Did you know that June happens to be National Homeownership Month? Whether you live in a condo in downtown Kansas City or a house in Overland Park, home is where memories are made. And with a new home, you’re going to have a brand new plumbing system that you’ll wanting operating at max efficiency! With that said, we wanted to make sure we had at least one blog this month that provides some tips for any new homeowners. When you’re purchasing a new home, you have plenty other things to worry about. Getting the mortgage squared away, finalizing the purchase, closing costs, inspections, you name it! It can be stressful, but you definitely don’t want to move in and then notice plumbing flaws galore!
This week, we’re going to walk through what you should be looking for as you lead up to closing on the house and then once you’ve moved in. All of this should be done to ensure your home is safe and ready to live in!
1️⃣ Prior to moving in: get utilities up and running
The majority of the time, this step is taken care of prior to the move-in process. You’ll want to notify the utility companies to transfer gas, water, trash, electrical and sewer companies and get those transferred over into you name. If you have any suspicions that any gas or electrical connections have been unused for awhile, you might even want to consider having a professional take a look at it.
2️⃣ Know where your water main shut off valve is
Next up on this list is for you to locate the water main shut off valve. This valve will shut off the water in your entire house. Having this knowledge is important for a number of reasons, but most importantly, you want to be able to find it in case there’s a plumbing emergency. If something like a pipe leak were to occur, you definitely don’t want to be searching around the house for the shut off valve! In no time, this would dump gallons upon gallons of water throughout your house and destroy your property! Typically, the main water shut off valve can be found in the basement or crawl space below the house.
3️⃣ When moving in, complete a thorough inspection
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but it can’t be understated! Whether that means you personally doing it or hiring someone to do so, it needs to be completed. Make sure to look through each and every room for any fire or water damage. Additionally, since we are plumbers after all, it is critical to check all the pipes for any leaks. Take a look at the sump pump (if there is one). Examine the state of hot water heater. All of these are important pieces that could lead to future emergencies, if not operating efficiently.
Here’s a quick checklist of what should definitely be on your inspection sheet:
- Septic System – keep an eye out for any areas of dampness or strong odors. This would reveal there’s been past seepage into surrounding areas.
- Appliances – make sure to test out all of the appliances, including the dishwasher, shower and so on. Be sure to gauge the water pressure as well.
- Sewer Line – if more than one drains aren’t operating correctly, there might be an underlying issue with the sewer line.
- Toilets – check all of the toilets in the house. We’ll touch on this subject later on as well, but make sure there’s no leaks or running toilets.
- Pipes – for obvious reasons, you’re going to want to look around at all of the pipes. If it’s an older home, be on the watch for lead pipes. It isn’t uncommon for lead pipes in homes built before the 1980’s. Lead is a powerful toxin and we’d recommend looking for another option if possible!
- Water Heater – potentially, the most important household appliance out there is the water heater. If you hire someone to complete the home inspection, they should be able to let you know whether it’s big enough for the house. They’ll also be able to get you the age of it (most heaters last roughly 10 years), as well as whether there’s any sediment built up at the bottom. If you run low on hot water before 10 years, chances are it may just need flushed.
4️⃣ Pro-Tip: Be on the lookout for fresh paint 😉
This one sometimes gets missed, but it wouldn’t hurt to see if there’s any noticeable signs of fresh paint. This is because fresh paint is a common move by a seller to cover up any major plumbing issues.
After you’ve already moved in, you’re going to want to make these items routine:
5️⃣ Cleaning your shower drain
Over time, shower drains can certainly turn into scary creatures! Hair, soap, debris, you name it. All of these items tend to get caught up and cause some serious clogs. It’s no surprise why clogged drains are one of our most common service calls that we get each year! It’s a good idea to set up a routine maintenance schedule where you clean out the shower drain. A nice way to help combat some of this hair and debris from going down the drain would be to buy a strainer from your local hardware store. They’re rather inexpensive at most larger retailers, like Home Depot or Lowe’s, so it would be wise to grab one!
In the case that your clogs are actually in the sewer system, then you very well may have a bigger problem. If this happens to be you, it would be wise to hire an experienced Kansas City plumber that can do a proper camera inspection. This will allow them to locate the specific area where the leak has occurred and determine whether a repair will do the trick or if a complete replacement is needed. Since a sewer line repair can potentially do some serious damage to your yard, we always recommend having it inspected prior to moving in!
6️⃣ Avoid using any chemical drain cleaners
While chemical drain cleaners might sound like the perfect fit for clearing a clog, that unfortunately isn’t always the case! When these cleaners come in contact with the clogged substance, a chemical reaction is created that generates heat. Well…this heat can do a number on your pipes and create a plumbing nightmare eventually. Our team uses various other equipment, such as a snake, to ensure your pipes aren’t damaged and the clog is cleared correctly.
7️⃣ Know when a toilet is leaking
Did you know that a leaking toilet can actually cost you more than just a few bucks on your water bill? Just as a dripping faucet can add up over time, the same can be said for a toilet that constantly runs. As a new homeowner, you need to be able to detect when there actually is a leak. Luckily, more often than not, the repair isn’t that costly. It’s usually just a result of a faulty part in the tank, such as the flapper or float ball. An easy trick to test whether there’s a leak is to add a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If the color appears in the bowl within the next 30 minutes, then you have a leak.
👉 Find a Local Plumber
If you’re moving to a new city or simply a different part of town, it’s always important to have a plumber contact and we’re not just saying that because we’re plumbers! Plumbing is unique in that it’s emergencies don’t usually leave a whole lot of time to shop around and get bids. If the sump pump fails and your basement is flooded, I’m guessing that you’d rather get it taken care of immediately and worry about the price tomorrow! Hopefully, you don’t have an emergency on this scale very often, but it’s important nonetheless to know who you’re going to call when something does go wrong!
If your new home happens to be in the Kansas City, Parkville, Gladstone, Liberty or Johnson County area, then we’d be happy to be your new go-to plumber! We understand there’s no time to waste with plumbing and strive to get out there as quickly as possible!