Being a first-time homeowner is equally as exciting as it can be stressful! The most common problems new homeowners encounter is usually plumbing-related, and though this can be scary if you don’t know much about plumbing, it’s easier to solve than it seems! In just a quick 6-minutes read, learn all our plumbing tips and tricks for new homeowners, from life-hacks that will save you money, to knowing when to call one of Plumbing Ways’ plumber Cape Town professionals!
As a new homeowner, there’s a lot to learn when it comes to taking care of every facet of your new prized property, but plumbing is arguably the most tumultuous and needs the most attention and care. Plumbing issues can often cost you hundreds or even thousands of Rands if left ignored for too long, they could turn into detrimental problems for which you will need the help of a plumber. To battle the stress of owning a new property, here are a few beginner plumbing tips to keep you sane and to save you from additional expenses:
• Locate your main water switch/valve: It is essential for any new homeowner to be clued-up about their new property’s main switches in case of any emergencies that have the potential to cause some serious damage. Knowing where your home’s main water supply switch is, is beneficial in case of any serious water malfunction you might not be able to find the source of or can’t solve straight away. Switching off the water supply to your entire property is more important than risking serious water damage until a professional plumber can help you out!
• Unclogging drains: This is so much easier than you might think, slow-draining or clogged drains are common encounters not only for new homeowners, but for everyone. There are a few essential tools homeowners, old and new, should always have in their tool box and sink tools like a drain auger/’snake’ or even the humble plunger, can really come in handy in these times of need. The culprit is usually hair-build up or (occasionally) foreign obstructions like kids toys which are easy fixes!
• Kitchen sinks are for soapy water: Be sure to keep an eye on what you are putting down the kitchen sink drain! Refrain from pouring any oils or greasy substances down the drain (even when they’re hot and liquid!) because they will solidify and cause some serious clogging or bacteria distribution. Also refrain from putting any bits of food down the drain, they also cause clogging and can produce a bad odour if left in the drain for too long.
• Install strainers in your bathroom and kitchen drains: These are really handy preventative measures you can take to avoid the previous two common occurrences! Drain strainers catch any hair, food or other foreign objects to prevent build-up in your pipes which could lead to bigger plumbing problems for which you need to call a plumber Cape Town!
• Get to know your water heater: It’s important to find out what kind of water heater comes with your new home, whether it’s a standard model or a tank-less heater – these can have different requirement for maintenance. Also, be sure to familiarise yourself with the condition of the heater, what warranty it has and when it expires. It is also important to keep in mind that water heaters need to be drained once a year, so before you move into your new home is the perfect time.
• Refrain from using liquid drain cleaners: This is usually our first instinct when encountering drain-related problems but it should be avoided at all costs! If the problem cannot be solved with a drain auger/’snake’ or a plunger, rather call a Plumbing Ways qualified plumber Cape Town! Liquid drain cleaners can often to more harm than good, eroding the lining of your pipes or burning holes in them completely depending on the material of the pipe and the strength of the liquid cleaner.
• Periodically clean your shower heads and faucets: This one is often overlooked however, especially in places like the Cape where our water is often mineral-rich, mineral build-up is very common and needs to be taken care of to prevent weakening water-pressure or the release of harmful bacteria. Make a habit of periodically cleaning your shower heads and other faucets by soaking them in vinegar and scrubbing off the build-up, if you notice something odd whilst doing this then rather call a plumber or look into replacing your water-attachments.
• Before finalising your purchase: Ask to do a general inspection of the property and pay special attention to the plumbing. Check if all pip connections are secure, keep an eye out for any quite or alarming leaks and test all the toilets to check for leaks there. Do not finalise your purchase until you are completely happy with the plumbing system of the home or unless you plan to upgrade the whole thing with the help of a plumber Cape Town.
Troubleshooting Plumbing Problems in Your New Home – And How to Take Action
It is essential to familiarise yourself with the basics of plumbing, specifically plumbing troubleshooting, in order to thoroughly understand and identify any plumbing-related problems you may be experiencing. This is helpful for when you need to let a qualified plumber Cape Town know exactly what the problem is – that way they can come better prepared and give you a more accurate price-estimate – as well as aiding you in your own plumbing repairs that you can do yourself! Here are a few tips for troubleshooting your plumbing problems so you can better understand what you need to do or get done:
- Troubleshooting Toilets: Anything from annoying drips or full blown leaks, toilet troubles can be frustrating for any homeowner! Though clogging is the most common issue you might run into with a toilet, it’s far from the only one. Other toilet problems can include strange noises coming from the tank, water running continuously or failure to flush. Luckily, most of the basic problems you might encounter with toilet plumbing can be fixed easily, however there are a few that may need the help of a professional plumber.
- Faulty Toilet Seat: This one is a really easy quick fix! The most technical aspect of this problem is screwing the bolts in to secure he seat. You can easily find new toilet seats at your nearest home improvement store – in a variety of styles to match your bathroom scheme! This is an easy DIY and you don’t need to call a plumber Cape Town.
- Clogged Toilet: In most cases this is a problem that can be easily solved with the help of a plunger or even avoided by refraining from flushing unnecessary items or sanitary products that the drainage system in your country/area cannot process. When using a plunger, just make sure there is enough water in the toilet bowl to cover the rubber suction cup and then manoeuvre it up and down to increase suction until there is enough build-up for a release. If there is not enough water in the bowl – whatever you do, do not flush! The toilet bowl will overflow and make a huge mess! If The plunger isn’t working and you do not have a toilet auger/’snake’ to try and release the blockage, then it’s time to call a plumber Cape town!
- Toilet Tank Problems: This can be a tricky area because some problems are easier to fix than others. The replacement of a trip lever or tank ball is simple enough, but if you find your toilet tank making strange noises or leaks persisting even after replacing the basic elements, then it’s time to contact a plumber Cape Town.
- Troubleshooting Pipes: Although most plumbing problems occur at or near the ‘problem’ fixtures like sinks, toilets or bathtubs, the root of the problem is often the pipes themselves. The most common problems with pipes are leaks, sweating, freezing (in colder climates) or making loud noises when exposed to rapidly changing climates (extreme heat or extreme cold).
- Leaky Pipes or Joints: These can be pretty simple and straightforward fixes if the pipes aren’t in hard-to-reach places. It’s quite straightforward – of the leak is coming from a joint, tighten the connection, and if it’s coming from the pipe itself – switch off the main water supply to the house, unscrew the connections to the pipe section that needs replacing and take it to your nearest home-improvement shop to find a replacement of the same size and fitting requirements. If you are unable to locate the leak, its coming from an area which is hard to reach, or you don’t have the necessary tools fix it, then call a plumber Cape Town.
- Frozen or Sweating Pipes: Pipe sweating occurs when the water flowing through the pipe is much colder than the surrounding air – resulting in condensation on the pipe and thus dripping, humidity in the area and mould growth. An effective measure to prevent this is insulating pipes, in colder climates this can prevent pipes from freezing and in warmer climates this can prevent sweating and uncontrollable water damage from dripping. Pipe insulation is best done by a professional plumber but can also be a DIY job if you’re a knowledgeable handy-man!
- Noisy pipes: This problem is often difficult to fix since its usually not due to an inherent problem with the pipe fixtures, but rather caused by external elements like climate. However, sometimes loose pipes can be noisy if there is a great amount of water pressure flowing through them, they can bang against other objects, pipes or fixtures in the vicinity. This can be prevented by securing pipes upon installation or inserting padding/insulation around the pipes to soften the blow of the banging and moving around. This can be done with the help of a plumber Cape Town.
- Troubleshooting Sinks, Drains and Bathtubs: Problems associated with sinks, bathtubs and drains usually seem too complicated to quickly fix yourself, however there are a few instances in which you can save some money by taking care of the problem yourself before calling a plumber!
- Unclogging a Drain: As we mentioned earlier, this can easily be done using a drain auger/’snake’, however if the problem persists, refrain from using acidic drain cleaners as they can do more harm than good. If you’re really in a pinch you can try using a 1:1 ratio of baking soda and vinegar, but for bigger problems you should certainly call a plumber Cape Town.
- Repairing Faucets: Periodically soaking them and removing the mineral build-up should do just fine but if the problem persists, it’s just a matter of replacing the fixture – for more complicated installations call a qualified plumber.
- Caulking or Recaulking Fixtures: For fixtures used every day, like sink faucets, shower or bathtub head/faucets, the caulks can often crack of pull loose and so might need to be repaired. Silicone or bathroom putty is a simple solution that can be found at your nearest home improvement shop!