach it) then you can retrieve lost items and clear nearby sink clogs with ease. The more comfortable you can get with your own pipes and sink undersides, the less often you'll need to call a plumber when clogs and lost items occur.
Signs of a Hidden Leak
Hidden leaks are the biggest plumbing problem common to new homeowners. There are several types of leaks, and only a few are the faucet-spraying obvious type. All too often, leaks happen behind the walls, slowly harboring mold growth, increasing your water bill, and causing structural water damage to the home.
Signs of a hidden leak include
- Unusually high and rising water bill
- Damp spaces under the sinks
- Damp wall or ceiling spots
- Water on the floor
- Mold, musty, and mildew smells
- Creeping electrical problems
Unfortunately, if you have a hidden leak, you'll want to call a plumber (and maybe an emergency contractor) to find the leak and repair the water damage. Sometimes this is the best action.
Prepare for the Winter Freeze
If it gets freezing cold (30 degrees or below) in your home region, prepare your pipes for winter. When water freezes in the pipes, it expands in the natural way of ice and can burst your pipes. This sends freezing water spraying in every direction, a problem every homeowner wants to avoid.
Pipe Winterization methods
- Open under-sink cabinets
- Allow the home's warmth to penetrate between-the-wall pipes
- Set the tap to drip
- Keeping water moving can reduce its ability to freeze in place
- Foam tube insulation
- A vertically sliced pool noodle will do the trick if you don't have insulation tubing
- Heat tape along the length
- Requires a power source
Heating tape has a single electrical line through it and is plugged in at one end. This provides a minimal charge of warmth along the length of pipes and is often used for pipes in basements and crawl-spaces. Foam tubing is the most common solution, and a summer pool noodle sliced longways does the job just as well. In a pinch, you can just open the bathroom cabinets to let some of the home's internal warmth reach the water in the pipes. Set the tap to drip to keep water movement above zero in the pipes.
What to Do in a Plumbing Emergency
If you've taken all the right precautions and still have a plumbing emergency - an undefeatable clog or a bad leak - don't hesitate to call the professionals. Part of being a great homeowner is knowing when maintenance tasks go above your handiness and expertise. If a pipe bursts or there's a clog affecting every appliance in your guest bathroom, professional plumbers will have the quick, necessary solution ready on arrival.
Ready to really take control of your plumbing as a homeowner? Take the plunge and install a deep farmhouse sink exactly where you want it in your kitchen. Fossil Blu would love to deliver your sink as you take over as residing owner and chef. Contact us today or explore the online store to find the perfect farmhouse sink for your vision of the perfect kitchen.