From the process and costs associated with closing to furniture and appliances, a first home purchase can be stressful. Even though some tasks and worries are more important than others, you should make an effort to understand your home’s systems in order to reduce the risk of failures and costly repairs.
Plumbing may be one of the most used systems in your home, but you may not consider it very important. As a first-time homeowner, you should prepare yourself for the potential issues that could affect your plumbing and septic system. Here are a few things all first-time homeowners need to know about their plumbing.
- Water Heater Temperature
Many people believe once a water heater is installed, you can basically forget about it. However, you should know the location of your water heater and how to adjust the temperature so you can prevent scalding, conserve energy, and follow local regulations.
Your water heater will have a dial that allows you to read and adjust the temperature of your hot water. If the temperature is too high, you and other members of the household may experience painful burns. On the other hand, if the temperature is too low, you might not be able to enjoy a hot bath or shower.
If the dial does not actually show a temperature reading, do not panic because you can still get an accurate measurement. Allow your sink faucet to run hot water for a few seconds before filling up a glass with this hot water. Place a cooking thermometer into the glass of hot water to read the temperature.
Most experts recommend a temperature of 120 degrees to prevent burns while following local laws and regulations. If the reading is higher, adjust the dial to a lower temperature. Wait a few minutes before filling a glass with new hot water and check the temperature again.
- Water Main Location
One of the most important yet often overlooked items you need to know when moving into your first home is the location of your water main valve.
Broken faucets or showerheads, leaking sinks, toilet clogs, or even a washing machine or dishwasher in distress can all lead to an enormous amount of water waste and water damage without acting quickly.
If you know the location of your water main valve, you will be able to act fast and shut the water off to your home, which will prevent serious water leaks and damage.
In most cases, the valve will be located inside somewhere around the perimeter of your home on the side nearest the street. If you cannot locate the shut-off valve, consider reading your home’s inspection report for more details. Or you can consult a plumber to help you locate the valve before you actually need it.
- Outdoor Spigots Protection
Your attention on your home’s plumbing will probably revolve around toilets, faucets, and sinks, but you also need to make your outdoor spigots a priority. You need to protect your outdoor plumbing fixtures and spigots, especially when temperatures begin to lower in the colder seasons.
Frozen pipes not only lack function, but they can also burst, leading to leaks, water damage, and expensive repairs. Fortunately, you can drain and insulate your outdoor faucets and spigots to help protect your home’s plumbing.
Make sure to turn off any water that flows to your outdoor faucets and spigots before you anticipate freezing temperatures at or below 20 degrees. Then turn the faucet or spigot on to drain any water that is remaining in the pipes. It is best to disconnect any hoses and store in a garage or shed during the winter season.
Hose bib covers are inexpensive ways to protect your spigots from the freezing temperatures. These pieces are designed to fit over faucets and spigots, adding a layer of insulation between the cold and your plumbing fixture.
Most homeowners are able to install bib covers on their own. If you do not feel comfortable completing this task, consider hiring a plumber.
To learn more about your home’s plumbing or to schedule maintenance or repairs, contact Backlund Plumbing today.