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Plumbing Tips for New Homeowners

How to Care for Your New Home’s Plumbing

Homeowners will almost certainly face frustrating snags sometime during the life of the home: taxes, solicitors, plumbing issues and more. We’re not sure how to help with taxes or solicitors, but we can help you become familiar with your home’s plumbing so you’re not rendered helpless when the unexpected happens.

1. Know Where the Water Main Shut-off Valve is Located

shut off valve

Knowing where to find the main shut-off water valve can be very helpful whether or not you’re an absolute beginner with plumbing. In the event of an emergency, it is crucial to know where the water main is located in case you need to quickly stop the flow of water rushing into your house. The water main is usually located in the basement, however, in states like Florida where basements are rare, you may need to poke around or ask a plumber to locate and show you how to operate the water main. Basic plumbing skills can rescue you in a sticky situation when you’ll need to quickly and easily decide whether or not you need to call your plumber.

2. Do Not Ignore Leaks

leaking water

That little drip from a leaking faucet may not look like a big deal, but depending on how fast the leak is, it could cost you between $20-$200+ a year. A leaking toilet is objectively far worse, considering the amount of water that is wasted (and paid for by you) when a toilet is leaking or continuously running. These are not problems that you want to procrastinate about getting fixed. Once you’ve stopped the immediate emergency, call a plumber who can perform professional diagnostics and repair.

3. Don’t Over-tighten Fittings

overtightened plumbing fitting

Part of learning your drains and pipes is learning the fittings and connections. A common mistake when some attempt DIY plumbing is they over-tighten connections or fittings. It is a logical mistake, as one would want the connection to be tight so it won’t leak, but by over-tightening, you can strip screws and cause even more damage.

4. Clean Out the Shower Head Regularly

shower head clean

It is the part of the shower used most often but cleaned the least. The showerhead can accumulate mineral buildup that can impact water pressure. There are many suggestions on how you can clean your showerhead, but typically the simplest solution is the best. Use a gallon zip-top bag filled partway with white vinegar. Place the bag over the showerhead, ensuring the nozzles are submerged in the vinegar and secure it with a rubber band. Let it sit for a few hours and wipe clean. If your showerhead has a nickel, brass or gold finish, remove the vinegar after 25 minutes and rinse well. If your showerhead has stubborn or particularly abundant buildup, you can let it soak overnight before wiping/rinsing.

5. Monitor Your Home’s Water Pressure

low water pressure

This may seem like an over-simplified tip, but paying attention to the water pressure and taking note of any changes can clue you in to potential problems with your plumbing. If you are a new homeowner, make sure you become familiar with how the normal water pressure feels in your sinks and showers so you can easily be aware of any changes.

6. Avoid Chemical Drain Cleaners

drain cleaner

When your drains inevitably become clogged with hair (this is one of those absolute certainties we were referencing), your first impulse may be to reach for a bottle of Drano or a similar product. Don’t do it. The caustic chemicals in these drain cleaners can create more problems than they fix.

Most liquid drain cleaners contain variations of the same formula, which contains bleach, aluminum, lye and salts, which are each known to cause corrosion on their own. When combined, the chemicals can corrode metal plumbing, melt plastic pipes and fixtures, eat away at the finish in your sink or toilet and even cause your toilet bowl to crack (a catastrophe that is definitely not worth it).

There are other effects that aren’t immediately obvious, such as the killing of the “good” bacteria that break down organic matter in your drains and septic system. Killing this bacteria eventually will cause an even larger problem later on.

Not only are you killing off helpful bacteria with these chemicals, but you could also be harming yourself, your family members and your pets. The chemicals can cause burns on skin, eye irritation and even lung damage. Furthermore, mixing drain cleaners with other household chemicals can create toxic fumes that will absolutely harm your respiratory system and those of your kids and pets.

Take it from the pros. Steer clear of the chemicals; instead, either use a snake or plunger or call a plumber.

If you find yourself facing leaks, clogs or other overwhelming issues, contact Hamm and Sons today by calling 317-202-9853. Our plumbers are standing by 24/7 to help you take care of your plumbing.

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